«_ A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the School of Theology Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Fort Worth, Texas _ In Partial ...»
Baudrillard suggests that the postmodern desire for “relationality” emerges from the “fractal stage” of values,11 which is the “haphazard proliferation and dispersal of value” so that there is “no law of value.”12 Good is no longer the opposite of evil, nothing can now be plotted on a graph or analysed in terms of abscissas and ordinates. Just as each particle follows its own trajectory, each value or fragment of value shines for a moment in the heavens of simulation, then disappears into the void along a crooked path that only rarely happens to intersect with other such paths. This is the pattern of the fractal -- and hence the current pattern of our culture.13
This postmodern pattern produces a desire for “otherness,”
1997), 288. Each member of the community relates to other members as an organic whole called the “body of Christ.” Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987), 606. The translation is “whether Jews or Greeks or slaves or free persons, and we all have been made to drink one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13).
Jean Baudrillard, The Transparency of Evil: Essays
on Extreme Phenomena, trans. James Benedict (New York:
Verso, 1993), 4-6.
which for Baudrillard is “getting beyond alienation.”14 Here, Baudrillard’s solution is to pursue “radical otherness” in which alienation becomes “definitively other.” In this way, the individual loses “any trace of my own.” Baudrillard’s solution heralds back to Nietzsche’s exaltation of the “free spirit.”15 This “relationality” within an apostolic community theologically reflects the “relationality” within the Trinity.16 Jenson suggests that trinitarian doctrine begins with the premise that “God’s relations to us are internal to [H]im.”17 Therefore, as Grenz and Franke suggest, the apostolic community provides “the foretaste of the new humanity” who “represent God in the midst of the fallenness of the present through relationships that reflect God’s own loving character.”18 As Baudrillard concludes, the “Object” is the answer to alienation, even though he equates “radical Ibid., 172-73.
See the previous examination of Nietzsche, “Introduction,” 3-6.
Georg Strecker, Theology of the New Testament, trans. M. Eugene Boring (New York: Walter de Bruyter, 2000), 184.
Robert Jenson, The Triune Identity: God According to the Gospel (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1982), 120.
S. Grenz and J. Franke, Beyond Foundationalism, 201.
otherness” of the individual, which is beyond “the Other.”19 From an apostolic approach, this “Object” is community with God through Christ. The image of the “body of Christ,” therefore, presents an apostolic answer to the postmodern quest for an escape from alienation.
The “relationality” of the “body of Christ” proceeds to a specific application of purpose; namely, to be used by God (1 Cor 12:18).20 Dunn suggests that “there is no such thing as passive membership.”21 Active membership involves the fulfillment of specific functions within
Cristou` has a function to fulfill for the edification of the whole.22 The contention of this writer is that each member’s function corresponds to the leadership and priorities of Christ Jesus who is the head of His body.
The concept of hJ kefalh; tou` swvmato~ th`~ ejkklhsiva~ (Col Baudrillard, Transparency of Evil, 173-74.
Ben Witherington III, Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 259.
James D. G. Dunn, Jesus and the Spirit: A Study of the Religious and Charismatic Experience of Jesus and the First Christians as Reflected in the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), 264.
F. F. Bruce, 1 and 2 Corinthians, New Century Bible Commentary (London: Marshall, Morgan, and Scott, 1971), 122-23.
1:18) promotes the conviction that the leadership of the hJ kefalh; tou` swvmato~ is the priority of the apostolic community.
Paul declares that Christ ejstin eijkw;n tou` qeou` tou` ajoravtou, prwtovtoko~ pavsh~ ktivsew~ (Col 1:15).23 Furthermore, kai; aujtov~ ejstin pro; pavntwn kai; ta; pavnta ejn aujtw`/ sunevsthken (Col 1:17).24 In this way, the apostle describes the centrality and supremacy of Christ in the cosmic world as the source and origin of all things.25 Paul’s description of Christ as hJ kefalh; tou` swvmato~ also points to the relationship between the head and the body. The community of faith “draws its life from [H]im to whom it is united.”26 The apostolic community exists as
ejktivsqh ta; pavnta (Col 1:16), so also di j aujtou` ajpokatallavxai ta;
pavnta eij~ aujtovn (Col 1:20).27 Alienation between God and His “[Christ] is the image of the invisible God and the first-born of all creation.” “And He is before all things and in Him all things are held together.” Everett Ferguson, The Church of Christ: A Biblical Ecclesiology for Today (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 96.
Ernest Best, One Body in Christ: A Study in the Relationship of the Church to Christ in the Epistles of the Apostle Paul (London: SPCK, 1955), 120.
“By Him all things were created” (1:16), and “through Him to reconcile all things to Himself” (1:20).
creation becomes reconciliation through Christ.28 The connection between the reconciling work of Christ and the evangelistic emphasis of Christ’s body is further amplified through Paul’s description in verses 21
through 29. Paul Minear writes:
The forgiveness that had become effective within the Christian community was seen as the beginning of a process that would continue until it had achieved its goal not only within the church but also throughout creation. (Vs. 20-23) Those who to this end shared the redemptive sufferings of the Messiah were carrying out a ministry for the body, thus making God’s word more fully known. (Vs. 24-28)29 Paul’s concern is for God’s reconciling work through Christ to permeate the world through the apostolic mission.30 Thus, Eduard Schweizer states that “the church is understood as the body of Christ because of its obedience to its Head.
The church manifests itself in the mission to the nations.”31 F. F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians, New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1984), 74-75.
P. Minear, Images of the Church, 213.
F. F. Bruce, “Colossian Problems: Part 4, Christ as Conqueror and Reconciler,” Bibliotheca Sacra 141 (October 1984): 300-301.
Eduard Schweizer, The Church as the Body of Christ (Richmond: John Knox, 1964), 78. Robert H. Gundry, Sôma in Biblical Theology with Emphasis on Pauline Anthropology, Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 29 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), 228. Gundry proposes that this metaphor points to “an ecclesiastical The image of Christ’s body reveals that the apostolic community is the presence of Christ on mission.
In an apostolic approach for the evangelization of postmodern people, the image of Christ’s body presents the priority of evangelism, for Christ’s body naturally follows the leadership of the Head, who is Christ Jesus. Christ’s purpose of reconciliation answers the postmodern quest for escape from alienation. As an extension of Christ’s ministry, the church today recognizes its mission of evangelism in the postmodern setting. The function of an apostolic community is to evangelize the world as an extension of Christ’s ministry.
A second image for the apostolic community is the “people of God.” The apostolic community represents the gathering of the followers of Christ as God’s holy people, set apart by the Spirit to accomplish the purposes of God in Jesus Christ.32 As such, “Christians were heirs to the Jewish conception of the people of God as ‘brothers and Body consisting of believers, in which [H]e [Jesus Christ] dwells on earth through [H]is Spirit.” E. Lohse, Die Entstehung des Neuen Testaments, 192.
sisters.’”33 This language reveals the “relationality” within the community of faith between God and His people and between individual members of the community.
Once again, as with the “body of Christ,” the postmodern quest for “relationality” finds fulfillment in this trinitarian image of the apostolic community.
Derrida’s concept of hospitality helps elucidate this
He proposes hospitality which gives place (donne lieu) “without demanding that he give his name or enter into some reciprocal pact.”35 Through this process of “absolute hospitality,” Kearney suggests that the host must “allow some way for the absolute other to enter our home, family, nation, state.”36 The role of “absolute hospitality” David A. deSilva, Honor, Patronage, Kinship, and
Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture (Downers Grove:
InterVarsity, 2000), 200.
Jacques Derrida, De L’hospitalité (Paris: CalmannLévy, 1997), 29; quoted in Richard Kearney, “Others and
Aliens: Between Good and Evil,” in Evil After Postmodernism:
Histories, Narratives, and Ethics, ed. Jennifer L. Geddes (New York: Routledge, 2001), 105. All references to Derrida’s De L’hospitalité are translated and cited by Kearney.
Richard Kearney, “Others and Aliens: Between Good and Evil,” in Evil After Postmodernism: Histories,
Narratives, and Ethics, ed. Jennifer L. Geddes (New York:
Routledge, 2001), 105.
presents an answer to the postmodern quest for identity and legitimation.37 An apostolic conception of the “people of God” provides an answer to Derrida’s call for absolute hospitality.
Paul uses uiJoi; qeou and kat j ejpaggelivan klhronovmoi to describe the “people of God.”38 Paul declares that those in Christ, a[ra tou` jAbraa;m spevrma ejstev, kat j ejpaggelivan klhronovmoi (Gal
He suggests elsewhere, eij de; tevkna, kai; klhronovmoi:
3:29).39 klhronovmoi me;n qeou`, sugklhronovmoi de; Cristou` (Rom 8:17).40 The
Cristw`/ inherit the promises of God because they are sugklhronovmoi Cristou`.41 As Christ is tw`/ spevrmativ of Abraham (Gal 3:16), uJmei`~ Cristou` have become grafted into the promises of God to Abraham through Jesus Christ.42 An apostolic community in a postmodern world is a Ibid., 112.
Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, New
International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1996), 504 n. 41.
“Then you are of the seed of Abraham, heirs according to promise.” “If then children [of God], also heirs; heirs indeed of God, and joint-heirs of Christ.” D. Moo, Epistle to Romans, 505.
James D. G. Dunn, The Epistle to the Galatians, Black’s New Testament Commentary (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1993), 208.
community of faith. “Relationality” in the apostolic community comes dia; th`~ pivstew~ ejn Cristw`/ jIhsou` (Gal 3:26).
Derrida’s call for “absolute hospitality” is a call for the
avenue for community is found dia; th`~ pivstew~ ejn Cristw`/ jIhsou`.
Pivsti~ is not only the avenue into the family of God, but it is also the avenue to a community that hopes in the work of Christ in the present mission and future eschaton.43
Christian writers use pivsti~ to denote the “pledge” or “evidence” to base a belief.44 Hay, therefore, concludes that in Gal 3:23 and 25, pivsti~ “means ‘the objective ground of faith.’ Jesus is the decisive evidence or pledge given humankind by God which makes faith possible.”45 The incredulity of postmodern people confronts the pivsti~ tou` Cristou`. Lohse writes, “Der Glaube erkennt das Evangelium in den Sinn als wahr an, dass es als Heilsbotschaft und Zuspruch der Bettung fortan das ganze Leben der Glaubenden Jürgen Moltmann, The Church in the Power of the Spirit: A Contribution to Messianic Ecclesiology, trans.
Margaret Kohl (London: SCM Press, 1977; reprint, Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1993), 76.
David M. Hay, “Pistis as ‘Ground for Faith’ in Hellenized Judaism and Paul,” Journal of Biblical Literature 108 (1989): 461-76.
The foundation of pivsti~ tou` Cristou` produces a bestimmt.”46 transformation in the orientation of a postmodern person.
In this way, evangelism in an apostolic approach connects postmodern people with the revelation of the gospel so that they make individual decisions based upon “the objective ground of faith” in Jesus Christ as God’s pledge to them.
The apostolic community as the “people of God” finds “relationality” in Christ as the klhronovmoi apart from the rite of circumcision or Judaism (Gal 3:26-29).47 The promise of the Spirit pa`sin toi`~ eij~ makravn (Acts 2:39; 11:15bears resemblance to Paul’s argument.48 The “people of God” comprises all genders, social standing, and ethnicity.
The evangelistic emphasis of this apostolic image of the Christian community of faith centers upon the avenue through which postmodern people may become God’s people.
The “people of God” refers to the apostolic community whose E. Lohse, “Emuna und Pistis,” Zeischrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 68 (1977): 153. “Faith considers the gospel as true in the sense that it, as the message of salvation and encouragement, determines hereafter the entire life of faithfulness.” T. David Gordon, “The Problem at Galatia,” Interpretation 41 (1987): 40.
See Beverly Robert Gaventa, “The Eschatology of Luke-Acts Revisited,” Encounter 43 (1982): 27-42.
“proclamation would address all nations, all cultures.”49 All people of every cultural, racial, and social background may enter into the apostolic community through faith in Christ, answering Derrida’s call for “absolute hospitality” and the postmodern quest for “relationality.”
coming of the Spirit, however, “the focus of the Spirit’s presence is no longer a special building, but a special people” whom He possesses.51