Monday, 2 May 2011

A Corinthian Case Study

I have just started reading Graham Cray's Disciples and Citizens (IVP, 2007).  Graham sub-titles his book "a vision for distinctive living" and explores how we ought to appropriately engage in the challenges of citizenship.  In the third chapter he uses Corinth as a case study.  He talks about the pressures of the culture, commenting that "the Corinthian church had to be countercultural to survive".  Knowing how to respond in a range of situations brings plenty of complicating challenges.  In particular he concludes that "Christians bring a special view of power .. a view of power held as a stewardship to be used as a tool for service for the common good."

John Campbell (in Being Biblical (United Reformed Church, 2003)) also uses Corinth as a case study.  John recognises that Paul "is a pastor responding to particular problems and pressures, a committed friend inviting those he loves to think again and change their ways."  Thus, Paul is very specific - but this does not mean that we cannot allow him to be a model for how we engage in the challenges of citizenship or, to put it another way, confront a range of ethical questions.  John goes on to suggest that 1 Corinthians "offers us an invitation to join a later stage of the same conversation that Paul once shared with God and the Christians of Corinth."

What are the things of the moment that ought gto be part of our Christian citizenship conversation?

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