[[ Download epub ]] Paul's Idea of Community: The Early House Churches in Their Cultural SettingAuthor Robert Banks – Sharkmotorcyclehelmets.co.uk

Occasionally in Paul s writings, he mentions the church in thy house This book is a great help in understanding the background to this phenomena, and is helpful in its explanation of what it means Spoiler alert it isn t a reference to a home school church, no matter how you slice it If you want a scholarly yet readable explanation for these words also helps you understand church sizes in the 1st century , this is a helpful read. One of the problems with Higher Criticism is that the writer can end up fooling himself, by removing the parts of the Bible that cause and deeper study, and simply stating, I don t think that part should be in the Bible This is where I see this book While what is written is thorough enough, it does not visit the entire counsel of God Moreover, it does not even visit the entire counsel of Paul The author only accepts 7 of Paul s letters as genuine Therefore, his views are extremely narrow Rejecting all three pastorals outright, although admitting in the appendix that there is little reason to do so, and not even mentioning other books such as Philemon, he conveniently explains certain topics of controversy, such as women in the ministry, as simply being irrelevant to us today His topics do not seem well thought out, hence, there are few references, and the chapters are short and easy enough to read quickly, but that s because there is little meat On topics such as pastor and elder, he explains that there is no proven history that shows anyone was in charge or was a leader in the early church It was just whoever showed good gifts, and they gradually became leaders because of their use of said gifts That s easy enough to say when you can simply deny or ignore the other Scripture and early church history that says otherwise Further, what starts out as laughable quickly becomes deplorable if you think of the popularity contests within churches that teaching such as this would lead to The reason I give the book two stars as opposed to one is that, albeit there is plenty lacking in his narrow view of Scripture, there is some bits of useful information If you find the book on sale or if it is given to you, it s worth a read to glimpse into as a reference for other, deeper study As with any HC book that focuses on one particular person or group of books, you must eat the fish and spit out the bones Unfortunately, there are a lot of bones in this book. Banks asks us to lay aside our preconceived notions of what we have always thought church o be, and instead ask the question what did those who created it think it was When one begins there and refuses to let prejudice get in the way, some pretty large paradigm shifts come into light First, he asks us to realize that we are not primarily saved to be in a personal relationship with God, but rather we are saved to be part of a community Secondly, he asks us to consider the fact that there are no real ecclesiastical offices named, voted for, or instituted by those who would have done sowere it the primary goal for organizing our religious lives Thirdly, he defines the words we translate now as pastor, elder, deacon etc as they first appear in Scripture, and as they later slightly shift in meaning in the pastoral letters Banks contends that most of the words we think we know so well, we really don t know at all Take for instance the idea of elder being someone, in our time and space, who is wise and a good business man with upright moral characterin the texts it simply is presented as a older person albeit with those same attributes Likewise the words for shepherds is closely linked with navigation of ships In short the naturally occurring populace of a gathering has giftings of teachers, and mentors, and servants, and teachers, and vision casters etc The gifts are sprinkled throughout the gathering and carry no stipulation that they are in any way institutionalized However there is an authority structure in that certain gifts carry within themselves an inherent authority For example an elder, because he is older, commands respect and attention to his direction not because he is somehow superior to the community or holds an office, but rather because he is older and we naturally respect our elders Because of the understanding of the gathering as a family with a strong group identity, these men would have been seen as father figuresand consequently listened to and obeyed This idea of family is not just a pithy analogy, but is rather a fact Jesus told us that those of us who do his Father s will are mothers and fathers and brothers and sistersnot as analogy but as a fact As such then, our gatherings should be groups where all the gifts are present but that operate along the same rules of conduct as a natural family would operate Paul s Idea of Community is largely a textbook of sorts and the research and technical aspect are, admittedly, tedious at times However, as we see church changing across the American landscape with no amount of money, time, or effort changing the droves fleeing traditional congregations, it seems prudent to ask why Could it be that it is because the Holy Spirit himself is authoring the change because we have missed the mark of what our gatherings are supposed to be so widely Given the supposed dangers for errancy of thousands of little groups meeting all through the world, and taking into account the miserable record of organized religion, it would seem we are left with a cost benefit analysis Is it dangerous that the gatherings, that have now supplanted organized religion on Sunday morning according the Barna Report , is the danger greater to Jesus and his Kingdom that people will slip into heresy, or that traditional church will end up strangling the little life left in the American church today Those are the questions raised by Robert Banks book, and one we had better find the answer to quickly. I appreciated Robert Banks research and thoughtfulness I liked finding out of the cultural context, and how the early Christian communities functioned For example, they met in small groups in houses, hosted by men and women of means, and regularly the whole church e.g., 4 or 5 house groups met together for fellowship and learning Another thing the early church, in celebrating the Lord s supper, ate a genuine, complete meal I love that idea, since it ties in so well with the Bible s theme the joyful feast God grants his people Come to Jesus and join the feast Mostly, what Banks does is explore Paul s basic themes surrounding Community freedom in Christ, unity, diversity, gifts and order in the church, participation and responsibility, etc He emphasizes freedom, and how different the Christian meetings were in many ways from the culture around them and how in other ways, they were sometimes similar He talks about the basic metaphors Paul uses for the Chrisitan community Building, Body, Family and explains what that means He emphasizes that the main purpose of church gatherings is for the people of God to meet and build each other up in Christ Now and then he says quite surprising things, making me think hard even if I don t totally agree with him For example, he says today s church is too focused on Word and Sacrament there should be a deeper awareness of the different ways the Spirit works, most especially the fact that He works through and in Christians themselves Another thing he seems to think that ordination is a non biblical concept Not sure if I agree with him there, but he definitely has a point when he says that a holiness hierarchy does NOT exist in the church Pastors are not like priests, not holy than laypeople , and there s a problem if pastor or laypeople think too much in terms of hierarchy Instead, the key word MUST be service It s all about service, hard work in the Lord giving up pride and fame and instead giving time, energy, money, wisdom, comfortjust giving whatever is needed to those who need it as long as you can supply it So to sum upthis was a good read I enjoyed this particular author s perspective, though there s not enough evidence at several points to convince me of his point of view He made me think, and it was very refreshing to walk through Paul s Epistles and ponder the meaning of community. Garbage, may as well go to Sunday school Or watch a televangelist Poor writing, kindergarten analysis, question begging theology of the most 80s sort a hilarious medieval reliance on Luke s hagiography in Acts probably not worth the time of a full read Only redeeming aspect is a bit, just a tease, of Banks influential exegetical work on the word ekklesia in the Pauline corpus It s a nice and almost dispassionate examination of an important word in in the NT especially in light of the Pastorals, and then, whoops , the Catholic Church that developed in the wake of Paul s unfortunate and hilarious failure to properly predict the parousia Long story short, Paul was a spiritual locavore, dude He didn t really have his eyes on the Superdome or, piquantly, even a big town church again, see parenthesis above he thought the resurrected Christ was going to reappear literally out of the sky and take everyone alive, dead, and otherwise to go hang out in God s presence Anyway, the fakers who picked these loose ends up in the Pastorals smoothed things over for almost a couple millennia and called it Paul s idea Banks other specific piece on this topic looks specifically into the community at Corinth, which we have some nice, if disjointed and weird, info on in the NT from Paul in the several correspondences that make up First and Second Corinthians I haven t read it yet, but plan to, Banks horrible writing and kind of anachronistic paternalism be damned. If I could rate this book higher than 5 stars I would This book, along with a few of Dallas Willard s books, have been of huge importance for me as a growing and maturing Christian in this mass confusion of denominations in our current age The author, Robert J Banks, has studied Paul s letters against the backdrop of the time period and then frames Paul s ideas and instructions to the early Christian communities It blew my mind, put simply I have read Paul s letters numerous times, but often not quite understanding Paul s meaning and his big idea on the communities he founded What I enjoyed about Banks book, was that he provided every Scripture verse he implies, so I would often look up the verse in my Bible to delve deeper Paul wanted Christ to lead, not any one person All Christians are given gifts which we are meant to use to build up each other in our Christian communities But not one person is better or important than the other There is no coercion or firm rules, but bold statements of sticking to the Gospel and Christ s teachings Authority exercised through the service of others, not in domination Living by the Spirit is upmost importance Ahh, if in our present Christian communities we could follow Paul s led in how to follow Christ and how to practice our faith within our communities, I think people would be Christian and those believers would be passionate and led wholeheartedly by the Spirit, not led by our man made ideas I know there are many church communities that do practice this way, the issue for people is trying to find them I highly recommend this book To embrace the gospel, then, is to enter into community A person cannot have one without the other Robert Banks argues that Paul s entire theology springs from his understanding of community and of Christianity as a communal practice.A standard principle of biblical exegesis and all reading, for that matter is to consider the context Banks does this by comparing Paul s system to those of other notable groups of his time the Jews including Pharisees and Essenes , eastern style mystery cults, and Greek philosophers notably the Stoics and the Cynics The cultural background is not particularly deep, but it is detailed enough to be useful for the sake of comparison, and it s interesting in its own right. Really an academic critique of what the Apostle Paul really taught as opposed to the way most churches actually behave Like all books written for university students it isn t quite accessible It suffers from the scholars need to define all the terms of the argument up front which makes for slow reading up front but it is absolutely brilliant.Also be prepared for mad props from Divinity students They really get impressed when this is your light reading Good for getting you some Baptist booty. a lot of information great book.It s a dence book, seminary level material but great refresher and great info Challange where your at in your own community. Robert Bank S Widely Read Paul S Idea Of Community The Early House Churches In Their Cultural Setting Is Once Again Available To Laypeole, Pastors And Scholars Alike In This Extensively Revised Edition Banks Has Rewritten Chapters For Clarity, Taken Into Account Recent Scholarship On Paul S Writings, Updated And Expanded The Bibliography, And Added An Index This New Edition Retains, However, All The Freshness And Vitality Of The Original The Book Draws Fully Upon The Wealth Of Recent Scholarly Analysis Of The New Testament Churches, But In Such A Skilled Way That The Picture Is Not Buried In Learning, But Brought To Life For Present Day Readers People Will Be Startled To Find How Much Of Modern Church Life Has Departed Form The New Testament Spirit And Yet The Modern Communities Still Possess In The New Testament, As Illuminated Through A Book Like This, The Sources From Which Church Life Can Be Reawakened To The Community Consequences Of Accepting The Pauline Gospel Edwin A Judge, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia It Is Good News That Robert Banks S Paul S Idea Of Community Is Once Available, Now In A Thoroughly Revised, Expanded Edition Convinced That Paul S Distinctive Contribution To Christianity Is His Idea Of Community, Banks Demonstrates How This Notion Informs Paul S Instruction To His Churches I T Is Striking How Naturally Discussions Of Such Topics As Paul S Teaching On Freedom And On Eschatology Fall Within The Purview Of This Stimulating Book Abraham J Malherbe, Yale University