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New Testament and Evangelism

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  1. New Testament and Evangelism • Preliminary remarks • The New Testament presupposes a very different world than ours. • This is a world that values: • Connection • Community • Patronage relationships • Extended family

  2. New Testament and Evangelism • Our world values • Independence • Originality • Relationships are based on the needs of individuals, and the nuclear family • We do not normally consider our extended relationships.

  3. New Testament and Evangelism • How modern thought can misinterpret an ancient concept: Oikos • In Church Growth literature, the term is meant to apply to the individual and one’s extended relationships. • Thus, when one becomes a Christian, the person is encouraged to witness to friends and family

  4. New Testament and Evangelism • Oikos in the New Testament • Oikos in Greek does not mean the person and one’s acquaintances. • It is dealing with the household structure of the ancient world • It refers to all those under the authority of the patriarchal leader, the oikonomos in Greek, or the Paterfamilias in Latin.

  5. Evangelism in the New Testament • Oikos in the New Testament • Members of the oikos include: • Father • Mother • Children • Extended family (married children and their sons and daughters) • Slaves • Freed slaves and those in business relationship.

  6. New Testament and Evangelism • Obligations within the oikos • Oikonomoi, or Paterfamiiae are expected to provide for the well being of the members of the household. • The members of the household are expected to accept the judgment and the authority of the oikonomos or paterfamilas

  7. New Testament and Evangelism • What does this mean for evangelism? • What then is meant by Acts 16:31-34? • What tensions can be envisioned in 1 Pet 2:18-25; 3:13-22, where slaves suffer for their faith. What situation can we posit? • What is presupposed in 1 Pet 3:1-4, where women are addressed to be both obedient to husbands and win them “without a word”?

  8. New Testament and Evangelism • Euangelizesthai to proclaim good news/ • Is the word from which we gain the word, “evangelical,” or in German “Evangelische” • In secular language, it is a term with strong political meaning. • “The term is used for the proclamation of news of victory” (G. Friedrich, “Euangelizomai, ktl,” TDNT 2:710

  9. Evangelism and the New Testament • In the LXX, the participle is used for one who brings good news from a battlefield (ibid., 712). • In Isa 52:6-7, the term refers to God, who is compared to one who gives good news (ibid., 713). • The word is also combined in the LXX with soteria, salvation (see

  10. New Testament and Evangelism • Euangelizesthai occurs once in Mt. 10 or 11 times in Lik. 15, times in Acts, 21 times in Paul, twice in Hebrews, three times in 1 Peter, and 2 times in Rev (ibid., 717). • In Lk, the term is used in 2:10, where the angel proclaims “Good News” at the birth of Jesus.

  11. New Testament and Evangelism • The term is also used in Priene inscription in conjunction with the battle of Actium, where Octavian is announced as soter, who brings peace. • How does this usage correspond to Lk. 2:10-14? • Note also, that Vespasian was acclaimed emperor by his army in Palestine, and a hymnic response to accession of a new emperor was common in the emperor cult (see Lk 2:14).

  12. New Testament and Evangelism • What does use of Euangelizesthai in Lk 2 imply? • All of Jesus’ life is summed up as “good news,” not simply his birth. • What is meant here?

  13. Evangelism and the New Testament • In the context of Lk 2, Euangelisesthai is an imperial term. • It is a term used in imperial cult to discuss the accession of a new emperor, as well as victory in battle. • The use of the term in Lk. 2, along with the attendant acclamation by the heavenly host (i.e., army), is intentional. • It states there is a new power, to whom believers owe allegiance.

  14. Evangelism in the New Testament • What does this term tell us about the implications of proclaiming the good news in Luke’s context? • What are the implications to Luke’s readers? • What does this mean for us?

  15. Evangelism in the New Testament. • Luke’s use of euangelizesthai to proclaim a new reign is further developed in Lk 4:18, 43 and 16:16. • In 4:18, Jesus refers to Isa 61:1, and applies it to himself. • In 16:16, it is related to the “Kingdom of God.” • Who initiates the kingdom? • What does this proclamation mean?

  16. Evangelism in the New Testament • Luke’s hearers could not help but understand euangelizesthai as a political term. • Evangelism is not something safe. • It has implications, especially to those on the outside. • It is seen as disruptive, as breaking the social order that the empire is seeking so carefully to preserve. • What would be the reaction to this message by the authorities?

  17. Evangelism and the New Testament • In light of the challenge of the gospel in Luke, it is amazing that in Acts, people in authority are well disposed to the gospel. • Acts 13:1-12, Sergius Paulus, is well disposed to the Gospel. • Acts 18:14-22, Galio does not condemn Paul. • See also Acts 26:30-32, where Agrippa II give Paul a favorable verdict

  18. Evangelism in the New Testament • Does this mean that the authorities have nothing to fear from Christians? • Or does it mean the Christians have nothing to fear from the authorities? • See P.W. Walaskay, And So we Came to Rome (SNTSMS 49; Cambridge, New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1983.

  19. New Testament and Evangelism • Euangelizesthai in Paul • See Rom 10:15, • Here, two important words are combined, kerussein and eungelizesthai • Kerussein means to proclaim as a herald, and we will discuss it shortly. • In Rom 10:15, we encounter a quotation of Isa 52:7, in reference to those who proclaim the Good News, i.e. the messengers of the Gospel.

  20. New Testament and Evangelism • Note the context of Rom 10:15. • It is the fourth subsection of his argument about Israel (Fitzmyer Romans [AB 33; New York: Doubleday, 1992], 595) • The argument is in form of a diatribe, How will they call on to him they have not believed? And how will they believe whom they have not heard? And how will they hear apart from a herald”

  21. New Testament and Evangelism • The one proclaimed is Israel’s Messiah • Those proclaiming are the those like Paul, those sent. • Yet, in 10:16, not all believed. • Paul alludes to Isa. 53:1, Lord, who believed our report? • IN 10:18, he refers to Ps. 18:5 (LXX) • In 10:19, Deut 32:21 (LXX) is cited • In 10:20-21, Isa 65:1-2.

  22. New Testament and Evangelism • What is Paul’s message here? • Using a series of quotations, or catena, Paul notes that although Christ is proclaimed, not all believe. • This sets up his theology of remnant in Rom 11, for as Rom 11:1 states, God has not forsaken his people.

  23. New Testament and Evangelism • Paul’s point in combing kerussein and euangelizesthai points to the act of proclaiming. • Not all believe, in fact, only a remnant do. • Yet, Paul and his compatriots are not relieved of obligation. • Rather, Paul sees the proclamation of the gospel in “the apostolic mission as one of sharing and completing that of the Messiah (see also on 15:20-21) (JDG Dunn, Romans 9-16 [WBC 38b; Dallas: Word, 1988, 622]).

  24. New Testament and Evangelism • If the apostolic proclamation is sharing in the mission of Christ, what are the ramifications? • Evangelism is not simply telling people how to get to heaven. • Rather, “it is proclamation with full authority and power. Signs and wonders accompany the message. They belong together, for the Word is powerful and effective” (Friedrich, “Euangelizomai,” 720).

  25. New Testament and Evangelism • In short, evangelism is a function of God’s eschatological program for introducing the new age of God’s reign. • While Paul never uses the term “Kingdom of God,” certainly the concept is not far off. • Yet, Israel does not believe. • What is the apostle to do? • He is to continue to evangelize the Gentiles, in hope that their salvation will lead to the salvation of Israel.

  26. New Testament and Evangelism • Paul’s evangelistic program is revolutionary, for it brings two groups together, Jew and Gentile, in one community • This is one of the central messages of Rom 9-11 (see A. Segal, Paul the Convert), and is behind much of the thinking of Galatians

  27. New Testament and Evangelism • Thus, one is not saved simply from, but also into. • One is saved out of the old age (see Rom 1-3) • But at the same time, one is saved into a new humanity (see Rom 5-8). • Evangelism constitutes the creation of a new eschatological community.

  28. New Testament and Evangelism • If the preacher in the Hellenistic world, acts like a herald, how does he function. • Like Moses (Ex 4:10), Jer (1:6) and Jonah, the apostle acts by divine command. “He tells what God has done for him, he becomes a missionary for his religion” (G. Friedrich, “Kerux, ktl, TDNT 3:698).

  29. New Testament and Evangelism • How does this proclamation work out in the NT? • John proclaims baptism and remission of sins (Mk 1:4) • John also proclaims the one who follows him (Mk. 1:7) • In Mk 1:14, Jesus proclaims repentance for the kingdom of God has come upon the hearers.

  30. New Testament and Evangelism • In all three of these cases, the verb is kerussein • The use of the verb is not accidental • It is indication of the announcement by God’s agents of God’s intervention into human affairs. • In the case of Jesus, “He does not announce that something will happen. His proclamation is itself event. What he declares takes place in the moment of its declaration … Its result is that the Word proclaimed becomes reality” (ibid 706-07).

  31. New Testament and Evangelism • In the case of apostles and disciples, they proclaim the good news as the work of Christ in his crucifixion and resurrection (see 1 Cor 1:18-31). • As messengers, they act not in their own interest, but in Christ’s. People are not to become attached to them, but to Christ (1 Cor 1:22; 2:4, 9:27; 2 Cor 4:5) (ibid., 710)

  32. New Testament and Evangelism • How does this imagery work out in the lives of Paul’s audience. • We must remember, that Paul is not the only preacher in his day, there are many philosophers, especially of the Cynic variety, who preach a wisdom while berating others (see A. Malherbe, Paul and the Popular Philosophers. W. Meeks, The First Urban Christians; B Winter, Philo and Paul Among the Stoics).

  33. New Testament and Evangelism • First Paul differentiates himself from popular philosophers • In 2 Cor 2:17, Paul notes that he and his companions are not “peddlers” of God’s word, unlike many others. • While Paul is contrasting himself with opponents, he is also contrasting himself with the popular image of the itinerant philosopher, who would berate those who do not accept the philosophy spouted (see Lucian of Samosata, Philosophies for Sale)

  34. New Testament and Evangelism • In contrast to eloquent displays of philosophers, the word of preaching comes not with persuasive words, but in demonstration of spirit and power (1 Cor 2:4). • It is the wisdom of God, previously hidden, which the [spiritual] powers of this world do not know (1 Cor 2:6-8).

  35. New Testament and Evangelism • In contrast to the philosopher, who is a “slave to philosophy,” but who proclaims human wisdom • Paul notes that “we proclaimed not ourselves, but Jesus Christ Lord, and ourselves your slaves on account of Jesus.”

  36. New Testament and Evangelism • Likewise in 2 Cor 10:10, Paul contrasts himself with opponents, who are schooled in rhetoric and philosophical training. • They can make a wonderful public display. • Paul’s performance, is lacking. • Yet, as we see in 10:12-11:5, Paul does not consider himself inferior.

  37. New Testament and Evangelism • How does Paul’s evangelism work • In Acts 18, we note that Paul works at trade as a leatherworker until funds come from Thessalonica. • This fact is confirmed in 2 Cor 11:8-11 and 1 Cor 9, where Paul notes that he works to provide the Gospel free of charge.

  38. New Testament and Evangelism • On the one hand, Paul does make public declamations to persuade audiences, as is common in his society. • Yet, he also conducts evangelism in the context of common business. • In the sweat of the workshop, in daily contact with customers, he takes the opportunity to discuss with them the claims of Christ, and thereby wins believers (see 1 Thess 2:9, where Paul mentions how he and his companions labored and worked like an ox to not be a burden, but to herald the gospel)

  39. New Testament and Evangelism • Paul’s experience is noticable • Indeed, Paul’s approach is very different from the Cynic, who makes a living by begging support, so as to live off of philosophy. (See A. Malherbe, Paul and the Popular Philosophers; idem, Paul and the Thessalonians).

  40. New Testament and Evangelism • How does Paul’s experience inform our evangelistic methods? • Who are the most effective in outreach? • How should we educate these individuals to be more effective?

  41. New Testament and Evangelism • What you are saved into, The Gospel accounts • What is the meaning of the “Great Commission of Mt 28:19-20? • How does this function in the context of Matthew’s Gospel. • What does it inform us about how the NT writers envisage evangelism and the church?

  42. New Testament and Evangelism • How is Mt 28:19-20 usually understood? • Can you give examples of how the “Great Commission” is used in preaching or teaching? • What is the message about evangelism that is given explicitly or implicitly

  43. New Testament and Evangelism • Mt. 28:19-20 in the context of Matthew. • Mt. 28:19-20 is the last of the three “with us” or “with you” statements in the Gospel of Matthew.

  44. New Testament and Evangelism • The first is Mt 1:23, where the name “Emmanuel” is translated as “God with us.” • Here, Joseph is told to take Mary for his wife, and name the son Jesus, “For he shall save his people from their sins.” • Isa 7:14 is quoted, and the term Emmanuel is translated.

  45. New Testament and Evangelism • Who is God with? • Is God with all people? • Or, is God with Israel?

  46. New Testament and Evangelism • God is with Israel, as we see in 1:21, for he shall save his people from their sins. • This theme is reiterated in 10:5, where the disciples are not to go into the way of the Gentiles (way can mean either road, or way of life, the term hodos translates the Hebrew notion of halak • Yet, in the Great Commission, disciples are made of all nations

  47. New Testament and Evangelism • The second “with” statement is in 18:20. • Here, the phrase “with you” is in the context of church discipline and church order. • In particular, in 18:19-20, there is the exhortation that where there is agreement of two or three “there am I in the midst of them.” • Jesus is not simply a historical figure. • He is a present figure. • He is found in the presence of the Matthean community, or the church.

  48. New Testament and Evangelism • Now we come to the Great Commission. • Unlike 1:21 and 10:5, the disciples are now sent to the nations (panta ta ethne) • The are not commanded to go, that is presupposed in the aorist participle, “having gone.”

  49. New Testament and Evangelism • They are commanded to make disciples. • This is done through baptizing, and teaching. • With the conclusion that “I am with you always.”

  50. New Testament and Evangelism • Why are the disciples, now apostles, sent to the whole world. • We see here a reflection of Matthew’s theology of the rejection of Israel. • This theology is seen in part in Mt. 23 • It is also found in Mt 27:24-25, the strange hand washing scene, where the Gentile, Pilate, washes his hand in Jewish custom.