In this essay the varied and probable reasons Paul might write to the Romans are outlined, and brief but important information concerning who the Roman believers were and who Paul was is presented for consideration and illumination on the subject.
To properly understand why Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans, it is necessary to consider the information pertaining to the people involved, to remember the major cultures of the time, and to examine the key themes of the book.
The Roman Christians were a mix of Jewish and Gentile converts who had most probably been converted by the witness of travellers who had been in Jerusalem during Pentecost. Positioned in the hub of the known world, Rome was a bustling city with a full and vibrant culture. The Gentiles in the Roman church would have come from a large variety of backgrounds and would most likely have been the larger people group in the church. Evidence in favour of this and pointing to an important reason for Paul to write his epistle is presented by Thomas Schreiner in his exegetical commentary on Romans:
What tilts the scales in favour of a Gentile majority is other internal evidence in Romans. In Rom. 1:5-6 Paul addresses the readers, identifying his commission as the apostle to the Gentiles, and he specifically includes the Roman readers within the orbit of the Gentile commission. The language should not be pressed to exclude the Jews, but it implies that the majority of the readers were Gentiles.
. . .
The church in Rome was likely raised on Jewish roots through the preaching of the gospel in the synagogues. Thus Gentile Christians would have had a keen knowledge of the OT Scriptures. From the very beginning Jews would have debated Jewish Christians and Gentiles over their interpretation of the Scriptures. Paul needed to demonstrate in Romans that his gospel fulfilled what was written in the Scriptures. His gospel was probably under suspicion in Rome precisely because both Jews and Jewish Christians hotly disputed his interpretation of the Mosaic law and the OT Scriptures.
Paul, so it seems, wrote his epistle to the Romans after penning 2 Corinthians. It is thought he wrote the letter in, or near, Corinth. Paul had not yet visited the Roman believers and he desired to meet with them.The date of this writing is thought to have been approximately AD 57 due to the nature of what Paul was addressing in regards to possible Jewish and Gentile clashes. Claudius had been in power in Rome and had expelled Jews in AD 49 but he died in AD 54. The Jews had returned: some were also Christians and it is likely they had very different ideas from the Gentile believers. The Roman church probably faced challenges similar in nature to some of Paul’s other “church plants”.
The composition of Romans has been considered an exposition of Paul’s theology for many years but more recently this theory has been revised by a variety of scholars in favour of a developmental process in Paul’s theology. Whilst other scholars suggest that in writing Romans Paul was summarising objections to his theology which he received in Galatia, Philippi and Corinth. The latter view is fairly superficial; every person is affected by their experiences and will of course express thoughts on the influences by which they have been changed. Those factors must be considered but to say Romans is specifically a backlash to certain objections is to miss the abundance of brilliance contained therein.
Paul was a man who had been moulded by God through his early years, for a task which no other apostle could have fitted into more perfectly. Having grown up as a Jew in a Hellenistic society, trained in a practical trade, followed by impeccable education under Gamaliel, Paul would have had the ability to relate to and converse with virtually every person who he came in contact with. Ladd makes mention of Paul’s background and says we must interpret Paul’s ideas against a very diverse background if we are to understand the historical influences that moulded Paul to be the first Christian theologian.
Marshall discusses how the problems in the Roman church may have been known to Paul and how this was a factor in Paul’s decision to write to them. He also makes mention of Paul’s situation and how that would have affected his writing:
The elements that make up the situation and the relative significance of each of them continues to be a matter of debate. As a letter addressed to Rome, it introduces Paul and his particular understanding of the Christian message to a congregation that he had not founded, although the length of the list of people greeted in Romans 16 indicates that he had a rather good knowledge of the congregation and its problems. At the same time, coming as it does at the point where Paul was about to journey to Jerusalem for what (so far as we know) was the last time, the letter may reflect some of the concerns in his mind at this decisive juncture in his career. The crucial problem is the place of Jews and Gentiles in God’s plan of salvation and their relationship to one another. This practical problem emerges particularly in the closing, practical section of the letter (Rom 12-16, especially Rom 14-15), where the “strong” and “weak” believers appear to be basically Gentile and Jewish respectively. The body of the letter is concerned with the nature of the gospel for Jews and Gentiles, and it takes up in a fresh way the issues that surfaced in Galatians.
Like all of Paul’s letters, Romans contains some of his theology but it is not an exhaustive or conclusive systematic theology. The letter contains what some call Paul’s gospel but that label is somewhat deceptive. Marshall aptly dispels the notion that Romans is simply a summary of Paul’s theology because it is not a comprehensive treatment. Justification by faith is a theme in Romans which has such a profound affect through the ages that we are still feeling the aftershock today. The sovereignty of God and salvation are the other key themes which are found in Romans. Like Justification, those themes arose out of necessity because of the Jewish/Gentile clashes within the church.
The Roman church hadn’t been established by an apostle and it would seem Paul wanted to cement the Roman church with integrity and give them a firm grounding. In doing this he needed to show them who he was as an apostle and that he was worthy of their trust. Paul also wanted to continue to fulfil the commission his Lord had given him.
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you - that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.
Paul’s other motives for making contact can be seen where he expresses his interest in continuing on to Spain with their help and he states his hope was that the church would be an encouragement and a refreshment. Another way he saw they could help him was through prayer.
John MacArthur provides a clear summary of why he thinks Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans:
And so, the letter really was to be an introduction of himself as an Apostle, of his doctrine so they would have no question about it. And so he pens a monumental treatise to establish them in the truth to show that he was truly an Apostle, to give them confidence in himself, and just in case he never gets there, to give them the absolute last word on the gospel of Jesus Christ so they will be established.
In conclusion, the reasons Paul wrote his letter to the Roman believers are diverse in nature and span a considerable range of topics. Understanding why Paul wrote this marvellous letter is central to understanding the book itself. Paul's epistle to the Romans was a self-introduction and proof of apostleship, to ensure their clarity on his doctrine, and to establish a relationship with them, both as a basis for them to have confidence in him, and, in tandem with his doctrine, to establish them in the faith.
Blomberg, Craig L. From Pentecost to Patmos. Acts to Revelation. An Introduction and Survey. Nottingham:Intervarsity Press, 2006.
Ladd, George Eldon. A Theology of the New Testament. Edited by Donald A Hagner. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1993.
MacArthur, John. Romans: The Man and the Message. Panorama City, California: Grace To You, 1 March 1981.
In the evening of the day opportunities are plentiful: men return from their labour, and the zealous soul-winner finds time to tell abroad the love of Jesus. Have I no evening work for Jesus? If I have not, let me no longer withhold my hand from a service which requires abundant labour. Sinners are perishing for lack of knowledge; he who loiters may find his skirts crimson with the blood of souls. Jesus gave both his hands to the nails, how can I keep back one of mine from his blessed work? Night and day he toiled and prayed for me, how can I give a single hour to the pampering of my flesh with luxurious ease? Up, idle heart; stretch out thy hand to work, or uplift it to pray; heaven and hell are in earnest, let me be so, and this evening sow good seed for the Lord my God.
The evening of life has also its calls. Life is so short that a morning of manhood’s vigour, and an evening of decay, make the whole of it. To some it seems long, but a four-pence is a great sum of money to a poor man. Life is so brief that no man can afford to lose a day. It has been well said that if a great king should bring us a great heap of gold, and bid us take as much as we could count in a day, we should make a long day of it; we should begin early in the morning, and in the evening we should not withhold our hand; but to win souls is far nobler work, how is it that we so soon withdraw from it? Some are spared to a long evening of green old age; if such be my case, let me use such talents as I still retain, and to the last hour serve my blessed and faithful Lord. By his grace I will die in harness, and lay down my charge only when I lay down my body. Age may instruct the young, cheer the faint, and encourage the desponding; if eventide has less of vigorous heat, it should have more of calm wisdom, therefore in the evening I will not withhold my hand.
1. If Jesus' baptism with the Holy Spirit at the Jordan is paralleled by the church's experience at Pentecost, can the same be said of his baptism by fire? There seems to be a partial parallel. I think we need to be careful we don't take away from the importance of Jesus' suffering. My concern with this theory is that it has the potential to encourage more man-centredness, which I think we would all agree is out of control in large areas of Christendom. Having said that, any theory can be skewed and used inappropriately.
2. What is the significance of the gift of tongues at Pentecost?
I noticed two things.
One significance was as an outward sign to the unbelieving Jews that it was God. The “rushing wind” was a symbol of God’s presence in the Old Testament
Another was the idea of reconciliation and unity. From Babel there had been a distance and separation which was instigated by God for His purposes. At Pentecost God made a sign of the beginning of His reconciliation which is that “in Christ” all are united.
3. Was there more than one Pentecost in Acts? If so, where?
I suppose there is an inference that at each stage of the spread of the gospel, there was a “pentecost” of sorts to each of the people groups mentioned in Acts 1:8. The Samaritans experienced one when the Apostles visited and it could be said there was one at the residence of Cornelius. My preference is for extensions rather than more “pentecosts” as I’ve mentioned in my answer to the next question.
4. Would it be accurate to say that there were several Pentecosts in Acts? Once the gospel leaves Jerusalem would it better to speak of repetitions of Pentecost or extensions of Pentecost?
I prefer extensions because it essentially comes down to people getting the Holy Spirit who weren’t at Pentecost; the Holy Spirit had already come to men and was now indwelling each believer as God saved them. It’s not as if He was coming again. The Holy Spirit had already made His grand entrance and was hard at work. If Pentecost continued to happen it would be as though He continued to be sent from heaven again, and again, and again. This isn’t consistent with the picture Jesus gives us in John 16.
5. How do you understand the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the lives of people today? His indwelling is simultaneous with faith in the Lord Jesus and repentance of sin, to sanctify us into the image of God’s Son (John 16:4b-15, Romans 8:14-17). Believers in the New Testament and transitional era experienced forms of subsequence unique for the fledgling church, we now experience salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit together.
I thought I would share this recipe with you as thanks for your support and friendship. I have been working on this recipe and I think I've nearly got it right! This is my own recipe and one that only my new family members have been blessed to enjoy. Tomorrow it is my turn to make morning tea for everyone at church so I think a cinnamon teacake and these cookies will go down well. I hope you will get as much satisfaction out of it as my husband has in the past few days.
Fudgy Choc Chip Cookies
Preheat oven to 180C (356F) if you like fudgy OR 210C (410F) if you like harder cookies. Alternatively you can extend the cooking time to 15mins instead of raising the heat. My oven is permanently fan-forced and these are the temperatures I use.
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
Serves: Makes about 16 largish or 32 smallish
1/2cup Self-raising flour
1cup Plain flour (All purpose)
1/2cup Rich cocoa powder
1/2cup White sugar
1/2cup Brown sugar (firmly packed into the cup measure)
1 Egg lightly whisked
150g Butter - diced (room temperature or slightly softened)
1splash Vanilla Essence
1cup Choc chips of your choice (I use 1/3cup dark, 1/3cup milk and 1/3 cup white)
Put flour, cocoa and sugar into a mixing bowl and whisk
Add egg, butter and vanilla and mush with hands until blended
Add choc chips and continue mushing
Dampen hands and roll portions of mixture, place on a baking tray with paper, and flatten slightly
Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven but leave on tray to cool. (Note: they might not get a chance to cool!) They will seem very soft and under cooked but they do firm up.
We spent from Saturday till Thursday in Sydney with 3 other guys from church. Our main reason was to attend the Oxygen conference where John Piper and John Lennox were the main speakers. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during the day 2000+ people met in Redfern at Technology Park for talks and electives. On Wednesday night 10,000 people gathered at the entertainment centre for the "One Night".
I don't have any pictures yet. I forgot my camera and my phone isn't fancy enough to do decent photos. I have done a bit of googling to find pictures of the places we went.
It's hard to know where to start. The last week has been full of amazing lessons and by 11.59pm Wednesday I though my brain would explode. Steve Jeffrey's sermon on Sunday was something I've needed to hear for a while. Judgementalism in one's heart just continues to grow like a malignant cancer, and even when you try to deal with it, very little seems to change. I'm starting to realise how pervasive it is and how much it affects one's attitude. To manifest and grow, judgementalism relies on selfish ambition and vanity. I have come to realise the judgemental thoughts I have about people only serve to temporarily make me feel better about myself. It comes with a cost: if I don't deal with judgemental thoughts when they come, my attitude towards the person/people gets effected, sometimes to the point where it's almost impossible to think well of the person. From there flows gossip and slander. Right now I'm at the point where I can see I really need to change but I feel as though I'm too far gone. My short term goal is take it one day at a time with God's grace.
The main sentence I took away from Piper's talks was "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him".
Something Lennox emphasised was if we truly believe the next world is as real as it is, we'd be preparing for it.
I feel very challenged to not waste my life and to desire God more.
I didn't dare post my answers from last week's lesson because they were so rubbish.
We had to read Luke-Acts and our lesson, then answer the questions. These are they:
How have you found it helpful to read Luke-Acts as one story?
Have you discovered any downsides, difficulties or disadvantages to this approach?
How would you define Luke's "theology of reversal"?
Can you give examples of reversal other than those given in the notes?
How would you explain the role of Jerusalem in the story of Luke-Acts?
Evaluate the claim that Luke-Acts is anti-Semitic in tone. (NT502 students only)
Does Luke foresee any future for the Jews as a people, especially in terms of the positive prophecies concerning Israel and Jerusalem in chapters 1-2 of his Gospel? (NT502 students only)
Only the smartypants post grad students had to do 6 and 7 but those questions were still worth a look.
For lesson 2 we had to read the lesson and a portion of our text book. We're using Pentecost to Patmos by Craig. L. Blomberg.
Answers for Lesson 2*
Why was the Book of Acts written?
The book of Acts was written to provide a detailed account of the early Christian Church. But the reasons for the writing of acts diversify into showing multiple aspects of God's redemptive plan and transition from Old to New Covenant. It is not only a good account of these occurrences but it is done with great literary skill and presentation of theological themes which are important to the spiritual understanding of the whole church past, present and future.
2.If Acts is neither a Gospel nor an Epistle, what kind of literature is it?
Blomberg has noted that it has been suggested Acts is a mixture of genres: a short historical monograph, an ancient intellectual biography, an apologetic historiography and biblical history. Blomberg then finishes by suggesting Acts is best described as a theological history. I believe this definition of a theological history is a beneficial encapsulation of the book of Acts. While being a book of historical occurrences is also able to show the theological and spiritual transition and fulfilment, from the Old Testament and Israel to an “all inclusive” church with Jew and gentile alike. There are various different genres represented within the book which all play an important part in communicating the message which God conveys.
Describe the life of the early church in Jerusalem in the first "panel" of Acts. Was it as idyllic as it is sometimes made out to be?
Although they knew their sovereign God was in control, it was a confusing and unknown time because they were waiting for the Holy Spirit and were finding their feet. Though there was conflict and hardship, it was a great time of blessing, spiritual growth and change.
How do you understand the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira? Why were they dealt with so severely?
It is not severe – we are extended grace and mercy. Each of us deserves the same because we are all guilty before our holy Maker. God is under no compunction to forgive anyone who rebels against Him. Keeping a promise made to God is very serious indeed (see Joshua 7:10-26 and Judges 11:29-40), and within their lie, Ananias and Sapphira were breaking the promise they had made to the apostles which was effectively to the Holy Spirit. It was then, and is still today, an example of the severity of God.
*I would like it to be noted that Craig is my editor-in-chief and tea-bringer.
Where nothing really went according to my plans but I'm sure everything was just as God had intended.
Monday: I was still battling with reading through Luke and Acts. It seemed like it was taking forever.
Tuesday: Craig was sick and took the day of work. I Skyped for Greek and I didn't get any study done.
Wednesday: All was well until about 3.30pm when I found the laundry and part of the hall way flooded.
Thursday: I finshed Acts and the lesson, then I waffled through the questions till 10.30pm.
Today: Started to feel sick too.
The second batch of towels
That patch was the wettest
Craig with the water vac
The flooded laundry was rather epic. The water was about 2 inches deep and it was so cold! I get the giggles when I think what my face must have looked like when I put my slippered foot into the laundry and it made a splosh. I "sandbagged" the hallway with towels to help control the spread of the water and dry the sodden carpet. Then I called my father-in-law and he came to fix the pipe. The pipe where water drains from the washing machine had come apart at the joint. The rubber seal inside the joint was in backwards and the trough it sits in isn't fixed to anything. All it took was someone to bump the trough and the pipe ceased to be attached to the joint. It took me over 30 mins to mop up the 3+ buckets of water from the laundry. The water seeped under the walls and into the hallway. I am very grateful the bedrooms and study were spared. Craig borrowed a water vacuum from the cleaner at work and that helped get some of the water out of the carpet.
The affects are still being felt; I haven't managed to wash even half the towels I used. I didn't realise we had so
many. 24 and counting! Useful I will admit and my linen cupboard really needed sorting. God must have killed a flock of birds with one stone. My mother-in-law brought me a basket with most of her towels after I ran out. If I'd realised it wasn't going to rain today I'd have definitely got the washing done. But then I did run out of washing powder after the second wash of towels.
I got thinking about all the reasons why God might have let this happen. I'm certain He was refining us in some way. I kept thinking of funny things. For example a train of thought while I was mopping went something like this: if I just happened to be a dodgy preacher I'd get a "comparison" out of this. Just like after the flood, when the world was beautiful and clean, so too shall my laundry floor be clean - no more mopping for another month! God is good. *Cue cheesy smile with white, shiny teeth and goofy hairstyle, looking straight into the camera* He could be good for you too. He could make your whole house clean. All you need is a dodgy plumbing job, faith as big as a mountain, an IQ as small as a mustard seed, and a check for a ridiculous amount of money in the post to me (only God knows your heart and your bank account), and God will clean your house from top to bottom and make it new like Earth after the flood.
I have no trouble amusing myself.
I feel like my stress level was permanently stuck on "heart attack waiting to happen". Wednesday I felt hopeless, Thursday I felt defeated, today I feel grateful for the week that was. Even though I can't definitely say I know what God wanted me to learn I can say I learned something. If I thought today was bad, tomorrow could be worse, but so long as I am "in Christ" my world won't end. Spiritually it will only get better and better as in this life things get worse and worse. I no longer pray for things to go well or to be easy for how would I be sanctified? I simply ask for God to get me through one day at a time with His grace and mercy.
Second semester is well under way; Greek started the other week and I'm busy trying to keep up with the New Testament unit.
I have to Skype twice a week for class and do exercises relating to the lessons. We're also working through the first few chapters of Mark's gospel. Vocab must not be forgotten! It is the key to coping with the work load - thank you very much to the people who gave me this valuable piece of information at the start of the year!
Early New Testament Church - Acts to Revelation:
Starting reading with Luke and Acts, and how they work together. I must say that had I realised Luke was going to pop up I would have been more diligent during my holiday in getting ahead with reading.
One thing I've found very interesting is the genealogies in Matthew and Luke. They go different directions and take a different line. I think it's really nifty that both lines match up at King David either through Solomon or Nathan. The implications are a bit much to discuss here and now...and would require me to be really smart. I like to ponder things and this is something I shall ponder for a while.
Craig is busy working on a sermon for tomorrow. He's been preaching through Colossians and will be focussing on the latter verses of chapter 1. I was given the privilege of reading what he'd written earlier today and I must say I am really looking forward to church tomorrow.
Well I shall only be Miss Warren for another 12 days. My exams are finished, my bags are packed, and I've said farewell far too many times already. I take the boat home on Friday night and by lunchtime on Saturday I shall hopefully be napping comfortably in my soon-to-be-parents-in-law's spare room.
This semester has gone so fast! It was everything I had hoped for and much much more. The Lord has blessed me abundantly and taught me a great many things. Exams were actually really fun. I know it sounds crazy but I really enjoyed them. When I'm home, unpacked and can find things I will endeavour to dig out the questions and post them. I'm still going over some of them in my mind, purely because there was just so much to write about and not enough time to think until now.
The plans for the wedding are finally seeming complete. My dress is nearly finished and now we're just finalising things. All I can think of is that I hope I won't be tired on the day. I feel so tired all the time - I think I'm still catching up on all the sleep I lost this semester.
Today I got a Greek New Testament. I am very excited about it and I started reading through Κατα Μαρκον ([the gospel] according to Mark) because we're doing Mark next semester. I really want to read through John and I'm so jealous because people who have already done Greek are able to do John in Greek this semester. I guess I can't have everything I want...
Sleepiness is overcoming me so I shall sign off here. God bless!
I have come to realise the need for a statement of faith and I will be starting work on one sometime soon.
I would like some feedback and some input as to what people look for when they check out other statements of faith.
a) What are the reasons for doing so?
b) What is often lacking?
Each point in a statement has to be clearly and fairly briefly stated with Bible references and confessions if desired.
I think a clear cut statement would have all the aspects of the Gospel. Should the main aspect be to declare what you believe so that every person would understand or could it be more aimed at Christians?
Is it ok to be evangelistic in the layout etc. Is it ok to reference creeds or confession?
A Critical Evaluation of Selected Articles in Relation to Old Testament Principles
This essay demonstrates the relevance of the principles of “גֵּרare able to join in worship of Yahweh”and “Even Israel are sojourners in their own land” to the present day, and includes applications and difficulties in dealing with strangers in the church.
The two principles to be discussed are that “גֵּרare able to join in worship of Yahweh” and “Even Israel are sojourners in their own land”. גֵּרwere seen as the resident aliens who were committed to Israel and Yahweh. Yahweh also commands that Israel should not forget they too were once sojourners in Egypt and in fact were even sojourners when they possessed the land of Canaan; Yahweh owned the land and He owned their hearts.
The evidence in the Old Testament of Yahweh not only allowing and encouraging but commanding the גֵּרto participate in worship of Him comes in various formats.Yahweh places conditions, or boundaries, upon their participation whilst maintaining the precept that He is the Almighty, the King of Creation, and most worthy of creation’s adoration. It is crucial to note in Isaiah 45:22-23 this latter concept, often neglected, but also echoed in Romans 14:11:
“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’ ”
The גֵּרwere welcome to present sacrifices for the Levites to perform on their behalf, with the same restrictions and conditions as the Israelites.Worship of Yahweh also included festivals; גֵּרwere allowed to participate in Passover as well as other important holy celebrations with the provision they were circumcised, just as all Israelites were commanded. There is a recurring pattern: for the majority of the time, the גֵּרwere included and accepted so long as they were obedient in the same way as God’s people; minor exceptions did take place but for the purpose of this study the main principles shall be extracted and discussed.
The Septuagint translates the Hebrew word גֵּר as προσηλυτος.When it appears in the New Testament, this word is generally translated into English as the word “convert” or “proselyte”.The implication is that these are non-Jews coming into the Judaism, or possibly the church. It would seem that those described as proselytes in Acts were proselytes to Judaism who also came into the church, since so few of the converts are described as proselytes, and generally in a situation where proselytism to Judaism was the most reasonable assumption.
Throughout the Old Testament narrative, Yahweh reminds Israel they have been set apart and even the Promised Land is His possession; they are to enjoy its prosperity and be the guardian of the area. Yahweh implies that life here is short and eternity is long; their hearts should be set on things to come. In the New Testament we can see Peter reiterating the point:“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
How these principles apply within a Church situation today can be seen in Colossians 3:1-4:6. Whilst the whole passage is relevant the key verses are:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth . . . .
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all . . . .
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.
The whole of creation is to praise God and as previously demonstrated from Isaiah and Romans every human should and shall worship God.In regard to non-believers who enter the lives and churches of Christians, it is the duty of God’s people to direct them to Yahweh – the Lord of all.
Though Christians may come from varied cultures they are all born sinners but those who are “in Christ” are all one family.While in their depravation, they will continue to experience the pervasiveness of sin, and the devastation it causes. “Salvation in Christ more than overcomes the effects of the fall, rendering salvation certain for all believers.”
In expansion: whilst Christians are steeped in the effects of the fall, Christ, in rendering salvation and guaranteeing eternity for them, also paved the way for all Christians to become family.
As a family, believers should be reaching out to those who are in some way an outsider; which effectively includes every person in society depending on which aspect of their life is examined.What Christians must also realise is whomsoever should enter a church property instantly becomes an alien.This is especially true of a non-believer visiting a religious precinct.Will Humes puts it well when he says:
It would seem to follow naturally then that the church should reach out to all people, period.There are no ifs, ands, or buts here.This means the church must seek to minister to people of all races, to people of all creeds, to people whose lifestyles are at odds with our own, to outcasts as well as to those in positions of power.
This concept, once firmly understood, leads to the Pauline teaching of Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Difficulties may include cultural differences, limited communicative ability, inappropriate resources, lack of relevant skills, sinful hearts, and poor attitudes. With a more specific problem other issues could be added to this list. The solution, sadly, is never easy; though it is certain that the spiritual blessings reaped from longsuffering, whilst undertaking such a battle, would greatly aid in the sanctification process.
In conclusion it has been demonstrated the principles of “גֵּרare able to join in worship of Yahweh”and “Even Israel are sojourners in their own land”, are clear throughout scripture and have ongoing relevance today in the area of dealing with strangers in the church.
Alastair R. McEwen, The Adam – Christ Concept. 1974. Section III, Chapter VIII, page 99.
From the unpublished work: Will Humes.Journeying Home: An Understanding of the Church and its Mission for Sojourners of the Way.This article can be found at http://willhumes.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/welcoming-the-strange1.pdf
Alastair R. McEwen, The Adam – Christ Concept. 1974. Section III, Chapter VIII, page 99.
 From the unpublished work: Will Humes. Journeying Home: An Understanding of the Church and its Mission for Sojourners of the Way. This article can be found at http://willhumes.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/welcoming-the-strange1.pdf