Co-optation into the Work of God: Paul and His School

Ellen T. Charry

in By the Renewing of Your Minds

Published in print September 1999 | ISBN: 9780195134865
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853472 | DOI:
Co-optation into the Work of God: Paul and His School

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This chapter surveys the elements in Pauline and deutero-Pauline aretology. It appears that they form a comprehensive picture of Christian formation in Christianity's earliest days. It is a picture that in some ways was not carried forward by subsequent Western theology, which became focused on issues of guilt and shame in the medieval period, and on faith as the means of overcoming fear of divine rejection with the Protestant Reformation. While these themes may be found in Pauline theology, they are not dominant. Despite the anxious tone of Romans 7, Paul is, on the whole, more interested in how the work of God transforms believers than in their inner state. Three aspects of this dynamic suggest a distinctively Pauline aretology. First, Christian excellence is based in divine actions. Second, Christian excellence comes from adjusting to ontological realities. The third feature of Pauline aretology is that it is public and social.

Keywords: Paul; Christianity; Pauline aretology; Christian formation; Christian excellence

Chapter.  13732 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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