From their earliest days, the city-states that eventually became Greece were constantly ravaged by war. Their myth, legend, religion, education, philosophy, and science created and perpetuated the idea that conflict was essential for existence. This idea passed to Rome as well so that by the first century, the Greco-Roman world consistently viewed peace as brief periods of tranquility in an existence where war and conflict were the norm.
Paul, however, insists that peace must be the norm within the churches. Peace originates in God and is graciously given to those who are justified and reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. God removes the enmity caused by sin and provides the indwelling Spirit to empower believers to think and behave in ways that promote and maintain peace.
Three social dynamics (shame-honor, patron-client, and friendship-enmity) are at work in Paul’s approach to conflict resolution and peacemaking within the churches. Rather than giving specific procedures for resolving conflict, Paul reinforces the believers’ new identity in Christ and the implications of God’s grace, love, and peace for their thoughts, words, and behavior toward one another. Paul uses these three social dynamics to encourage believers in the right direction, but their ultimate motivation and empowerment must arise from their common relationship with God in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Chapter Two Acknowledgments Writing a book sounds like a solitary activity, but anyone who has ever com- pleted such a project owes a great debt to many others along the way. As this book is now complete I am grateful to share my joy and appreciation with the many who have led, taught, guided, encouraged, and upheld me through my doctoral studies and through the dissertation that this volume represents. Though officially retired from Boston University’s School of Theology, my Doktorvater Dr. J. Paul Sampley and his wife Sally kept their foot in the door just long enough to ensure that I got through before it closed. Paul as teacher, mentor, and astute guide and Sally as constant encourager and wel- coming host in their home formed the perfect partnership to shepherd their one last sheep into the doctoral fold. I am thankful beyond words for their love, perseverance, and unwavering advocacy in my behalf. I am also grateful to my second reader, Dr. Katheryn Pfisterer Darr, for her insightful comments and helpful suggestions in sharpening my approach methodologically and strengthening my work throughout. She brought fresh energy to me during the homestretch of my writing. Though not directly involved in my dissertation process, two others from Boston University helped lay the foundation for it by cultivating my skills as a scholar. The late Dr. Simon Parker illumined much of Hebrew scripture and the history of Israel, teaching me to read the texts with a more nuanced eye. Dr. Joel...
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