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New Testament and Mission

Historical and Hermeneutical Perspectives

Johannes Nissen

This book brings together insights from two fields of study: biblical scholarship and missiology. The Great Commission in Matthew’s Gospel is often seen as the biblical foundation for mission. The New Testament, however, reflects a variety of models for mission. Each model is examined with regard to historical meaning as well as hermeneutical significance. The final chapter focuses on three issues of great importance for the present situation: unity and diversity in mission, the gospel in relation to cultures, and Bible and dialogue models.


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7. Proclamation and confrontation: The witness to powers andauthorities — Colossians and Ephesians 127


7. Proclamation and confrontation: The witness to powers and authorities - Colossians and Ephesians Introduction In recent years there has been much discussion of the relation between church and mission. This relation is an important dimension of the mission understanding in the New Testament. It is also central to the letters of Colossians and Ephesians. However, there is no consensus as to where to put the emphasis. Some scholars assert that these two writings are characterized by a limitation of the universal scope of mission. Thus, according to F. Hahn the point of these letters is a turning from a worldwide mission toward a world-dominating church. Here we have the beginning of a (subtle) cleft between genuine mission to the world and the pastoral needs of building up the church.' A different view is proposed by D. Senior. He argues that Colossians and Ephesians do not represent the victory of a triumphant ecclesiology at the expense of a world-serving missiology. The church in these letters is not the final goal but only a means and a sign of Christ's own cosmic mission of salvation.2 The church, then, is seen as an instrument in the proclamation of the gospel. This interpretation fits better to the way in which these two letters link together creation, salvation and church.3 1. Colossians 1. The situation of the Colossians Although it is not easy to give a precise picture of the Background for the letter to the Colossians, most scholars would agree that the readers...

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