Historical and Hermeneutical Perspectives
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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