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Paul, the Community, and Progressive Sanctification

An Exploration into Community-Based Transformation within Pauline Theology


James M. Howard

What role does the Christian community play in the process of growing in Christian maturity? This book argues that in Pauline theology the redeemed community is a necessary means for the progressive sanctification of the individual believer, an idea that is largely misunderstood in parts of the Western church. It evaluates foundational theological considerations traditionally omitted from sanctification studies and places them within the context of Pauline theology. Included are the missiological nature of holiness, the initiatory character of God, the creation of the new humanity as reflecting the image of God, and the impact upon the church resulting from the radical redefinition by Christ of the cultural symbols surrounding the Jewish temple system. This book offers a corrective to the individualized approach to Christian growth: For Paul, the focus of God’s transformative activity culminates with the community rather than the individual, the goal of which is to reveal God’s glory to the broader creation.