HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
KOK, Jacobus. Mission and Ethics in 1 Corinthians: reconciliation, corporate solidarity and other-regard as missionary strategy in Paul. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2012, vol.68, n.1, pp. 220-231. ISSN 2072-8050.
In this article the dynamic relationship between mission and ethics in contexts of conflict and change in the Corinthian correspondence was investigated, and the role Paul played as reconciling leader, examined. The early Christian writers like Paul wanted to instruct and shape communities of faith. Paul was especially concerned with the maintenance and growth of his congregations and also with the social and ethical boundaries between the community of faith and the 'world'. In the article it was illustrated that within the Corinthian congregational context there existed several conflict situations, and that much of it was a result of diversity within the congregation. Diversity is a fact of life and reality of the church. In Paul's vision for unity and reconciliation, and in his attempt to address the factionalism in the Corinthian congregation, he would in all cases, ground his practical solution in a theological identity construction. Paul focuses on corporate solidarity and unity and urges the congregation to find their fellow brothers and sisters in times of conflict by means of ethical reciprocity and other-regard, a matter in which he is also an example, typical of other philosophers of his time - but with a significant difference. At the end it becomes clear that Paul's ethical advice has a missional dimension, in the sense that the conflict management should take place in such a way that God is honoured and that both Jews, Greeks and fellow believers will see that the way this community handles conflict, is different to the way the 'world' would do it, and that in the process, even more might be saved.