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Changing Worlds, Unchanging Gospel – Paul’s Case

Yon-Gyong Kwon 1

1숭실대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The unstoppable trend of globalization poses a serious question before us: How can the old gospel cope with those issues and problems which arise from the complex phenomena of globalzation? This article tries to give an answer to the question by exploring the relevance of Paul’s gospel in such an age.After briefly describing globalization as blurring/crossing the boundaries, and defining the situations of the Early Church as one of such crossing of boundaries (Introduction), the study begins by tracing Paul’s career both before and after his conversion, from Paul the persecuter to Paul the apostle to the Gentiles. This leads to the consideration of the theological challenges Paul faced, especially that of God’s faithfulness: how we are to make sense of God’s old promise to Israel when Israel rejects the gospel while Gentiles accept it eagerly (II). The next section deals with Paul’s re-reading of the Genesis stories which involves a radical redefinition of God’s people in terms of God’s sovereign promise and election with explicit denial of the relevance of physical descent (III). The study goes on to examine further how Paul’s discussion of circumcision, the mark of Jewish identity par excellence, goes beyond not only the typical Jewish attitude of the day but also the literal sense of the biblical text, the move made possible by the new revelation he received through his encounter with Christ (IV). This leads to the final, climactic, section which demonstrates that Paul’s fresh reading, occasioned by the newly developed situation of the Gentile mission, is ultimately rooted in his conviction that the gospel of Jesus is the power of God for those who believe him. God comes to rescue of his people, both Jew and Gentile, through the life-giving Spirit by liberating them from the bondage of sin and giving them a new leash of life, thereby creating a living hope for the ultimate restoration of God’s glorious creation. The study concludes with a thought about the practical implications of the foregoing considerations for those living in an era of globalization like ours.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.