Did Paul expect his churches to engage in evangelistic activity which mirrored his own? Or have modern readers of the Bible wrongly projected Paul's apostolic passion upon the communities that he founded? Such is the charge of several recent authors, and if their thesis is correct nothing could have larger implications for how the modern church engages in mission. In this book, Robert L. Plummer engages in a careful study of Paul's letters to determine if the apostle expected the communities to which he wrote to engage in outward-directed missionary activity. Plummer helpfully summarizes the discussion to date on the debated issue, judiciously handles contested texts, and provides a way forward in addressing this critical question. While admitting that Paul rarely explicitly commands the communities he founded to evangelize, Plummer amasses significant incidental data to provide a convincing case that Paul did indeed expect his churches to engage in outward-directed missionary activity. Throughout the study, Plummer progressively builds a theological basis for the church's mission that is both compelling and distinctively Pauline.
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"Dr. Plummer's significant work addresses the important but much disputed question as to whether the apostle Paul expected his churches and believers within them to be engaged in the ongoing task of evangelism. He claims that 'Paul's understanding of the gospel as the dynamic, effective word of God . . . provides the theological basis for a continuity of the mission between the apostle and the churches.' A former missionary who is interested in a biblical theology of mission, Dr. Plummer writes charitably as he subjects a wide range of views to his careful, exegetical and theological critique. This is a fine book that will be welcomed by students of the New Testament and its mission."
Peter T. O'Brien, Senior Research Fellow in New Testament, Moore College, Sydney, Australia
"Robert Plummer's new monograph infuses fresh biblical data into a field too often informed by long-held convictions that lack adequate scriptural support. Plummer's emphasis on the power of the self-diffusive Word of God and on the church's corporate missionary nature provides a much-needed corrective to currently held paradigms and points the way forward to a more biblical, and hence more God-pleasing and effective, engagement of the church in its God-assigned mission."
Andreas J. Köstenberger, Professor of New Testament and Greek, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, USA
Robert L. Plummer (PhD) is Associate Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has authored or edited several books, including Paul's Missionary Methods: In His Time and Ours; 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible; Journeys of Faith: Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Anglicanism; The Story of Scripture: How We Got Our Bible and Why We Can Trust It; and Understanding the Bible: A Guide to Reading and Enjoying Scripture.
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