The Birth of Christian Community

As part of my coursework for Nations University, I’ve been examining New Testament Theology by Donald Guthrie. Rather than a typical theology, where the author “thinks through the individual statements in order to create a synthesis or system for viewing the Bible’s contents.” Instead, he has compiled what the New Testament itself says on various theological topics. While discussing Paul’s views on new life in Christ, Guthrie writes:

It is important to note that Paul does not visualize a company of people, who
have each individually been identified with Christ’s death, discoverin g that
that fact provided a common basis for the formation of a community. His concept
is that the community is itself identified with Christ in his death in a
corporate sense, and that each individual believer becomes identified with that
community. They are baptized into one body (1 Cor 12:13; cf. also Gal 3:27).

What implications does this understanding of the community have for the debate over perseverance of the saints? In other places, Guthrie comes as close as possible to denying the possibility of apostasy, without actually doing so blatantly. I think this paragraph undermines that understanding. What do you think?

in HIS love,


About Nick Gill

orphan-poet-adoptee-soldier-prodigal-servant-husband- counselor-desperate seeker after my Father's face "I feel my body weakened by the years as people turn to gods of cruel design. Is it that they fear the pain of death, or is it that they fear the joy of life?" - Toad the Wet Sprocket

Posted on 26 June, 2007, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I guess the question that is raised is, after being identified with the redeemed community, can one later back out, can one cease to be identified with that community. To my way of thinking, we can. We can choose to cut ourselves off, to no longer be a part of the body.Grace and peace,Tim

  2. I agree completely. If Paul consistently refers to the COMMUNITY that is identified with Christ’s death, then that community is the object of his promises of perseverance unto eternity. The individual retains his/her individual decision-making ability, and the community HIS love,Nick

  3. Thanks for the post. I’ll pick up Guthire’s theology book.

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