Original Research

The relation between church and world/culture in view of the Pauline “as if not” [foreign font omitted]

G.M.M. Pelser
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 61, No 3 | a463 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v61i3.463 | © 2005 G.M.M. Pelser | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 October 2005 | Published: 12 October 2005

About the author(s)

G.M.M. Pelser, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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In this study, the question is posed whether Paul was of the opinion
that, apart from proclaiming the gospel, the church should be
involved in cultural matters and even take responsibility for
furthering cultural causes. The study focuses on to Paul’s advice to
his readers in 1 Corinthians 7:17-24, and especially 7:29-3I.
Concerning the latter passage, the possibility of Stoic influence on
Paul is weighed and, although such influence is not ruled out
altogether, it is argued that Paul’s advice should rather be seen
against the background of his expectation of the imminent end of
the world, as well as his conviction that the believer’s union with
Christ makes any other relationship or involvement a matter of no
consequence. The final conclusion of the study is that although
Paul did not advocate asceticism or forbid Christians to take part in
worldly matters and institutions, he did not expect them to play an
active role in these things or to promote culture either. On this
basis, it is concluded that Paul may not be used in support of any
argument in favour of a cultural involvement or responsibility on the
part of the church.


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