n HTS : Theological Studies - The relation between church and world / culture in view of the Pauline "as if not" (wJ~ mhv)

Volume 61, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0259-9422
  • E-ISSN: 2072-8050



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 7:29-31. 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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