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JBTS 5.1 Conclusion: Ephesians and the Powers by Joshua M. Greever
Articles , Featured , New Testament / May 12, 2020

Conclusion: Ephesians and the Powers Joshua M. Greever Joshua M. Greever (Ph.D.) is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Grand Canyon University and Grand Canyon Theological Seminary in Phoenix, AZ There is little doubt that Paul’s letter to the Ephesians holds a central place in our biblical understanding of the Powers. With this in mind, in this volume we tried to analyze closely the presentation of the Powers in Ephesians, and to use our analysis of the Powers as a window into exploring some of Paul’s other major themes in the letter. Specifically, analyzing the Powers in Ephesians contributed to our understanding of the letter’s theology, soteriology, ecclesiology, discipleship, and missions. Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin

Bonhoeffer and the Way of the Crucified: Methodeia, Doctrine, and the ‘Powers’ by Jonathan K. Sharpe and Jerry Pillay

Bonhoeffer and the Way of the Crucified: Methodeia, Doctrine, and the ‘Powers’ Jonathan K. Sharpe and Jerry Pillay Jonathan K. Sharpe (Ph.D., University of Pretoria) is Assistant Professor of Theology at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ; Jerry Pillay (Ph.D.) is Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Pretoria in South Africa Abstract: The Greek word methodeia, the “schemes,” “tricks,” or “methods” of the enemy that move us away from Christ and from unity in his body, is uniquely found only within Ephesians 4:14 and 6:11. In Ephesians 4:14, Paul focuses on the unity of the body of Christ and the way Christians grow into unity and maturity with Christ is by avoiding the methodeia of the enemy. The term also appears again in Ephesians 6:11 where Paul urges believers to put on the armor of God to avoid the methodeia of the devil. In this chapter we consider Peter Rollins’ theological movement of “Radical Theology” as being an example of methodeia which might disrupt the transformational unity of the body of Christ and against which we need to arm ourselves. We especially examine the purported reliance of Rollins’ movement upon the work of Dietrich…

Reading Ephesians in Dialogue with the Powers in Colossians by Vicky Balabanski
Articles , Featured , New Testament / May 12, 2020

Reading Ephesians in Dialogue with the Powers in Colossians Vicky Balabanski Vicky Balabanski (Ph.D, University of Melbourne) Rev. Dr. Vicky Balabanski is senior lecturer in New Testament at Flinders University Department of Theology and Director of Biblical Studies at the Uniting College for Leadership and Theology Abstract: This chapter focuses on interpreting the powers in Colossians, a letter with close connections with the Letter to the Ephesians. It begins with three contemporary scenarios where the perception of the powers among indigenous Christians is contrasted with that of non-indigenous Christians. This demonstrates that any discussion of the powers is conducted in a culturally and theologically contested space. From the perspective of the positive reference to the powers in Colossians 1:16, it examines the more negative references in Colossians 1:13 and 2:15. It sets all these references against the background of Hellenistic cosmology, including the depiction of the powers in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, 1 Enoch 64:1–2, and Jude 14-15. The reference to angelic worship in Colossians 2:18 is also discussed. The chapter concludes by comparing the portrayal of the powers in Colossians and Ephesians, arguing that Western Christianity is right to emphasize the victory of Christ over all powers, but…

Considering the Impact of Missiology on Contemporary Understandings of “Principalities and Powers” by Simon Gomersall
Articles , Featured , New Testament / May 12, 2020

Considering the Impact of Missiology on Contemporary Understandings of “Principalities and Powers” Simon Gomersall Simon Gomersall is Lecturer in Historical and Contemporary Mission at Trinity College Queensland in Brisbane, Australia Abstract: While the early 20th century saw well-defined movement toward the depersonalizing and demythologizing of principalities and powers as they are described in the biblical text, the latter part of the century witnessed a reappraisal of this process as multi-cultural perspectives began to filter from the mission field into the academy. This paper traces key milestones in the former demythologizing process and then explores some of the reasons why these modernist assumptions have been revised, including: the experiences of missionaries, greater insight into the assumptions that lie behind worldviews, and the research of anthropologists. The paper finishes with the brief suggestion that each part of this journey brings value to the practice of Christian ministry. Key Words: powers, missions, missiology, demythologizing, worldview, syncretism, secularization, Christian worldview, global south, multi-cultural mission Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin

The Armor of God, the Gospel of Christ, and Standing Firm against the ‘Powers’ (Ephesians 6:10–20) by Joshua M. Greever
Articles , Featured , New Testament / May 12, 2020

The Armor of God, the Gospel of Christ, and Standing Firm against the ‘Powers’ (Ephesians 6:10–20) Joshua M. Greever Joshua M. Greever (Ph.D.) is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Grand Canyon University and Grand Canyon Theological Seminary in Phoenix, AZ Abstract: As the climactic conclusion to the letter, Ephesians 6:10–20 recapitulates and summarizes much of the earlier themes in Ephesians. It clarifies that the “powers” are evil, supernaturally power, spiritual beings. Christians must therefore stand firm against the “powers” by resting in Christ’s redemptive work for them. Christ is seen as the Divine Warrior whose victory over the “powers” is the armor that Christians are called to put on and appropriate by virtue of their union with Christ by faith. Key Words: powers, Divine Warrior, union with Christ, stand firm, armor of God Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin

Ephesians and Evangelical Activism: The Covenantal, Corporate, and Missional Components of the Ecclesial Armor of God by John Frederick
Articles , Featured , New Testament / May 12, 2020

Ephesians and Evangelical Activism: The Covenantal, Corporate, and Missional Components of the Ecclesial Armor of God John Frederick John Frederick (Ph.D) is Lecturer in New Testament and Greek at Trinity College Queensland in Australia. He is the author of Worship in the Way of the Cross (IVP, 2017) and The Ethics of the Enactment and Reception of Cruciform Love (Mohr Siebeck, 2019). John has planted and pastored churches in Phoenix and Boston, and he is a priest in the Anglican Church in North America. Abstract: In Ephesians 6:10–20, the apostle Paul penned one of the most memorable accounts of spiritual warfare for Christians. Throughout the history of interpretation, the majority of exegetes have viewed Paul’s account of the “armor of God” in relation to the spiritual struggle of individual Christians in their quests for growth in personal holiness. This article counteracts individualistic, moralistic, gnostic readings of Ephesians 6:10–20 by re-situating the “armor of God” metaphor within its original corporate/ecclesial, covenantal, and missional context in Ephesians. The article begins by redirecting evangelical thinking on social activism away from recent fundamentalist denunciations back to the original activist ethos of neoevangelicalism. Next, Walter Wink’s phenomenological reading of the Powers is explored as a…

Three Cycles of Growth: Warfare and Spiritual Metamorphosis in John and Paul by Mark R. Kreitzer and Nancy C. Kreitzer
Articles , Featured , New Testament / May 7, 2020

Three Cycles of Growth: Warfare and Spiritual Metamorphosis in John and Paul Mark R. Kreitzer and Nancy C. Kreitzer Mark R. Kreitzer (D.Miss. Ph.D.) is Associate Professor of Theology and Missions at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona; Nancy C. Kreitzer (M.A.) is Adjunct Instructor at Grand Canyon University Abstract: In this paper, we examine two key NT passages that address spiritual warfare and spiritual growth, showing how they are inextricably linked. In Ephesians 6:10–20, Paul shows believers that in order to stand in their faith, they must stand in God’s full armor, their identity “in Christ.” With each piece, he reveals essential aspects of Christ’s armor, beginning with the belt of truth and ending with requests for prayer for evangelism. Paul seems to organize them in three sets of three pieces of armor. In 1 John 2:12–14, John teaches that the natural outworking of standing in Christ’s armor is growth in three stages. As we compare the 1 John and Ephesians passages, we will see how each piece of armor, and the believer’s understanding of them, is necessarily linked during the three stages of growth. Finally, we conclude with the far-reaching missiological implications. Key Words: 1 John 2:12–14, Ephesians…

Power and the “Powers” in Thomas Aquinas’ Lectura ad Ephesios by Eric Covington
Articles , Featured , New Testament / May 7, 2020

Power and the “Powers” in Thomas Aquinas’ Lectura ad Ephesios Eric Covington Eric Covington (Ph.D, University of St. Andrews) is Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at Howard Payne University Abstract: In his medieval commentary on Ephesians, Thomas Aquinas interprets the various terms that refer to the “powers” throughout the letter as references to specific tiers within hierarcies of both benevolent and malevolent spiritual beings. Intriguingly, Aquinas interprets the “powers” of Ephesians 1:21 and Ephesians 3:10 as references to the benevolent, angelic hierarchy, while he interprets the “powers” of Ephesians 2:2 and Ephesians 6:12 as references to the malevolent, demonic hierarchy. This chapter will examine Aquinas’ interpretation of these terms in each of these verses and will conclude by examining the theological significance of this identification for Aquinas’ reading of Ephesians. Ultimately, Aquinas sees Christ as the form and exemplar of true divine power, which is most fully expressed in Christ’s resurrection and exaltation over all spiritual beings. Thus, while Aquinas does not contradict modern scholarship’s focus on the subjugation of malevolent forces, he dramatically reorients the discussion around Ephesians’ presentation of Christ as the exalted one through whom the appropriate divine power extends to every creature— physical and spiritual. Key…

“You Have Been Raised with Christ”: Investigating the Spatial Portrait of New Creation in Ephesians by Luke R. Hoselton
Articles , Featured , New Testament / May 7, 2020

“You Have Been Raised with Christ”: Investigating the Spatial Portrait of New Creation in Ephesians Luke R. Hoselton Luke R. Hoselton (Ph.D., University of Otago) is assistant professor of biblical and theological studies at Grand Canyon University. Abstract: The theology of Ephesians comprises a number of distinctive features. Among other things, the letter portrays a unique relationship between the temporal and spatial aspects of its soterio-eschatology and displays significant attention to the powers. This essay explores the soteriology of Ephesians with reference to its spatial framework, the powers, and the new creation concept. Key Words: Ephesians, new creation, resurrection, cosmology, powers Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin

‘The Ruler of the Power of the Air in the Salvific Story of Ephesians 2 by Daniel K. Darko
Articles , Featured , New Testament / May 7, 2020

‘The Ruler of the Power of the Air’ in the Salvific Story of Ephesians 2 Daniel K. Darko Daniel K. Darko (Ph.D, King’s College, University of London) is Professor of New Testament at Gordon College Abstract: Post-enlightenment theological articulations of what salvation entail often ostracize Satan in the process and limit the experience to a transaction between God and humans. The idea of ‘salvation by grace’ is however borrowed from Ephesians 2 where pre-conversion life was purportedly lived under the domain of Satan. The human condition is engineered by diabolic influence. Thus, people are saved from satanic influence and its attendant consequences of sin, social breakdown, fleshly impulses etc. to belong to a people of God. Spiritual warfare is meant to curb pressures from evil powers to maintain faithful standing in God. Salvation would be incomplete, according to Ephesians 2, if it did not include deliverance from the control of ‘the ruler of the power of the air.’ Key Words: Ephesians, salvation, Satan principalities, Spirit Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin