The road from Jerusalem to Europe is a long one, and the journey to North America is even longer.
The distance increases when we think of Jerusalem as the capital of Judea in the first century a.d., called Hierosolyma by the Romans, controlled by a Roman governor in Caesarea Maritima.
Jerusalem was the city where the first Christian community came into existence, the "mother church" of all Christian churches and denominations.
Jerusalem was the city where the early Christian missionary movement arose that led to the international expansion of faith in Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah and Lord.
Eckhard J. Schnabel - Early christian mission - Volume one - Jesus and the twelve
Inter Varsity Press
Downers Grove. Illinois
USA ISBN 0-8308-2791-9
UK ISBN 1-84474-045-3
Printed in the United States of America
Eckhard Schnabel - Early christian mission - Volume one - Jesus and the twelve - Contents of Volume 1
List of Maps and Figures
1. The History of Early Christianity as History of Missions
2. Questions and Issues of Method
3. Chronology and Events
PART I: PROMISE Israel's Eschatological Expectations and Jewish Expansion in the Second Temple Period
4. The Reality and the Work of Yahweh the Creator
5. The Relationship Between Israel, Israelites and Gentiles
6. The Expansion of God's People in Early Jewish Texts
PART II: FULFILLMENT The Mission of Jesus
8. Historical and Social Realities in Palestine
9. Jesus' Mission to Israel
10. The Mission of the Twelve
11. The Mission of the Seventy-Two
12. Jesus and Gentiles
PART III: BEGINNINGS The Mission of the Apostles in Jerusalem
14. The apostles as Envoys of Jesus the Messiah
15. Priorities and Convictions of the Jerusalem Apostles
16. Vision, Strategy and Methods
PART IV: EXODUS The Mission of the Twelve from Jerusalem to the Ends of the Earth
18. Historical, Social and Religious Realities in the Roman Empire
19. The Hellenistic Jewish Christians in Jerusalem
20. The First Transregional Mission of Jewish Christians from Jerusalem
21. The Missionary Work of Peter
22. The Jewish-Christian Missionary Work from Jerusalem to Rome
Eckhard Schnabel - Early christian mission - Volume one - Jesus and the twelve - Preface
Missiologists, missionaries and representatives of missionary societies seek to promote interest in crosscultural dialogue and witness and to encourage and develop the involvement of Christians, young and old, in active outreach to non-Christians. As laudable as these endeavors are, their proponents have not always sought to provide exegetical explanations or to engage in theological discussion when presenting models for missionary work and paradigms for effective evangelism. Tite Tienou, missionary theologian and dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, has deplored such a lack of exegetical foundation and theological sophistication in regard to the widely popular writings of Don Richardson. This is but one example. Typically, understanding among evangelicals about the early Christian period and about the endeavors of the earliest Christians is, more often than not, unconsidered, and sometimes naive or romanticized.
Views that fail to take into account the historical and social conditions of life in the first century are potentially problematic. For example, the view that the early Christians recognized the significance of "small groups" or of "house churches" fails to recognize the fact that outside of local synagogues Christians had no other option but to meet in private homes whose largest rooms could accommodate about forty people. Another example is the view, naive despite the notice in Acts 4:32, that the early Christians were a united group of activists, uniform in their theology and thick as thieves in their relationships, who were willing and eager to subordinate differences of opinion and behavior to the missionary mandate.
This view fails to recognize, for example, that the conflict whose solution is recorded in Acts 15 evidently was not supported by all missionaries based in Jerusalem, or that Paul was willing to separate from missionary coworkers as a result of differences of opinion, or that churches recently established by Paul were visited by Jewish-Christian missionaries whose goal was to influence them theologically and institutionally. Or note the romantic view that the organization of the early Christian missionary work among non-Jews corresponds, at least in general terms, to the foreign missions endeavors of one's denomination or missionary society. Before we can develop "lessons" for Christians today, we need to heed the facts as they present themselves in the New Testament. As far as mission and evangelism are concerned, this has not always happened.
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