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Covenant Economics Essay

669 words - 3 pages

Within chapter nine, Horsley presents a picture of the socio-economic landscape in which the emergent church was situated. Specifically, he focuses on Philippi, Thessalonica, and Corinth to point to the overarching economic realities of the Ancient Greek world within the Hellenistic period. Through his analysis, we get a greater understanding of the realities of the early church and the overarching mission that Paul and his colleagues were attempting to accomplish.

The mission field to which Paul was called was one deeply impacted by Rome’s economic and military occupation. As a consequence, many of the cities’ residents were displaced and, therefore, put in a precarious place ...view middle of the document...

To illustrate, Horsley mentions two particular texts to reference these conclusions, 1 Thess 4:11-12 and 1 Cor. 5-6. Each text refers to some way in which the emerging church dealt with their own civic affairs, and economic matters. As these communities manifested, it was important to develop a sense of solidarity and a renewed understanding of justice through a common set of beliefs and practices.

One of the more important practices was that of common funds. This, as Horsley notes, was a unique marker of the emergent community that allowed for self-support in the midst of socio-economic hardships. Moreover, as with all of the early practices, it gave some continuity to the movement, and lent local communities to see themselves within the wider ministry that Paul was fostering. Horsley concludes that the practice of common funds was a “unique economic innovation in ancient and subsequent history” and that this practice was connected to “the traditional Israelite covenantal understanding of mutual aid and reciprocity...

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