Resident Aliens In Mission: Missional Practices In The Emerging Church Of 1 Peter -- By: Torrey Seland

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 19:4 (NA 2009)
Article: Resident Aliens In Mission: Missional Practices In The Emerging Church Of 1 Peter
Author: Torrey Seland

Resident Aliens In Mission: Missional Practices In The Emerging Church Of 1 Peter

Torrey Seland

School Of Mission And Theology, Stavanger, Norway

The present study discusses the issue of mission in 1 Peter in light of the missiological model of “missional” church. The early Christian communities of 1 Peter are considered here as young emerging congregations living in a kind of liminal state. Being discriminated against in their local communities, they struggled for their own new Christian identity. In these circumstances, the phenomenon of intramural ethics is important, but so also are their missional good works. These are considered to be observed by “the others,” who are won over and ultimately give glory to God. Contrary to some recent interpreters, the present study argues that the readers are also admonished to be ready to preach and defend their faith, thus becoming a missional church of both works and words in their neighborhoods.

Key Words: mission, missional, preaching, good works, 1 Peter


New Testament scholarship and missiology are usually understood as two different fields of studies. Few scholars are prominent in both fields.1 Evidence of the wide separation between the two fields includes different chairs in distinct departments, different journals for the specialties, and the lack of awareness of the scholarship in the biblical discipline by missiologists and vice versa. On the other hand, some are also calling for closer cooperation between these two fields of studies, and in recent years we have seen a promising revival of NT studies dealing with issues of mission in the NT.2

In the following study I would like to investigate the missional aspects of 1 Peter. According to my reading, mission is much more integrated in the strategy and teaching of 1 Peter than is often recognized by NT scholars, and I want to argue for this by focusing on the role of mission in the letter as exemplified by the role and purpose of preaching (words) and good works in its teaching. It is my general thesis concerning the nature of this letter that 1 Peter is an exhortatory letter (see 1 Pet 5:12) in which the author tries to strengthen the Christian (1 Pet 4:16) identity of his readers in times of various cases of local harassments. As I have argued in another study, these Christians were considered by the author as first generation Christians, living in a kind of liminal state, and still in need of further acculturation into the Christi...

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