The Role Of The Doctrine Of Trinitarian Worship In Paul’s Dispute With The Judaizers: Galatians 4:6 And Philippians 3:3 As Test Cases -- By: Annang Asumang

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 14:1 (Sep 2012)
Article: The Role Of The Doctrine Of Trinitarian Worship In Paul’s Dispute With The Judaizers: Galatians 4:6 And Philippians 3:3 As Test Cases
Author: Annang Asumang


The Role Of The Doctrine Of Trinitarian Worship In Paul’s Dispute With The Judaizers: Galatians 4:6 And Philippians 3:3 As Test Cases

Annang Asumang1

Abstract

Paul’s dispute with the Judaizers primarily centred on the soteriological implications of the ‘works of the law’, specifically, whether the circumcision of males, participation in Jewish festivals, and eating of kosher food were a priori preconditions for salvation. However, several aspects of Paul’s arguments indicate that there were secondary areas of divergence from these Jewish opponents, which, when taken together with the primary issue, have important implications for understanding the theological bases of the ‘parting of the ways’ between Christianity and Judaism. One such secondary issue is reflected in Paul’s appeal to Trinitarian worship as part of his denunciation of the Judaizers. After a brief summary of the dimensions of Paul’s dispute with the Judaizers, this article sets out definitional criteria for identifying references to Trinitarian worship as Paul conceptualized it in his letters. It then demonstrates that Galatians 4:6 and Philippians 3:3 are test cases describing the role of the doctrine of Trinitarian worship in the dispute. It

concludes by enumerating the implications of the findings to the Trinitarian distinctiveness of Christian worship.

1. Introduction

1.1. Statement Of The Thesis

In this essay, I argue that Paul’s doctrine on Trinitarian worship, as he conceptualised it in Galatians 4:6 and Philippians 3:3, was one of the components of the issues involved in his dispute with the Judaizers. Also, I posit that it was this element of the dispute which led Paul to characterize compliance to the teachings of the Judaizers as equivalent to apostatizing to paganism (Gal 4:9) and idolatry (Phil 3:19). If these proposals are correct, they have some historical, theological, and contemporary pastoral implications.

1.2. Background And Rationale

Paul’s dispute with the Judaizers was one of the key defining features of early Christianity. It affected some of the historical events which were pivotal in the formation of Christian congregations in the first-century. It influenced Paul’s pastoral relationships with the founding churches of Christianity. It shaped many of the theological themes o...

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