The Use Of Imitation In Paul And In Early And Later Dispensationalism With Implications For The Church -- By: Daniel M. Starcevich

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 20:59 (Spring 2016)
Article: The Use Of Imitation In Paul And In Early And Later Dispensationalism With Implications For The Church
Author: Daniel M. Starcevich


The Use Of Imitation In Paul
And In Early And Later Dispensationalism
With Implications For The Church

Daniel M. Starcevich*

* Daniel M. Starcevich, M.S., Th.M., advising professor, Tyndale Seminary; vice-president membership, operations, and technology, The Pocket New Testament League

In several of his epistles, Paul urged his readers to imitate himself, other churches, Christ, or God. Modern interpreters of Paul understand his urging in a variety of ways. Andrew Clark saw a model of leadership that was to be followed.1 Gordon Everett understood this to be part of evangelistic follow-up.2 Robert Plummer wrote that this was an element of the church’s missionary role.3 James Samra thought that this was the equivalent to discipleship after Jesus’ ascension.4 Elisabeth Castelli believed that the call to imitate himself was a strategy Paul used to oppress and coerce the churches.5 Are all of these interpretations correct? Does God’s Word contain a coherent and consistent Pauline theology of imitation? Is there a distinctively dispensational aspect to the application of this theology? How can this inform the ministry of the church?

In order to answer these questions, this article contains a chronological, contextual, and exegetical analysis of Paul’s use of the term μιμητής. Subsequently, there is an evaluation of the application of imitation theology in early and later dispensational writers: C. I. Scofield, Lewis Sperry Chafer, and Charles Ryrie. The article concludes with some recommendations of how this theology might be used to inform the ministry of the church.

Definition Of ΜΙΜΗΤΗΣ

The μιμητής word group is rare, as it does not appear whatsoever in the Septuagint.6 and it appears just four times in the Apocrypha (4 Macc 9:23; 13:9; Wis 4:2; 15:9).7 Outside New Testament biblical literature, the substantive has the sense of one who represents and is used with reference to an actor or imposter.8 In the New Te...

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