Abstracts of Recent WTS Doctrinal Dissertations -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 67:2 (Fall 2005)
Article: Abstracts of Recent WTS Doctrinal Dissertations
Author: Anonymous


Abstracts of Recent WTS Doctrinal Dissertations

“Not Home Yet”:
The Role Of Over-Realized Eschatology
In Pauline Church Discipline Cases

Michael McGhee Canham

This dissertation investigates the role played by over-realized eschatology (ORE) in the disciplinary offenses of the Pauline churches. This is done by comparing Paul’s admonitions calling for discipline of the ἄτακτοι (“idle”) at Thessalonica (2 Thess 3:6–15) and the incestuous man at Corinth (1 Cor 5:1–13), the two earliest and most extensive passages on church discipline in Paul.

Following an introductory chapter, which defines ORE as an overemphasis on the “already” of Pauline eschatology at the expense of the “not yet,” the first part of the dissertation is given over to establishing the thesis from 2 Thess 3:6–15 and its relevant antecedents in the Thessalonian correspondence. Chapter two contains an exegetical analysis of 2 Thess 3:6–15, followed by a third chapter which devotes key attention to the originating sociological factors contributing to the Thessalonian preoccupation with idleness. These factors were subsequently exacerbated by an over-realized eschatology that had convinced the Thessalonians that “the Day of the Lord” had already arrived, and therefore work was no longer necessary. Paul’s corrective is twofold: he corrects the sinful behavior by restating the ethical tradition concerning work, and he corrects the Thessalonian ORE by means of a strongly futuristic eschatology.

The ORE that was incipient at Thessalonica resurfaces several years later in a far more pervasive way in the Corinthian church. Paul was ministering there when he wrote the Thessalonian letters, and the Corinthians would doubtless have been aware of their contents. The thesis established in connection with 2 Thess 3:6–15 regarding the role of ORE in Pauline church discipline is tested and corroborated through an examination of 1 Cor 5:1–13 (Part Two). Several significant parallels exist between both churches. As with the Thessalonian ἄτακτοι, Paul calls for full discipline of the incestuous man at Corinth. Paul had written both churches a “previous epistle” on this matter. Both churches were situated in a wider, cultural/sociological context that heavily influenced the acceptance of the specific, ethical, disciplinary offense. Both churches were influenced by an ORE that was used to justify the offense. And ...

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