Paul's letters to the Corinthians retain a remarkable degree of contemporary relevance. The cosmopolitan setting of the church, the individualism of its members and their behavioral aberrations, its arrogant spirituality, and its accommodation to culture strikingly mirror today's church. Paul's guidance is still up to date, particularly the call for discipleship modeled after the weakness of Christ, love, edification in worship, and permanent marriages. Though nearly two millennia have passed, Paul's call for eschatological urgency is still timely. Even if we are not persuaded that the end of the world is at hand, our lives are too short to be lived for lesser values. Paul spells out the paradoxical implications of the good news of a crucified Messiah, who brings reconciliation to God by means of suffering and death. Paul's personal mode of ministry, marked by weakness, and his Gospel of the Crucified One are totally consistent. Just as God raised Christ from the dead, Paul expected God to vindicate his own Christlike ministry. His opposition to the gospel of success and to its superministers arises from their proclamation of “another Jesus.” As we eavesdrop on these ancient letters, we do so with the expectation that we may learn how to translate our theological commitments into a style of ministry that is consistent with, not a compromise of, the Gospel we proclaim.
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