Do Good to All People as You Have the Opportunity: A Biblical Theology of the Good Deeds Mission of the New Covenant Community
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SubjectGood works (Theology)--Biblical teaching.
Mission of the church--Biblical teaching.
This dissertation provides a biblical theology of the good deeds mission of the New Covenant community, with a particular focus on how one’s conception of the overall covenantal structure of Scripture affects one’s conclusions concerning the good deeds mission. Chapter 1 introduces the debate over the good deeds mission of the church, whether good deeds out to the world have equal priority with evangelism or whether evangelism retains operational priority. Chapter 2 provides an in-depth review of the relevant literature since 1974, covering the (overlapping) categories of missiology and biblical theology. The review is divided into literature supporting either the equal priority or the evangelistic priority position, highlighting the different biblical-theological arguments offered. Chapter 3 surveys the good deeds responsibility given to all humanity, including the initial responsibilities of Genesis 1-2, the impact of sin upon this mission as displayed in Genesis 3-7, and the partial renewal of humanity’s good deeds mandate in Genesis 8-11. Chapter 4 explores the good deeds mission given to Abraham and his descendants until the time of Christ, distinguishing the good deeds mission of Abraham and his descendants until possession of the covenant land, the good deeds mission of Abraham’s descendants from possession of the covenant land until the exile, and the good deeds mission of Abraham’s descendants from the exile until Christ. Chapter 5 studies the good deeds mission of God’s covenant people in the Gospels before New Covenant inauguration, divided into two categories: the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ and the pre-New Covenant ministry of his disciples, giving careful attention to the unique transitional period of Christ’s earthly ministry. Chapter 6 analyzes the good deeds mission in the New Covenant in three distinct categories: the inaugurated New Covenant ministry of Christ, the inaugurated New Covenant ministry of disciples, and the consummated New Covenant ministry of Christ and his disciples. Chapter 7 summarizes the biblical-theological conclusions which emerge from the research of the dissertation, recapping the main elements of a biblical theology of the good deeds mission of the New Covenant community and providing practical applications.