I heard recently that my paper proposal for the ANZATS conference being held in Melbourne this July has been accepted.
‘Ambassadors for Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5.20): Ministry
in the New Creation in 2 Corinthians 5.
2 Corinthians offers a sustained example of
theological reflection in the light of eschatological conviction. At the heart
of the letter lies Paul’s account of the new creation in 2 Corinthians 5. Far
from engaging in apocalyptic speculation for its own sake, however, Paul is
keen to identify and secure his audience’s ongoing participation in the
deliverance of God through Christ. This paper will explore the dynamics of this
profound and important chapter, with a view to clarifying the nature of Paul’s
core theological convictions and persuasive aims. In particular we shall attend
to the importance of locating the ministry of reconciliation within the context
of God’s act of new creation. The connection between Paul’s apocalyptic
convictions and the designation of the Christian community as ‘ambassadors for
Christ’ will be thus be a key theme. It is hoped that the paper will offer
further support for a reading of Pauline theology that holds
apocalyptic/eschatological convictions at the centre, and offer a timely
reminder that the shape of effective ministry is to be determined by the
dramatic and disruptive event of God’s advent in Christ.