Resurrection of the Living: Corinthian Theology

Speaker: Categories: Apr 11, 1998


[1hr, 19min, 3sec / 54min, 34sec]


How could a church congregation, founded and established by none other than the Apostle Paul, become enamored with so many errant understandings oftruthin so short a space of time? Did not Paul do his job right? Were he given opportunity to re-establish the church at Corinth, would he do some things differently? Were the believers there grosslyunlikeother first century church congregations begun by Paul?

Having just completed thirteen weeks of Sabbath School class discussions focusing on Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth, the April San Diego Adventist Forum meeting will be both timely and provocative. Some have wondered how the Corinthians could get so far off center in their theology. Others, equally earnest, have wondered how Paul could include in his letter some of the statements he made in attempting to answer the questions raised in a church which was undergoing serious divisiveness.

What prompted such divisions, such strong convictions about what was reallythe truth? What were the issues underlying the surface problems? Are those issues still evident in local congregations today -- even SDA congregations?

Dr. Blazen notes,"The true Gospel says that we may be continually assured of our ultimate salvation by a faith attachment to Jesus Christ. This assurance is the basis for discipleship and a new moral life lived for God alone in the midst of secular culture which constantly calls us to place our confidence and find our resources for living in the world and self."

He continues,"There are two false gospels, as well. The first says:Never quite saved at all no matter what Christ has done, (unfortunately a problem for a significant number of SDAs) and the second:Once saved, always saved, no matter what I may do. This latter was the gospel as understood by the Corinthians (and many Christians today). Belief in a realized eschatology, in which full knowledge and enlightenment had already come and in which transformation of the living had already taken place, was responsible for Corinthian pride and overconfidence, libertinism and asceticism, divisiveness and disregard for the rights and needs of others, lofty spiritual claims, and the prizing of the gift of tongues. Secular culture and understanding also played into this mix."

Does that sound similar to what your Sabbath School class has been pondering the past thirteen weeks?"First Corinthians,"asserts Dr. Blazen,"reveals Paul's gospel theology with its futuristic elements pertaining to knowledge, perfection, and the resurrection over against the self-centered, esoteric, andworldlytheology of the Corinthians. There is much grist for the modern church's mill of understanding and practice in all this."


Dr. Ivan T. Blazen, longtime professor of New Testament, SDA Theological Seminary, is currently Professor of Biblical Interpretation and Theology, Loma Linda University, where he has served the past seven years. A graduate of Andrews University (B.A., M.A., M.Div.) he earned his Ph.D. in New Testament at Princeton. He is author ofThe Gospel on the Street, a commentary on the first quarter's Sabbath School lessons, and also author ofA Call to Ministry, a commentary on 2 Corinthians, the focus of the third quarter, 1998, Sabbath School lessons. He is much in demand as a speaker for camp meetings, for worker's meetings, and for Sabbath morning worship services. He has a passion to make the treasures of Scripture relevant to contemporary concerns and personal life.

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