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An Interview with Paul: What might the Apostle say about the church today?

Interviewer: Does this mean that you don’t approve of youth and children’s ministries or adult-only midweek groups, where children and parents have times of worship and teaching, separated from each other?

Apostle Paul: I can see that so much is achieved in times like this. I’m not convinced, however, that it fully compensates for the set of close and deep relationships, where people of all ages engage with each other in a face-to-face way, recognising each others’ needs, and sharing in the responsibility of meeting those needs as a committed family. But I wouldn’t like you to think this is a new problem. Both in Rome and Corinth, the churches I founded looked as though they might divide and form groups which only welcomed people of a similar type, or set of beliefs, or nationality. On several occasions, I tried to challenge this by using the metaphor of the body – emphasising difference, a mutuality, an interdependence, an expectation of giving, rather than of receiving. Without this, it’s all too possible that people would think church is a place where I go in order to meet or mingle with people of my own type and ‘get my own needs met’. And further down the line, the upshot would certainly be that people would eventually stop looking outwards, having an eye to others, and reaching beyond their own kind.

Interviewer: Thank you very much, Paul, for sharing again with us.




Preview Andrew Clarke’s book, Serve the Community of the Church: Christians as Leaders and Ministers from the First-Century Christians in the Graeco-Roman World series (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000).

James Purves reviewed Serve the Community of the King in the Spring 2005 issue of Pneuma Review.


See also the review of Andrew Clarke’s book, A Pauline Theology of Church Leadership (T & T Clark, 2008) in this issue.


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Category: Ministry, Summer 2010

About the Author: Andrew D. Clarke, M.A., Ph.D. (Cambridge), is Senior Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Aberdeen. He is the author of numerous books and articles including A Pauline Theology of Church Leadership (T&T Clark, 2008), Secular and Christian Leadership in Corinth: A Socio-Historical and Exegetical Study of 1 Corinthians 1-6 (Second edition; Paternoster, 2006), and Serve the Community of the Church: Christians as Leaders and Ministers (Eerdmans, 2000). Faculty Page

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