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Andrew Clarke’s Serve the Community of the Church, reviewed by Thang San Mung

Concerning the content, among many insights Clarke gives to his readers, his historical investigation on the important role of religious belief or cultic practice in Graeco-Roman society, by and large, and a very clear overlapping of religion and politics is good to commend first as being well noted and skillfully brought out to the understanding of modern mind that succinctly draw a thin line between this two different worlds. Then, the choice use of the word “honour” also is good to mention. As many other scholars would also use the same connotation (cf., M.A. Chancey & others), this keyword best describes the nature of first-century secular organizations and their value-system (as also reflected in John 7:4, 18; 2 Cor. 10:12). And then, by pointing out the claimed title of pater patriae (father of the fatherland) by Roman Emperors, Clarke gives a very reasonable assumption of the important role of Roman household concept in a wider Roman politics

Further, Clarke’s new reading of Paul also is a very convincing statement against current biblical scholarship that claims the probable authoritative manner of Paul over his communities. In contrast, as Clarke advocates, the ever defining word of Paul in concern with his leadership or his apostleship is “servant,” that should be understood in the context of first century Graeco-Roman employment of the word, “doulos and (diakonos).”

Indeed, despite the omission of Ephesians and Pastoral Epistles in the discussion for some unknown reasons, this book is highly worthwhile, especially for students majoring in biblical studies, historical studies, and practical studies. It gives complete background-history of the New Testament, comprehensive information on New Testament perspective of Christian leadership, and descriptive reflection on Paul and his ministry.

Reviewed by Thang San Mung.

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Category: Ministry

About the Author: Thang San Mung (David Thangsan), entered full-time ministry as a teenager, pastoring churches in Myanmar (Burma) and Korea. His formal theological education includes B.Th. (BBC, Tedim, 1993), M.Div. (2005) and Th.M. (TTGST, Korea, 2007). His personal web log is

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