The first detailed exegetical treatment of Paul’s letters from the emerging discipline of missional hermeneutics, Michael Gorman’s Becoming the Gospel argues that Paul’s letters invite Christian communities both then and now to not merely believe the gospel but to become the gospel and, in doing so, to participate in the life and mission of God.
Showing that Pauline churches were active public participants in and witnesses to the gospel, Gorman reveals the missional significance of various themes in Paul’s letters. He also identifies select contemporary examples of mission in the spirit of Paul, inviting all Christians to practice Paul-inspired imagination in their own contexts.
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Michael J. Gorman holds the Raymond E. Brown Chair in Biblical Studies and Theology at St. Mary's Seminary and University, Baltimore, Maryland. A highly regarded New Testament scholar, he has also written Reading Revelation Responsibly: Uncivil Worship and Witness and Elements of Biblical Exegesis: A Basic Guide for Students and Ministers.Review:
Missio Alliance Top 10 Books of 2015
— author of Mission and Moral Reflection in Paul
"Michael Gorman has written another superb and groundbreaking exegetical study. He understands mission in Paul's letters not merely in an evangelistic sense but comprehensively — as something rooted in divine purposiveness, in the divine mission. By asking fresh, critical, missional questions, Gorman illustrates the significance of mission as an interpretive rubric — for Paul, for his communities, and for his contemporary interpreters. This important book merits — and will richly reward — a wide readership among Pauline scholars, missiologists, and ministry practitioners alike."
— author of Recovering the Full Mission of God: A Biblical Perspective on Being, Doing, and Telling
"This book is a tour de force in missional hermeneutics. With clear exegesis and fresh theological insights, Gorman uncovers Paul's rich and comprehensive understanding of the mission of God. The book's central thesis, that Paul expected all Christians not only to believe the gospel, but to becomethe gospel, and thus to further the gospel, is completely convincing. Yet this study also packs a powerful contemporary message, challenging Christian communities to hear Paul's invitation tobecome the gospel, in word and deed, where they live."
— author of Paul's Divine Christology
"Gorman's reading of Paul resonates with the real concerns and questions of ecclesial communities as much as it challenges the paradigms of professional New Testament scholars. . . . Combining exegesis of Paul's letters with hermeneutics and missiology, Gorman throws new light on old debates such as those involving the language of God's righteousness and various participatory themes. One of the leading Pauline scholars of our age, Gorman writes in ways that resonate with the missional concerns of the gospel itself."
"Becoming the Gospel exhibits all of the admirable qualities for which Gorman is known: careful research, lucid prose, and (unfailingly) keen insights. . . . Gorman is a gift to the Holy Community, and the more we hear from him the better."
The Bible Today
"This is the third in a trilogy of exemplary and substantial works on Paul's theology by Michael Gorman. . . . Here Gorman turns to the role of mission in Paul's theology. In Paul's perspective the Christian is not only to believe in and be transformed by the act of God through the crucified and risen Christ but also to become part of a community that itself embodies and enacts that saving mission to the world. As Gorman ably demonstrates, mission is integral to Paul's vision of the Christian life."
"Gorman's contributions are incisive. Not only will this book fuel sermons and educational sessions, it could be especially useful for groups trying to articulate a congregation's sense of identity and mission."
"Here levelheaded exegesis of the Pauline Letters, excellent hermeneutics, and sound Missiology combine to give us a number of valuable insights. . . . Gorman is a reliable guide for those who wish to learn to reread Paul missionally."
Spirit & Life
"In this detailed treatment of Paul's letters, Gorman argues that Paul invites Christian communities, then and now, to participate in the life and mission of God. . . . For me, Gorman's book opened up new perspectives and fields of inquiry."
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