God with Us: A Pastoral Theology of Matthew's Gospel

God with Us: A Pastoral Theology of Matthew's Gospel

God with Us: A Pastoral Theology of Matthew's Gospel

God with Us: A Pastoral Theology of Matthew's Gospel

Synopsis

In successive chapters, Matthew's understanding of mission, worship, teaching, stewardship, and social justice are described in such a way as to assist the reader in understanding the theology of Matthew as a whole. Powell inquires into the direction and thrust of Matthew's Gospel in categories related to pastoral theology rather than systematic theology.

Excerpt

The basic idea behind this book is to approach the theology of Matthew’s Gospel through categories related to pastoral theology rather than through categories related to systematic theology (Christology, ecclesiology, eschatology, ethics, salvation history, and so on). Since the latter approach is the one usually taken, my hope is that examining Matthew from a different perspective will yield new insights. This is not to say that the traditional categories are ignored. As it turns out, addressing such topics as worship, mission, and stewardship inevitably involves discussions of Christology, eschatology, and ethics.

The question, perhaps, is which discussion should be the starting point. Are Matthew’s beliefs concerning social justice the outworking of a basic ecclesiology, or is Matthew’s understanding of the church developed in response to a pastoral concern for justice in society? But such a question may pose a false dichotomy, for I am convinced the process is reciprocal. Pastoral concerns provide the impetus for development of what we would call dogma and affect that development, but pastoral concerns are also addressed from a stance that presupposes prior doctrinal commitments and assumptions. My contribution, then, is intended to supplement rather than replace more traditional studies of Matthean theology.

By “Matthew” I mean not the evangelist but the book that bears this name. This book probably has a complex compositional history; some of the ideas that it presents come from Jesus, while others may come from Mark, from Q, from members of the Matthean community, or from the work’s final redactor (the person we usually identify as “Matthew”). But I am interested in the sum of all the ideas presented here and in the overall perspec-

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