Paul’s teachings in relation to the extent and significance of change and the continuing impact today. Paul’s teachings have been most significant in the change they have created, and they continue to have an extensive impact on Christianity today. Paul challenged the status of Jews, as God’s ‘chosen’ ones, and this changed the course of Christianity. He played a crucial role in establishing Churches and developing Christian communities in places such as Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, and Phillipi, and his theology was accepted by early Christian communities and laid foundations for later developments in theology.
Paul’s teaching have a continuing impact today, for modern day Christians have inherited his theology. His teachings gives guidelines on an ethical way of life, have been used by various groups to support their arguments and were central in the reformation. Paul was an innovator and interpreter, responsible for finding new or different meanings for new contexts. The extent of the change he implemented was extensive and its significance was enormous.
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Paul argued that salvation was for all, and challenged the Jewish notion of being “God’s chosen ones. ” This saw a dramatic shift from Rabbinic Judaism, and his most significant impact was made at the council of Jerusalem, where Christianity became distinct to Judaism. Paul had great influence in his setting up and ministering of the gentile Church, and shaped the trajectory that Christianity took. Paul also presented a major shift in theological thinking.
Jesus had been a reformer, but had no intention of moving beyond the boundaries of Judaism. Paul, on the other hand, was introducing a new set of ideas to the gentiles, including his beliefs on Christology, Eucharist, Ethical living, Salvation, Grace and Ecclesiology. This theology was adopted by the early Christian communities and was also to play a most significant role in later developments in theology, and in the Reformation, a great period of change in the Christian Church.
Luther used Paul’s theology, and in particular, his concept of ‘justification by faith’ to formulate his reforms of the early 16th Century, to show that salvation is the result of faith, grace and good works and highlight to corruption present in the church. Similarly, Calvin used Paul’s works on predestination to support his claims. Whilst Jesus taught about the reign of God, he never taught about himself. Paul, however, based his whole life on the person and teachings of Jesus and his Christology heralds a new era with Jesus as the fulfilment of the prophesies of Hebrew scripture.
Paul also was highly significant in establishing Churches in areas such as Corinth, Galatia, Epesus, and Phillipi. It was through his missionary work that such Christian communities were developed, and his letters that they were maintained. Hence, he also made a great contribution and change in the practical sense. Paul’s teachings continue to have a highly significant impact today, and have an enormous influence on all denominations of Christianity, and on the every day life of believers, who are all inheritors of Paul’s theology.
Paul’s writings form a great percentage of the Canonical Christian scriptures, with ? of the scriptures in the new testament accredited to him, and are generally used in one of the readings in the celebration of the Eucharist. This is highly important from a catholic perspective, as in the liturgy of the word, Christ is believed to be truly present. Paul’s teachings cover various aspects of life, and are held up as a model, giving guidelines for an ethical way of life. Thus, they have a weekly impact on the life of every day believers.
His teachings are also embedded in Christian rituals such as Eucharist, Marriage and Funerals. An adapted version of his teachings on Eucharist (1 Cor 11: 32 – 25) is used in the fraction rite of the Eucharist, ‘on the night he was betrayed, he took a piece of bread, gave thanks to God, broke it and said “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in memory of me. ”’ 1 Corinthians 13, which talks of love that is patient and kind, not jealous, concerted or proud, but an eternal love is often used in the nuptial rite of Christian weddings.
Similarly, his many teachings on resurrection and salvation are often used at funerals to shift the focus from grief to salvation. His writings are also used by some Feminist theologians to argue for greater inclusion in ministry and prompts and encourages missionary endeavour in the various churches. Paul’s teachings are therefore most significant and continue to have an extraordinarily large impact today. The change his teachings brought and the effect they have had upon the course of Christianity is immense.