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How does the resurrection changes our priorities for work? Scott Pasley proposes that perhaps Christians should prioritise gospel proclamation in the workplace; a time and a place like any other where people might reach out and find God (Acts 17:26-27).
Contemporary evangelical publications on the doctrine of work abound. Many have written in response to a perceived popular belief that work is a necessary evil, secondary to full-time ministry. However, in doing so they have tended to marginalise gospel proclamation as a priority in the Christian life or in the context of the workplace. This paper seeks to understand the origin of this trend by exploring contemporary evangelical authors, the brief history from which they arise, and their treatment of the topic against a biblical theological framework. We discover that many of these authors emphasise an eschatological continuation from this world into the new creation such that what we work on today will somehow last into the new heavens and the new earth and therefore not be in vain. Hence, the work of the Lord is interpreted broadly to be any noble work performed with a view to establishing God’s kingdom on earth (1 Corinthians 15:58). Conversely, those who emphasise eschatological discontinuity tend to define the work of the Lord as gospel proclamation work specifically, and hence prioritise it above other good works. After examining the important New Testament texts in 2 Peter 3 and Romans 8, this paper concludes that neither view of eschatology is the full picture. Instead resurrection is the overarching motif between the new creation and now. Resurrection is death and then new life; radical discontinuity and dramatic continuity. Therefore, our work now is at best a shadow that offers glimpses of what the new creation will be, and thus will not last. And so, because God’s plan for redemption centres in Christ being Lord of all (Ephesians 1:9-10), Christians should prioritise gospel proclamation in the workplace; a time and a place like any other where people might reach out and find God (Acts 17:26-27)
Full Title : Only what’s done for Christ will last – How the resurrection changes our priorities for work
Scott Pasley is the resourcing manager for City Bible Forum in Brisbane. He has just completed his Masters in Arts in Theology, finishing with his project entitled A critical theological assessment of contemporary evangelical reassertions of the doctrine of work and the role of gospel proclamation. Working for City Bible Forum, Scott coordinates the evangelistic prayer team network of workers across the CBD of Brisbane, where he is responsible for training workers in personal evangelism and living as a Christian in the workplace.
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