CHRISTIAN IDENTITY CHARACTERISTICS IN PAUL’S LETTER TO THE MEMBERS OF THE JESUS MOVEMENT IN GALATIANS
CREATING DIASTRATIC UNITY IN A DIASTRATIC DIVERGENT SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIETY
The author explores the Christian identity characteristics of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. By so doing, she presents Paul’s struggle to work out a form of Christianity, which includes Jews and Gentiles, males and females, free and slave, on the basis of their common baptism in Christ. While the Roman Empire struggled to include many different ethnic groups, Paul in Galatians makes a bold breakthrough to a new inclusivity in Christ and his Holy Spirit. This solution holds major social implications: it can help overcome divisions of race, culture, nationality, or ethnicity. The author endeavours to affirm certain equality among people while also realizing that this equality is not absolute in every respect. The results of the study of Galatians confronts the situation in the new Republic of South Africa where, despite the ultra-liberal constitution, the country still needs the inclusive and ethical message of Galatians to address the new problems of blackon-black racism, xenophobia, homophobia, violence against women, great corruption in government, and irresponsible exercise of authority and freedom. Galatians remains crucial for its insistence on social inclusivity and liberating, yet real, ethics. The author is convinced that the eternal truths of Christianity, as displayed in the Jesus Movement of antiquity, are still relevant in addressing contemporary life issues that aggrieve people in post-Apartheid South Africa.
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