Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Colossians Introduction

From my introduction written for my Ugandan friends:

Colossians is written to the village of Colossae. This village was situated near the larger and more affluent cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis in what is modern day Turkey. This region of Asia Minor was evangelized by Epaphras and Philemon, two men who had become Christians while Paul was in Ephesus. The central issue for the Colossian church is syncretism. Syncretism in this context refers to taking the older religions and adding a Christian veneer or overlay. In Colossae members of the church had blended the gospel with some pagan and some marginally Jewish elements. This blending detracted from the uniqueness and the supremacy of Christ though the worship of heavenly beings. The primary aim of this letter is to reassert the preeminence of Christ. This letter was written by Paul from prison in Rome somewhere around AD 61-63. Paul sends the letter with Tychicus and Onesimus. Syncretism (blending non-Christian elements with the Christian faith) is a constant battle for the church. In the modern world syncretistic forms of Christianity include the prosperity gospel (capitalism with a Christian veneer), and any attempt to merge older pagan practices and understandings with the truth of the gospel.

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