Main Article Content
This essay argues that Paul's doctrines of election and perseverance are contained in the so-called 'historical' chapters of 1 Thessalonians (chapters 1-3) in the form of pastoral engagement. This becomes apparent when close attention is paid the way that Paul's perspective on the Thessalonian believers develops in these chapters. Paul believed that the perseverance of believers through trials of persecution without turning from the faith proved that God had elected them. However he only reached this point of conviction with regard to his Thessalonian readers as the last of three successive perspectives, namely: that held during his initial visit with them (P1), that of hearing from a distance about the trials that they suffered (P2), and finally that of hearing of their perseverance in the faith by means of Timothy's firsthand report (P3). Paul correspondingly moved from belief that they were Christians (P1), to uncertainty and anxiety about their salvation (P2), before finally arriving at certainty that they were elect (P3). This progression demonstrates that Paul's approach to pastoral care was grounded in theological convictions about God's ongoing activity among his people for their ultimate salvation, and that Paul's historical narrative is richly theological and ought to be regarded seriously as a source of his theology.
The Author/s grant/s to the Journal the rights to edit the Work and to reproduce and distribute the Work in the Journal, in reprints, as a contribution to a collection published by the Journal, and by means of an Internet or Intranet site over which the Journal exercises effective control, and also by means of third-party online legal information providers. The Author/s grant/s the above rights without claim of royalties or other compensation. The copyright in the Work shall remain with the Author/s and the copyright in the reproduction format shall remain with the Journal. Notwithstanding, the copyright notice in publication shall be stated as belonging to the Journal. The Author/s agree/s not to publish the Work elsewhere without the permission of the Journal for a period of five years commencing from the date of first publication by the Journal.