62Re: [ematthew] the mission to the gentiles
- Oct 18, 2002Larry,
You are right that reading Matt 29:19 as an in-house directive to admit non-Jews to the ministerial circle of disciples as opposed to making converts does not resolve all the tensions in Mt's gospel. But as Steve pointed out in his second posting on this thread, a major component of the tension is that between giving Gentiles access to the Good News as opposed to proactively persuading them to join (mission).
I submit that it is possible to see some consistency in all of Mt's Gospel as it relates to Jews, Gentiles, and access to the message of Christ. The message is directed primarily to Jews. Gentiles, however, are not excluded from it. But there is no requirement to actively invite Gentiles into it. This is what we see in the Coming of the Magi, the Mission discourse in chapter 10 (do not go out of your way to invite Gentiles), the Canaanite Woman in chap 15, and Matt 28:19. Note the interesting case of the Canaanite woman where Mt changes Mk 7:24 "He went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house..." to "He withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried..." (Mt 15:21-22). Mt would not let Jesus go into Gentile territory. The Gentile woman needed to come out to Jesus. I think Steve is right in his observation that what we have in Mt is openness to Gentiles (access) but not mission to Gentiles. If this is correct, then it resolves a major part of the tensions and conflicts we see in Mt.
Ernest Munachi Ezeogu
Toronto School of Theology
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