Twelve essays by a multidisciplinary panel of distinguished scholars present a coherent, panoramic picture of the formation of the Christian community. Richard Ascough, Alan Segal, and Peter Richardson explore Greco-Roman and Jewish organizational models. Craig Evans, Richard Longenecker, Scott Bartchy, and Howard Marshall present evidence of early community formation from the Gospels, the major Pauline letters, Acts, and the Pastoral Epistles. Alan Hayes and Frances Young explore post-New Testament Latin and Greek Christianity. John Webster, David Hester, and Miroslav Volf assess modern episcopal, presbyterian, and congregational polities in light of their biblical and theological roots. What has sometimes been called "church order" turns out to be rather the formation of a community, oriented to ministries in which all the people participate.
Richard N. Longenecker is distinguished professor of New Testament at McMaster Divinity College, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, and professor emeritus of New Testament at Wycliffe College, Toronto. He is the author of numerous scholarly works including Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period and Galatians in the Word Biblical Commentary series.