Reflection on First-Century Training and Yours

Thomas O'Loughlin summarizes "the challenge of the Didache" as follows (151): "not to decide that 'Didache good, moderns bad' (or vice versa), but to see how basic approaches vary between groups of Christians in various times and places, and to use this comparison to get a deeper insight into both the past and ourselves. So, having examined the Didache, what sort of training for new disciples would you, and your community, produce? And, just as importantly, why would you go down that particular route?"

We can deepen this question by including the canonical shape of early Christian attention to character that Tom Wright sketches. These two pictures should not be seen as rivals or alternatives (because the communities that respected the Didache also respected the scriptures), but as canonical and noncanonical forms of a common emerging tradition that is contextualized to the first century's Jewish and Gentile streams. Your local church has something similar. These are what I'd like you to compare: the first-century stereoscopic picture of the New Testament and the Didache on the one hand, and a local context you know well (your church, Westmont College, etc.) on the other. So:

Drawing on Wright (supplemented by your own appeals to the New Testament) and O'Loughlin, list several of the most significant points of commonality and/or contrast between the first-century church and your own local context regarding "the sort of [character] training for new disciples" in each, in order to develop and defend a broader generalization about them.

You will want to pay attention not just to the steps, but also to the goal(s), in view in each context.

Please keep your paper 3-4 pages, double-spaced, and follow the directions in my suggestions for writing papers.

Remember, I want to see proper style, clear writing, a thorough answer to the question, and explicit citations of course materials.

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