Ephesians 2 Gospel Project
Does the Atonement Speak to Collective Identity Conflict?
THE EPHESIANS 2 GOSPEL PROJECT AIMS TO EXPLORE A MYSTERY:
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
And he came and preached [the gospel of] peace to you were far off and peace to those who were near.”
–Ephesians 2:13–17 ESV
Why is Ephesians 2:11–22, a text about cross-cultural unity in Christ, widely ignored as part of the gospel—despite its significant atonement and gospel content?
IN ADDRESSING THIS MYSTERY WE HAVE THE FOLLOWING GOALS AND ASSUMPTIONS:
- GROUP HOSTILITY IS A BIG PROBLEM: We have much group-against-group conflict in the church. Racism, tribalism, casteism, nationalism—these idolatries dishonor God and cause much suffering.
- OUR SOLUTION IS THE GOSPEL—with all its social implications. There is a social, horizontal dimension to the gospel of Christ because there is a social, horizontal dimension to the atonement of Christ. The gospel of peace offers reconciliation to groups in conflict (Eph. 2:13–17).
- WE DESIRE A GLOBAL HERMENEUTIC: We desire an international conversation of scholars and practitioners to explore collective identity conflict—primarily in two related conversations: a) SIN: What is the nature of sin relative to collective identity conflict? b) ATONEMENT: To what degree does Christ’s atonement address collective identity conflict? Note: Research on other topics relative to Eph. 2 is also needed (click here to explore).
- OUR SHORT-TERM GOAL IS A BOOK—along with companion resources that are by and for the Global Church.
- OUR LONG-TERM IMPACT IS SHALOM: We envision God’s people embodying Christ’s peacemaking work—his shalom—through the gospel
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON EPHESIANS 2
These papers are the basis for the webinar presentations above. Click to download:
- Killing The Hostility: The Atonement Relative to Collective Identity Conflict in Ephesians Chapter 2 by Werner Mischke
- The Multi-Colored Wisdom of God: The Gathering of the Nations and the Defeat of the Gods by Kristin Caynor
PUBLISHED ARTICLES / BLOG POSTS
- Christ Our Peace: Violence, Shame, and Glory in Early Christian Reception of Ephesians 2:11-22 by Kristin Caynor, Journal of the Study for Bible and Violence, Issue 1.
- Becoming the New Humanity: Preaching and Cultivating the Seeds of Ephesians 2 by Kristin Caynor, blog post at Centre for the Study of Bible and Violence (csbvbristol.org)
- Poor People Don’t Need Help. Where rich and poor come together, there is the kingdom of God, says Ugandan bishop Zac Niringiye. That’s quite different from pity, charity, or aid. Article/interview by Frank Mulder at The Plough.
- An Honor-Bearing Gospel for Shame-Fueled Crises by Werner Mischke, Missio Dei Journal (2020)
- Ephesians and the Multidimensional Gospel of Peace by Kristin Caynor; opening lecture for Lent Lecture Series, Center for the Study of Bible and Violence (CSBV), presented March 3, 2022.
- Possible academic studies for Ephesians 2 Gospel Project: This document has a chart listing 37 possible research topics concerning Ephesians 2 across four categories: Biblical Studies, Systematic Theology, Missiology, Social Sciences. We desire the fellowship of scholars throughout the Global Church and their contributions to this project.
LINKS TO RELEVANT SITES
- The Anastasis Center: “We proclaim the healing of humanity in Jesus and the restorative justice of God.” Learn about healing atonement and restorative justice through a multitude of videos, articles, curricula, and other resources.
- The Centre for the Study of Bible and Violence: CSBV is a research community producing academic output in the form of books, papers, conferences, podcasts, and lectures. It is an ecumenical Christian organization embedded within Bristol Baptist College in the UK.
- Quellen is a reconciliation ministry that spans Europe and America. “What is the remedy for love and reconciliation in the brokenness of humanity? We believe it is Christlikeness above everything with Christ as the source (Quelle) for a reconciled life.”