Ephesians 2 Gospel Project

Why is the church so divided over politics?

How do majority Christian nations end up supporting genocide, slavery, and other mass evils?

How does Christ’s gospel speak to group versus group conflict and violence?

The Ephesians 2 Gospel Project explores these questions and many more. This is a place to learn about the most critical concerns of our times from the diverse voices, insights, and hard-earned lessons in the global Body of Christ. We seek to create a global conversation around the gospel of peace, and questions Christians everywhere are asking about violence and division in their communities.

A New Way of being human

Our forthcoming book shares some of our major findings so far on the roots of violence and the gospel of peace. Beginning with Ephesians 2:11-22, we explore these questions in scripture, theology, history, and the social sciences. One of our key findings across all of these disciplines is the connection between shame and violence. We were created to long for glory—to be seen, known, and loved for who we truly are, and to enjoy profound relational beauty with others. But the brokenness of the world introduces shame. And shame—when there seems to be no other way out—leads individuals and groups to violence.

The gospel of peace offers a way out as Jesus comes to restore God’s own glory in people, and in the world. He comes to create a brand new relational beauty in himself, and to put to death hostility. The Good News of Peace comes right in the middle of the worst of human evil, with the invitation of the Great King to his feast. There we can receive a new place of honor, new life, and a new name. There, we are reconciled to our Father, and to all his children. When we find our glory in him, what we find is nothing short of a new way of being human.

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Werner

Werner has been serving with Mission ONE since 1992. He leads our Training Ministry and currently serves as Vice President. He is the author of The Global Gospel: Achieving Missional Impact in Our Multicultural World (2015). Werner is a key leader of the Honor-Shame Network which helps facilitate a global conversation about honor, shame, and the gospel in missiology and theology. He served as coordinator of the Honor-Shame Conference held at Wheaton College in June 2017, and has taught on “Honor, Shame and the Gospel” in Brazil, India, Lebanon, New Zealand, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States.

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Kristin Caynor is a PhD student at Trinity College Bristol/University of Aberdeen, and a global theological educator working with national and indigenous organizations and seminaries around the world through Live Global. Her dissertation explores how hermeneutical practices themselves can foster relationships with others of difference, awareness of cultural diversity, reconciliation, and the inclusion of diverse cultural resources which may not yet have been considered in mainstream discourse. She is also a researcher for The Ephesians 2 Gospel Project with Mission ONE, a global conversation around Eph. 2:11–22 exploring issues of collective identity conflict and shame-fueled violence from social scientific, theological, historical, cultural, and biblical perspectives.

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In addressing this mystery we have the following goals and assumptions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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).
  4. OUR SHORT-TERM GOAL IS A BOOK—along with companion resources that are by and for the Global Church.
  5. OUR LONG-TERM IMPACT IS SHALOM:  We envision God’s people embodying Christ’s peacemaking work—his shalom—through the gospel.

Become a monthly supporter of this project

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WEBINAR RECORDING: “THE ATONEMENT RELATIVE TO COLLECTIVE IDENTITY CONFLICT”

In this two-part webinar, you’ll hear from Werner Mischke, Vice President of Mission ONE, and Kristin Caynor, resources developer for the Global Church. The title is “Introducing the Ephesians 2 Gospel Project: Does the Atonement Speak to Collective Identity Conflict?

This webinar covers the biblical context of the passage, historical examples of violence between peoples, a conversation about sin, atonement, and the gospel, a reflection about glory, and more.

Presentation Summary

Part one is a presentation by Werner Mischke: “Killing the Hostility: The Atonement Relative to Collective Identity Conflict in Ephesians Chapter 2”

  • 09:34  Begins presentation by reading Eph. 2:13–17
  • 10:50  Examples of violence and group-based conflict
  • 15:27  Conversation about sin
  • 23:28  Conversation about the atonement of Christ
  • 26:49  Is “justification by faith” the whole gospel?
  • 30:49  Ephesians 2: Marginal or vital?
  • 31:14  Conclusion and lead-in to Kristin Caynor’s presentation

Part two is a presentation by Kristin Caynor: “The Multi-Colored Wisdom of God: The Gathering of the Nations and the Defeat of the Gods”

  • 31:49  Brief introduction by Kristin Caynor
  • 32:56  Canonical Context: The Gathering of Peoples in Unity
  • 34:39  Distinct and United: A Fuller Reflection of Glory
  • 37:14  Context of Ephesians: The Cosmic Effects of the Atonement
  • 45:11  Greco-Roman Context: Status Relativized and Identity Transformed
  • 51:10  Conclusion: Galatians 2:20

Additional Resources on Ephesians 2

PAPERS

These papers are the basis for the webinar presentations above. Click to download:

PUBLISHED ARTICLES / BLOG POSTS

VIDEOS

OTHER

  • 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.”

JOIN OUR CONVERSATION! 

We invite you to join the conversation on Ephesians 2—and other gospel-driven topics. Would you like to submit an article or paper you’ve authored? Or share a comment? Please do so by filling out this form. You may also write directly to Werner Mischke at werner@mission1.org.

Thank you.

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“I have watched this excellent webinar…I’d very much like to keep in touch with the important work that you are doing. I have long preached the importance of Ephesians 2 in the ways that you outline, and I’m thrilled to see this being explored properly and promoted globally.”

–Dr. Helen Paynter, Director of the Center for the Study of Bible and Violence (CSBV) at Bristol Baptist College in the UK

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About Mission ONE

At Mission ONE, we believe that contextualizing biblical truth removes unnecessary cultural barriers to the hope found in Jesus Christ. We also believe theological education should be available to any person—no matter where they live in the world.

With the technology and communication tools available to the Global Church, we are committed to creating resources, like this webinar, to provide clarity and context to better understand and embody the gospel of Christ.

Mission ONE envisions a world where every community is transformed for the glory of God and the honor of all peoples. It is through collaboration in the Global Church that we are able to provide creative solutions, training, and support to help strengthen communities and bring hope to people in the hardest places.

We pray that resources like this one bring sound theological teaching that is meaningful to you.