The many small communities of believers in Jesus, both in Jerusalem and in the wider Greek-Roman world, that we know about from the New Testament served an eschatological purpose. Everything about them—their nature and purpose—was determined by a powerful and urgent vision of the future. For the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem this would be the trauma of God’s judgment against the city. For the churches in the pagan world it was the prospect—again, in many ways, a traumatic one—of the conversion of the nations. People were “saved” to become part of these vulnerable communities of prophetic witness.
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