Saint Paul's invitation to Philemon for personal and ministry transformation

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The proposition of this article is that Paul wrote to Philemon to invite him to be transformed in both his life and ministry to others through critical theological reflection. This article uses the interpretive lens of Michael Paterson's critical theological reflection. Paterson argues that critical theological reflection calls individuals to a sustained and disciplined practice of contemplative inquiry with the goal of enlightening a person to God's presence in everyday life. In writing to Philemon, Paul's hope was to impart the skill of critical theological reflection to open the door for an "ah ha" moment, providing insights that would enable transformation. The impartation of critical theological reflection could enable Philemon to develop further as a minister of the gospel, while addressing issues of authority, power, and hierarchy. The paper will conclude with some questions that Philemon and Paul might explore together if they were to have a private supervision meeting, particularly with regard to Philemon's identity as a fellow-worker in the gospel and the new identity of Paul's slave as a beloved brother.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-76
Number of pages11
JournalSt. Mark's Review: A journal of Christian thought and opinion
Issue number254
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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