This groundbreaking work presents the concepts of apostasy and perseverance in light of recent interpretative and intertextual methods. Oropeza argues that the Pauline letters include warnings to congregation members who are in danger of falling away, and Paul often considers these members to be authentic converts to the early Christian message. A prime example of this is presented in the apostle's use of the Exodus-wilderness traditions in 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. In an effort to persuade congregation members against apostasy, Paul echoes examples from the Hebrew Scriptures and Jewish traditions regarding Israel's divine election and punishments. The Corinthians are exhorted against conducting themselves in a manner that parallels the ancient Israelites who, after crossing the Red Sea, were rejected by God in the wilderness because they murmured and committed vices such as idolatry and sexual immorality. Paul cautions the Corinthians that if they commit such vices in their own spiritual journey, they will suffer divine judgment before the culmination of the eschaton. These warnings are located within larger rhetorical arguments related to the problems of meat sacrificed to idols, congregational factions, and misperceptions about the end times. Oropeza also interprets passages on apostasy and perseverance in Paul's other letters, and he interacts with theological perspectives associated with the perseverance of the saints, including Calvinist and Arminian traditions. His work provides a fresh alternative to this theological controversy.
B. J. Oropeza
B. J. Oropeza is Professor of Biblical Studies in the Division of Religion and Philosophy at Azusa Pacific University. Among his many publications are 'Ninety-Nine Answers to Questions About Angels, Demons, and Spiritual Warfare'; 'A Time to Laugh: The Holy Laughter Phenomenon Examined'; and 'Ninety-Nine Reasons Why No One Knows When Christ Will Return.' Oropeza has been invited to speak on various radio and television talk shows about his areas of expertise including pop culture, eschatology, Jesus and Paul, and cults.