I found Witherington’s description of paganism / pagan religion, in which the worshipper was always caught in the need for now truly fascinating – where the idea of salvation always had to be one of personal blessing, health, wealth, position, power, freedom.
Whereas the Christian faith is one of eternal security within a present, ongoing and future tense: Here the individual / community is changed spiritually, morally and intellectually, without a lot of attention towards physical change. This raises some questions as to whether the emphasis in some Pentecostal circles on personal blessings (Financial, physical, position, etc ) are deeply rooted in Christian faith or have a more pagan background. –
Within a rhetorical framework, Witherington explains Paul’s preaching technique as one that is able to relieve the tension when dealing with a complex situation as one belonging to someone who is a skilled orator. I have heard it said that it’s wrong for a preacher to manipulate a situation by bringing humour into the sermon, getting the listeners to laugh and while they are open, hit them with a punchy confronting line which hits home. Yet, it would seem that this indeed there is biblical precedent to do this.
Finally on page 151 Witherington writes about the need for Christian community to have a well-established internal judiciary system. This means that the church community has a well-defined structure in which the spirit of God can move and operate without being quenched, and yet the people of God clearly know what is expected of them. Within this context, Paul continually emphasises what it is that Christ has done on the cross for the believing community, stating that they have already been transformed, because of what he has done, and therefore they are live as new creations within a sin stained world.