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date: 31 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Four letters (James, 1 Peter, Jude, and 2 Peter) and a homily (Hebrews), in distinctive ways, express and promote the four ‘marks’ of the church (as one, holy, catholic, and apostolic). They are concerned with the healthy and united life of Christian communities that now face suffering and apostasy. Two of them (James and 1 Peter) address scattered communities in a desire to maintain a worldwide, catholic communion. All five texts promote an ecclesiology based on the inherited Scriptures, and in the case of 2 Peter scriptural authority attaches to the letters of the apostle Paul. Both 1 and 2 Peter open by appealing to the apostolic authority of Peter. James suggests the role of teachers and elders. The whole church should be priestly (1 Peter) and worshipping (Hebrews).

Keywords: apostasy, apostles, communion, church, ecclesiology, elders, General Epistles, marks of the church, priests, worship

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