Five books in the New Testament are said to have been written by John. But there are arguments that say that not all three letters of John were written by the same author. It is so because the word Church (Ecclesia) does not appear in the forth Gospel and in 1 and 2 John.
Another challenge to the Johannine ecclesiology is offered marked opposition to outsiders, whether to the world, Jews, Christians. Has the association of Johhanine Christians become a sect? Meaning a religious group that broke away from an established larger religion.
Scroggs argues that the whole early Christian movement was sectarian for it met the following characteristics of a sect. Sect seeks to restore traditional beliefs and practices in doing so rejects many of societies values but not in a threatening manner.
1,It emerged out of an agrarian protest movement
2,It rejected many of the realities claimed by the establishment of wealth, of religious institutions of theological intellectuals.
3,It was egalitarian
4,It offered special love and acceptance within
5,It was a voluntary organization
6,It demanded total commitment of its members
7,It was apocalyptic.
With this understanding of sect, the Christian community known to us through the forth Gospel and Johannine Epistles was a sect as part of the larger Christian sectarian movement.
Relationship with the letters
Style, tone, thought indicates that they are from the same author.
A,Intimacy with God and sinlessness.
B,Keeping the commandment.
1,Concept of sin.
Sin plays an important part in the teaching of Jesus in John’s Gospel. The approach of sin is slightly different from the synoptic eg John 1:29 . 1 Jn1:5, sin is also linked with ignorance of God.
Sin as alienation from God 5:24
Sin as unbelief 15: 22-24
Sin as ignorance
Sin as mortal 3:16, 1Jn 2:25
Sin as universal 1Jn 1:8, 2:16
Sin as lawlessness
2,Humanity of Jesus, Jn 1:14 The word became fresh, 1 Jn 1:1, heard seen touched of the word.
3,Sinlessness of Jesus, 8:44,48, 1Jn3:5 1Jn 2:1 Jesus the righteous
4,Messia,1:41, 11:27 confession of Martha.
5,Lord, Johhannine does not use the word much until after the resurrection.
6, Son of God, His main purpose is that his readers may believe Jesus as son of God, sent by the Father, Love of the father to the son, Dependance of the son to the Father,
Exclusive revelation of the father ( He alone has seen the Father 6:24).
7,Jesus as the Logos: This is different from the synoptic. John emphasizes that Jesus was the word
The word is the image of God
The word as God’s first born
In the gospel John does not discus the Virgin Birth, there are no references to this, no birth narratives. In the place of the birth narratives he includes a prologue which focuses on the incarnation of the Logos.
Origin of Johannine community
Despite the diversity of the community there are significant agreement on at least two stages in the Johannine development.
- Early period the community consisted of Jews whose belief in Jesus involved a relatively low Christology . Later appeared high Christology which brought Johns community into sharp conflict with the jews who regarded this as blasphemy. This caused friction. Issues between the followers of John Baptist and Johhannine community, issues of the beloved disciple who the fourth gospels makes him the hero in the community, distress in the community over this beloved disciple. It made the community distinct because the claim to posses the witness of the beloved disciple enabled them to defend their peculiar insight in Christology and ecclesiology.
2.High Christology: Significantly cleansing of the Temple is placed at the beginning and only starts with hostility. John starts where others finish with. Jesus passes over Samaria and wins the whole village...