Cruciform Ministry: Dr. Gombis’ Book on Paul Offers Transformational Message
In February 2021, Dr. Timothy Gombis, professor of New Testament, published his third book, “Power in Weakness: Paul’s Transformed Vision for Ministry.”
The book centers on Paul’s transformation from coercion and violence as a Pharisee to a ministry of hope through his encounter with the resurrected Christ. The idea of “finding power in weakness” is not always popular in 21st-century churches but is as important now as it was when Paul preached.
“It’s tempting for pastors to pursue prestige and power and credentials,” Gombis said. “There are so many cultural pressures that can lead to a sense of discontentment in ministry leaders—a dissatisfaction about where their church is at.”
Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus is a powerful story for ministry leaders. Before and after his conversion, Paul was a pastor in some capacity. But during his time as a Pharisee, he attempted to bring about God’s purposes on earth through coercion. Gombis unpacks this in his book as a vital component for pastors to understand.
“Resurrection power comes from a place of weakness,” Gombis said. “The cross is a place of death, but it is there that God pours out His resurrection power. Paul’s identity was shaped by the cross.”
Gombis also said that the issues Paul faced in the early church were similar to the challenges of the modern church.
“Paul addresses social media—letter-writing was an early social medium,” Gombis noted. “He talks about the hurdle of using letters to present himself as more than he really is (2 Cor. 12). Paul warns against the ‘celebritization’ of ministers and pastors. He is purposeful in cultivating the opposite.”
The book is currently the No. 1 new release for religious studies education on Amazon.
“Tim’s ability to draw out key practices of the apostle Paul and compare them to modern-day pastoral ministry is illuminating, convicting and challenging for all who seek to follow and embody cruciformity as a way of life,” said Artie Lindsay, campus pastor at Cornerstone, in an online review. The book is also critically acclaimed by Dr. Scot McKnight (B.A. ’76), a well-known writer and biblical scholar.
Gombis is also the author of “Paul: A Guide for the Perplexed,” which is a comprehensive guide to the apostle, “The Drama of Ephesians: Participating in the Triumph of God” and a commentary on the Gospel of Mark in the Story of God Bible Commentary series.
Gombis’ book, published by Eerdmans, is available on Amazon.
Audrey Wierenga (B.A. ’18) is the copywriter for Cornerstone’s Marketing & Communications Office. She graduated from Cornerstone in 2018 with a degree in broadcast communication. Audrey also serves on the Young Alumni Council.
In her spare time, Audrey enjoys working on her own full-length work of fiction, co-hosting a podcast about the Academy Awards and participating in local theatre productions.