47 minutes | Apr 14th 2020

69. Connecting Christ to Culture, with Michael Cooper, author of Ephesiology: A Study of the Ephesian Movement

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Michael Cooper discusses his book Ephesiology: A Study of the Ephesian Movement, in which he explores the important role of the city of Ephesus in the early Roman Empire and the early church, with a special emphasis on the ways the apostles Paul, John, and Peter all worked to connect the story of Jesus to the Ephesian people in language that made sense to them.

This is a timely message for us today as churches are struggling to learn how we are called to connect Christ to our culture.


  • Michael Cooper is the author of Ephesiology: A Study of the Ephesian Movement and trains church leaders and pastors around the world.
  • Michael shares the story of his faith journey and what led him to write Ephesiology.
  • Nearly half of the New Testament has a connection to the city of Ephesus.  Michael sensed there must be something there to discover.
  • Ephesus was a critical city in the Roman Empire.  It was a crossroad, not only of commerce, but also of philosophy.
  • Heraclitus of Ephesus was a philosopher who wrote On Nature, which was more popular than anything written about Socrates or by Plato or Aristotle.
  • The temple of Artemis in Ephesus had great influence in the city of Ephesus and the in all of Asia Minor.
  • Paul, John, and Peter were missiological theologians.  Their heart was in engaging the culture effectively.
  • The Gospel of John is connected to the city of Ephesus.  John arrived in Ephesus in around 67 A.D.
  • The stories of Jesus in the Gospel of John parallel the culture of Ephesus.  John’s heart was to connect the stories of Jesus with the stories of the Ephesians.
  • When John says, “In the beginning was the logos,” he is using familiar Ephesian language first used by Heraclitus.
  • Like John, Paul, and Peter, we need to be able to connect theological themes to cultures in which we serve.
  • Michael describes how the Western church, in its missionary work, has exported a Western sixteenth-century form of Christianity to other cultures, rather than connecting the stories of Jesus to the stories and forms of those cultures.
  • The early church leadership had a flat organizational structure.
  • The focus on a pastor-centric church did not emerge until later in the church’s development.
  • You can find out more about Michael Cooper and his book at www.ephesiology.com.  You can also e-mail Michael at michael@ephesiology.com.


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