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A minor


Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Moltmannian Eschatology & "Dying" Churches
Browsing through Justin Donathan's archives yesterday, I ran across this eschatology quiz again. This morning, with that still clanking around in the back of my head, I googled "moltmannian eschatology" and ran across a couple interesting things:

Google's first result was from the author of the quiz. Here's his explanation:

Moltmannian Eschatology

I put this one in because although he is little-known outside academic circles, Moltmann has done a more thorough systematic examination of eschatology than perhaps any other theologian. If you're eschatological interest is concerned with figuring out the hidden meaning of Daniel's 'seventy weeks' or what theologians think the Mark of the Beast might be then you'll be sorely disappointed. Moltmann begins with the cross and resurrection and uses them to interpret history. Just as Christ shared in the sin, suffering and darkness of creation on the cross, so by taking it on himself and being raised to new life he becomes the prototype of what God intends not only for humanity, but the whole of creation itself. God has made the resurrection a promise of what he one day intends to do for all creation - to make it new and free it from the power of sin, injustice and death.

Christians then are to radically affect the present in the light of what God has promised about the age to come. The key to this is the Holy Spirit, who is the 'power of the age to come'. Our discipleship is a discipleship of the cross and so we too must identify with and fellowship with the outcasts, the victims, the poor and the downtrodden as we take up our cross, because the way to the resurrection is via the cross. God has already announced and guaranteed that in the Future Kingdom of God there will be no suffering, pain, injustice, or death and so our mission in the present is to transform the lives and circumstances of people so that God's kingdom comes upon them. Eschatology is not like the appendix in the book of history, it is the story of history itself.

Moltmann is highly controversial in places and despite his Lutheran background, much of what he says will seem unfamiliar to most evangelicals but it's quality stuff. He has written a 400 page systematic doctrine of eschatology called 'The Coming of God', but if heavy theology isn't your thing then his book 'Jesus Christ For Today's World' is a good start and is highly readable.
Google's second result was a blogger who scored Moltmannian Eschatology on the quiz. I went to his "about me" page and then his front page, which led to an interesting series on "dying" church experiences - part 1: a Presbyterian Church (USA); part 2: an Episcopal Church.

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