Tuesday, March 29, 2011

18 Theses on Eschatology (so far)

I've been tweeting out Theses on Eschatology this week. Here's the first 18. If you want read these and other thoughts as they come, click here:

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Thesis #1: The leading motif of a Christian eschatology ought to be the parousia of Jesus Christ.

Thesis #2: Eschatologies that are overdetermined by concepts of divine justice or love and/or human destiny or decision are sub-Christian.

Thesis #3: The telos of God's love/justice and humanity's decision/destiny occur in the one God-human, Jesus, and so are known only in him.

Thesis #4: The telos of Jesus Christ in his divine-human unity is his living presence as the one who died and rose for us.

Thesis #5: In the first instance, the telos of Jesus' life is his death. The one who will return at the end is the one who died for us.

Thesis #6: But Jesus' death was not his final end. He also rose from the dead. So the one who will return at the end already LIVES for us!

Thesis #7: Therefore the one who died (#5) and rose (#6) for us not only will be present at the end but is already present with us now.

Thesis #8: Eschatology is not futurology. It is knowledge of the risen Christ who was and is and will be present (i.e., parousia, cf. #1).

Thesis #9: Eschatology is possible ONLY if the Jesus who will return at the end is the SAME as the one who came before and is present now.

Thesis #10: JESUS IS RISEN! So resurrection hope conditions all eschatological concepts--immortality, the soul, judgment, heaven, eternity, etc.

Thesis #11: Hope for the resurrection of the dead embraces the individual, communal, and cosmic dimensions of Christian hope.

Thesis #12: Christians aren't obligated to believe in the immortality of the soul.

Thesis #13: Christian are permitted to believe in the immortality of the soul as long as it does not render resurrection hope superfluous.

Thesis #14: Immortality of the soul is not the object of hope. It's just a theory that addresses questions raised by resurrection hope.

Thesis #15: Only the living God is by nature immortal. Human immortality is a gift, given for the sake of fellowship with the risen Christ

Thesis #16: Since for living beings death and time are existentially intertwined, immortality is functionally synonymous with eternal life.

Thesis #17: Eternal life IS fellowship with the risen Christ in his self-attestation. Eternal life is therefore irreducibly social.

Thesis #18: Sociality is mediated bodily, so resurrected bodies are indispensable to eternal life.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

I've been thinking about...

Check out my lastest post at the Seminary's blog.

Here's a preview:

The individual and the community.

The topic was inspired by some reading, some conversation, and a student’s integration paper.

The reading came from my favorite theologian, Karl Barth, who, after making a strong case for the priority of the community in the Christian life, turned around — in his typically dialectical fashion — to make a very strong case for the significance of the individual standing before God (cf. CD II/2, §35.1). An emphasis on the Christian community must not result in an overcompensation that forgets the freedom and responsibility of the individual before God. There’s a sort of modern collectivism (which Barth witnessed firsthand in Naziism) that is a sort of demonic inversion of modern individualism. In our zeal for the church as community we mustn’t overreact, constructing a communitarian ideology that crushes the individual.

The conversation was with some colleagues discussing the costs and benefits of infant baptism...

Click here for the rest.