Friday 5 March 2010

Christian Reflection on Apocalyptic

The latest issue of Christian Reflection from The Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University deals with ‘Apocalyptic Vision’, and includes the following essays:

Barry Harvey
The Church as a Company of Nomads

The early Christians, steeped in the apocalyptic imagination of post-exilic Judaism, saw themselves as a company of nomads in the present age. A Church that can celebrate this vision through worship and service is truly a people who have heard ‘what the Spirit is saying to the churches.’

Harry Alan Hahne
The Whole Creation Has Been Groaning

In apocalyptic language, the Apostle Paul describes the corruption of nature and expresses the cosmic scope of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ. If God plans to redeem the damaged material creation at the end of the age, God’s redeemed children should care for nature now. God’s plan for what we will be in the future in glory is the moral pattern for how we should live today.

Susan R. Garrett
Satan and the Powers

In apocalyptic writings we meet a cast of fallen characters – Satan, demons, and other nefarious beings – that indicate spiritual realities, earthly officeholders, or structures of power. How did we come to inhabit a world controlled by such powers? And where is God in the mix?

Scott M. Lewis
Is Apocalyptic Imagination Killing Us?

Much religious violence draws on apocalyptic theology for its inspiration. Dangerous misinterpretations of the apocalyptic paradigm of cosmic warfare are often linked with political, economic, and social agendas that are not explicitly religious in nature.

Thomas S. Kidd
Islam in Apocalyptic Perspective

The history of American apocalyptic thought offers much reason for discouragement. Christians have been too eager to gloss biblical prophecy with extra-biblical assertions and morbid scenarios of Islam’s demise.

Harold T. Bryson
An Authorized Look into the Life Beyond

What John sees – ‘a new heaven and a new earth’ – is not a replaced, but a redeemed heaven and earth. They teem with life precisely because the impediments to life with God and his people are overcome, and the obstacles to intimacy are removed. Intimacy with God does not exist in isolation; it involves community relationships with all those who love and serve God.

The entire issue (including other articles and book reviews) is available for download here, and a set of six study guides and lesson plans which ‘integrate Bible study, prayer, worship, and reflection to explore the centrality of apocalyptic imagination in the Christian life’ is available here.

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