According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

A Christian Eschatology of Love


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I would like to take Jonathan Moo's discourse on "Continuity, Discontinuity and the Eschatological Hope of the New Testament "and twist it a bit away from its rightful emphasis on an "environmental ethos" which asks of churches, together with science, in re-initiating its responsibility to care for the earth.

Alongside of this discussion, if I simply substitute another kind of ethos, that of social justice, or a societal ethos of love, in place of an environmental ethos emphasizing God's love for not only creation of all kinds, but mankind as part of creation, who is likewise made in God's image even as God did the environment, than we will get a wider appreciation for our responsibilities as Christians  not only to this earth but to our fellow humans as well.

Not only this, but importantly as it relates to the Christian hope of the eschatological future in whatever form we think it may take, to understand (or add) to our hope God's love as an eschatological ethos. Importantly, and specifically, this Christian hope is to entertain the Love of God through Jesus Christ within its present day context of worship of God so that as pertaining to Christians especially, we love, and love intensely, all humanity, till that day comes of God's realized eschatology in Christ.

The completion and fulfillment of heaven and earth is that God becomes all-in-all by His vision and patient guidance of creation (including mankind) of, by, and through love always as its centering eschatological motif.

And being that under the New Covenant of Christ, and the expanded import of the Old Testament into the New Testament to continue God's love both through His Remnant of the OT and His disciples of the NT (notice how I did not say explicitly Israel or the Church?) by examples and deeds of many sorts to care for both the earth and its elements, and its people and their societies, by God's guiding, grounding, partnering examples and deeds of love through His people by their own words and deeds.

At the last, God's love is the centre of all Christian social and environmental action. And indeed, at the center of any eschatological discussion or envisioning. Whatever the future holds, we are called to love and care for the world as we encounter it. As Stephen Williams has said,

"The NT’s theology of creation is inescapably eschatological, and the wideness of biblical hope can provide both a strong impetus as well as the necessary context for the exercise of Christian love and charity."

With God's Love as the biblical center for all doctrines, including it's eschatological center of God's heart, today's turmoils between politics and real-world problems must ever be met and performed in , by, and through God's love. It resolves our strifes and conflicts; calls out those who are disobedient to God's example; and demands a higher calling to care for all people in all ways over any lesser concerns for money, power, or conscripted misuses of human sinful passion.

In this way a God of Love has always asked His remnant to follow and act in His love and loving actions in all they say and do. God's Love will be no less a theme in the future.

Both past and future are inflected by our efforts of our present context to continue God's image and practice of love. From all that flows from the past, to all that flows into the promise of the future, without interruption of that flow as expressed into our present age, God's Love is what holds all timeful events of being and becoming together.

Simply, our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope.

R.E. Slater
June 10, 2020

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Jonathan Moo

Creation Care: A Biblical Theology of the Natural World
by Jonathan and Douglas Moo



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CONTINUITY, DISCONTINUITY, AND HOPE
The Contribution of New Testament Eschatology
to a Distinctively Christian Environmental Ethos

by Jonathan Moo

"My emphasis on NT eschatology is not meant to imply that it is only here that the biblical tradition has something to contribute to a Christian environmental ethos. Stephen Williams has reminded us that love must always remain at the centre of Christian social and environmental action—and indeed, at the centre of any discussion about eschatology.8 Whatever the future holds, we are called to love and care for the world as we encounter it. Nonetheless, the NT’s theology of creation is inescapably eschatological, and the wideness of biblical hope can provide both a strong impetus as well as the necessary context for the exercise of Christian love and charity.

"This essay seeks, then, to develop somewhat further than is often done the exegetical basis for a distinctively Christian perspective of the future that has important implications for how we understand our task in and for the created world. I propose that the diverse ways in which the NT portrays the future of the earth, taken together, provide an indispensable resource for the development of a Christian environmental ethos...."


Book Blurbs

Let Creation Rejoice: Biblical Hope and Ecological Crisis Paperback – June 2, 2014

"Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes." Psalm 96:13 The Bible is bathed with images of God caring for his creation in all its complexity. Yet in the face of climate change and other environmental trends, philosophers, filmmakers, environmentalists, politicians and senior scientists increasingly resort to apocalyptic rhetoric to warn us that a so-called perfect storm of factors threatens the future of life on earth. Jonathan Moo and Robert White ask, "Do these dire predictions amount to nothing more than ideological scaremongering, perhaps hyped-up for political or personal ends? Or are there good reasons for thinking that we may indeed be facing a crisis unprecedented in its scale and in the severity of its effects?" The authors encourage us to assess the evidence for ourselves. Their own conclusion is that there is in fact plenty of cause for concern. Climate change, they suggest, is potentially the most far-reaching threat that our planet faces in the coming decades, and also the most publicized. But there is a wide range of much more obvious, interrelated and damaging effects that a growing number of people, consuming more and more, are having on the planet upon which we all depend. Yet if the Christian gospel fundamentally reorients us in our relationship to God and his world, then there ought to be something radically distinctive about our attitude and approach to such threats. In short, there ought to be a place for hope. And there ought to be a place for Christians to participate in that hope. Moo and White therefore reflect on the difference the Bible's vision of the future of all of creation makes. Why should creation rejoice? Because God loves and cares the world he made.

Creation Care: A Biblical Theology of the Natural World (Biblical Theology for Life) Paperback – February 27, 2018

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible reveals a God whose creative power and loving care embrace all that exists, from earth and sky and sea to every creeping, crawling, swimming, and flying creature. Yet the significance of the Bible’s extensive teaching about the natural world is easily overlooked by Christians accustomed to focusing only on what the Bible says about God’s interaction with human beings.

In Creation Care, part of the Biblical Theology for Life series, father and son team Douglas and Jonathan Moo invite readers to open their Bibles afresh to explore the place of the natural world within God’s purposes and to celebrate God’s love as displayed in creation and new creation. 

Following the contours of the biblical storyline, they uncover answers to questions such as:

  • What is the purpose of the non-human creation?
  • Can a world with things like predators, parasites, and natural disasters still be the ‘good’ world described in Genesis 1?
  • What difference does the narrative of the ‘Fall’ make for humankind’s responsibility to rule over other creatures?
  • Does Israel’s experience on the land have anything to teach Christians about their relationship with the earth?
  • What difference does Jesus make for our understanding of the natural world?
  • How does our call to care for creation fit within the hope for a new heaven and a new earth?
  • What is unique about Christian creation care compared with other approaches to ‘environmental’ issues?
  • How does creation care fit within the charge to proclaim the gospel and care for the poor?

In addition to providing a comprehensive biblical theology of creation care, they probe behind the headlines and politicized rhetoric about an ‘environmental crisis’ and climate change to provide a careful and judicious analysis of the most up-to-date scientific data about the state of our world. They conclude by setting forth a bold framework and practical suggestions for an effective and faithful Christian response to the scriptural teaching about the created world.

But rather than merely offering a response to environmental concerns, Creation Care invites readers into a joyful vision of the world as God’s creation in which they can rediscover who they truly are as creatures called to love and serve the Creator and to delight in all he has made.