Item description for The Last Things: Biblical and Theological Perspectives on Eschatology by Carl E. Braaten & Robert W. Jenson...
Overview Written by nine Christian thinkers, "The Last Things" offers fresh interpretations of the major themes in eschatology: the end of the world, return of Christ, resurrection of the dead, and final judgment. The contributors offer ecumenical perspectives that cast a promising image of the future for our postmodern culture.
Publishers Description In modern theology the "last things" of traditional Christian doctrine have largely been ignored or replaced with various metaphysical, psychological, or ethical reinterpretations of Christianity. This volume takes the biblical vision of the future seriously once again, explaining the significance of Christian eschatology for the faith and theology of the contemporary church. Contributors: Carl E. Braaten, Paul D. Hanson, Arland J. Hultgren, Robert W. Jenson, Philip D. W. Krey, John A. McGuckin, George L. Murphy, David Novak, Wolfhart Pannenberg
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Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.98" Width: 6" Height: 0.5" Weight: 0.58 lbs.
Release Date May 31, 2002
Publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN 0802848788 ISBN13 9780802848789
Availability 0 units.
More About Carl E. Braaten & Robert W. Jenson
Carl E. Braaten is professor emeritus of systematic theology at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and former executive director of the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology.
Carl E. Braaten currently resides in Northfield, in the state of Minnesota. Carl E. Braaten was born in 1929.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Last Things: Biblical and Theological Perspectives on Eschatology?
Problematic Apr 18, 2009
Given Pannenberg and Braaten's involvement, this is work attempts to reflect Lutheran scholarship that is both orthodox and intellectually serious. However, it is seriously undermined by an effort to give the material relevance by linking it with conventional liberal politics. An example of this is Paul Hanson's essay on prophetic and apocalyptic politics. The prophetic kind is focused on what we as a community can do to make the world a better place. The apocalyptic kind recognizes that in the face of supernatural evil we must resist, in reliance on God to rescue us. Hanson praises those properly called to apocalyptic politics in certain times (like Bonhoffer opposing Hitler) and condemns those who invoke apocalyptic improperly (the always popular whipping boy of Hal Lindsey - is Tim LaHaye far behind?). Hanson concludes by giving as an example of praiseworthy prophetic politics in modern America an ecumenical gathering organized by Jim Wallis called "A Covenant to Overcome Poverty."
Where to start? Since these sorts of errors are so common in the church in America, Hanson's essay is instructive if infuriating. First, let us be honest enough to admit that the political philosophy represented by Jim Wallis is unadulterated socialism. Why Jesus would call us as Christians to give the state more power than it already has is beyond me. Second, who are the poor in America? (I am assuming for the sake of argument that the concern was what the American polity was doing for its poor.) Like it or not, the poor in America are not people who have been oppressed by callous capitalist plutocrats. Instead, they are overwhelming people who foolishly made one or more mistakes in their lives that all are warned against but many succumb to anyway: they dropped out of school before finishing; they became drug addicts or alcoholics; they had children out of wedlock; they committed serious felonies and ended up in prison.
Given that so many of these mistakes are encouraged and subsidized by the government in the form of the welfare state, the educational system and the criminal justice system, and so much of the pathology of the urban underclass, in terms of drug use, crime, out of wedlock births, deviant sexuality, AIDs, and educational collapse, stems from the "Great Society" and other social welfare initiatives of the latter half of the Twentieth century, one is forced to ask whether the problem is not too little government but too much. The problem seems to be a Leviathan state that has crushed civil society in poor neighborhoods in favor of a liberal belief system that is supported by the regime elites, because it is in their personal and political interests, but actually causes harm to the poor who are the recipients of the so-called "wisdom" of our university educated "best and brightest." All of this has been so well documented by so many people, starting with Pat Moynihan, that it really isn't open to much discussion, as little as political liberals want to discuss these things. Any honest and moral assessment of what Jim Wallis is doing would look at these things, and not assume that what he is doing is good because he mouths platitudes that are approved by the demagogues in government.
So Hanson thinks that prophetic rather than apocalyptic politics is more appropriate for our time? Has he considered the over 4000 babies who are murdered by abortion in America every single day? That is 1.5 million people a year. If you add up all of the murders since Roe v. Wade, modern America makes the Nazis look like amateurs. Is it so out of bounds to wonder when the blood sacrifices to our contemporary Molochs will give rise to a Joshua and a Conquest? Simply to raise this point after 9/11 was to put oneself outside the bounds of polite society, as Falwell and Robertson discovered. Given the abortion holocaust, is Hanson going to argue that apocalyptic politics is inappropriate?
Just recently, one of John McCain's former advisors called for the Republican Party to embrace gay marriage before being permanently tagged as the "religious" party. Isn't this what we as American Christians face - to get with the gay marriage program before we are marginalized?
If elitists like Hanson stopped for a second and listened to the dispensationalists, rather than making fun of them, they might understand dispensationalism as a movement of reaction and resistance against a modern America that seems hopelessly apostate and evil. Perhaps the Beast of Revelation is actually much closer to all of us than we would like to admit, and apocalyptic politics is appropriate now as well as then.