Confessing Christ Bloggers
May 11

Written by: gfackre
5/11/2008 4:33 PM

In the lingo of Christian theology, hope in its ultimate sense, and as a noun, has to do with “eschatology.” The “Eschaton” is the End toward which the Christian narrative moves—the End as both finis and telos—the finale and the purpose of the world as God made it, calls it to be, and promises that it will be.

In the past decades there have been waves of hope in both theology and the churches. “Christ-- the Hope of the World” was the theme of the second assembly of the World Council of Churches in 1954. Then the “theology of hope” emerged in 1965 when Jurgen Moltmann wrote a volume with that name, and with Wolfhart Pannenberg who saw things a bit differently, helped to launch a movement reflecting the same. The number of theological works that followed with “hope” or "future" in the title was notable. While some might not put it in this class, I think that the millennial fevers of “political fundamentalism” in the subsequent decades were a kind of focus on hope for what came to be called the “Religious Right.” And now we proceed into a new century with hope on the agenda in culture as well as church.

I’ve swum in these varied waves of hope. Present at the WCC’s 1954 Evanston assembly on hope with Dot, my spouse (she wrote a hymn in the contest sponsored by the planners, one in which Georgia Harkness’ fine entry won, “Hope of the World, Thou Christ of Great Compassion,” now in many hymnals), and we were much moved by the gathering and theme. Both Moltmann and Pannenberg have had their influence on me, reflected in a 1968 volume I wrote, THE RAINBOW SIGN: CHRISTIAN FUTURITY. When attention turned to other kinds of eschatology, I attempted a response in a volume about the Religious Right and have been in frequent dialog with evangelical pre, post and amillenialists, and continue to probe the meaning of hope in these varied expressions and now in the political and ecological settings of the present. All this always framed by the classical Christian teaching on “Last Things.” Hence the exploration of hope that follows in this blog.

Copyright ©2008 Gabriel Fackre


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