Confessing Christ Bloggers
Apr 9

Written by: gfackre
4/9/2009 6:53 AM

This week is an exercise in further sorting of the elements of Christian hope that have arisen in the exploration so far with more to come. This in preparation for a brief engagement with Donald Bloesch’s chapter on “The Dawn of Hope” in the final volume of his 7 volume systematics series on Christian Foundations, entitled The Last Things . As a leading evangelical thinker, Bloesch roots his eschatology in Scripture, taking up in this section some of the specific texts that allude to hope. I want to apply the schema that follows to those texts and see what can be learned from the interchange. But first the taxonomy of Christian hope that follows.

A Ultimate Hope is the eschatological finale. It is divided into two parts

1) Last Things: The creedal foursome with which we have begun: the resurrection of the body, the return of Christ, final judgment, everlasting life

2) Next to Last Things. This the variously identified as “the interim state,” the intermediate state,” “life after death.” But N.T. Wright in his passionate defense of final destiny as the Ultimate future, not the preacher’s “heaven” to which all/or some finally go after death, as necessarily a conjunction, that state being the last in the sequence “life after life after death”

B Penultimate Hope. Christian hope is for this life as well as the next. However, it is always a sober hope, qualified by an awareness of the fall that persists through time, all expectation tasking into account this “Christian realism” about the ambiguity in future possibilities. These possibilities occur in two forms.

1) Historical events. These occasions of hope for better things to come may be in history-- human natural, cosmic, albeit always incomplete and ambiguous.

2) Personal events. These occasions for hope occur in the self’s inner or outer life, albeit, simul iustus et peccator.

C The source of Hope, ultimate and penultimate

1) Warrant. The grounds for Christian hope are Jesus Christ, his Person and Work

2) Empowerment. The power that makes both ultimate and penultimate hope possible, and also the virtue of hoping is the Holy Spirit…the triune Spirit of the Son of the Father.

Copyright ©2009 Gabriel Fackre


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