Mission after Eschatology

29 Feb

or the Interrelationship

Previous: “Mission” is not in the Bible!

I believe that mandate to at least first part of the definition “to propagate faith” is evident, but what about the humanitarian work and social action? This is where biblical justice and God like motives come into the picture under the light of eschatological idea “already” and “not yet”.

“…, because the kingdom represents the perfect realization of God’s will for human society, it will also be the motive for Christian social action in the present. The kingdom is anticipated now primarily in the church, the community of those who acknowledge the King, but Christian social action for the realization of God’s will in society at large will also be a sign of the coming kingdom. Those who pray for the coming of the kingdom (Mt. 6:10) cannot fail to act out that prayer so far as it is possible. They will do so, however, with that eschatological realism which recognizes that all anticipations of the kingdom in this age will be provisional and imperfect, that the coming kingdom must never be confused with the social and political structures of this age (Lk. 22:25–27; Jn. 18:36), and the latter will not infrequently embody satanic opposition to the kingdom (Rev. 13:17). In this way Christians will not be disillusioned by human failure but continue to trust the promise of God. Human utopianism must rediscover its true goal in Christian hope, not vice versa.”[1]

A behavior that strives to enable Gods kingdom on this earth, a behavior that enables Shalom ought to be engraved in every Christian as a natural outcome of the hope one carries in the eternal life and the age to come. This perspective does not leave us as mere observers waiting for the eternity, but prompts us to be actively involved in the “not yet” part of our existence fighting suffering, injustice and Satan’s dominion, while oriented towards the time when God will establish his rule universally. On this account justice, social action and mission are to be exercised cooperatively as a result of a holistic mindset that avoids utopian standpoints which ignore the reality of evil in this world.

[1] Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.) (335). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Mission, Theology


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