Tag Archives: Eschatalogy

Churches Shaped By Mission

NT Wright on “Church Shaped by Mission” from Fuller Theological Seminary on Vimeo.

If you lead or serve in a local church, than this post is for you. Hold off on watching the video above for a second.

Last week I was in a meeting of a group of ministers and seminary professors who were trying to figure out how churches and seminaries can work better together for training future ministers.

It was an incredible meeting, and kudos to our seminaries for caring enough to ask the question, “How can we do better?” One of the more interesting parts of the conversation came when one of the ministers was talking about the tension between the ideal and the real. The way he said it was that he was, “I learned in seminary to be suspicious of anything that worked. Because pragmatic or practical ministry involves compromise and using methods that are less than ideal.”

And immediately we all knew what he meant.

I mean can we really say that the Cross “worked?” Isn’t Christianity a faith about dying to ourselves? Should we really compromise in order to be more effective?

But the problem is that in order to lead a local church you have to compromise and learn to work pragmatically. You are dealing with real people with problems that don’t come in textbook formats. And you learn quickly in ministry that for all your preparations and theories that the local church isn’t a laboratory. And that what works in theory doesn’t always work in practice.

So back to this video. This video is from the New Testament scholar N.T. Wright teaching at Fuller Seminary a few years ago. They were asking him about this exact thing, he was talking to preachers from churches from a hundred different traditions, who were basically wanting to know how to do we hold this tension between the ideal and the real?

I love his answer.

Keep the ideal in mind. Remember that there is a new Heaven and a New Earth coming, and remember what that vision for the future looks like, because that’s more than just the Christian hope. That’s the Christian mission.

It is the mission that should inform every church.

Let’s just hopefully and pragmatically stumble toward that.

Revelation and “The End of the World”

So when I was a teenager growing up in Arkansas, we had a guy from India, Simran Gujral (a Sikh) come live at our house for many months. Sikhs, as your might know, never cut there hair, and are known for wearing a turban. Simran was close to my age, and we fought and loved each other like brothers. In fact, I see him every couple of years, and I still consider him family. He is my Indian brother.

One day, we were having one of our many conversations about faith, and Simran told me that he knew when the world was going to end. He told me stories about Nostradamus, and Mayans, and predictions that only had a few short years before they came true. And I believed him about all of it. He was, after all, wearing a turban.

Since then I’ve changed my mind on what I think happens when the world (as we know it) ends.

But I don’t read Revelation like that any more. It’s ironic that Revelation is a book that is used by so many to incite fear, when that’s really not what John is trying to do. The book of Revelation is actually all about hope. It’s the book where God makes some of the most deep promises to His people in the whole Bible. It’s where we find out that no matter what life looks like around us, God is always with us, and watching.

And Revelation is not actually about the end of the world, but the transformation and renewal of it.

And since so many people these days are talking about the end of the world, I thought it might be nice to blog through the book of Revelation for the next few weeks. Because what blog couldn’t use some dragons from time to time? But first a couple of things you should know about Revelation. Continue reading Revelation and “The End of the World”