Guest post by Mark Buchanan. Mark is a Presbyterian Pastor specializing in multicultural ministry in the Los Angeles area. He has been an enthusiastic student of Jürgen Moltmann’s theology since encountering Dr. Moltmann while a seminarian at Princeton Seminary. He writes using engaging real life stories to illustrate and bring to life the central tenets of Dr. Moltmann’s theology. He currently resides in Pasadena, California with his wife and children.
Note from Ben: I had the pleasure of meeting Mark at the Karl Barth Conference and am looking forward to his book – Embraced: Many Stories, One Destiny – which comes out this Fall from Wipf and Stock. Stay tuned here for more info about his book… but for now, enjoy this guest post!
In his lecture at the Barth Conference in Princeton, Jürgen Moltmann contrasted Barth’s doctrine of the election of grace to the contemporary teachings and practices of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. He noted that one perspective led to an opportunity for eternal life while the other led to death. This drew to mind an encounter I had in 1979 while traveling from Mashhad, Iran to Tehran by train.
As the train departed a man dressed in the traditional white garb of a Moslem cleric along with his assistant entered the compartment where a companion and I were seated. Taking his seat next to me the man gruffly addressed his assistant in Arabic. While I did not understand what was being said, their tone expressed displeasure. When abrupt hand gestures accentuated their words, I began to feel uneasy. When I turned to look at the man seated next to me the hood of his garment drawn tightly over his head shrouded his face. Obviously our presence in the overnight compartment was more than an inconvenience, apparently it was an offense. As fear began to rise in me I leaned forward intent upon making eye contact. As I did I saw that the socket of his left eye was exposed covered only by darkened flesh. Yet what truly startled me was not the blindness of his left eye, but the hatefulness that was emanating from his right. Piercing through my gaze a paralyzing power penetrated me. Instinctually I glanced away. It was as if an evil intent had entered me, taken me under its command and made me an observer of what was about to take place. In that moment, I could feel myself battling a spirit of resignation. Continue reading On the Edge of Eternity (Guest Post by Mark Buchanan)
“We shall only put antisemitism behind us when we succeed theologically in making something positive out of the Jewish “no” to Jesus Christ’.” (F.-W. Marquardt, as quoted by Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ (WJC), Kindle Loc. 647)
Since Trinity and the Kingdom at least, Moltmann has been arguing that the divide between Christian and Jew is the first “schism” among the people of God, one that we should seek to overcome rather than simply accept (see previous post, “Overcoming Schismatic Thinking“). The divide between Christian and Jew centers around the question of what to do with Jesus. As Moltmann articulates at the beginning of his section on “Christology in Jewish-Christian Dialogue” in WJC: “At the centre of all Jewish-Christian dialogue is the inexorable messianic question: ‘Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ The messianic hope leads us to Jesus, but it also hinders Jews from seeing Jesus as the expected messiah who has already come.” (Kindle Loc. 546) Continue reading The Jewish ‘No’ to Jesus is a ‘Yes’ to the Messianic Future
Below is a quote to give you a taste of what we are getting into (via Juan C. Torres, who is also a member of our group and blogs over at PostMoltmannian):
Every human christology is a ‘christology of the way’, not yet a ‘christology of the home country’, a christology of faith, not yet a christology of sight. So christology is no more than the beginning of eschatology; and eschatology, as the Christian faith understands it, is always the consummation of christology.