Hope for the Kingdom

       Jürgen Moltmann and the Emerging Church in Conversation     

Though it may not be broadly apparent yet there is a new widespread undercurrent of ecclesial activity happening across this country and throughout this world.  While some who assess this movement like to focus on a couple of more prominent figures the reality is that within this emerging conversation there is not a Wesley, or a Calvin, or Loyola or Fox.  Instead of providing the discontents with a packaged form of new thinking even the prominent voices tend to instead give clarity and approval to what a very diverse group of people from all walks of life are putting into concrete expression in small communities.  The emerging movement is still in its infancy and while creating waves in ministry circles it does not have yet either a potent force or a considered respect.  It has not even yet had its Azusa Street event in which the seeds of change begin to blossom into substantive influence.  Outside of those who find the various themes to resonate it is still a fringe movement, one more likely to be dismissed by scholars and leaders interested in established thought rather than fleeting.  Part of the reason for this is this movement in many ways seeks to undermine fifteen hundred years of Church tradition.  Or, I should say, not undermine, as much as adapt to the reality that this treasured fifteen hundred years of Church tradition has already been undermined as it buckles in the face of overwhelming cultural change. 
           
Another reason for a still pervasive dismissal of emerging church thought is the fact that this has been, thus far, a bottom up movement, sparked by dissatisfaction among the rank and file, thus for a long while characterized by rejection and searching rather than a considered method and philosophy.  It has been led by instincts and driven by vague spiritual discontent which wants to let go of what binds and leap into a river of new thoughts, ministry, and liturgy.  It has been easier, then, to say what emerging churches are against rather than what they are working towards.  However, this is changing.  Such works as Emerging Churches by Gibbs and Bolger exemplify a new kind of study in which the positive contributions are highlighted and help to gather together the assorted threads into a more sturdy cord. 1 
           
Yet, while practical theology is an important study, it seems that the charge of emerging being a fleeting rather than persistent movement is not going to be addressed by assessing the particularities, even shared particularities, of gathered avant gardes.  Of course, the global success of Pentecostalism over the last century might suggest the lack of a more formal theology is not a hindrance but might even be a boon, especially for those suspicious of academic endeavors.  Yet, Emerging churches also miss the vibrancy of Pentecostalism, and cannot depend on the emotional or spiritual fervor that helped Pentecostal thought reach out and persist to our present, in which there are now increasing intellectual considerations of Pentecostal theology.  This leads to the problem that while very intriguing and stimulating for those who resonate the emerging movement exists in a muddled middle ground with neither intellectual foundations or enthusiastic contributions.  In a lot of ways this reflects more of a monastic impulse than a church growth strategy, and like with many monastic movements has both a profound and limited draw. 

In considering not merely the outward liturgical changes or the impassioned pleas made at national conferences but also the underlying motifs it becomes apparent there is more to this present movement than a fleeting, youthful rejection of the Establishment.   There is in fact a theology and a very intriguing one at that.  I note that it is intriguing because in studying the recent writings on and from the emerging conversation I found it vaguely echoing other voices, voices which are in fact deeply embedded not within the cutting edge of ministry but rather within the hallowed halls of our most esteemed universities.  This vague echo pushes me to consider that instead of being a fleeting movement to appease the angst of the early 21st century there is something deeper going on that is finding expression from all sorts of contributors, many of whom are not in dialogue.    One voice in particular stands out.  That of Jürgen Moltmann, an avant garde in his own right to be sure. 
          
It is the goal of this present work, then, to bring together Moltmann and the Emerging church, to see how they illustrate together a shared yearning, albeit in different forums and with different expressions.  Both have much to offer the other. Moltmann can contribute a very well considered theological foundation, and help provoke the Emerging churches towards an increasing consideration of the themes which are essential if this movement is to persist and mature.  The Emerging church can help bring out the practical aspects of Moltmann’s oft heady theology, putting into practice and showing methods that bring the emphases of Moltmann into the real world.  The pastors can help the theologian move past the vague goals, and the theologian can help the pastors focus and hone their instincts into a driving force with clear boundaries and established motivations.  I will begin this dialogue by first, briefly,  discussing the foundations of the Emerging Church movement and seek to show how Moltmann not only can dialogue but how, in fact, he very much resonates in substantive ways with the Emerging Church in motivation.  Following this I  will examine shared themes of emerging thought and Moltmann.  I will end by placing Moltmann and the emerging church together, establishing what seems to be the common bond between them despite the outward differences.
           
Because Emerging churches have emerged in diverse ways in diverse places and are led by diverse people it has been a little difficult to pin down exactly what the word Emerging implies.  This has caused a lot of well-meaning, but not as well-informed, researchers to try to assess or critique a limited notion of what is happening, often fitting their perceptions into what they particularly want to praise or attack in this era of postmodernity.  In order to determine how Moltmann may fit into this movement, however, it is not enough to say that both are approaching theology in new ways, and thus must have commonality.  We must look past the curtains and see what is at the source of these concepts. Instead of having a clearly defined boundary or beginning the emerging church movement is more of an amalgamation of diverse men and women who felt stirrings of discontent in the traditional churches of which they were a part.  These individuals began with a sense of what was not right, reacting against oft long entrenched customs and liturgies which they felt personally and corporately were limiting outreach and expression of personal piety.2  This discontent is generally directed against what is termed Christendom, that societal form of Christian church in which the state and the ecclesiology are tied together in formal or informal ways.  In Christendom society itself is the guardian of the church and the church is the acknowledged conscience of the society. 
           
While this arrangement offers a semblance of security for the ecclesial hierarchy there is a strong argument to be made that it has also watered down the essentials of the Christian mission in this world, and has also been a radical force in developing theology over the last fifteen hundred years — sometimes offering ease and comfort more than the essence of God’s revelation .  Theology drifted from being concerned about a mission to the poor and outcast towards the entrenchment of structures, liturgies, and hierarchies capable of enforcing a settled society.  Theology and law became intertwined so that to dispute a theological point was, for many centuries, to find oneself on the wrong side of civil society, and treated accordingly.  Even long after the state had ceased policing church polity the traditions of Christendom enforced these same patterns by strongly maintained social bonds which strongly discouraged significant reappraisal and alienated those who drifted from the sharply drawn lines.  The charge of heresy expanded into minutiae, at first leveled at those who denied the divinity of Christ then towards those who did not choose to read the King James Bible.  As the boundaries narrowed so as to maintain a sense of control over an increasingly diverse religious climate more and more people began to slip out not only of the narrowed boundaries but also out of the entire Christian worldview altogether. In rejecting part such people felt they had to reject the whole, a stark choice not entirely disputed by the so-called guardians of the Faith. 
           
Thus arose a breaking apart of Christendom into various theological camps, with this breaking apart at first extremely traumatic as in Luther’s Reformation.  As time went by, however, and more minutiae became included in the chosen canons of a particular ecclesial body the breaking apart was if not commonplace at least entirely unsurprising.   The last two centuries we have witnessed an explosion of different denominations and different denominations within those denominations.  Most in society could not parse the distinctions between the American Baptists and the Southern Baptists, however those involved can become fiercely argumentative with accusations of heresy, charges of liberalism, or labeling as legalists all too common.  The common bond of Christ chaffs among those who think there is a rigid model of expression and control to be maintained in order to stay in God’s good graces.
           
Yet, over the last twenty years even these last patterns of control have begun to erode.  The discontented faithful have wandered away from broad hierarchies and begun churches which are ruthlessly congregational, tied down by only the loosest bonds of overarching authority, generally contained within a statement of faith.  These statements are almost entirely orthodox in expressing shared Christian belief while not mandating a strict polity with only custom being the standard.  As customs change and erode, however, the loosening of the ecclesiological hierarchies has allowed a diverse and free expression of the nature of the church.  Unlike previous generations this is increasingly accepted and often encouraged, especially in regards to the now indisputable weakening of Christendom as a controlling model. 
           
Among this new openness of exploration is included those who are loosely united under the name emerging churches.  Those who participate in this are taking advantage of a now porous ecclesial structure in which the very foundational definitions of church life can be re-examined and explored even without a clear destination in mind or a well founded theological distinction.  Whereas Luther had salvation by grace, Wesley had the sanctification of the believer, and Pentecostals had the second baptism of the Holy Spirit with the gift of tongues, the emerging churches have left shore knowing only something is disordered but without a shared or settled apprehension of the order that a new era of society requires.  They provoke.  They ask.  They reject or dispute or reform without having settled guidelines or an answer to what it is they are ultimately trying to establish.  It is a freed exploration of the church possible now in an era without controlling ecclesial hierarchies interested in maintaining power or the powerful capable of maintaining their hierarchy.  
           
The curious reality is much the same can be said about Moltmann’s theological project over the last forty years.  While it may be encouraged in theological discussions to ignore biography, culture, and background of a given theologian in order to get to the heart of the philosophy this is simply impossible with Moltmann.  He doesn’t allow it.  We may be able to get away without specifics about such thinkers as Pannenberg who very much reflects the traditional model of systematic theologian at work.  Moltmann brings himself to his writings from their very beginning and throughout all his books even to the present.  He involves his own story, his own interests, his own motivations, passions, and feedback.  For Moltmann theology is not a removed philosophical exercise but a personal journey in which he wrestles with the named demons of past and present such as Auschwitz or nuclear proliferation or poverty.  He does not have a goal in mind as much as an expressed topic of his discontent.

“Let me speak personally for a moment: theology is for me a suffering from God and a passion for God’s kingdom. For me this is a messianic passion, because it is possessed and moved by the presence of the crucified Christ.  For me theology springs from a divine passion – it is the open wound of God in one’s own life and in the tormented men, women, and children of this world; from the accusation Job threw at God; from Christ’s cry of forsakenness on the cross.  We are not theologians because we are particularly religious; we are theologians because in the face of this world we miss God.  We are crying out for his righteousness and justice, and are not prepared to come to terms with mass death on earth.” 3 

Especially in the last twenty years this has turned his motivation away from trying to develop a clearly defined Moltmannian systematics towards being a provocateur, asking questions and pursuing trails, which are left uncertain how much he personally believes in any given passage. 
           
Moltmann became a theologian in the bombing of Hamburg, when he cried out to God as he saw his friend killed by burning shrapnel.  In a way Moltmann has never left this experience.  While the shells now are metaphorical and sometimes seemingly obscure he has continued to feel the burden of explosions that have torn the church and the world apart in their destructive attempts to retain order or to describe God apart from intimate connection with lived lives.  “My experiences of death at the end of the war, the depression into which the guilt of my people plunged me, and the inner perils of utter resignation behind barbed wire: these were the places where my theology was born.  They were my first locus theologicus, and at the deepest depths of my soul they have remained so.” 4  Though Emerging Church leaders have not experienced the same brutal experiences which marked Moltmann’s earliest years there is a shared motivation.  They see the ravages of the world and seek to participate as a church with theology that encounters both God and humanity within the most stark realities of present life, discovering God at the places of friction between divinity and this world. 
           
While Moltmann’s experiences of World War II marked his theological motivation other curiosities marked his theological expression.  After receiving his PhD he did not immediately embark on a theological faculty career.  He entered into ministry, a ministry with no fanfare or outstanding characteristics. Instead he and his wife “got to know the theology of the people, in their struggle for their families and their efforts to make ends meet, in their memories of their dead and in their anxieties about their children.” 5  He continues by noting “I developed my personal theology as I went from house to house, and as I visited the sick.  If things went well, on Monday I learned the text for the following Sunday’s sermon, and took it with me on my way through the parish – and then knew what I had to say in my sermon.” 6   Since that time Moltmann has “been convinced of the common theology of all believers, and firmly believe that the remote and rarified plain of pure academic theology is a desert.” 7
           
This reality is a the heart of understanding and approaching Moltmann, a fact that is all too often dismissed by those attempting to apprehend his thought and infuriating for those who prefer the cogent, rarified plains that offers a vacuum in which theological analysis supposedly thrives. In this respect Moltmann begins with context and then pursues a theological enterprise rather than beginning with a theology and letting others apply it, or not, to the pressing issues of the contemporary world.  Moltmann is always poking about the roots of theology and insists on bringing in the faces of the poor and the distracted and the abused.  While for most theologians they want to first be coherent in regards to accepted standards and philosophy, Moltmann seemingly does not care about coherence as much as integrity.  For Moltmann theology has to mean something to the person who needs to see and know God, otherwise theology is off track.
           
This almost exactly describes the situation of the emerging church and their motivations.  For most of Church history ecclesiology has been the guiding principle of theology, in essence if not explicit admission.  The nature of the church has been the guiding force in how the nature of Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the future of this world are understood.  These inherent topics are molded from above, as the Church hierarchy secures its own authority and mandates acceptable patterns.  How these acceptable patterns influence or transform a given believer is secondary to their primary goal of coherent governance.  Those in the emerging church, however, felt a driving discontent as the imposed patterns were increasingly not satisfying the intellectual, spiritual, or liturgical pressures being felt.  Too many were left out of the equation and too many were dismissed from participation even as they earnestly sought God.  Such emerging church leaders, then, sought to start with the discontent and the driving questions, letting church be shaped anew by a bottom up emphasis.   They saw ecclesial hierarchy as a desert as well, breaking free from this rarified plain in order to find an oasis of Christ’s presence. 
           
In addition to the vital biographical moments behind his initial and developing theology Moltmann has one final aspect quite vital in connection with the Emerging churches. His first book, Theology of Hope, was a product of a “marvelous freedom”.  During his early professional years at the Kirchliche Hochschule in Wuppertal he did not have to concern himself with issues of state or church polity nor even academic institutional  traditions but instead could venture out in theological exploration. In regards to his Theology of Hope he writes, “In the established, time honoured faculties, I might not have permitted myself this same audacity.  I would have tried  to keep myself safe, and in what I said to cover myself circumspectly from every side – as our theological contemporaries generally do nowadays, so as not to go wrong, or lay themselves open to censure, and at all events to remain generally acceptable candidates for further advancement.” 8
           
What is true in the “time honoured faculties” is no less true in the time honoured or even recent expressions of the established church.  A young seminarian, married with a family to support, has to play according to certain rules. While these rules may not be as specified in the latter day congregations as they are in historical churches they are no less established.  There are things to do and things to avoid in seeking advancement in mega-churches, in evangelistic organizations, in Lutheran congregations or in Orthodox hierarchy.  When career advancement is dependent on the approval of superiors it behooves a young person to maintain good graces, and to avoid making waves.  Only by being outside of the system of advancement and approval is there a freedom of exploration.  This may not avoid problems or difficulties, but at least they are different problems and new difficulties, a reality that Moltmann has induced in theology conversations since the mid-60s. 
           
While it may seem extraneous to spend time studying the oft neglected aspects of biography and motivation in the discussion of theological similarity it is for both Moltmann and the emerging church not only an interesting exploration but an essential one which each, in their particular self-analysis, insist upon.  Moltmann does not let any of his inquirers venture into his thought without constantly and consistently confronted with him as an historically placed man with particular experiences and quite passionate interests.  To understand Moltmann we have to learn about him, otherwise we may falsely attempt to systematize his thought.  Thus in seeking a Moltmannian theology the result may be excised of  Moltmann.  The reality is he won’t allow it for at every point he reminds his readers about who he is and why he is interested.  Neither will the emerging churches allow a ecclesial analysis that separates out their emphases from their experiences.  This latter reality is why Carson’s recent analysis of the Emerging movement is so often rejected as missing the mark. 9 
           
Even though Moltmann and the emerging church leaders are separated by two, and now even three, generations, as well as almost entirely different life histories and locations, the underlying motivations and provocations behind each of their theological pursuits is curiously similar.  Moltmann did not spend his career in the church but continued in the academy even, to his own lasting consternation, following a career in a State university.  However, his earliest patterns were continued even as he reached the pinnacle of academic success.  Throughout he maintained his independence and situational emphasis, taking a new step in the early 1980s when he changed course of his theology writings and began his long series of “contributions to theology” which explicitly seek to ask questions and approach theology from his own measured biases and interests as opposed to being a broad systematic theology.  This reality has meant a life long continued focus on precisely the same motivations that spark the independent ecclesial reactions of the emerging church.  Not only is Moltmann, then, a useful dialog partner with emerging church thought, it seems he is very much on the same side of the broader conversation. 
           
It takes more than a similarity of experiences and motivations, however, to arrive at a seemingly agreeable conversation.  What then does this side of the conversation contribute?  What is the Emerging Church emphasizing in its practices that seems to echo what Moltmann is offering in oft heady prose?  As previously mentioned researchers Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger determined there were nine shared traits which could loosely define the theology of the emerging Church.  These are an emphasis on the life of Jesus, the transformation of secular space, community emphasis, welcoming of the stranger, serving with generosity, broad participation, creativity, shared leadership, and the merging of ancient and contemporary worship practices.  While not so clearly listed in Moltmann’s works it is curious how many of these same themes arise in his various contributions.  The last point, that of merging ancient and contemporary worship, is not expressed in Moltmann in terms of liturgical practices, which he discusses very rarely, but can be seen instead in his own methodology, in the worship of his theological efforts.  He is particularly free in adopting arguments and emphases from a wide variety of sources throughout history and the world, combining these with a open interest in his own contributions. 
           
A thorough examination of each of these points as they are used in the Emerging Church and in Moltmann would be too expansive for this present work, indeed each of these nine points could serve as a basis for a separate examination of Moltmann’s voluminous writings.  Instead of pursuing this overbroad study which while interesting would be too lengthy for the moment, and too incomplete with less attention, it would be more effective to narrowly tie these separate contributions together with a summation offered in Moltmann’s last contribution to theology. 
           
In the discussion about his hermeneutics of Scripture Moltmann summarized what lay beneath his approach from the beginning, or as he put it, “We shall take our bearings from the following guideline.  We shall work out what in the texts furthers life, and we shall subject to criticism whatever is hostile to life.” 10  More than a consideration of his use of Scripture, this and his development of it seems to have been at the root of his whole project.  
           
He begins with “What furthers life is whatever ministers to the integrity of human life in people and communities.”  People are called by God to be whole people. They are not separate pieces glued together, a loose amalgamation of mind, soul, and body.  Instead, there is an inherent integration of the whole person as created by God.  The body was made for the soul which is for the mind which is for the body, all working together in a holistic way which in that wholeness fully participates in the fullness of God’s created order.  “As human life is complex and is lived at the same time in a number of spheres and dimensions, a number of hermeneutical processes are necessary.” 11 These hermeneutical principles are necessary because one field cannot hope to encompass the totality of life, and any attempt to do so tends towards corruption and misunderstanding.  It forces the whole human into a part, and is thus forced to repress or cut off those inconvenient aspects.  Rather than ignoring, a Christian understanding includes and transforms.  “Faith in the resurrection,” Moltmann writes, “becomes faith that raises up, wherever it transforms psychological and social systems, so that instead of being oriented on death they are oriented on life.”  He continues, “The prayer of Jesus, ‘and deliver us from evil’, is experienced and put into practice where men are liberated from these vicious circles, where the will to life is restored, and man comes out of the rigor mortis of antipathy and regains his life once more.” 12 

The life that is regained is situated internally and externally before self, God and humanity.  This process of regaining the integrity God intended involves a wide and willing exploration that is not tied down to simplistic shibboleths.  Emerging churches recognize this fact as well.   “The church,” Troy Bronsink writes, “has been equipped by Jesus’s life and teaching to take an integrated approach to learning and to risk.  We have been given the Holy Spirit for such a task.” 13  He furthers this thought by quoting Moltmann who wrote against the idea that the Church, and its particular theology, has something substantive to say on every topic. “At issue,” Moltmann writes, “is rather an orientation of all the spheres of life toward the coming kingdom of God and toward an alteration of those spheres commensurate with that kingdom.” 14  It is a mistake of theology to have so sharply separated the sacred and the secular, assuming that God has limited his participation in this world to those cleared delineated areas of religious emphasis.  Just as God works more broadly, however, so too should those who seek his Kingdom.  “In the postmodern era, there is an embrace of both body and mind, Body and soul are no longer separate but are seen as parts of the whole human system.” 15  Neither Moltmann nor the emerging church limit the pursuit of wholeness to Scripture or theology but rather are interested in the broad revelation of God’s integrity throughout various fields, topics, settings, and even other religions.  
           
The second part of Moltmann’s guideline is “What furthers life is whatever ministers to the integration of individual life into the life of the community, and the life of the human community into the warp and weft of all living things on earth.”  Moltmann here illustrates how he has a very different approach than the theologians of modernity.  Modernity emphasizes the strength of the individual and the overcoming of the whims of nature.  Humanity which had been for so many centuries subject to the powers of rulers and the forces of the world began to, through technology and philosophy, break the bonds of these constraints, and in doing so resisting that which once constrained, showing advancement by reversing the dominance.  Nature now is at our mercy and the judgments of community are dashed upon the rocks of personal choice.  Pre-modernism was consumed with appeasing nature and justifying hierarchy.  Pagan gods symbolized the efforts to understand that which was beyond control.  The dichotomy between physical and spiritual was ever more developed so as to resist the idea that the dangers of the physical world mattered as much as they clearly seemed to matter.  Nature was obsessed over or dismissed, all the while at each point decisive for humanity.  Modernity was not merely a new way of thought, it was a conquering, a supreme effort to finally let human choice be unimpeded and freed to pursue the perceived heights of potentiality.

For Moltmann, however, it is time, and maybe past time that the pursuits of modernity be put behind us.  Modernity conquered but left emptiness, waste, and destruction that literally threatens our existence.  A Moltmannian postmodernity seeks the re-integration of nature with humanity and the re-integration of the individual within the community. 16  This is not to return to a pre-modern ideal that rejects technology or tries to find a vague utopia in the idealization of the primitive.   “For all of us, there is only one alternative to the humanitarian ideas of human dignity and human rights, and that alternative is barbarism.  There is only one alternative to the ideal of eternal peace, and that is a permanent state of war.  There is only one alternative to faith in the one God had hope for his righteousness, and that is polytheism and chaos.” 17  Moltmann seeks to take the positives of modernity and in its new place of dominance have humanity step back from the now overwrought pursuits of yet more dominance.  He asks, “What must we preserve from the project of modernity, and what must we reject? What must we reinvent, so that the project does not founder?” 18    The answers to these questions fill his various contributions.  “The creatures of the natural world are not there for the sake of human beings.  Human beings are there for the sake of the glory of God, which the whole community of creation extols. The more human beings discover the meaning of their lives in joy in existence, instead of doing and achieving, the better they will be able to keep their economic, social, and political history within bounds.” 19  By participating together in integrated life that no longer pursues dominance or independence we can begin to both bring healing to the destruction and find new understanding of God who is leading us to an integrity with all that God has done and made. 

We are not isolated beings individually wrapped and separated from others so that we can pursue inner holiness or solitary oneness with God.  Instead our participation with God insists on our participation with all those God participates with and in.  “In the incarnation,” Dwight Friesen writes, “God became human as a continuation of God’s hope for creation.  God’s hope for creation is peace or shalom – wholeness.  This wholeness conjoins God, humanity, and the cosmos in a flourishing life, which simultaneously honors individuation and oneness.” 20  Pre-modernism was the experience of oneness without individuation, caught in the dominance of community and nature.  Modernity was the experience of individuation without oneness, in which the isolated human sought to overcome all forces except inner identity.   Postmodernity in the model of Moltmann and the Emerging thinkers brings individuality back into community..
           
Moltmann continues his explanation of his underlying guidelines by writing, “What furthers life is whatever spreads reverence for life and the affirmation of life through love for life.” This love for life is not expressed in wanton excess or consumeristic ambitions as the phrase is now popularly used.  Instead it is a love for real life, the life that God intended and still intends for humanity and for the whole of his world.  It is the living of life of love so as to embrace the perspective God himself has in regards to his creation.  “If whatever God has made and loves is holy, then life is holy in itself, and to live life with love and joy means sanctifying it.” 21  He continues, “to sanctify life does not mean manipulating it religiously and morally.  It means being freed and justified, loved and affirmed and more and more alive.  Life in God’s Spirit is a life entrusted to the guidance and drive of the Spirit, a life that lets the Spirit come.”  The Spirit is, as Moltmann titled his book on pneumatology, the Spirit of life.  To love life is to participate with the Spirit who is the giver of life.  To participate with the Spirit is to find a fullness of life that reaches out broadly and deeply, bringing transformation through the reverence and affirmation, a transformation which is rightly called sanctification.  The Church “is nothing in itself, but all that it is, it is in existing for others” for it “is the Church of God where it is a Church for the word.” 22
 
In existing for others it is affirming the inherent value that others possess, and in affirming this inherent value it shapes its practices, emphases, and values towards practices that help these others discern their value and embrace it, joining together with the community of those who together are rising towards God.  “The Christian Church has not to serve mankind in order that this world may remain what it is, or may be preserved in the state in which it is, but in order that it may transform itself and become what it is promised to be.” 23  For this reason the very valuing of life means avoiding the accusations of judgment or pursuing a purity focused separation.  In affirming the life of the Spirit in the life of the world “the Church takes up the society which with it lives – into its own horizon of expectation of the eschatological fulfillment of justice, life, humanity and sociability, and communicates in its own decisions in history its openness and readiness for this future and is elasticity towards it.” 24 Or, as Sherry and Geoff Maddock put it in describing their church community, “Our principle desire is to see God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.  We believe this happens when God’s people are renewed around God’s mission of love and justice in this world.” 25

The affirmation of life means the participation in the furtherance of life, a furtherance which is properly called love.  This is not merely nice feelings but embraces the holistic patterns which should be inherent in the people of God.  They who know the Spirit reach out with the Spirit towards all of Spirit-endowed life.  “To live under the canopy of the grace and healing that the kingdom of God offers is to embrace a spirituality with skin and breath. It is a celebration of the holiness of humanity in which the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” 26
           
The fourth aspect of Moltmann’s guideline is “What furthers life is whatever heals broken relationships and liberates life that has been oppressed.”  One of Moltmann’s consistent critiques of modernity is that in the pursuit of individualism and overcoming of nature not all can participate.  Indeed, the very forces that raise one up very may well push others down.   To the victor goes the spoils, as the saying goes, and the church of Christendom has sought the victory and the spoils, honoring the strong, the victorious, the talented, healthy, gregarious, and domineering.  Yet, "those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are  sick ; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners." 27 The true victory of the church is not found in domination but in restoration, in providing healing and offering wholeness to those who are broken through emotional, social, or physical hardships. 

“We have a feeling,” Brad Cecil says, “that God wants us to create a culture that is kingdom-like so that in that culture the poor, the widows, and the orphaned are cared for, the hungry are fed, the children are safe, and the community lives in peace.  This will come about not necessarily so that the King returns but that the King reigns – in other words, so God can work freely.” 28  Dave Sutton adds, “It’s about God’s children who are in desperate need.” 29  In this perspective God’s children are not merely the members of the local congregation but all of God’s valued people, which is all people.  And it is those who are the most hidden who need to hear and experience the fullness of God’s love for their lives.  For Jesus, and for us today, the “message is addressed to the poor, the wretched, the sick, and the hopeless, because these are the people who suffer most from God’s remoteness and human hostility.” 30  Theology, whether academic or practical, not only cannot ignore those who are the most vulnerable and removed from peace but must insist these are the primary concern.  The Church is not the place where victors enjoy the spoils of ravaged blessings or territorial domination.  It is a place where the deformed become transformed, newly empowered by the life-giving of the Spirit so they can reach out their hands and resonate in their contexts the Spirit’s wholeness, bringing thorough freedom. 

The Church, according to Moltmann, “is the vehicle of the gospel of freedom, not a schoolmaster for the nations.  It is not the church that has the gospel; it is the gospel that creates for itself a people of the exodus which is the true church of God.” 31  That is why “its aim is not to spread the Christian religion or to implant the church; it is to liberate the people for the exodus in the name of the coming kingdom.” 32  Those who are caught in bondage are those who need the freedom the most, who need to be delivered from their shackles and shown they are worthwhile and honorable as children of God.   What Moltmann exhorts those in the emerging churches are acting out.  After discussing the work of his church in meeting needs in their neighborhood and in neighborhoods around the world, Doug Pagitt notes, “We are quite sure that our faith must play out globally as well as locally and that our formation as people living in harmony with God depends on it.” 33  We can live in harmony with God only as others increasingly find this same harmony and the life which it endows. 
           
“What furthers life is whatever leads to the new beginning of life in hope,” Moltmann writes, continuing his explanation. 34  Life is not furthered by meeting the immediate needs so as to prevent death.  Providing someone help to rise above their circumstances places them back into regular human existence but it does not necessarily lead to the full experiencing of God.  For this to happen a person must not only be lifted out of the muck and mire they must also have a deeply embedded realization that this salvation is only the beginning of real life, and the life that God has is like day to our night.  It is the hope of God’s fullness that prompts a person to regain their footing and help others regain their footing.  It is hope in God’s reign.  This is the root of Moltmann’s theological project and from this thought propelled him looking backwards into the struggles of life and forwards into the future of God.
“God has exalted man and given him the prospect of a life that is wide and free, but man hangs back and lets himself down.  God promises a new creation of all things in righteousness and peace, but man acts as if everything were as before and remained as before.  God honors him with his promises, but man does not believe himself capable of what is required of him.  This is the sin which most profoundly threatens the believer.  It is not the evil he does, but the good he does not do, not his misdeeds but his omissions, that accuse him.  They accuse him of a lack of hope.” 35
           
The Body of Christ is the community of hope, and in everyway called to be the bearer and deliverer of hope to a world that is hopeless.  However, much of the church has long taught a passive despair.  Among the best selling books in American history are those which detail the struggles and darkness of a truly God forsaken world.  Those in Latin America were told their poverty was part of God’s plan, and so they had to endure until they found heaven.  “In actual fact,” Moltmann writes, “the call to discipleship of Christ is not aimed at faithful and loving fulfillment of our calling under the prescribed conditions – whatever the God or the forces prescribing them.  On the contrary, this call has its own goal.  It is the call to join in working for the kingdom of God that is to come.” 36 
Which is precisely the attitude of those in the emerging church, in contrast to much of the Evangelical obsessions which often takes “the view that we’re in a downward spiral and when things ‘down here’ become bad enough,

Jesus will return in glory.” 37  Instead, emerging church leaders are  now beginning to see “goodness and light in God’s future, not darkness and gnashing of teeth.” 38  They are, oddly enough, negative about the negativity in the church, reacting against this fear and despair, countering it with hope.  “God’s promised future is good,” Tony Jones writes, “and it awaits us, beckoning us forward.  We’re caught in the tractor beam of redemption and re-creation, and there’s no sense in fighting it, so we might as well cooperate.” 39  Again, this is not the Modern hope in the advancement of humanity through Science or Philosophy, in which there was a determined expectation that humanity was rising above its barbaric past.

As Moltmann found in the battlefields and prisons of World War II the advancement of society was a guise and illusion, not able to restrain the barbarism that lies at the root of humanity without God.  Instead, this hope is a truly postmodern hope in which the future is not a human dictated order but instead a hope based on relationship, relationship first with God and then with others.  It is a hoped for reality that acknowledges both human corruption and Divine transformation.   God is not just the God of the future, of heaven or judgment.  God is the God of all time and space, bringing the future hope into the present so as to transform society even now.  “To every space for living which is an invitation to an unfolding and to movement, there belongs a time for living which allows growth and completion.  Even before death we experience the Spirit of Life as the power of the divine hope which leaves us time, because it gives us future.” 40

Moltmann’s guideline is furthered developed in his sixth point.  “What furthers life is whatever ministers to God’s covenant with life, and whatever breaks the covenant of death.” 41  Here he turns his focus from the participation of humanity with humanity and begins to emphasize the Trinity in his remaining points—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The concept of the covenant of God echoes the covenants of the Torah, in which God chose a particular person, and a particular people, to be his covenant people, bearers of his blessing and of responsibility. The covenant people participated with God so as to be a light to all the nations, reflecting God’s glory horizontally to those lost in darkness.  God’s covenant with life “consists of the creation of a world open to the future, and the preservation both of existence itself and of its openness for the future of the kingdom of glory.” 42  As seen throughout the stories of Scripture this covenant is not a passive acceptance on God’s behalf, but a continual action to uphold the Covenant and bring it to its completion.  “This must,” Moltmann writes, “be understood as the divine patience.  God has patience with the world because he has hope for it. God’s hope is manifested in his readiness to endure the apostasy of the men and women he has created, their self-withdrawal and closed-in-ness.  In the patience of his love he keeps the world’s future open for it.” 43

It is not merely that the church is to minister to life for its own sake.  Rather, the church is to minister towards life because of the God who has made a covenant with life.  It is for God we participate in bringing healing and hope.  It is with God we join in the activities, emphases, and values that lead to rejuvenation and healing.  This is God’s mission with the world, not our mission.  First, there is God.  Only in joining with him do we join with the vivifying force that is committed to bringing all of Creation to its fullness.  “The gospel is not our gospel,” writes Samir Selmanovic, “but the gospel of the kingdom of God, and what belongs to the kingdom of God cannot be hijacked by Christianity.  God is sovereign, like the wind.  He blows wherever he chooses.” 44  Yet for so long God’s sovereignty has been seen as that a removed monarch, distant and in need of ceremonial protection so as to guard his holiness.  Rather than being the God who acts in covenant much of the church has fostered the idea of the God who rules from afar, watching and judging, not with patient hope but with angered wrath. 

For both Moltmann and those in the emerging church, however, God is not a removed Lord but the promising Father.  “If we are to be a truly biblical people then we must affirm that God is here with us and always has been.  He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty in the horrors of human freedom that is called history.  Even war can be used for his purpose.  He is involved.” 45  God’s commitment to his covenant means our commitment to God insists on our commitment to this covenant as well.  “If we assume that God is involved in the slums of India, then we should be as well.  If God doesn’t shrink back from trying to redeem the horrors of Rwanda, then neither should we.  If he is deeply involved in the mess of history and doesn’t shirk from deep involvement in human affairs, then neither should we.” 46  It is God’s covenant, at the very foundation of his dealings with this world, that is the ultimate foundation for the efforts to be bearers of God’s life to the lifeless and bearers of light to those in darkness.  This is the primary idea behind the emerging church emphasis on the present mission of God.  “The missio Dei represents God’s active participation in the redemption of the world.  God pursues everything in creation in need of direction and repair.  Christians do not bring the missio Dei, nor is there more than one mission Dei.  The missio Dei respects all recipients of the gospel as it identifies with them in their world.  Emerging churches seek to embrace this comprehensive understanding of the missio Dei. 47

The Trinitarian emphasis continues with Moltmann’s seventh point.  “What furthers life is, first and last, whatever makes Christ present, Christ who is the resurrection and the life in person; for in and with Christ the kingdom of eternal life is present, and this kingdom overcomes the destructive powers of death.” 48 There is no Christianity without Christ.  There is no message of hope without Christ.  There is no substantive contribution to the well-being of this world and those in it without Christ.  “The crucified Christ must be thought of as the origin of creation and the embodiment of the eschatology of being.  In the cross of his Son, God took upon himself not only death, so that man might be able to die comforted with the certainty that even death could not separate him from God, but still more, in order to make the crucified Christ the ground of his new creation, in which death itself is swallowed up in the victory of life and there will be ‘no sorrow, no crying, and no more tears.’” 49 

This is not only an emphasis on the specific salvific work of the cross.  Rather, in attempting to comprehend Christ the whole work of Jesus is pursued in both Moltmann and emerging churches.  Christology is more than a well-considered and emphasized staurology.   It is the understanding that Jesus lived as well as died, rose again as well as was sacrificed, and did for reasons other than adding texture to what would otherwise be a short tale. 50
 
“At the outset of the Gospel narrative, the good news was not that Jesus was to die on the cross to forgive sins but that God had returned and all were invited to participate with him in this new way of life, in this redemption of the world.  It is this gospel the emerging church seeks to recover.” 51  What the incarnation gave to those who lived in 1st century Palestine, the cross allows for those in later eras and wider regions—the relational interaction with Jesus the Christ.  However, this relationality is not content with the bare beginnings.  Instead, as Jesus did with his disciples this relationship insists on growth and development.  It leads to a deeper understanding and thus a deeper response to what Jesus illustrated throughout the whole of his life, from his birth to his death to his rebirth from the cave.  Just as this is not an emphasis on staurology nor is it an emphasis on the quest for the human Jesus, a jesuology which became “the projection screen for all the different fantasies of the true humanity which alienated men and women are seeking – men and women who have become strangers to themselves:  Jesus offers pure personhood, absolute humanity, the faith that gives inner certitude, and so forth.” 52  Instead, the Gospels “present the history of Jesus in the light of his messianic mission, which was inaugurated through his baptism.  His mission embraces his proclamation and his acts, his acts and his suffering, his life and his death.  His proclamation of the imminent kingdom of God is part of his all-embracing mission.” 53 

In this works of service and helps for those in need is not merely an additional expression of the work of Jesus, these are at the heart of God’s efforts no more and no less than his salvific work on the cross, which is all part of the missio Dei.  God seeks wholeness for his world in physical and in spiritual ways, ways which are detailed again and again in the four Gospels.  The Church is not merely the deliver of news about how to get into heaven, or about how to die.  “Instead,” Dieter Zander says, “the gospel about how we live! A lot of church people don’t know the relationship between the gospel of Jesus and how we are to live. They are threatened by reevaluating that. 54 Their belief is that they try to believe in Jesus so that when they die they get to go to heaven.  Populating heaven is the main part of the gospel.  Instead, the gospel is about being increasingly alive to God in this world.  It is concerned with bringing heaven to earth.  This really throws people off.” 55

Moltmann calls this Christopraxis, which is:

“…a way of life, a way in which people learn who Jesus is, learn it with all their senses, acting and suffering in work and prayer.  To know Jesus does not simply mean learning the facts of Christological dogma.  It means learning to know him in the praxis of discipleship… Christology emerges from Christian living and leads into Christian living.  A mere theory about Christ is insufficient, because purely theoretical knowledge about him is inappropriate.  Consequently, Christological theory has to point beyond itself, and paradoxically away from itself, to the doing of God’s will, in which ‘knowing Jesus’ as the Lord becomes whole and entire.” 56

This pointing away, this paradoxical point of beyond, is not a de-emphasis on the Christ or the Triune God which seeks God through others.  Instead it is the seeking of God with and among and for others, drawing ourselves and others into the missio Dei, which seeks our wholeness and the wholeness of all of Creation.  It is, at the very heart, the essence of participation with God, who in relationship is perichoretic.  The community of God is a dance, invited and taught by Jesus, empowered and led by the Holy Spirit. 
           
This reality is at the heart of Moltmann’s last point in his guideline. For the perichoretic community is not only about a full human life, it encompasses the fullness of God’s life, in eternity.  “It means ‘deified’ life too, the life of Paul and Athanasius saw in the children of God – in the sonship and daughterhood of those ‘driven’ by God’s Spirit (Rom. 8:14).  This driving power, this leaven of the Spirit, is not to be found in the Spirit’s essential nature but in his energies… They are the creative energies of the Spirit in which the uncreated and the created are bonded, and which renew the human life from its foundations , making it immortal in the eternal fellowship of God.” 57  This deified life is not about eternity in the future but encompasses eternity in its past, present, and future forms.  It is the participation with God in both his mission and in his relationship, for those participating with God are not workers or slaves, they have been adopted as children, saved by Christ and brothers with Jesus so as to recover wholeness and discover a fullness that only God can provide from his inexhaustible depths.  As Karen Ward puts it, “Church is not about a building or strategies or programs.  Church is relationship in, with, and under God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  To be church is to participate in the Trinity/divine life of God.  Because God is the source of all relationality, to focus the church on relationships is to be Christian at the core.” 58 
           
This understanding is, really, at the heart of both Moltmann and the emerging church, summing up the whole guideline within the participation with God in time and eternity, forming both outward and inward works of salvation, redemption, and sanctification into the shared theosis that encompasses unity and diversity through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  Theosis is the entering into the perichoretic relationship with God, beginning even now, so that we do not as much adopt his mission so as to develop the relationship but more fully take on his mission as we are formed in relationship.  Our instincts, motivations, goals, and patterns changing as the work of the Spirit increasingly transforms our very being. 
           
For Moltmann this reality has two unique theological expressions, one intentional and one seemingly reluctant.  From the beginning his theology of hope was founded on his eschatology, which differs from the liberal and the conservative models in a way that can also be seen to drive the emerging churches.  In the course of his writing, however, it is not his eschatology that keeps poking out from cracks and fissures. Instead, from early on there is a developing pneumatology, one which seems to result from a constant emphasis on the various aspects of his guideline, leading him deeper and more thoroughly into exploring the oft neglected third person of the Trinity.  This almost involuntary exploration culminates in his unexpected work, The Spirit of Life. 59
           
“When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.  Then Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and  wonders  you will not believe.’” 60  In essence the phrase “signs and wonders” describes the traditional views on eschatology and pneumatology.  Eschatology has long been the emphasis of those seeking to know when God will act in triumph once more.  It has become synonymous with books on End Time symbols and indications, spurring countless books and studies which purport to have a clear understanding of God’s future plans. These are often accompanied by warnings and fear, provoking a paranoia in which Christians both seek their salvation and cower in the face of historical events that have been given weighty theological importance as being the End.  The “Signs of the Time” are looked for and studied and obsessed over.  Thus leading to a situation in which there may be no greater divide from academic and popular thought than the subject of eschatology.  Those who emphasize the practical have to almost entirely neglect a thorough eschatology in order to de-emphasize the overwrought excess of end times ‘prophecy’. 
          
In the same way the study of the Holy Spirit seems to imply two concepts depending on tradition.  The Spirit is the giver of wonders in charismatic gifts such as prophesy, healing, and especially tongues in such traditions as the Pentecostal and Charismatic.  On the other side, the Spirit seems to be the invoked stamp of approval for acceptable worship, as in the epiclesis of the historic churches.  Killian McDonnell compared the historical study of the Spirit to tinsel on the tree, a showy addition placed once everything else was settled. 61  Yet it seems a more developed analogy to say that for some churches the Spirit is the icing on the cake while for other churches the Spirit is the party favors given to the invited.  For each the understanding of pneumatology is, while not extraneous, at least curiously not central, even as Spirit language may be frequent.  For Moltmann, however, eschatology and pneumatology are not about signs and wonders but about hope and life. Nor are they subsequent themes filling out primary doctrine but they are central aspects at the heart of all the rest.   
           
It is here that the seemingly distant realities of Moltmann and the emerging churches can be tied together under not only shared guidelines of exploration but also under a shared, and jointly expressed, theme.  Both Moltmann and the emerging churches are interested in the pursuit of the Kingdom of God, and it is their shared, and unique, perspective in distinction from other movements and traditions which places them so closely together.  As Gibbs and Bolger states, “The Kingdom of God offers a reference point for emerging churches as they dismantle church practices that are no longer culturally viable.” 62
 
"Lord,” the disciples asked Jesus after his resurrection, “is this the time when you will restore the  kingdom  to Israel?" 63  This is the question of not only the disciples in Jerusalem but the disciples of Jesus throughout history.  And while Jesus said, “wait” to the disciples those of later eras were not as content to wait, and they devised various pursuits of the Kingdom of God to guide their theology, each tradition finding an emphasis and pattern.  For some, as with the original questioners, this was a political kingdom in which the Kingdom of God was similar in kind to the Kingdom of Caesar, or the Kingdom of Edward, or the Kingdom of Louis, or whatever various governments were in supremacy.  The Kingdom then was defended if one approved or assaulted if one disapproved, each side taking the authority of the Kingdom of God to assert power and hierarchy as representatives of God.  The Roman Catholic Church took this in its most literal form, establishing a combination of political and spiritual rule, which even still has an occupied throne in the historic capital. 

On the other side, those who were dismayed with the potentials of their present existence sought the Kingdom in its future expectation, removed from physicality and placed in the reaches of heaven beyond pain or suffering.  The ascetic impulse sought to disregard the present realities and embrace the Kingdom that was ahead, enduring loss for the hope of future reward.  In either form the Kingdom of God was the political rule and territorial control of God, in which forms of power and authority were imposed and dominated. Whether on earth or only in heaven the Kingdom was understood as an analogy to an earthly kingdom, and so acted upon by the faithful.

Yet, Jesus seems to have deflected this interpretation again and again, comparing the Kingdom to other images, saying at one point, “The  kingdom  of God is not coming with things that can be observed;  nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!' or There it is!' For, in fact, the  kingdom  of God is among  you." 64 This idea of the Kingdom already present as well as promised leads to a conflict with the idea of an enforced political kingdom representing spheres of power and control, implying a hierarchy with God the Father at the top and his various representatives in line underneath, all purportedly emphasizing God’s rule over his Creation.  This interpretation, however, has seemingly been at the root of over fifteen hundred years of Christendom, and in Christendom’s expansion into missionary territories. 

Much has been made recently of the fact that while Jesus talked of the Kingdom of God, those who followed the Gospels neglected this topic for the most part, seemingly changing the topic of conversation away from the Kingdom of God.  However, it seems that while the Kingdom of God as a named topic was neglected, the content of this theme was not only not neglected it was entirely embraced, and embraced anew in the writings of Moltmann and in the expressions of the emerging churches.  For the Kingdom of God is not one of politics, or control, or representative authority, or territorial ownership as in an earthly Kingdom.  The promised Kingdom came with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and is a Kingdom of relationality in which the Spirit guides all believers and all of creation into the perichoretic community of the Triune God. In contrast to the political forms of the Kingdom “the doctrine of the Trinity… talks about the great pattern of community of the tri-une God, which is reflected and manifested in the community of Christ as a community of brothers and sisters.  It is not the monarchial church which can be considered the image and icon of the triune, and not the communio hierarchica; it is the community of free and equal men and women, for that is the community of believers and the baptized.” 65
 
In practice this entails the attitudes and emphases of the previous guidelines.  The furtherance of Life is the furtherance of the Kingdom, and the furtherance of Life is only possibly by participation with the Spirit of Life who is the power and relationality of the Triune God for us.  “Emerging Churches draw their inspiration and model from the example of Jesus.  They recognize that they have moved from the physical proximity of Jesus to his presence in the midst of their community by his Holy Spirit.  The risen Christ now works by his Spirit, who operates through the community as well as beyond it, in the furtherance of his purposes in the wider world.” 66  The relationality of the Holy Spirit is both a present and eschatological reality in which we experience in the present what we will experience in full throughout eternity, a flowing, dancing, perichoretic relationship with the Triune God.  The pursuit of the Kingdom of God, then, is the pursuit of this relationality as it applies to our communities, to our neighbors, to all those in this world and all that has been created.  The Kingdom is a divine relationality with the Spirit as both content and power, so that as we embrace this relationality of the Spirit we enter into the Kingdom that is already among us, and not yet wholly apparent.  Jesus promised the coming Kingdom.  Pentecost was the beginning of the fulfillment of this promise. 

It is this understanding of the Kingdom of God as being inherently relationship rather than politics that binds Moltmann and the emerging churches together. For both of them the Kingdom of God is a pneumatological pursuit that entirely dismantles all forms and structures which impede a whole and thriving relationship between God and humanity while insisting upon an equality between one human and another.  What Moltmann explores in his writings is that which the emerging churches are exploring in their developing practices, the driving power of the Kingdom of God as the presence of the Holy Spirit, who deflects attention towards Father and Son, drawing all into the divine community. This is part of the perichoretic dance, for the Spirit leads to the others in the Trinity even as the Father sent the Son and the Spirit, and the Son pointed towards the Father and promised the Spirit, who is the Kingdom among us.  “It is not in our domination that the coming God is present through his life-giving Spirit; it is in our hope.  It is not in our power that the grace that raises us up is made perfect;  it is in our weakness.” 67 It is in our relationships with one another and with God that we taste the fullness of the Divine Order. 

That is why there seems to be much in common with these seemingly different participants.  What would a Moltmannian church look like?  It would look a lot like the emerging churches. What would a developed emerging theology sound like?  It would sound a lot like Moltmann. Both are emphasizing the future and the present of the Kingdom of God.  Both are emphasizing Life.  This Life is our hope.


1 Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger

2 See the Appendix in Gibbs and Bolger for brief biographies of the major interviewed Emerging Church leaders.

3 Jürgen Moltmann, A Passion for God’s Reign, edited by Miroslav Volf (Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1998), 2.

4 Jurgen Moltmann, Experiences in Theology (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 2000), 4. 

5 ibid, 5.

6 ibid.

7 ibid.

8 ibid. 7

9D.A. Carson, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church (Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, 2005).    Cf. the blog post by Ryan Bolger at http://thebolgblog.typepad.com/thebolgblog/2005/05/d_a_carson_beco.html

10 Moltmann, Experiences, 149. 

11 Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 1993), 292.

12 ibid., 294. 

13 “The Art of Emergence”, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, edited by Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones (Grand Rapids:  Baker Books, 2007), 68. 

14 Jürgen Moltmann, A Passion for God’s Reign, 54. Quoted in Bronsink, 68. 

15 Gibbs and Bolger, 78. 

16 See Tim Conder, “The Existing Church/Emerging Church Matrix”, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, 100 for the Emerging view of postmodernity as compared with modernity on nine different aspects of ecclesial ministry. 

17 Moltmann, A Passion for God’s Reign, 15.

18 ibid.

19 Jürgen Moltmann, God in Creation (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 1993), 139.

20 “Orthoparadoxy”, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, 204.

21 Jürgen Moltmann, The Spirit of Life (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 1992), 176.

22 Jürgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 1993), 327. 

23 ibid.

24 ibid., 328.

25 “An Ever-Renewed Adventure of Faith”, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, 80. 

26 ibid. 88. 

27 Mark 2:17 (NRSV)

28 Gibbs and Bolger, 147.

29 ibid.

30 Jurgen Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993), 96. 

31 Jürgen Moltmann, The Church in the Power of the Spirit (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993), 84.

32 ibid. 

33 Doug Pagitt, Church Re-Imagined (Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, 2005), 211.

34 Moltmann, Experiences in Theology, 149. 

35 Moltmann, Theology of Hope, 22ff.

36 ibid., 333. 

37 Tony Jones, “A Hopeful Faith”, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, 130. 

38 ibid.

39 ibid. 

40 Moltmann, The Coming of God, 118.

41 Moltmann, Experiences in Theology, 149ff.

42 Jurgen Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 1993), 209.

43 ibid. 

44 Samir Selmanovic, “The Sweet Problem of Inclusiveness”, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, 194.

45 Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch, The Shaping of Things to Come (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2003), 123. 

46 ibid. 

47 Gibbs and Bolger, 53

48 Moltmann, Experiences in Theology, 150. 

49 Moltmann, The Crucified God, 217. 

50 Or a two hour Mel Gibson movie. 

51 Gibbs and Bolger, 54.  They continue by quoting an emerging church leader who privately said, “We have totally reprogrammed ourselves to recognize the good news as a means to an end—that the kingdom of God is here.  We try to live into that reality and hope.  We don’t dismiss the cross; it is still a central part.  But the good news is not that he died but that the kingdom has come.”

52 Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ, 61. 

53 Ibid, 95. 

54 This threat is directed towards both individuals and institutions.  A Church emphasizing patterns of this present life would have formed and developed entirely differently in contexts such as Latin America, where life was discounted, death emphasized, for theological and structural reasons that helped to secure the power of the Church and State. 

55 Quoted in Gibbs and Bolger, 55.

56 Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ, 43. 

57 Moltmann, Experiences in Theology, 150.

58 Gibbs and Bolger, 102.

59 Unexpected because he did not anticipate a book dedicated to the Holy Spirit in his initial conception of his various “contributions”.  See Moltmann, God in Creation, xvii in which he lists his books on the Trinity, God in Creation, Christology, Eschatology, and Foundations and Method.  Pneumatology, which was thought to have been covered in his earlier book on the Church, continued to peek out of the themes in these contributions until it was clear a whole new effort had to be squeezed in between Christology and Eschatology, the appropriate place for the Spirit who brings us to Jesus and into Eternity. 

60 John 4:47ff.  (NRSV)

61 Killian McDonnell, “The Determinative Doctrine of the Holy Spirit”,  Theology Today Vol. 39(July 1982): 142.

62 Gibbs and Bolger, 46. 

63 Acts 1:6

64 Luke 17:20ff. (NRSV)

65 Moltmann, The Coming of God, 183.

66 Gibbs and Bolger, 90. 

67 Moltmann, A Passion for God’s Reign, 16.

 

 


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