How should a Christian apocalyptic imagination, which construes God's redemptive actions through the arresting visions and hyperbolic words of biblical apocalyptic writings, shape our discipleship?
Early Christians, steeped in the apocalyptic imagination of post-exilic Judaism, saw themselves as a community of pilgrims. Barry Harvey urges us to celebrate this vision through worship and service.
Reviewing the Apostle Paul's use of apocalyptic imagery to decry the mistreatment of the natural world, Harry Hahne challenges "a popular misperception that apocalypses are world-denying." Susan Garrett interprets the scary cast of fallen characters -- Satan, demons, and other nefarious beings -- that we encounter in apocalyptic writings.
If handled with care, apocalyptic theology helps "demythologize our own institutions and deflate human pretensions and arrogance," Scott Lewis, S.J., notes. Yet, much religious violence is inspired by apocalyptic images of cosmic warfare. Thomas Kidd reviews how some gloss biblical apocalypses with morbid scenarios of Islam's demise. "Essential religious differences give no one, Muslim or Christian, the right to harm, insult, or demonize the other," he counsels.
Christian Reflection is an ideal resource for discipleship training in the church. Multiple copies are available for group study at $3.00 per copy.
The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to explore the centrality of apocalyptic imagination in the Christian life. The study guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.
- "The Church as a Company of Nomads" by Barry Harvey
- "The Whole Creation Has Been Groaning," by Harry Alan Hahne
- "Satan and the Powers," by Susan R. Garrett
- "Is Apocalyptic Imagination Killing Us?" by Scott M. Lewis, S. J.
- "Islam in Apocalyptic Perspective" by Thomas S. Kidd
- "Terrible Judgment," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Gislebertus' The Last Judgment
- "Apocalyptic Visions in Black and White," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Albrecht Dürer's Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and St. Michael and the Dragon
Hymn and Worship Service
- "The End of It All,"by Brett Younger
- "An Authorized Look into the Life Beyond,"by Harold T. Bryson
- Other Voices, Quotations on Apocalyptic Vision
- "Leaving 'Left Behind' Behind," by Jonathan Sands Wise
- Craig L. Blomberg and Sung Wook Chung, eds., A Case for Historic Premillennialism: An Alternative to "Left Behind" Eschatology
- Barbara R. Rossing, The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation
- Stephen L. Cook, The Apocalyptic Literature
- "Death, Resurrection, New Creation," by Dan Epp-Tiessen
- N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
- Donald G. Bloesch, The Last Things: Resurrection, Judgment, Glory
- Jürgen Moltmann, The Coming of God: Christian Eschatology
Study Guides and Lesson Plans (Download the set of six Study Guides)
- "The Church as a Company of Nomads"
- "The Whole Creation Has Been Groaning"
- "Satan and the Powers"
- "Is Apocalyptic Imagination Killing Us?"
- "Islam in Apocalyptic Perspective"
- "An Authorized Look into the Life Beyond"
- "The War of the Lamb," by Harry O. Maier