Consider some implications of Christian existence in the tension between the “already” and the “not yet” kingdom of God, in what has been called “the time between the times.

This topic requires you to consider some implications of Christian existence in the tension between the “already” and the “not yet” kingdom of God, in what has been called “the time between the times.” It may be helpful to review portions of Gordon Fee’s lecture this week and to reflect on the superb analogy of Oscar Cullman (as cited by Gordon Fee) likening the victory in Jesus’ death and resurrection to WWII’s D-Day, and Jesus’ future return to V-Day.

Assignment:

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Consider some implications of Christian existence in the tension between the “already” and the “not yet” kingdom of God, in what has been called “the time between the times.
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Part A: Imagine that you have a Christian friend battling a crippling or fatal disease, or facing the loss of a loved one, and asking the natural questions “Why?” or “Where is God?” Consider how the biblical teaching on the “already/not yet” tension might help to comfort and encourage him or her.

Instructions:

Write an approximately 500-word letter to a hypothetical friend in such a situation (you pick the particulars) in which you:

  1. Explain the “already” and “not yet” aspects of the kingdom of God;
  2. Attempt sensitively and empathetically to offer comfort and encourage their faith based upon these truths;
  3. Incorporate some insights from chapters 3-6 in the Keller book in your discussion.

 Keller, Timothy. Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of the Son of God. 1st Riverhead trade pbk. ed., Riverhead Books, 2013. 

Please note that in a real-life situation there would be need for much more support in different ways (prayer and the ministry of being present with them spring to mind immediately), but a strong theology of who God is, what he has done and will do, etc., are certainly part of facing such challenges. A good understanding of the inaugurated-but-not-yet-consummated kingdom is not the only aspect of such a theology, because much more could be said of Jesus’ own suffering, his character and attributes, etc.

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