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How do you envision the reign of God on earth?
What do you believe about God’s plan for the last days?
What we believe about the kingdom of God deeply affects how we relate to the world we inhabit here and now. In this new book, professor and scholar Debra Mumford takes the Christian study of “last things” (eschatology) and makes it practical for pastors and church leaders today. “Eschatology is not just about how humanity will be judged on the last day,” she argues, “but how we live our lives every day…. Eschatology is not simply about our ultimate destruction but rather how we construct and conduct our human existence daily. Eschatology is an existential endeavor that every pastor and preacher who wrestles with the will of God for all of creation must take up with earnest intentionality.” Each chapter considers the eschatological beliefs of a different preacher and how those beliefs shape the style and content of that leader’s ministry.
With great clarity and theological depth, Debra Mumford expands and stretches our understandings of eschatology, while also providing guidance for how to preach each of the eleven eschatologies she discusses. In the process she helps us see how critical our visions of the future are for shaping our life and actions here and now. Mumford rescues eschatology from the realm of scary end times, and reclaims it as a central, hopeful, and transformative theme that runs throughout the ministry of Jesus. While she wrote this book with pastors and seminarians in mind, it would also make a great discussion book for adult education classes.Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Clement Muehl Professor Emerita of Homiletics, Yale Divinity School
The Gospels are clear that the central message of Jesus is the presence and coming of the realm [kingdom] of God. But what is this realm and how and when does it come about? In an engaging and accessible book, Professor Mumford answers this question by explaining the viewpoint of the Gospels and then summarizing how eleven different theological families, ranging from Darbyism to various liberation theologies, interpret the realm of God. Mumford concludes with a wholistic vision of the realm for today. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for preachers who want to help congregations make theological sense of the notion of the realm of God in ways that can transform their livesand the worldin the present as well as the future.Ronald J. Allen, Professor of Gospels and Letters, Emeritus, Christian Theological Seminary
Debra J. Mumford, PhD, MDiv, MABL is the Frank H. Caldwell Professor of Homiletics and Director of the Money Matters for Ministry program at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. She is ordained in the American Baptist Churches USA and holds degrees from Howard University, the American Baptist Seminary of the West, and the Graduate Theological Union.
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