Kevin Vanhoozer on living between the Advents

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“The climax – crucifixion, resurrection, Pentecost – may be in the past; not so the consummation.  The church lives between the times.  A new age – characterized by the Spirit’s ministry of the new covenant – has dawned, but the dawn has yet to give way to full daylight.  Present-day Christians find themselves stretched between two poles: we are audience to the historical drama and participants in its ongoing development.”

“Yet in one important respect – the eschatological – the church’s situation in the twenty-first century is the same as that of the first-century church: like the primitive church, the present-day church lives between the times, between the advents of Jesus Christ.  Thanks to the missions of the Son and Spirit, the present evil age now stands in dramatic tension with the new creation, for the latter has invaded the former.  The theo-drama is eschatological.  The church is caught up in a ‘war of the world’ and a conflict of ‘economies’: on the one side, the city of man with its economy of self-aggrandizement; on the other, the city of God with its economy of peace and love.”

“The purpose of Christian doctrine is to direct Christians to speak and act in ways that correspond to the distinct eschatological ethos that characterizes the kingdom of God.  As the apostle Paul says, we do not contend against flesh and blood, ‘but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).  These powers include ideologies that compete for the hearts and minds of individuals and nations.  Doctrine directs us to perform otherworldly scenes on the dimly lit cultural stages of this world.”

– Kevin Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine, p. 111

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