Contextual Theologies of Mission: Samuel Escobar and Jeremy Wynne Compared (Pt. 2)

Today we continue this series exploring the similiarities and differences between Samuel Escobar’s theology of mission and Jeremy Wynne’s interpretation of Moltmann’s theology  of mission. In this post we will take a quick look at Jeremy Wynne’s reading of Moltmann.

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Jeremy Wynee

While Escobar constructs a theology of mission which takes into account social and political realities, Wynee explores the contributions of Jurgen Moltmann’s systematic theology, especially his eschatology, to theology of mission. Wynne suggest that there are four lines of thought in Moltmann’s theology that are especially relevant to missiology: 1-the notion of an eschatologically open future, 2-the Trinitarian sending God, 3-Christian theology of history and 4-the scope of salvation.

Moltmann believes that the “future of history must be kept open as the field of God’s mysterious and unpredictable works” since a closed history robs our hope for the future.[1] This claim is important to missiology because it attempts to explain God’s plans and His identity as he enacts those plans.

Trinitarian Theology is another important contribution by Moltmann to missiology. Moltman claims that “mission has it origins in nothing less than the very being of God” since “mission is an attribute of God, not an activity of human beings.”[2] Thus there is a connection between systematic theology of the Trinity and missiology.

Moltmann’s systematic study of the nature of Christian history is important as well because it attempts to preserve the integrity of the human experience of time and the reality of God’s incarnational participation in time while addressing the nature of God and of time.[3] Moltmann’s theology of history is of great interest to mission theologians because it is a theology which is “future-directed and oriented to the here and now.” This is helpful because if we are to understand God’s mission we must realize that there is a certain amount of tension in the fact that God’s rule is both now and not yet.

These three areas of Moltmann’s theology are very important to missiology but perhaps the most important aspect of Moltmann’s contribution is his understanding of the scope of salvation. Wynne explains that for Moltmann death envelops the whole person, but the hope of salvation is that humans “can live wholly here, and die wholly, and rise wholly there.”[4] Thus for Moltmann salvation is holistic, this is something that missiologists have fought hard to explain. In addition to holistic salvation Wynne explains that Moltman believes in the “intrinsically and inclusive nature of salvation”[5] Since many missiologists are concerned about who will be saved and how they come to salvation, this interesting theory is actually the “greatest obstacle for missiologists interested in Moltmann’s eschatology.”[6] By covering these four areas of Moltmann’s theology Wynne shows that Moltmann’s eschatology is especially important to the task of missiologists.

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[1] Jeremy J. Wynee, “Serving the Coming God: The Insights of Jurgen Moltmann’s Eschatology for Contemporary Theology of Mission,” Missiology: An International Review 35, no. 4 (October 2007): 439.

[2] Wynne, “Serving the Coming God: The Insights of Jurgen Moltmann’s Eschatology for Contemporary Theology of Mission,” 440.

[3] Wynne, “Serving the Coming God: The Insights of Jurgen Moltmann’s Eschatology for Contemporary Theology of Mission,” 443.

[4] Wynne, “Serving the Coming God: The Insights of Jurgen Moltmann’s Eschatology for Contemporary Theology of Mission,” 446.

[5] Wynne, “Serving the Coming God: The Insights of Jurgen Moltmann’s Eschatology for Contemporary Theology of Mission,” 446.

[6] Wynne, “Serving the Coming God: The Insights of Jurgen Moltmann’s Eschatology for Contemporary Theology of Mission,” 448.

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