Reflection on Hope

How the world ends, and how my world ends, are matters about which evangelicalism has invested much attention. However, both lectures and readings have sought to improve upon evangelical eschatology. Wilson is drawing out an evangelical eschatology that emphasizes themes you may have found unfamiliar or unused in your prior experience with evangelicalism. Jinkins and I are advising you to appreciate the sheer symbolism of biblical words about the future, rather than to concentrate on developing a detailed chronology out of them. McLaren's narrative of hope is showing an alternative to the evangelical preoccupation with (a) "saving souls" by pressuring a "decision for Christ" (in the evangelical senses of all these terms) and (b) delineating exactly who in the world is "saved" and "unsaved." Rutledge's sermons do not explicitly end with a call to "pray the Sinner's Prayer". These are hearty challenges! Let's see if they do make for improvement.

Write an imaginary letter to someone in your life who needs to hear the Christian message of future hope. (You may choose to write to a group of people.) Tailor your message to specific needs, and frame it in terms of course concepts. Include explicit citations in parentheses from lectures, Jinkins, Wilson, Rutledge, McLaren, my "Advent's Answer to the Problem of Evil," and/or any other relevant materials from throughout the course. (I want to see at least two of these sources referenced.) You do not need to adopt the positions that lectures and readings have advocated, but you should indicate that you understand them. (You might want to oppose them, or oppose other ideas that would kindle false hope.)

While hope's social and personal dimensions are of course intertwined, you may concentrate on whatever dimension(s) pertain to your reader's particular needs.

Since your peer reviewer and I will both be reading this, you should be sensitive to issues of privacy and confidentiality. You may change name(s) if you wish. I promise confidentiality. If your peer reviewer will not promise it as well, then you should change your essay accordingly, or if all else fails, work with me to arrange for a different reviewer.

Please keep your paper three pages, double-spaced, and follow the directions in my handout for writing papers.

Remember, I want to see proper style, clear writing, a thorough answer to the question, and explicit citations of course materials.

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