The relationship between eschatological hope and Christian mission in the theology of Jurgen Moltmann and its implications for Seventh-Day Adventist theology.
This research has the primary objective of developing Seventh-day Adventist theology through a dialogue with Jurgen Moltmann, on the relationship between eschatological hope and Christian mission. Due to space limitations, the particular focus in Seventh-day Adventist theology is on the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment. This research demonstrates that while there are some areas of agreement between Moltmann and Seventh-day Adventist theology, such as that eschatological hope does influence Christian mission, there are also remarkable differences in their views of Christian mission. The particular area that is identified in this study is that of social justice. While Moltmann’s eschatological hope drives him to strong socio-political agendas, Seventh-day Adventist eschatology, while strong in such areas as health and education as methodologies of mission, falls short of the extent of emphasis in socio-political mission that Moltmann has. It is particularly found to be so in the Seventh-day Adventist doctrine of the Investigative Judgment that has traditionally been given spiritual significance to believers on earth as they wait for the Parousia. The dialogue between Seventh-day Adventist theology and Moltmann is designed to challenge SDA theology, even though Moltmann completely rejects the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment. The study argues for a “socio-spiritual” version of the Investigative Judgment. “Socio” refers to its earthliness in direct socio-political relevance to the community, while “spiritual” refers to its heavenliness and relational significance between the saint(s) and Christ. The research begins with an introductory chapter that orients the reader with matters like the background, methodologies and structure of the research. The research then continues to do an analytical overview of the major scholarly discussions on this topic. It then considers Moltmann’s views, and after that the views of Seventh-day Adventist theology. Prior to the analytical focus on the Seventh-day Adventist theology of the Investigative Judgment, there is a chapter dedicated to an overall comparison of Moltmann’s and Seventh-day Adventist theology. The focus becomes polemical in revising the Seventh-day Adventist theology of the Investigative Judgment towards an added significance that is directly socio-political and transformational. The closing chapter then demonstrates the added value of the proposed version of the Investigative Judgment in the South African socio-political context. The significance of this research lies in the fact no other work has, to the knowledge of the researcher, ever proposed a revision of the Seventh-day Adventist theology of the Investigative Judgment towards direct socio-political relevance, beyond, and not instead of, the traditional spiritual significance, especially through a dialogue with Jurgen Moltmann.