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Preaching and the Theological Imagination

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Edited By Zachary Guiliano and Cameron Partridge

In an era in which The Episcopal Church and the Church of England have become increasingly alarmed about numerical decline, Christian proclamation has become more important than ever. To fully meet this challenge, Anglicans must reclaim a vocation to preach the good news with both deep theological grounding and imaginative dynamism. Crucial to this process is a sustained engagement with deepening the theological imagination of the whole Christian community, through renewed practices of, and approaches to, preaching, study, and spiritual development.
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11. Preaching and Eschatology: Some New Testament Considerations. .

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11. Preaching and Eschatology: Some New Testament Considerations

Joseph Lear

PREACHERS MUST proclaim eschatological hope. And I claim they must do this because by not doing so the Church loses one of its essential resources for addressing everyday issues. I am going to make my case for the importance of eschatological preaching by illustrating how three passages in the New Testament (NT) put eschatological proclamation to practical use. In 1 Thessalonians, eschatological hope comforts those who are mourning; in Acts, it sustains a radical ethic; in 2 Peter, it wrestles with the problem of evil.

My goal is three-fold. This paper is first and foremost an exercise in description. I examine 1 Thessalonians, Acts, and 2 Peter each in turn, taking into account the interpretive issues at stake, and demonstrating how eschatological proclamation addresses the practical needs of those who hear it. The reason I have chosen to look at three specific passages and to engage primarily in an exercise of description is because biblical texts are what preachers use. Discussing at a theoretical level what preaching should accomplish is important, but the discussion must always return to the concrete texts that preachers use from week to week. Second, I defend preaching eschatological hope as an efficacious way of dealing with everyday issues in church. If these passages are to be used and to be imitated, then there must be good reason for doing so. Finally, these descriptions need to be...

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