Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Think Apologetics. Tabernacle of David considers this resource trustworthy and Biblically sound.
Trevor Wax, Eschatological Discipleship: Leading Christians to Understand Their Historical and Cultural Context, 288pp. B&H Academic.
I have always thought there should be more integration between eschatology and discipleship. Sadly, for many Christians, when it comes to eschatology, there is a tendency to want to debate the nature of the millennium and eschatological systems. In this book, Wax doesn’t spend time on those issues. Instead, he wants to show why eschatology is related to discipleship. After all, we are called to live as eschatological people. Inaugurated eschatology is associated with the “already but not yet” concept. In other words, we are now living in the end times (or latter days), which were inaugurated at the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The kingdom of God has been inaugurated. But the final phase of it is still in the future. So, since we live in this tension, it should impact how we live in the present. It should cause us to live ethical lives. As Wax notes, we should be asking the question, “What time is it?” and since our worldview has a teleology (history is headed in as specific direction and end goal), we should be asking how the past, present, and future shapes our understanding in following Jesus. In Chapter 4, he mentions how Pauline passages such as 1 Thessalonians 5: 1-11; Romans 13: 11-14; 1 Cor 15: 34; Philippians 3 and Colossians 3 are challenges to live a certain way in light of both the present and the future.
Wax rightly wants Christians to live within their worldview and be able to show how the Biblical worldview is a more plausible alternative than a secular worldview (he discusses the fallout of Enlightenment thought), consumerism, and the sexual revolution. In discussing secularism, he relies on the work of Charles Taylor who has widely written about the topic. In the end, Wax demonstrates how each of these worldviews leave a void. In Chapter 9, Wax spends time discussing discipleship. He mentions the work of Dallas Willard and others who have been strong advocates of personal piety and spiritual disciplines. Wax sees some benefits in their work but is concerned about an over focus on personal piety. This will lead to an over emphasis on looking inward and not enough focus on looking outward. He wants our faith to be a public faith. Of course, I was aware some had criticized Willard, Richard Foster, and others as advocating mysticism. But I always viewed spiritual disciplines as something that prepares you take your faith into the public square.
In the end, Wax does a fine job with his worldview analysis. He has also written a book that is refreshing. For many young people, eschatology is not on their radar. Many people have written it off because date setting and hyper sensationalism. It is my hope that a book like this can spark some interest in eschatology. As disciples of Jesus, people need to know it is related to both our growth and maturity. I highly recommend this book.