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Sun of Righteousness, Arise!: God's Future for Humanity and the Earth
Fortress Press, 2010
256 pp., $29.00
Stephen N. Williams
"I am not a historian, and not a biblical scholar either. I am merely a Christian theologian. That is to say, I am a Christian who struggles with his experiences of God: with the experience of God-forsakenness and with the experience of having been found by God when I was lost." Thus Jürgen Moltmann describes himself on the first page of his chapter on "Shekinah" in this book. His experience as a pow in World War II, and the religious pilgrimage which has undergirded his theological writings ever since, remain fresh in his mind, and what he has asked and said about God over the years has been constantly lively, never detachedly academic. Sun of Righteousness, Arise! is typical Moltmann.
He has been a major theological influence for what is now getting on for half a century. His work is not passé, but he is a sign of times gone by, when younger Protestant theologians from the German-speaking world were internationally influential. In this respect, no one has arisen to succeed Moltmann and Pannenberg, Jüngel and, perhaps, Ebeling. There has been a marked consistency in Moltmann's writing: despite conceptual shifts and theological developments, Moltmann's accents have been much the same over the decades—Trinity, eschatology, the poor and oppressed are amongst his characteristic themes. His formal series of dogmatic explorations is now complete, and this volume is supplementary, putting together lectures or essays presented over the last decade.
Moltmann informs us that the contributions in this book cluster around "three fundamental Christian insights: God is the God of Christ's resurrection[;] God is the righteousness which creates justice and puts things to rights[;] The traces and signs of God give the world meaning." These insights are distributed over four parts. The first deals with the future of Christianity, Moltmann's theses being reducible "to simple formulae: 1. The future of Christianity is the church; 2. The future of the church is the ...