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After focusing on the resurrection of the crucified Jesus and the cross of the risen Christ,1 Moltmann has now written on ecclesiology, the third major work in a trilogy in which he seeks to reinterpret the doctrine of the church. He writes from the conviction that the church in the 20th century is in the midst of deep crisis. Far from being pessimistic about this, however, he contends that such an hour will force the church to reexamine its origins, and in so doing, it will find its bearing, rediscover its mission and move into the future in the power of the Spirit. For Moltmann, the early church was rooted in an eschatological vision of the coming kingdom, a vision that has recurred within the church throughout its history, bringing with it spiritual renewal. Two world views flow out of this eschatological vision. The first holds an apocalyptic view of a corrupted church in the midst of the decaying world. In this view God is about to break into history, judge the wicked, and redeem his faithful remnant. The second view stems from a conviction that God has already decisively broken in from the end of history in the Incarnation. The church, therefore, takes its bearing by looking back to the Easter event and Pentecost, rather than attempting to read the "Signs of the Times" (optimistic or pessimistic) in the age in which it lives. This second option, Moltmann asserts, is the authentic Christian view.


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