If we omit the ethical challenge of the kingdom, our newly found this-worldliness will simply conﬁrm our selﬁsh consumerist/materialistic, upwardly mobile, late—modern lifestyle; that is, our afﬁrmation of the world (our holistic vision of salvation) will be construed to beneﬁt us (whoever we are), while we ignore the needs of the wider world, especially the concrete needs of people who are different from our favored in—group. The tragedy is that many upwardly mobile North American Christians today often hoard and guard their religious identity and economic privilege, with little concern for the poor or for immigrants, or those of other nations, cultures, or religions. This problem is, of course, not limited to North Americans or even specifically to Christians. But, given the primary audience of this book, and the extraordinary religious and economic privilege of those living in North America, we need to take this challenge seriously.—J. Richard Middleton, A New Heaven and a New Earth, 273
Thursday, December 31, 2020
That's not enough!
The point is that the transition from otherworldly salvation to a holistic understanding of the kingdom of God is impossible without personal transformation. The shift to a truly biblical understanding of salvation cannot be limited to head knowledge without moral responsibility. To put it another way, we cannot separate eschatology from ethics.