Thoughts of a Living Christian

Musings of an amateur theologian and hopeful writer

The Church’s Kingdom-Oriented Mission

Introduction

According to the German theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg, “the central concern of the Church, and the primary point of reference for understanding the Church, must be the Kingdom of God.”[1] He elsewhere states,

In this way the church is related to the coming kingdom of God: the kingdom of God is not the church; it is the future of the church, as it is the future of all mankind. But the church is the community of those who already wait for the kingdom of God for Jesus’ sake and live from this expectation.[2]

Pannenberg insists upon a proleptic understanding of the function of the Church as a sign of the future fellowship believers will experience with the coming Kingdom of God, which has, paradoxically, already arrived with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Kingdom has indeed arrived in the proclamation of Jesus as Messiah, and thus the values of the Kingdom, predominately love which results in perfect peace and justice, are to be central in the Church’s mission. The Church will never permanently implement these values, or any lasting positive social change, for it is merely provisional until the Kingdom arrives, which will bring the final consummation of humanity.

This essay seeks to analyze Pannenberg’s ecclesiology, with particular focus on the role of pneumatology, which he argues is a core aspect of any ecclesiological discussion, and the relationship the Church has with the Kingdom of God. Discussion will begin with analysis of his ecclesiology, before moving to the Church’s function as proleptic sign of the Kingdom. The essay will then assess the way in which, according to Pannenberg, the eschatological realization of the Kingdom influences the Church’s mission in contemporary society, with critical reflection before concluding with an assessment of the viability of this theological perspective.

The Church and The Kingdom of God

Pannenberg begins his ecclesiology with discussion of the vital role of the Spirit in the formation of the Church. He argues the Church is a continuation of God’s creative work, the Spirit eschatologically unifying believers with one another and with the Son, empowering them to continue God’s work of creation. Hence, the Spirit and Son work closely in forming the Church; Spirit enables and Son fashions.[3]

The Spirit is gift in our lives producing fellowship with Jesus, who is criterion for entering the Kingdom of God. This communion with Jesus brings people into the Kingdom, giving us a taste of our final eschatological humanity, precisely because Jesus is himself the Kingdom of God. According to Grenz, “Pannenberg describes the church as the anticipation of a new eschatological humanity,” and “the Spirit grounds not only the individual assurance of faith but also the fellowship of believers.”[4] Furthermore Pannenberg states,

The gift of the Spirit has a soteriological function as an anticipation of the eschatological outpouring of the Spirit and is defined as a gift by the fact that Jesus Christ has given him to believers, the eschatological future of salvation having dawned already in his own person and history, so that they are aware that the Spirit they have received is the Spirit of Jesus Christ.[5]

The Church is the eschatological people, gathered for mission, unified as the Spirit witnesses to, and reveals, Jesus in believers. The Spirit reveals the eschatological nature of Jesus’ resurrection as the future eschaton itself, breaking into the present, promising the resurrection of the dead to come for believers. Thus it is only by the Spirit’s work that Jesus is the foundation of the church, leading believers to the Father.[6] Pannenberg hence appropriately labels the Church as “the field of activity of the Spirit of Christ.”[7]

The Church, as the new People of God, has as its vocation the reflection of the light of the nations: Christ. This does not mean, however, the Church possesses light and authority to force a sense of superiority over this world.[8] Believers are bound together with Jesus through the knowledge that in Jesus the consummation of humanity has come, revealed by the Spirit, enabling us to see Jesus as Messiah. However, distinction must be made between Jesus and the church, and the kingdom of God and the Church; the church anticipates the future fellowship of humanity in God’s Kingdom. Jesus is the consummation of humanity, but this consummation is yet to find total actualization in the arrival of the Kingdom of God. The church must therefore educate believers for the Kingdom.[9]

Pannenberg asserts that the Church’s existence finds its origin “when the first step was taken to proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection and exaltation,”[10] referencing Pentecost as this decisive moment. However, the resurrection and Pentecost were merely partial aspects of the consummation of the Kingdom, as was the formation of the primitive community which would find realization in the fellowship in the Kingdom of God.[11]

The rule of Christ is…already present in the church’s proclamation. For the rule of Christ can have no different goal from his earthly ministry, where it was to call men into the kingdom of God and to proclaim the coming of that kingdom. Through the continuation of the mission of Jesus Christ in the church’s proclamation of Christ, the rule of Christ shows itself to be present within it. And yet the community of Christians in the particular historical form which its life takes at any given time is not identical with the kingdom of Christ.[12]

Jesus’ earthly work was the formation of a church and the proclamation of the nearness of the Kingdom, for the immanence of Jesus means no less than the immanence of the Kingdom. The calling of the 12 disciples was less the formation of a core community, and more a symbolic eschatological action, representing the restoration of Israel. With the rejection of the Easter message by most of the Jewish population, this core fellowship transcended the bounds of the Jewish people, becoming a representation “of the destiny of all humanity as a new and definitive society in the Kingdom of God.”[13] The 12 were thus “a provisional sign of God’s dominion, although in such a way that in it the future of this dominion was present already, even if not fully so.”[14] Furthermore, Pannenberg argues that Jewish eschatology had always included recognition of the inclusion of the Gentiles; “In Israel expectation of God’s rule developed as the hope of a future in which God’s just will would be done without break or limit, both in Israel itself and also among the nations.”[15]

Jesus’ ministry was the proclamation of this coming Kingdom and thus, Pannenberg argues, any who dedicates their life to Christ inevitably dedicates their life to the Kingdom. Jesus points the Church toward the Kingdom and reigns where people acknowledge the Kingdom and live accordingly.[16] This was Jesus’ Messianic function, to enable others to participate in the Kingdom. Jesus was exalted to exercise God’s power, and as one with the Father, he serves the Kingdom of his Father, who exercises his power through Jesus.[17]

He argues that the Church is a proleptic “sign of the future fellowship of humanity under God’s reign,” seen particularly in its liturgical life and specifically in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.[18] It functions as an eschatological community, thus as a sign of God’s coming rule, but must be distinguished from this coming rule. It must proclaim this provisional nature, ever moving towards God’s lordship which is already present as a sign. The Kingdom was therefore present in Jesus’ ministry and presently in the Church, by the Spirit, through proclamation.[19] Bradshaw explains,

The future remains the future in our historical continuum, and the kingdom of the Father remains in the future, however it has arrived proleptically in Christ…The kingdom of God is present as the future of God’s final reign proleptically arrived in Christ, and yet the future holds the fullness of this reign and our participation in it.[20]

The Church is, therefore, the “sacrament of the kingdom.”[21] It is, in Christ, both the mystery of salvation and has the function as sign. Jesus is the revelation of the mystery of salvation, and the Church is a sign of the Kingdom by participation in this salvation. Pannenberg argues that “the church has its end not in itself but in the future of a humanity that is reconciled to God and united by common praise of God in his kingdom.”[22] The Church, as sign, witnesses to this end, but is not in itself this end, nor can her work be undistinguished from that of Jesus’.[23]

Pannenberg rejects the chiliastic notion of a distinction between the Kingdom of Christ and the Kingdom of God, a notion resulting from the Jewish-Christian expectation of the millennial reign of the Messiah. There should be no separation between the two, for the Kingdom of Christ is the Kingdom of God, for, as Pannenberg argues, there is unity between the Son and the Father as the Son participates in God’s Lordship; “There can exist no competition between the Son and the Kingdom of the Father.”[24]

Because the Kingdom is an all-encompassing event, the consummation of all humanity, justice and peace will reign supreme. As the fulfillment of this justice and peace, it will be perfect communion, for without justice and peace, this communion is broken; it is clear that the Kingdom is not yet realized precisely because of the injustice and brutality in the world.[25] It is clear, therefore, that the Church is merely a partial realization of the Kingdom. To remain faithful to Jesus’ message of salvation, the Church must keep the Kingdom of God as the central concern in its proclamation, which points toward the future of the world and of humanity. Pannenberg argues against the Protestant emphasis on individual salvation as the goal of the Church’s mission, rather arguing that the purpose of the Church must be directed toward the Kingdom of God.[26]

Eschatological Peace

Pannenberg argues that the Church is a proleptic sign of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom breaks into the present from the future, revealing love and true peace and justice. He states, “In the work of Jesus the kingdom of God, and therewith the eschatological future of the world, had already broken into salvation.”[27] This was particularly revealed through his resurrection, which was revelation of the end. He also argues, “The hope of the coming of God’s kingdom necessarily goes hand in hand with the expectation of a cosmic renewal of the world,” extending beyond the temporal to the inclusion of eternity into the present; “Eternity will no longer have to be in antithesis to time but must be thought of as including time.”[28] Bradshaw clarifies,

At the eschaton the kingdom of God enters time, eternity being the future perfection of everything. Everything that occurs and perishes in time is preserved in God’s eternity, which embraces all temporal events and identities and brings them to their final destiny, that of praising the Father with the Son in the Spirit.[29]

Invariably, the general resurrection of the dead is anticipated. Only this can lead to all individuals participating in the perfect society of the Kingdom, for this resurrection implies transformation, with the believers being transformed into the light of God’s glory. This transformation, however, cannot occur in the present, rather in the future return of Christ.[30] He states, “It is only because the full advent of the kingdom of God occurs together with the general resurrection of the dead, that all individual members of humankind will have a chance to participate in the final consummation of human destiny in the kingdom of God.”[31] The Kingdom, the perfect society, will be realized in history, thus in time and not outside of or beyond time. This realization will be simultaneous with the new heaven and Earth as eternity breaks into history. Schwӧbel observes that for Pannenberg the end of history does not mean transition into void, but rather that history is included into God’s eternity, the consummation of humanity finding fulfillment in eternity.[32]

This eschatological renewal, wherein the Church’s reality is included into God’s eternity, finding realized and complete actualization, impacts upon the present. Hence, the Church is called to enact these Kingdom values into the present. The future realities of the Kingdom of God are present only through faith, not through the Church enforcing these values onto this world. There are functional implications as the sign of this reality, but the Church cannot cause the Kingdom into this world.[33] When the Kingdom does come, there will be no need for the Church to remain, for the Church exists only as long as the political orders do not provide the ultimate human fulfilment, which is found only in the Kingdom of God. This should not result in despair, but in hope, for this provides us with the strength needed to accept these limitations.[34]

Panneberg argues that the Kingdom will bring true fellowship between all people; this unity only comes in the present through the reign of God amongst those who are subject to its authority. This unity cannot be enforced or coerced, but only through loving and caring for one another, advocating for justice.[35] Political order is, also, connected to the Kingdom of God and God’s reign. Politics establish peace and justice in society, but any stable political order requires a foundation that transcends the world, appealing to a higher authority. However, the goal of politics will only find actualization in the Kingdom. The difference between the spiritual and the secular in the political realm, is in the eschatological awareness of Christianity. Hence, “Christians and their churches must act as advocates of our rational autonomy in awareness of our own finitude and hence also of the divine mystery that constitutes our finite existence.”[36]

Christians must not keep silent on matters of injustice, but must remember that full and final justice comes from the Kingdom of God which is still to come. Christians should enact Kingdom values, but these values will only ever be a partial reconciliation. Only God can definitively bring the Kingdom into actualization. The Church must remind the State of this fact.[37] Hence, the Church is essential in society, pointing others toward the Kingdom, primarily in two ways: 1) preventing humans from claiming ultimate significance, and 2) encouraging social action.[38] He argues,

While we must not despise the legal forms of life, neither should we think that, by themselves, they can provide ultimate justice for the individual. Laws cannot achieve the justice we seek precisely because they are abstract and general. Only care for the individual achieves true justice; legal formulations must be subordinated to this justice…Love effects that unity among men which expresses itself in legal forms but which is always more than those forms. Love fills the legal forms with life and thus achieves true justice.[39]

The actualization of this love and true justice is realized only in the Kingdom of God. Hence, the Kingdom speaks to these legal forms and is thus “pointedly political.” Pannenberg’s view of the Kingdom is indeed political, but, contrary to liberation theology, this Kingdom comes neither through political agenda, nor through human action.[40]

He states, “In the light of the futurity of God’s Kingdom, it is obvious that no present form of life and society is ultimate.”[41] But this does not disqualify the need for political activity. The future Kingdom of God demands obedience in the present. In fact, any recognition of God’s future reign and obedience to God as ruler requires a change in the present situation, for the future of God’s reign has a reality of its own, one which includes and revises the present. Yet any political forms of peace and justice remain provisional and preliminary and require an awareness of this temporality. We must engage in politics, inspired by a transcendent ideal that we will only ever see realized provisionally, striving towards history’s destiny and fulfillment in the realization of the Kingdom.[42]

This view of human political orders as provisional is likely influenced by his history, being exposed to both Nazi Germany and Stalinist Eastern Europe; “His firsthand exposure to the evils of two human social orders…forms a part of the background to Pannenberg’s conclusion that no human political system can ever fully mirror the perfect human social structure that one day will come as a divine gift in the kingdom of God.”[43]

Human laws can never actualize a perfect society of peace and justice. Only God can bring this justice because his law is perfected by love, reconciling individuals with one another. However, a totally new heaven and Earth is required before this love can reign, “for human conflict, on account of the dominion of sin in human relations, is deeply rooted in the natural conditions of existence as it is now.”[44]

The Church, as constituted by both Spirit and Son, proleptically reveals the fellowship that is to come in final fruition in the actualization of the Kingdom of God, which constitutes the consummation of humanity in Christ, found particularly in his resurrection. This future reality which the Church reveals is one of perfect community, wherein God reigns supreme through love, and perfect justice and peace is enjoyed. The Church represents this fellowship, albeit merely partially. The Church’s essential nature is living in this world, showing Christ’s death and resurrection to the world and is thus missional in nature. The Kingdom of God constitutes this mission, being a sign of God’s reign over all humanity. The Church is not a means to salvation in itself but points to Jesus Christ, who is.[45]

Pannenberg argues, “The truth is that the Church can only be understood in relationship to the world…the connection between Church and world is by no means accidental; the Church’s relationship to the world is determinative for her authentic vocation.”[46] He asserts that the Church must always gaze outwards toward humankind.[47] He further argues that there is no distinction between a ‘horizontal’ love and a ‘vertical’ love. In other words, loving God is loving others and vice versa. Therefore, in loving one another and the world, in being unified through love, we are participating in God’s rule, anticipating the future fellowship between all in the perfect society of the Kingdom of God.[48]

Critical Reflection

Pannenberg’s theological understanding of the relationship between the Church and the Kingdom is not without criticism. According to Grenz,

Some remain skeptical concerning the practical working out of his proposal, specifically how modern pluralistic society, in which many truth claims are competing for adherence, can nevertheless appeal to a religious understanding of reality for the legitimation of its political order.[49]

In other words, Grenz is questioning the place of Pannenberg’s political theology in contemporary pluralistic society. He observes that religious pluralism is the result of humankind’s innate knowledge of God, but Christians must demonstrate the truth of the love inherent in Christian theology, built around the proclamation of the immanence of the transcendent Kingdom. While Pannenberg rejects a religious plurality as sufficient for salvation, he asserts the inclusiveness of the Gospel, while further arguing that other religions have their place in revealing Christ.[50] Hence, Pannenberg is seemingly unperturbed by these criticisms, for he asserts that while other religions may reveal Christ in a partial way, Christianity is the one true faith and hence the Kingdom values must be implemented in any human political society. But he stresses that ecumenical unity must be formed, and that Christians must demonstrate the truth of these Christian values to the world; the only way the world can acknowledge the truth of the Kingdom is through demonstration and proof of its efficacy.

Activist theologians have criticized Pannenerg for not providing a theology for social change, arguing his political theology is too conservative. They focus on his claims that no political order will provide lasting positive change, which can only come with the actualization of the Kingdom of God. However, this criticism is unfounded, for he argues not for a disengagement from the world but rather that the Kingdom causes the Church to engage with the world, without overestimating the Church’s ability to bring about significant lasting change.[51]

Another area of criticism pertains to Pannenberg’s tendency toward determinism. If the future is not already determined, how can it influence the present? How can the Kingdom function retroactively unless it is determined already? Hence, Pannenberg’s theology, argues Grenz and Olson, presupposes a strict determinism.[52] These are fair concerns, and highlight a major area of tension in Pannenberg’s eschatology. He denies this determinism, but argues, “God creates his creatures as they are, which means in the case of the human creature that human freedom itself is to be conceived as God’s creation.”[53] In other words, human freedom is in itself a divine determination. The future impacts upon the present not in removing freedom, but by providing that freedom.[54] The tension, however, is still left unresolved.

Conclusion

In sum, Pannenberg’s ecclesiology seeks to incorporate a greater pneumatological – and, arguably, eschatological – aspect than had been allowed in much evangelical theology. The Spirit’s vital role is in leading humans to Christ, who in turn leads to the Father, and in whom the Kingdom is made present. Pannenberg insists upon, however, a distinction between the Church and the Kingdom; the Kingdom is made present by Christ, through proclamation, but the Kingdom can only be experienced provisionally until Christ returns and the rule of God is actualized in totality. The Church thus functions proleptically. It is a sign of the Kingdom, albeit a provisional sign, and hence the Church’s mission is intricately linked with the Kingdom.

The Church’s Kingdom-oriented mission is to represent the peace and justice that will come with the actualization of the Kingdom. The fellowship to come with the resurrection of the dead, when eternity breaks into history and a new heaven and earth will be formed, will have love as its foundation. Therefore, the Church must represent these Kingdom values of love, justice and peace, by loving and caring, and being involved in social action, whilst remembering than any system or political order will always remain provisional. She must remind society of its temporality and finitude, pointing to the future fellowship in the Kingdom as the hope that strengthens the Church’s mission.

Despite the tension of the tendency toward a strict determinism, of which Pannenberg denies, his ecclesiology and his understanding of the mission of the Church as being determined by the future Kingdom of God is comprehensive and on the most part, agreeable. His argument is intricate and logical and is difficult to find fault with. It is impossible to escape tension within the bible itself in regards to the eschatological bend in its portrayal of the Church and the “now – not yet” of the Kingdom of God which Christ proclaimed. Pannenberg seems to play on this tension, and rather than simplifying this tension so as to remove the paradoxical eschatological mystery of the Church, he returns focus to Christ, and through Christ the eschatological proclamation of the consummation of humanity in the Kingdom of God.

Pannenberg’s ecclesiology and understanding of the relationship and tension between the Church and the Kingdom is an important contribution to missiological ecclesiology, for it places the Church’s mission upon a transcendent ideal. The promise of the perfect fellowship to come with the Kingdom, that has come and has been revealed through the resurrection, places the Church in something much bigger than itself. This understanding will – and must – cause the Church to recognize the fact that it is God alone who builds his Church, but he builds his Church through his children. The Church must therefore not remain static or inactive but must seek to fulfill the Great Commission by loving and seeking the implementation of the Kingdom values. The Kingdom will always invariably orient the Church toward love, and anything other than this will cause the Church to cease to be the Church, for it will cease representing Christ and his Kingdom.

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[1] Wolfhart Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God, ed. Richard John Neuhaus (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1977).  73.

[2] Wolfhart Pannenberg, The Apostles’ Creed: In the Light of Today’s Questions, trans. Margaret Kohl (London: SCM Press Ltd., 1972). 154 – 155.

[3] Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematic Theology, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, vol. 3 (London: T&T Clark International, 2004). Cf. Christoph Schwӧbel, “Wolfhart Pannenberg,” in The Modern Theologians, ed. David F. Ford (Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 1997). 198.

[4] Stanley J. Grenz, Reason for Hope: The Systematic Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg (New York: University Press, 1990). 150 – 152. Cf. Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God. 82 – 83. Cf. Timothy Bradshaw, Pannenberg: A Guide for the Perplexed (London: T&T Clark International, 2009). 88, 102.

[5] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 7. Cf. Phil. 1:19; Rom. 8:9.

[6] Ibid. 13 – 16. Cf. Don H. Olive, Wolfhart Pannenberg, ed. Bob E. Patterson (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1973). 63; Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jesus – God and Man, trans. Lewis L. Wilkins (London: SCM Press Ltd., 1968. 107.

[7] Pannenberg, The Apostles’ Creed: In the Light of Today’s Questions. 145. Cf. Pannenberg, Jesus – God and Man. 107 – 108.

[8] Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God. 75.

[9] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 17 – 21. Cf. Wolfhart Pannenberg, “The Present and Future Church,” First Things, www.firstthings.com (accessed 28/05/2013). 4.

[10] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 28. Cf. Wolfhart Pannenberg, Ethics, trans. Keith Crim (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1981). 181 – “The Kingdom of God…became present reality for his hearers in and through that proclamation.”

[11] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 28.

[12] Pannenberg, The Apostles’ Creed: In the Light of Today’s Questions. 153.

[13] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 29 – 30. Cf. Bradhsaw. 90; Pannenberg, The Apostles’ Creed: In the Light of Today’s Questions. 153 – “The church, as the community of the end-time, is now the company of people who are already united in expectation of God’s future for mankind.”

[14] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 31. Cf. E. Frank Tupper, The Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1973). 231 – 232; Pannenberg, Jesus – God and Man. 193, 212; Wolfhart Pannenberg, “The Task of Christian Eschatology,” in The Last Things: Biblical and Theological Perspectives on Eschatology, ed. Carl E. Braaten, Robert W. Jenson (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002). 5, 10; Bradshaw. 77 – “Jesus is clearly the bringer in of the kingdom of the universal God, the one who is to come has come.” Cf. Luke 11:20; John 12:31, 48.

[15] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 30. Cf. Zech. 9:9-10; 14:9, 16-17; Mic. 4:1-4; Deut. 33:5; Num. 23:21; Ps. 47:7; 1 Chron. 28:5; 17:14; 29:23; 2 Chron. 9:8.

[16] Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God. 76 – 77, 83. Cf. Pannenberg, “The Task of Christian Eschatology.” 3.

[17] Pannenberg, Jesus – God and Man. 218. Cf. Pannenberg, Ethics. 181; Bradshaw. 138.

[18] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 31. Cf. Pannenberg, “The Present and Future Church.” 5; Grenz. 151; Pannenberg, The Apostles’ Creed: In the Light of Today’s Questions. 152 – “The church is not the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is, rather, the church’s future as it is the future of the world.”

[19] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 32 – 38. Cf. Pannenberg, Ethics. 19; Grenz. 180; Pannenberg, “The Present and Future Church.” 4 – “The kingdom of God is not something that we can bring about, nor is it identical with the life of the church…The church’s mission is to be a sign of the kingdom.”

[20] Bradshaw. 102. Cf. p. 166 – “God’s kingdom is still to come, while being proleptically here.” Synder argues similarly, “In a very real sense, the church is not only a sign but also (when faithful to Christ and led by the Spirit) the agent of the kingdom on Earth. The church is not the kingdom; neither is it unrelated to the kingdom. It is the witness to the kingdom and, when anointed and animate by the Holy Spirit, becomes in a partial though not unambiguous way the sign, prototype and pilot project of the kingdom on earth,” (Howard A. Snyder, Kingdom Lifestyle: Calling the Church to Live under God’s Reign (Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1985) 80).

[21] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 42.

[22] Ibid. 45.

[23] Pannenberg, Jesus – God and Man. 219. Cf. Tupper. 241.

[24] Pannenberg, Jesus – God and Man. 369. Cf. Pannenberg, The Apostles’ Creed: In the Light of Today’s Questions. 152 – 153. Furthermore, “The Father establishes his Kingdom precisely through the Son, not apart from him, or beside him, or after his Kingdom…The Kingdom of the Son is also that of the Father and vice versa,” (Pannenberg, Jesus – God and Man. 369).

[25] Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God. 80. Cf. Pannenberg, Ethics. 181; Pannenberg, “The Task of Christian Eschatology.” 5.

[26] Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God. 73. Cf. Grenz. 153.

[27] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 581. Cf. Wolfhart Pannenberg, “Future and Unity,” in Hope and the Future of Man, ed. Ewert H. Cousins (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1972). 65.

[28] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 584, 595. Cf. Pannenberg, Jesus – God and Man. 61, 193.

[29] Bradshaw. 167.

[30] Pannenberg, “Future and Unity.” 70 – 71. Cf. Pannenberg, Jesus – God and Man. 106 – 107; Pannenberg, “The Task of Christian Eschatology.” 6 – 7. Cf. Isa. 26:14, 19; Mark 12:26f; 1 Cor. 3:13-15; 15:50ff; 2 Cor. 5:10.

[31] Pannenberg, “The Task of Christian Eschatology.” 11.

[32] Schwӧbel. 201. Cf. Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God. 76.

[33] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 48.

[34] Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God. 83. Cf. Pannenberg, “The Task of Christian Eschatology.” 2, 6.

[35] Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God. 78 – 79.

[36] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 49 – 54. Cf. Grenz. 179.

[37] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 55 – 56. Cf. Wolfhart Pannenberg, Human Nature, Election, and History (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1977). 101.

[38] Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God. 85. Cf. Pannenberg, “The Task of Christian Eschatology.” 6 – “Hope for the kingdom may inspire and direct our human efforts in this world, but its achievement is for another world and puts an end to our antagonistic history of human action.”

[39] Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God. 79-81 – “Love is the final norm of justice.” Cf. Bradshaw. 91.

[40] Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God. 79 – 80. Cf. Grenz. 180.

[41] Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God. 80. Elsewhere Pannenberg states, “The expectation of the Kingdom of God implies that only when God rules and no man possesses dominating political power any more, then the domination of people by other people and the injustice invariably connected with it will come to an end,” (Pannenberg, “Future and Unity.” 70 – 71). Cf. Pannenberg, “The Task of Christian Eschatology.” 1 – 2.

[42] Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God. 81. Cf. Ulrich Wilckens, “The Understanding of Revelation within Primitive Christianity,” in Revelation as History, ed. Wolfhart Pannenberg (London: Sheed and War Ltd., 1969). 61; Olive. 87.

[43] Stanley J. Grenz, Roger E. Olson, 20th Century Theology: God & the World in a Transitional Age (Downer’s Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1992) 186 – 187.

[44] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 584. Cf. Pannenberg, “The Task of Christian Eschatology.” 11. Cf. Rev. 21:1; Isa. 65:17.

[45] Pannenberg, Systematic Theology. 45 – 47. Cf. Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God. 75 – “The Church is true to its vocation only as it anticipates and represents the destiny of all mankind, the goal of history.”

[46] Pannenberg, Theology and the Kingdom of God. 72-74 – “Since every conception of the Church that disregards its relatedness to the world remains one-sided, and since only the vocation of the Church for the Kingdom of God explains theologically the essential character of her relatedness to the world; therefore, the whole of the ecclesiological thematic can be brought into perspective only from the viewpoint of the Kingdom of God.”

[47] Pannenberg, The Apostles’ Creed: In the Light of Today’s Questions. 147.

[48] Ted Peters, “Pannenberg’s Eschatological Ethics,” in The Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg, ed. Carl E. Braaten, Philip Clayton (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1988). 242, 247.

[49] Grenz. 170-80.

[50] Steffen Lӧsel, “Wolfhart Pannenberg’s Response to the Challenge of Religious Pluralism: The Anticipation of Divine Absoluteness?” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 34:4 (1997). 499-519.

[51] Grenz. 181. Cf. Peters. 248-49 – “God’s future has had and continues to have an impact upon our present situation. The direction of force comes from the future.”

[52] Grenz. 198-99.

[53] Wolfhart Pannenberg, “A Response to My American Friends,” in The Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg, ed. Carl E. Braatan, Philip Clayton (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1988). 322.

[54] Gijsbert van den Brink, Almighty God: A Study of the Doctrine of Divine Omnipotence (Kampen: Koh Pharos Publishing House, 1993). 220.

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