Pannenberg on the Church

I’m back to reading Pannenberg on the church. He’s talking about the role of eschatology in the church in ch. 4. What’s interesting is that this stuff could have come out of a typical mission church handbook published over the past 6 months. Here are a few quotes that stood out to me today:

Apostolicity: is based in the eschatological motif of the early church. Pannenberg considers eschatology here to mean, “a consciousness of living in the presence of ultimate reality, which is still future for the world.” 48

So apostolicity is founded in the appearance of the risen Lord and his commission to those who saw him (as opposed to being rooted in some sort of historical apostolic succession). What gave that whole thing its ultimate meaning was 1) “the eschatological life from death which had now become reality in Jesus.” 50 2) the post-resurrection reality of Jesus is the divine confirmation of the eschatological authority which Jesus had already claimed for himself before Easter.” 50 3) “Jesus’ appearing to the disciples meant for them a renewal of the mission for which he himself had given his life.” 50

“Jesus’ message was that the power of God’s lordship was determinative for the present age through Jesus’ own life and work. It could be continued by his apostles only as the proclamation that ultimate reality had broken through in Jesus himself. The ultimate reality that was manifest in Jesus, however, was made effective for the present age by the world mission of the church.” P.52

“There fore the apostolic doctrine is not expressed through traditional formulations as such, but only through the proclamation of the finality of the message and work of Jesus, proclamation always related to the present day and always casting light on present experience, as it sets forth the message and work of Jesus as the truth that brings this unfulfilled world toward fulfillment…the only thing that is essential to their apostolicity is that they give clear expression to the unsurpassed, final truth of the incarnation of Jesus Christ and do so in a way that is valid in the language of their time.” 53

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