The theology of hope first appeared as a beacon of light amid the dark and uncertain waters of contemporary theology. Here was a renewed faith in man’s future, a renewed belief (evidenced especially in the works of Wolfhart Pannenberg) in a historical resurrection, and a new hope for struggling humanity. Questions have arisen of late, however: exactly what kind of future is here offered to man, and by what means is he to bring it about?
This question becomes particularly acute in the works of Jürgen Moltmann, the guiding light of the revolutionary trend in this new theology. Moltmann’s views are sparked by Marxist thought, particularly as expressed by the Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch; they tread the narrow catwalk of espousing violence as a means to implementing man’s hope.
The theology of hope, to go back to basic assumptions, offers the following tenets derived from Bloch, as summarized by Bernard Ramm (Toward a Theology For the Future, edited by Clark H. Pinnock and David F. Wells, Creation House, 1971, pp. 190–92):
1. “The universe is not fixed … or determined.”
2. “History is as open-ended as the universe.”
3. “Man has no fixed nature.”
4. “If the world, history and man are open-ended, then the true novum can appear.”
5. “Because there is the possibility of the novum, there is also the possibility of utopia.”
Jürgen Moltmann adds to this philosophical skeleton the flesh and bones of Marxist-Christian dialogue and of revolutionary philosophy.
Moltmann emphasizes that Jesus was and is the Christ of the humiliated and the downtrodden. Christ thus becomes, in Moltmann’s thinking, a typically Marxist-humanistic saviour of humanity, championing the cause of the downtrodden masses against the existing power structures.
While there ...1
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