Original Research

An apocalyptic agenda for mission in our time

Arnold M. Meiring
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 41, No 1 | a2144 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v41i1.2144 | © 2020 Arnold (Arno) Maurits Meiring | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 September 2020 | Published: 17 December 2020

About the author(s)

Arnold M. Meiring, Department of Religious Studies, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Addressing the interest in missional theology and responding to the recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, this research developed an apocalyptic missional theology for our time. Whilst the Second World War inspired an exploration of the eschatological dimensions of mission, it was argued that apocalyptic theology adds a much needed perspective on mission. In addition to replying to the pandemic, apocalyptic missiology proved to be well suited to speak about the challenges for the Church in South Africa, and introduces African modes of thinking to missiology. This study comprised a qualitative literature research method that traced the history of eschatology and apocalyptic in missional thinking (summarised apocalyptic theology), demonstrated that apocalyptic theology contributes to current missiology, and finally developed an apocalyptic agenda for the mission. The research found that apocalyptic offers new ways of speaking about God that challenges contemporary powers and power structures, and presents prophetic and ethical ways for the church to participate in the Missio Dei. Apocalyptic extends a more universal future that includes all peoples and creation, and it provides believers with a new identity and comfort in our time. In conclusion, apocalyptic theology was found to enrich missional thinking, contributing hope and joy to the Christian message.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article suggested that apocalyptic theology adds new dimensions to missional theology, enriching the traditional discourse. It used the insights of biblical and religious studies, and applied it to missiology, as well as to systematic and practical theology.


Keywords

apocalyptic; eschatology; hope; mission; revelation; comfort; identity; ethics

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