Theology of Hope

Christianity has its essence and its goal not in itself and not in its own existence

Theology of Hope

by J├╝rgen Moltmann

Christianity has its essence and its goal not in itself and not in its own existence, but lives from something and exists for something which reaches far beyond itself. If we would grasp the secret of its existence and its modes of behavior, we must inquire into its mission. If we would fathom its essence, then we must inquire into that future on which it sets its hopes and expectations. If Christianity in the new social conditions has itself lost its bearings and become uncertain, then it must once again consider why it exists and what is its aim. 

It is generally recognized today that the New Testament regards the Church as the 'community of eschatological salvation', and accordingly speaks of the gathering in and sending out of the community in terms of a horizon of eschatological expectation. The risen Christ calls, sends, justifies and sanctifies men, and in so doing gathers, calls and sends them into his eschatological future for the world. The risen Lord is always the Lord expected by the Church - the Lord, moreover, expected by the Church for the world and not merely for itself. Hence the Christian community does not live from itself and for itself, but from the sovereignty of the risen Lord and for the coming sovereignty of him who has conquered death and is bringing life, righteousness and the kingdom of God.

This eschatological orientation is seen in everything from which and for which the Church lives.