Theology on Tap: On Tap this Week (05.17.11) - "The New Beginning!"

Ah snap!  Sorry Theology on Tappers…this week’s topic is posted a wee bit late.  Hopefully you will still have some time to review the summary, questions, and watch the short video.

We will be wrapping up our current Theology on Tap discussion series on Christopher Wrights, The God I Don't Understand.  Pick up a copy for yourself!  It's a great read and will definitely help you grapple with questions of the faith - not only for your own peace of mind, but also to better equip you to be ready to give "the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15).

This week we're discussing the contents of Chapter 11 – “The New Beginning!”  Here's the summary:Hope Restored

The Christian’s final destination is not heaven but the new creation. Heaven is a safe waiting place until Christ returns and the earth is transformed into the place of our eternal life with him. The new creation will be without sin, a redeemed city with the essential elements of the original garden. This renewed earth will enjoy healed international relations and be filled with ‘the accumulated cultural richness of human civilizations’. The people of the new creation will be ethnically and culturally diverse, enjoying renewed physical bodies, intimacy with God, and fulfillment in work.


Quotes and Discussion Questions:
”In spite of Jesus’ warning that we would not know the day or the hour of his return (since even he did not), and in spite of telling us that our prime task is simply to be ready for it by getting on with faithfully doing what he has told us to do, people still insist of defying Jesus’ warnings.” ~ Wright, p.160

#1.  Read Isaiah 65:17–25 and Revelation 21:1-5.
• What will be the main characteristics of this new earth?
• What will be continuous with this earth?  In what way will the new creation be different?
• Is there some aspect of the new creation described here that you are particularly looking forward to?

“We are heading for a new reality, it is not a fundamentally different reality. We are not leaving the created order for some other ‘spiritual’ order. Rather we will be leaving the old sinful order of things and will find ourselves in a renewed, restored, redeemed creation.”  ~ Wright, p.193

#2.  “I will be your God and you will be my people” is a covenantal refrain throughout the Bible (Exodus 6:7; Deuteronomy 29:13; Hosea 1:9-10; 2:23; Jeremiah 31:33; 32:38; Ezekiel 11:20; 37:23, 27; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Peter 2:10). It reaches its great fulfillment in Revelation 21:3. How does this repeated refrain help us understand what life in the new creation will involve?

#3.  Most of our talk about the future (inside the church and in our evangelism) is simply about going to heaven rather than the new creation. 
• How is the hope of a new creation so much better than just 'going to heaven'? 
• How do you need to change the way you think about your future hope as a believer? 
• How will this change the way you share the gospel, especially in regards to the future Christian hope?


Also, check out this video by Christopher Wright to help you better understand this week's topic:

The God I Don't Understand - Video #10 for Theology on Tap (05.17.11) - "The New Beginning!"

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