Bringing Heaven Down To Earth

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

CICW Vital Worship feature story on eschatology and worship

Vital Worship feature story on eschatologyThis "Vital Worship" feature story, "Eschatology: Our hope for a new heaven and new earth," posted at the website of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, where I work, discusses my book and includes comments from two key readers, Laura Truax and Judy Congdon, on the implications of eschatology for worship. It also includes a profile of a scholar of liturgy and eschatology in the Reformed tradition: Martha Moore-Keish. The article begins with a thorough and helpful rundown of heaven-minded lyrics in well-known hymns.

Eschatology: Our hope for a new heaven and new earth
Text by Joan Huyser-Honig
Photography by Steve Huyser-Honig
Print this story for study and discussion

How does your story fit into God’s story? The way you answer this question likely influences what you believe about heaven. And your view of heaven makes a big difference in how you live and worship.

Jerusalem the Golden, with milk and honey blest. Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more. When the hungry gather for the feast, we will rejoice. Lord, I want to be in that number.

I'll sing with a glittering crown on my brow. How lovely is your dwelling place. Here from all nations, all tongues, and all peoples. Rest, eternal, grant them, Lord. Those endless Sabbaths the blessed ones see. Finish, then, thy new creation…

Composers have been writing songs about heaven for centuries. Yet, according to pollster George Barna, the more income or education you have, the less likely you are to believe that heaven or hell exists. Even among Christians who say they believe in heaven, there's wide disagreement on what that means. Most Christians, including preachers, stay away from the topic.

And that's a shame, because without a vivid sense of God's future, you're missing out on a great blessing of Christian life—and great opportunities to bless other lives.

In his book Bringing Heaven Down to Earth: Connecting This Life to the Next, Nathan Bierma discusses the difference between small gospel and big gospel perspectives.


Hoekema on Amillennialism and OT Prophecy

I found this relevant article online by Anthony Hoekema, who figures centrally in my Chapter 3.

Amillennialism: The Interpretation of Old Testament Prophecy
By Anthony Hoekema

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Catapult on 'Citizens and Aliens'

The e-zine catapult has a special issue out on the theme of "Citizens and Aliens," which is one of the central themes of my Chapter 8. Articles include:

Gone south
by David Howard Malone

Into exile
by Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma

by Michelle Van Loon

'Tis the season to remember my citizenship
by Deborah Leiter

Late night thoughts on being a disciple of the Kingdom
by Reverend Lawrence W. Farris

Related Post:
NT Christians and Empire: 'A Sly Civility'

'Dragon Stories': a series of worship services based on Revelation

More on preaching Revelation, from Reformed Worship magazine:

Dragon Stories: Ideas for a series for adults--and children--on the book of Revelation
by David Koll
Reformed Worship #50

In the continuing challenge to keep our evening worship fresh, our congregation recently embarked on an unusual study of the book of Revelation. This book—full of dragon stories, horsemen, and angels—provided an intriguing series of nine worship services.

As a pastor, I’ve heard numerous requests for a sermon series on this book. Admittedly, I’ve been hesitant. So much is said from this book that I am not comfortable saying. So many of its passages are difficult to explain. I’ve rarely gone past preaching from the letters to the seven churches. In effect, I have let the last book of Scripture remain closed. This spring, after seventeen years in ministry, I felt compelled to try an overview study of this book, and I’m glad I did. ... Revelation is a book that in a certain sense needs to be reclaimed by Reformed Christians.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

'View the Present Through the Promise"

We sang this anthem from Sing! A New Creation (#90) this morning in our summer seminar. Thomas Troeger says in three stanzas what I was trying to say in my whole book:

View the present through the promise, Christ will come again.
Trust despite the deepening darkness, Christ will come again.
Lift the world above its grieving through your watching and believing
in the hope past hope's conceiving: Christ will come again.

Probe the present with the promise, Christ will come again.
Let your daily actions witness, Christ will come again.
Let your loving and your giving and your justice and forgiving
be a sign to all the living: Christ will come again.

Match the present to the promise, Christ will come again.
Make this hope your guiding premise, Christ will come again.
Pattern all your calculating and the world you are creating
to the advent you are waiting: Christ will come again.

[Publisher info]

CTLibrary on Heaven

Rich Tatum's roundup of eschatologically-minded articles at includes:

Heaven: Not Just an Eternal Day Off
As if anticipating the question, Will life on the new earth be boring? the Bible points to much activity there.
Anthony Hoekema
[excerpt of The Bible and the Future]

What Will Heaven Be Like?
Thirty-five frequently asked questions about eternity.
Peter Kreeft

Bookshelf: 'John's Use of the Old Testament in Revelation'

Beale, G.K. John's Use of the Old Testament in Revelation (Jsnt Supplement Series, 166) (Sheffield Academic Press, 1999). [A-r]

Related link

Bookshelf: 'Paradise Interpreted' and 'Classic Sermons on Heaven and Hell'

Luttikhuizen, Gerard P., ed. Paradise Interpreted: Representations of Biblical Paradise in Judaism and Christianity (Brill Academic Publishers 1999). [A-G-toc]

Wiersbe, Warren W., ed. Classic Sermons on Heaven and Hell (Hendrickson Publishers, 1994). [A-G-toc]

Bookshelf: 'Augustine's City of God: A Reader's Guide' and 'Theology of Social Life in Augustine’s De civitate Dei'

Related to Chapter 5:

O'Daly, Gerard. Augustine's City of God: A Reader's Guide (Oxford UP, 1999). [P-A-G-toc]

Ruokanen, Mikka, Theology of Social Life in Augustine’s De civitate Dei (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1993). [P-A]

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

More on my heritage

Chapter 7 includes my tribute of sorts to my great-grandfather Watse, an immigrant from Friesland. That page is actually the top result when you search my last name at Amazon.

I have more on my heritage posted now at my personal website, including my family tree and more about the Frisian language.