Eschatological Discipleship–Book Review

Not a discussion of various end-times beliefs, author Trevin K. Wax focuses his book on eschatology in a much more general sense.  His definition of eschatology includes concepts of life beyond death and everything connected with it — heaven, hell, reincarnation, resurrection, immortality, rebirth, last judgement and more.  It is not limited to Christianity, as other religions and even atheists still have a vision for humanity’s future, and this vision influences the worldview of those who hold it.

The big question Dr. Wax poses is for Christians is, “What time is it?”  or more specifically, “What do I do in light of what time it is?” In other words, if we recognize that our discipleship is influenced by the place we are in (for example a church in China vs. a wealthy U.S. suburb) we should also realize that the way we function as disciples and our God-give task will be shaped by the time in which we live.

He begins by defining the terms eschatology, worldview and discipleship and proceeds to a study of eschatological discipleship in the Old and New Testament and Acts.  Next he discusses some of the worldviews which are “rivals” to Christian eschatology:  the Enlightenment, the sexual revolution and consumerism;  and finally he evaluates a variety of evangelical conceptions of discipleship in view of  Christian eschatology.

I found parts of this book fascinating because it address the “why” of how people think.  Unbelievers often do not “get” the Christian lifestyle because they have an entirely different worldview and understanding of where humanity is headed and what will happen to us as individuals when we die.  Their “faith” is as deeply entrenched as our own, and arguing will usually not change it.  He also explains how even Christians are subtly influenced by the cultural worldviews which surround us.

Verdict:  Very well written and interesting, this book will challenge the average layperson.  Dr. Wax writes in an academic style and uses many technical terms.  He also assumes a knowledge of world history and philosophy not everyone will have.  It’s probably of most interest to Pastors, seminarians and professors of religion.   If you are interested in purchasing this book, you may use the link below: