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Eschatological Discipleship: Leading Christians to Understand Their Historical and Cultural Context

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Discipleship is eschatological in nature, because the church that makes and receives disciples is eschatological in nature.   Often eschatology is thought to refer only to “last things” doctrines. However, eschatology in its broader sense encompasses the Christian view of time and the future of the world, informing both one’s evangelism and ecclesiology. Failing to relate Discipleship is eschatological in nature, because the church that makes and receives disciples is eschatological in nature.   Often eschatology is thought to refer only to “last things” doctrines. However, eschatology in its broader sense encompasses the Christian view of time and the future of the world, informing both one’s evangelism and ecclesiology. Failing to relate the eschatological dimension to discipleship leaves one with an incomplete worldview, imbalanced discipleship, and eventually, a tragic inability to model the Christian way of life.   By answering questions like “What time is it?” and “Where is history going?” Trevin Wax helps Christians view the past, present, and future biblically, and shapes their understanding of following Jesus.


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Discipleship is eschatological in nature, because the church that makes and receives disciples is eschatological in nature.   Often eschatology is thought to refer only to “last things” doctrines. However, eschatology in its broader sense encompasses the Christian view of time and the future of the world, informing both one’s evangelism and ecclesiology. Failing to relate Discipleship is eschatological in nature, because the church that makes and receives disciples is eschatological in nature.   Often eschatology is thought to refer only to “last things” doctrines. However, eschatology in its broader sense encompasses the Christian view of time and the future of the world, informing both one’s evangelism and ecclesiology. Failing to relate the eschatological dimension to discipleship leaves one with an incomplete worldview, imbalanced discipleship, and eventually, a tragic inability to model the Christian way of life.   By answering questions like “What time is it?” and “Where is history going?” Trevin Wax helps Christians view the past, present, and future biblically, and shapes their understanding of following Jesus.

30 review for Eschatological Discipleship: Leading Christians to Understand Their Historical and Cultural Context

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mark Warnock

    I'll be writing a fuller review of this book for Books at a Glance. In short, Wax's reframing of eschatology to include the broad arc of history, the coming judgment, the Lordship of Jesus, and the importance of living wisely in light of our location in that timeline, rescues eschatology from the weird world of dispensational charts, competing theories, and "nobody knows." His analysis of Enlightenment, sexual revolution and consumerist eschatologies rings true and is actionable. I just gave a ta I'll be writing a fuller review of this book for Books at a Glance. In short, Wax's reframing of eschatology to include the broad arc of history, the coming judgment, the Lordship of Jesus, and the importance of living wisely in light of our location in that timeline, rescues eschatology from the weird world of dispensational charts, competing theories, and "nobody knows." His analysis of Enlightenment, sexual revolution and consumerist eschatologies rings true and is actionable. I just gave a talk on this topic, heavily informed by my reading of the book, to a group of college aged interns. They were riveted, and not because of my delivery. They are living in a world where the influence of Christianity is declining, and feel keenly the force of competing eschatologies. This is a timely, helpful, practical, and above all, needed book. I highly recommend it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Logan Price

    Eschatology is so much more than making a chart of what the end times may look like. Eschatology is meant to shape how we live and how we are discipled. Eschatology is deeply personal and relevant. Don't believe me? Then read this book. The chapter on 'Christianity and Consumerism' alone makes it a worthwhile read. Favorite Quotes: - Our corporate gatherings should bring us out of ourselves. In a world in which we are constantly told we are the center of the universe, from the devices buzzing in Eschatology is so much more than making a chart of what the end times may look like. Eschatology is meant to shape how we live and how we are discipled. Eschatology is deeply personal and relevant. Don't believe me? Then read this book. The chapter on 'Christianity and Consumerism' alone makes it a worthwhile read. Favorite Quotes: - Our corporate gatherings should bring us out of ourselves. In a world in which we are constantly told we are the center of the universe, from the devices buzzing in our pockets, the notifications from our social media spheres, and the advertising that is now geared to our preferences, we need time in which we are just one of many voices raised to the heavens, bursting through the immanent, consumerist frame that leads us to judge all our time by its usefulness or pleasure. - It is good for us not to describe ourselves as "radical" and "new" and "innovative" and "fresh" but rather as wise disciples who stand in a long line of saints who have been faithful to the gospel.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    In 1969, Robert Lamm of Chicago Transit Authority asked “Does anybody really know what time it is?” His question had an existential bent to it; after all, does anyone really care (about time)? In his new book, Eschatological Discipleship, Trevin Wax argues we should indeed care, for Scripture speaks into the lives of Christians concerning the current time and times to come. Wax aims to unite the practice of Christian discipleship with the theological category of eschatology (2). He defines escha In 1969, Robert Lamm of Chicago Transit Authority asked “Does anybody really know what time it is?” His question had an existential bent to it; after all, does anyone really care (about time)? In his new book, Eschatological Discipleship, Trevin Wax argues we should indeed care, for Scripture speaks into the lives of Christians concerning the current time and times to come. Wax aims to unite the practice of Christian discipleship with the theological category of eschatology (2). He defines eschatological discipleship thus: a type of spiritual formation and obedience that takes into account the contemporary setting in which one finds oneself, particularly in relation to rival conceptions of time and progress. (3). Wax argues intentionally seeing eschatology as a necessary component to discipleship will lead Christians into missionary encounters and confrontations with the world. (3) Wax rightly indicates worldviews other than Christianity possess their own eschatologies. Quoting from another theologian, Wax explains eschatology pertains to all concepts of life after death, including the state of individuals with reference to spiritual and/or embodied existence, divine judgment and punishment, and the end of the world (26). What could the above possibly do with the day-to-day life we live if the discipline concerns itself with future events? Wax writes, “The reason eschatology matters for understanding Christianity is the same reason geography and physicality matter for understanding Christianity; Jesus entered this world in a particular place and time,” (30, emphasis in original). Put plainly, if you walk down the street one day, you walk down a particular street at a particular time. People through Wilmington, NC at dawn, San Antonio, TX at noon, and Seattle, WA at midnight encounter different experiences, joys, and challenges. How will each individual lead a life captive to Christ given the context? The first part of Wax’s book develops the reader’s understanding of discipleship, worldview, eschatology, and wisdom, guiding the reader through his own thinking, reflection, and research on each. He arrives at the following definition: Eschatological discipleship is spiritual formation that seeks to instill wisdom regarding the contemporary setting in which Christians find themselves (in contrast to rival conceptions of time and progress) and that calls for contextualized obedience as a demonstration of the Christian belief that the biblical account of the world’s past, present, and future is true (41). Wax argues his case with reference to the text of both the Old and New Testaments, and he argues well. One particular strength arises from his short discussion of Jeremiah’s instruction to the exiles of Judah. Their time in which they lived gave them much anguish to process, and they bore the task of obeying their God in a way somewhat unique (48). One easily recognizes their obedience differs from our own in its applications to their lives. Wax has a notably (and unsurprisingly) thicker case for his thesis in the New Testament. He writes, “The church lives between the time of Christ’s first and second comings and, therefore, finds itself in the middle of an age to which it must not conform… believer’s obedience must be marked by the horizon of Christ’s second coming.” (55). Rejection of Christ bears eschatological consequences, and the the disciple sees himself not as obedient to a vague or timeless set of rules, but offering a life of obedience personally to Jesus (59). As if the insights from Scripture did not constitute a worthy read in themselves, Wax provides analyses on three different rival eschatologies (Enlightenment, the sexual revolution, and consumerism) as well as three methods of discipleship often practiced within the evangelical church. I found myself jotting down numerous notes and insightful quotes, and his honest dissections of the rival eschatologies truly stand out as helpful. The chapter on consumerism might make the reader’s toes curl in conviction. Each method of discipleship he discusses proffer its own strengths, and Wax shares how adding an eschatological dimension to them makes each stronger as it seeks to help its adherents better reflect the image of Christ on earth. Every Christian must answer the question, “What time is it?” The question has an array of applicable facets: how old am I? What kind of world do I inhabit? Has anything changed since I was younger? How am I living for Christ in a way which unequivocally points to him? Therefore, the book proves profitable for any Christian. Some may find themselves needing to move slowly through the book; my own reading certainly would have slowed had I not had seminary training. However, Wax defines his terms well, and one who will face the challenge of a book thick with content should have the ability to understand his arguments. Wax notes his book has a North American audience. The book assumes the reader has familiarity with the culture of North America and evangelicalism. While many of his cultural insights would have some application outside a North American context, the reader in a place like Southeast Asia might find himself facing different competing eschatologies; however, Wax’s section discussing the Bible’s eschatological motivations for discipleship would remain fruitful, and attention paid to his method would equip the individual to develop his own analysis of his own context. The reader of Eschatological Discipleship will find himself equipped to engage evangelistically with the world around him. Wax’s presentation elicits the urgent response to see the return of Christ as a goal and destination. He accomplishes the task without descending into sensationalism. On Wax’s account, Christians read the times to better show Christ rather than reading The Times to predict when exactly Christ will return to earth. The return of Jesus to judge the world merits everyone’s attention, for every competing worldview and its eschatologies will pass away. The Christian disciple proves the one who submits his life to Christ, numbering his days and understanding them, in the hope of revealing the Savior to his uniquely broken context. This review originally appeared at my blog, takingeverythoughtcaptive.com

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laney Mills

    My second time reading this book was just as, if not more, impactful then the first time going through it. I deeply appreciate this thorough work, and am challenged by the depth and breadth of sources that Wax pulls from continually. This book can sound and initially seem lofty and cerebral, but it’s incredibly thought-provoking and practical. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is working in and seeking to understand discipleship in a North American context... you will be challenged by this b My second time reading this book was just as, if not more, impactful then the first time going through it. I deeply appreciate this thorough work, and am challenged by the depth and breadth of sources that Wax pulls from continually. This book can sound and initially seem lofty and cerebral, but it’s incredibly thought-provoking and practical. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is working in and seeking to understand discipleship in a North American context... you will be challenged by this book!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bob Priest

    At first glance I wondered what Eschatological Discipleship meant. After all, my church background was heavy on eschatology including charts, diagrams, and cheesy movies about the end of the world. For all those years eschatological discipleship would have meant, Jesus could be back any second now, do you want him to catch you doing whatever it is you are doing. Fortunately, Trevin Wax never even came close to saying that. In this book eschatology means asking what time is it. Eschatological disc At first glance I wondered what Eschatological Discipleship meant. After all, my church background was heavy on eschatology including charts, diagrams, and cheesy movies about the end of the world. For all those years eschatological discipleship would have meant, Jesus could be back any second now, do you want him to catch you doing whatever it is you are doing. Fortunately, Trevin Wax never even came close to saying that. In this book eschatology means asking what time is it. Eschatological discipleship is a “…type of spiritual formation and obedience that takes into account the contemporary setting in which one finds himself.” P3. HE goes on and says “…spiritual formation that goes beyond adoption of personal spiritual disciplines or engagement in church related activities to a missionary encounter and confrontation with the world.” P3 The first part of the book Wax drills down deep into understanding worldviews, a definition of eschatology and discipleship. He then gives an extensive biblical precedent for eschatological discipleship. This area makes this book a solid, biblical understanding of this process making this more than just a how to book on discipleship. He also wants us to understand the difference between absolutes and non-absolutes when we understand what time it is. There is a lot of meat here to validate the need for eschatological discipleship. In this early section the best part of the book was the section in chapter 3 discussing witness. Trevin makes a powerful case that witness is not something we do but someone we are. Witness is not a task but our identity. He states the activity of witnessing is birthed out of our identity as witnesses. This section alone makes the book a valuable resource. The section on rival worldviews (Enlightenment, Sexual Revolution, Consumerism) were another strong point of the book. These chapters helped me to realize where we came from and how we got here. IT makes it much easier to understand the time we are in when we see how we got here. Instead of just a history lesson Wax provides tools to expose these contradictory worldviews and provide a way to flourish. Eschatological Discipleship winds down with an evangelical look at discipleship and its common expressions he calls reproduction, personal piety, and gospel centered. Wax points out the pros and cons of each expression and the value of adding the eschatological discipleship element. HE also provides tactics to have a missionary encounter in these areas. This book was a tough read for me. Not because of the content but because there was so much packed into this volume. I had to take my time reading and digesting each section. In the end if you are looking for a deeper, long lasting definition for discipleship this is it. You will not find 3 easy steps or 12-week studies here. Instead you will find the call to a healthy form of discipleship that will require you to put the hard work into fleshing this out in your life and context. But that’s is what makes it long lasting and what the purpose is anyway, to develop the wisdom that leads to light for living in Gods kingdom in your time and context. A free copy was provided by the publisher for review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karl Dumas

    I know some of you might be disappointed to learn this, but discipleship is more than getting someone to come to your bible study or join your church. There is more to it than giving someone a ride to and from church or visiting someone in the hospital or jail. And, as I read Eschatological Discipleship: Leading Christians to Understand Their Historical and Cultural Context by Trevin Wax (B&H Academic, 2018) it also seems that there’s a lot more to it than right here and right now. It’s not eve I know some of you might be disappointed to learn this, but discipleship is more than getting someone to come to your bible study or join your church. There is more to it than giving someone a ride to and from church or visiting someone in the hospital or jail. And, as I read Eschatological Discipleship: Leading Christians to Understand Their Historical and Cultural Context by Trevin Wax (B&H Academic, 2018) it also seems that there’s a lot more to it than right here and right now. It’s not even all about next month or next year (unless the Lord returns by then). Discipleship for the Christian should be about end-times. And even that can be a little tricky to define, because depending on your world-view, the end times can be any number of things. But For the Christian, a world view should include Jesus at every level, and so discipleship should model a balance of sound doctrine, right practice, and proper sentiment. Thoughts, words and actions agree. And to help us answer those questions, Wax suggests that we need to be asking the question ‘what time is it? And we ask that question not in terms of whether or not we can read another chapter before going to bed, but in relation to our understanding of where we find ourselves on the line that begins with creation and will one day end with the return of Christ. I was impressed by the scholarship demonstrated in this book. Dr. Wax (who by the way is Bible and Reference Publisher for Lifeway Christian Resources) identifies incidents in the Old Testament which set the precedent for Eschatological Discipleship before moving on to the examples that can be found in the Gospels and in Acts, and also in the letters of the Apostle Paul. But as mentioned earlier, worldview plays an important part; and today, perhaps more than ever before, competing worldviews have left people confused about what they believe and why. Wax takes time to describe some of the worldviews to which we are exposed, including Enlightenment, the Sexual Revolution, and Consumerism. Your worldview helps you answer the big questions of life, and helps you determine a proper course of action when confronted with a particular situation. That combination of sound doctrine, right practice, and proper sentiment is highly dependent on the worldview to which you subscribe. Further complicating things is the lack of a commonly agreed upon definition of discipleship, or disciple, or evangelical. In fact whole books have been written on any number of definitions of these key terms. Wax does an outstanding job of comparing and contrasting several different models to help the reader ask the worldview question ‘What time is it?’ This book is published by an academic publishing house, so its reader appeal may be limited. Having said that, I think that the audience for which the book is intended will be pleased with Trevin Wax’ masterful work. I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a favorable review, only an honest appraisal. 5/5

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gillian

    Who are you? WHEN are you? Trevor Wax argues that to be a disciple means we must understand our time, time’s progress, and the end of time and our unique time and place. Christianity is rooted in the historical act of Jesus, and it is still historically lived out. Thus, as disciples, we must ask “When are we? What time is it?” Bringing the Christian vision of time, progress, and destiny (eschatology) to bear …. While always eager to learn more about discipleship, it was the section on biblical t Who are you? WHEN are you? Trevor Wax argues that to be a disciple means we must understand our time, time’s progress, and the end of time and our unique time and place. Christianity is rooted in the historical act of Jesus, and it is still historically lived out. Thus, as disciples, we must ask “When are we? What time is it?” Bringing the Christian vision of time, progress, and destiny (eschatology) to bear …. While always eager to learn more about discipleship, it was the section on biblical theology that made me choose this book. The discipleship aspect is a needed, orienting question. His research is impressive, quoting from numerous authors. His point is very, very well made (if not to the point of repetition). His book is more theoretical then step-by-step how-to book, yet his examples of how Christian eschatology engages with our culture in the Enlightenment, sexual revolution, and consumerism is excellent. Moreover, he ends with aptly explaining how an eschatological perspective can strengthen common discipleship frameworks. This leaves me and any reader, lay person, counselor, pastor with apt guidelines and advice. Moreover, this also helps equip us with a holy-set-apart engagement with the world and apologetic facet to discipleship. Yet, as much as I deeply appreciate Wax’s inclusion of biblical theology, this part was weaker and somewhat light compared to the rest of the book (however, including more in-depth could have led to a voluminous tome). I was slightly disappointed in that, and he acknowledges in the conclusion that the area of eschatological discipleship biblical theology is an area of further study. Overall, an excellent book with an important, well-argued for point. The future impacts now and how we live now. Knowing our time and our destiny allows us to engage with the culture in a hope-giving, challenging, holy way, allowing us to faithfully follow Jesus today, rather than mindlessly being absorbed into the world. Read more personal reflections about how this shaped my identity here: http://astonescry.blogspot.com/2018/0... "I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cameron

    A special thanks to B&H/LifeWay for sending me a complimentary copy of Trevin K. Wax’s book, Eschatological Discipleship. In Trevin Wax’s new book, Eschatological Discipleship, he seeks to lead his Christian readers into a deeper understanding of both their historical and cultural context by suggesting that believers should continually be incorporating the question “What time is it?” into their daily lives. The overall emphasis is not as much a study of end-times as it is a matter of being equipp A special thanks to B&H/LifeWay for sending me a complimentary copy of Trevin K. Wax’s book, Eschatological Discipleship. In Trevin Wax’s new book, Eschatological Discipleship, he seeks to lead his Christian readers into a deeper understanding of both their historical and cultural context by suggesting that believers should continually be incorporating the question “What time is it?” into their daily lives. The overall emphasis is not as much a study of end-times as it is a matter of being equipped to wisely discern the day and age in which we live. The author states that “As we fulfill the call to be transformed, not conformed to this world that is passing away, we must learn to discern our times properly in order to have a missionary encounter that shines light on the true eschatology of the Gospel that proclaims Jesus Christ as the hope of the world.” Within this book the author endeavors to walk through a Biblical understanding of discipleship and to show how that model can look right here and now in the Church of the twenty-first century. Wax goes up against some of the Church’s biggest cultural combatants such as the enlightenment, the sexual revolution and consumerism. His reason for bringing these three specific ideals to light is to not only to reveal how ingrained they are in us as individuals but to also help us know how to stand up against these rival worldviews. The goal of discipleship is not to keep up with the latest fad but to become more like Christ. Trevin will help you reclaim this goal.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    Wax builds a good definition of eschatology from the New Testament. He then explores how this eschatology should impact the Christian life. He provides a contrast with competing eschatologies. This is also an area of weakness as he really only considers one primary competing eschatology and two derivatives. The final section of the book seeks to apply eschatology to discipleship. This section is brief in comparison to the rest of the book, though I expected it to be the bulk of the work. It is p Wax builds a good definition of eschatology from the New Testament. He then explores how this eschatology should impact the Christian life. He provides a contrast with competing eschatologies. This is also an area of weakness as he really only considers one primary competing eschatology and two derivatives. The final section of the book seeks to apply eschatology to discipleship. This section is brief in comparison to the rest of the book, though I expected it to be the bulk of the work. It is primarily theoretical and would have benefited from actual case studies. Overall, this is a worthwhile book and a good contribution to studies on eschatology and discipleship.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Roberts

    Quick read. I thoroughly enjoyed the rival eschatologies portion and thought it was worth the price of the book. Trevin Wax has a way of cutting through the muck and making sense of complex issues. This book and This is Our Time are must reads for all doing teaching today to young people. Highly recommended

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jason Park

    The importance of a healthy understanding of God’s kingdom is made clear in this enlightening and deeply-thought-out work. My full review: https://medium.com/@jpark_21/eschatol... The importance of a healthy understanding of God’s kingdom is made clear in this enlightening and deeply-thought-out work. My full review: https://medium.com/@jpark_21/eschatol...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    The chapters around rival eschatologies completely blew me away. SO, SO MUCH to digest there. All in all, a really good read that draws a perspective outside of one's self & across space & time. The chapters around rival eschatologies completely blew me away. SO, SO MUCH to digest there. All in all, a really good read that draws a perspective outside of one's self & across space & time.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Caudillo

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jess Villie

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Dillon

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cameron Hayner

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joe

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dale Gilbert

  19. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  21. 4 out of 5

    Wesley Caldwell

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris Land

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Daly

  24. 4 out of 5

    Panda Incognito

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jack Blankenship

  26. 4 out of 5

    Doug Hibbard

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jake

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dylan Price

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Williams

  30. 4 out of 5

    Coby Tucker

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