The future of Theology

June 05, 2011

The 2011 New College Lectures will be held from the 27-29 September and will feature three ‘younger’ theologians who will explore the theme, ‘Theology and the Future’. This is a theme that has an eschatological foundation and the hope that resurrection brings (1 Peter 1:3). As well, it reflects a level of discontentment with the way the world is now and a desire to consider how theology might be applied to the world and its future.

If there are new areas to focus our theology and new depths to plumb, we are as Jürgen Moltmann reminded us, always to do this from an eschatological perspective. We are looking toward the days when Christ will make all things new.  Moltmann in 'Theology of Hope' (1967) suggests that:
"A proper theology.. therefore [has] to be constructed in the light of its future goal. Eschatology should not be its end, but its beginning."

Our theme for the Lectures could stimulate many directions. For example, we could simply stand with Karl Barth and call upon a new generation to say the same things, but differently – “…begin at the beginning and in their own way”? Or instead, we might ask different questions to which we seek right answers; applying the Word of God to new areas of life as we impatiently long for Christ's return? How does theology allow us to view the future and does this change the issues to which we turn our attention in the present? Are the key questions being asked of theology from within the Church of Christ or from without? And how does theology help us to respond to these questions?

We live in age where faith and reason are seen by many people as in opposition. New Atheism has sought to paint a future for religious belief as a mystical curiosity without evidence; something to be confined to one’s personal life. Faith, belief and theology are also seen by some as an irrelevance in the university, the professions and in relation to public policy. For these critics, theology is seen as having no future. Religion is painted as a force that divides people, entrenches old hegemonies and leads to social division and strife. But the Christian faith has a contribution to make to our understanding of reality, the world and its future.

Our lecture series will feature three theologians who have been asked to address the theme we have set. What do they see as the relevance of theology for the future? What does the Bible teach us about the future and our relationship to it? What issues that we will face in the future should we be considering?

We hope that many readers of this blog who live within reach of Sydney will join us. Others might share in the event in a variety of other ways including publications and broadcasts of the lectures.


The three speakers we have chosen to share their perspectives are:

Prof John McDowell (Newcastle University) will consider 'Theology & the Future of Education'
Rev Dr David Starling (Morling College) will consider 'Theology & the Future of the Church'
Rev Dr Michael Jensen (Moore College) will consider 'Theology & the Future of Humanity'

Special Edition of Case Magazine

We have also asked our lecturers to write articles based on their addresses for the September edition of Case Magazine (this will be released just after the Lectures). In addition to the above speakers we have asked two other theologians to write for the same edition of the magazine:

Dr Greg Clarke (Bible Society) will write on 'Theology & the Future of the Bible'
Dr Rhys Bezzant (Ridley College) will write on 'Theology & the Future of Worship'

The above edition of our quarterly magazine will be available to regular subscribers and on sale as a single issue.

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