Eschatological Discipleship – A Review
Wax, Trevin K. Eschatological Discipleship Leading Christians to Understand Their Historical and Cultural Context. B & H Academic, 2018.
I’ll be honest here, up until recently, I always equated the word “Eschatology”, and most any form of it, with the study of the End Times. With the study of the book of Revelation, as well as some end-times passages, like from Matthew 25:31-46. Sadly, and I must repent of this, I have never thought of eschatology as being a part of much anything else than the last things, the end times. Upon picking up and reading through Trevin Wax’s Eschatological Discipleship, I have come to realize that I was completely wrong, and that there is a great focus on eschatology. We, no, I must remember that “The world is going somewhere.” (p.52).
Throughout Eschatological Discipleship, Trevin Wax has many different, but the same, definitions of discipleship. On page 55, he writes, “Discipleship is no less than recognizing the presence of the kingdom and trading in one’s personal agendas for the kingdom agenda of Jesus Christ.” (p.55). I particularly love this definition because it encompasses an aspect of discipleship that often gets overlooked, an aspect that I was talking with my pastor about today: Submission to Jesus as our Lord. We must trade in our own agenda’s and beg for Jesus’s agenda in return, there is no real option. However, when it comes to Eschatological Discipleship, Trevin Wax uses this definition:
“In short, eschatological discipleship is the 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.” (p.41).
In other words, when we are making “disciples of all nations,” and “teaching them to observe,” (Matthew 28:19-20), we must look at more than just those lines. We must teach them that what the Bible says about our past as well as our future and that they are equally important. We must remember that we are all going somewhere.
The Book Itself…
The book is a standard paperback book with a nice cover and a great timeline-esque graphic that really caught my attention. However, it’s not the cover or the fact that it’s paperback that makes it such a great book. It’s the God-Glorifying content that is interwoven through the pages from front to back. First, Trevin opens the journey by taking you through almost what seemed like an introduction to apologetics class, going over worldview and the such, and arrives at the destination of the above mentioned definition of eschatological discipleship.
Part two, consisting of chapters 2-4, covers where to see this form of discipleship throughout God’s Word in the Old and New Testaments. Chapter 2 covers “Old Testament Precedent for Eschatological Discipleship. Chapters 3 and 4 brings the skinny on Eschatological Discipleship from the New Testament, from the Gospels to the Letters of Paul.
Part three consists of chapters 5-8, going over Christianity in Light of Rival Eschatologies. For the best way to beat your enemy is to know about them. In this case, the best way to be prepared to give a defense for your faith regarding eschatology and the such requires us to be very dedicated to learning about those who oppose what we believe, but also on how to use it to our advantage. There is an intro and three chapters – Enlightenment, the Sexual Revolution, and Consumerism.
Part four consists of just one chapter, 9, regarding Evangelical Conceptions of Discipleship where the author places current methodologies of evangelical discipleship alongside his eschatological model to see how this idea of eschatological discipleship can help enhance what is now in use.
In his conclusion, Trevin Wax doesn’t just argue his point by saying, “you just read my book, it’s right,” no, he actually points the reader to do further research as to learn more about how eschatology fits within the grand narrative of Scripture. He also warns agains the dangers of syncretism and relativism that could come out of asking his favored question, “What time is it?” when striving towards the goal of eschatological discipleship.
This is an excellent book that has made me think. I’m currently on my second read through, marking up pages and using tab stickers (which might become pointless because of how much I’m using them!). I highly recommend this not only as a means to learn to disciple more effectively, but also for the individual reader to help him realize the role of eschatology in the grand narrative of the Christian life!
If you would like to purchase a copy of Eschatological Discipleship, please click on the cover image below:
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me for a review by BHbloggers.com (B&H Publishing and LifeWay).
This review can also be found at The Reformed Outlook blog.