I picked up this book because it had a chapter called ‘The Feast of Freedom’ and I’m currently focusing much of my reading around The Lord’s Supper. It’s the first time I’d read Moltmann since graduating from Nottingham in 1996; and that, if this book is anything to go, has been a mistake.
Published in 1978 as a result of a lecture tour in North America, this is a vibrant, compelling, dynamite book. Subtitled ‘Invitation to a messianic life-style’ it seems like a prophetic call for what we know as the missional church from one of the twentieth centuries heavyweight theologians.
I’ve no idea if Frost, Hirsch, Breen, Viola and the like have read Moltmann, but they should because here they get support from a big-hitter (does anyone know if they have?) Although Moltmann, it seems, is reacting against the stolidity of German denominational church life he still has much to say that hit homes today.
Calling for a community that embraces social action, releases lay leadership, builds upon genuine friendship and fellowship and uses the metaphor of feast and artist there is much here that resonates with anyone interested in ‘missional church.’ There are a few sections, such as his thinking on being ‘of the people’ that make you wonder where he’s going but then ‘boom’ he hits you with a wonderful turn of phrase, that challenges, provokes and inspires you.
His section on friendship was wonderful and powerfully challenging (am I just friends with people like me or am I like Jesus who became friends with people like me who was in no way like Jesus!). The discussion on ecumenical relations under the cross gave pause for thought and something to annoy and encourage all sides. And his call for a congregation from below was way ahead of its time and at the same time a challenge to many new churches; have our paid staff sometimes become a priesthood?
I’d been in a reading slump for a month or so and this kicked me into gear and I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it. If anyone can recommend a book where evangelicals engage with Moltmann’s theology I’d be grateful for the tip.