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The World to Come: From Christian Past to Global Future by Lloyd Geering


Lloyd Geering is a Presbyterian minister and former Professor of Old Testament Studies at theological colleges in Brisbane and Dunedia, and Professor of Religious Studies at Victorian University in Wellington, New Zealand. He is author of Tomorrow's God (1994), The World to Come (1999) and Christianity Without God (2002). Published by Polebridge Press, 1999, Santa Rosa, California and by Bridget Williams Books Ltd, Wellington, New Zealand, 1999. This material was edited for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


Introduction to Lloyd Geering by Robert W. Funk

Preface

Introduction

Chapter 1: The End of the Millennium
The foundations of the Christian calendar, the date of Jesus’ birth (and the celebration of Christmas on December 25th), the "second coming" – these have no historical connection with Jesus.

Chapter 2: The Decline of Christian Civilization
Christendom is a thing of the past. The so-called "Christian West" is but a shell of its former self. The question is, "What is the destiny of Christianity?."

Chapter 3: The Disintegration of Orthodoxy
Dr. Geering discusses the demise of Christian orthodoxy in four areas particularly vulnerable to "the corrosive acids of modernity:" 1. The Church; 2. The Bible; 3. The person of Jesus Christ; 4. The reality of God. However, he affirms that Christianity is broader and more flexible than any theological orthodoxy.

Chapter 4: The Failure of Christian Modernism
Many of the events of the twentieth century have eroded human self-confidence and belief in progress. Modernity itself is now held responsible by some for the current ills in society, and for the uncertain and fragile future which we now face.

Chapter 5: The Christian Stream of Influence
What do we understand as "Christianity?" Is it a belief, a lifestyle, a set of values, a conversion experience, a member of the body of Christ, a bible believer?

Chapter 6: The Discovery of Relativity
No thing in the universe can be fully understood in isolation. Everything we previously took to be absolute and final is now relativised. It is just because nothing lasts for ever and there is continual change that life has been able to evolve and that humanity has developed as it has.

Chapter 7: A Post Christian Future
The best we can do, in attempting to imagine the twenty-first century, is to assess the current trends in the fast-changing human cultures. The most dominant trend today is globalization.

Chapter 8: Globalization
The process of globalization has reached a turning point. It could lead to a form of human existence more wonderful and exciting than we can possibly imagine -- a veritable heaven on earth. Or some of the trends that have been encouraging globalization may have disastrous consequences far beyond human control.

Chapter 9: Humanity at War with Itself
After a long period of dispersion over the whole earth, the human race is now being pushed together, whether we are ready for it or not. We live in a global world and we have a common destiny on this planet, but our decisions are hampered by narrow-mindedness and short-sightedness.

Chapter 10: Humanity at War with the Planet
An appreciation of the damage we are doing to the earth has been slow to surface in modern human consciousness. Most people are so taken up with personal and local affairs of the moment that they are almost completely unaware of the larger picture.

Chapter 11: Scenarios of the Future
Dr. Geering offers ten scenarios of the possible human future -- wars, starvation, mass pandemics, ecological disasters and unfettered terrorism. He concludes that if a successful global society is to emerge, it will require humanity to develop a new consciousness and a new form of spirituality.

Chapter 12: A Faith for the Future
If the human species is not to self-destruct it must develop into a global society which will find cohesion in what may be called a global human culture. The challenges which lie ahead cannot be overcome by any one person or group working on their own but only by the human species working as a whole.

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