Theology, Eschatology and Church Growth
Theology aims to provide a panorama the big picture that makes sense of the snapshots, the grand narrative that weaves together and interprets lesser stories, including the stories of individuals and communities. The characteristic images of the kingdom yeast spreading in dough, seeds growing in the ground indicate that some kind of growth is integral to the New Testament vision of the gospel. The Chronicles of Narnia often provide a narrative framework within which to consider a doctrine that we had hitherto analysed conceptually such as eschatology, so intriguingly re-presented in The Last Battle. This chapter has offered some brief reflections on the importance of theology for church growth. The rediscovery of eschatology in the last century is linked with a new interest in the Christian hope, and the recognition of the need to distinguish this from its secular alternatives and more generic optimistic outlooks on life. A similar concern is expressed by Doug Pagitt in his Christianity Worth Believing.