Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Jesus offers Abundant Life yet so many Christians settle for less. Why? There are myriad theories as to what constitutes Abundant Life (AL). As the evidence of history and Scripture are integrated, AL is consistently experienced in three realities: relationship, responsibility and restoration (RE3). Relationship + Responsibility + Restoration = Abundant Life or R3AL. R3AL Life existed in Creation, was made accessible to Fallen Eikons1 through Jesus and will be central to New Creation. While many Christians are aware of why they were created and the transformational power of Jesus, R3AL life eludes them. They have a flawed eschatology that leads to floundering humanity. For many Christians, their ultimate hope is escape from this world to a better life in heaven. This evacuation eschatology directly affects their quality of life today. They have failed to recognize the essential relationship between quality of life and eschatological hope. How, then, do one's hopes and expectations for the future enhance or encumber their ability to experience Abundant Life now? I contend that Christians can experience Abundant Life now through reclamation of relationship and responsibility in the hope of restoration. Chapter 1 will explore the essential connection between telos and hope. The nature of one's telos and hope lead to either floundering or flourishing. One's telos matters. It directly affects one's quality of life here and now. Hence our problem: a flawed eschatology will contribute to a floundering humanity. Chapter 2 will go back to the beginning to distill the essential components of flourishing for human beings. Throughout the biblical narrative, we will discover the elements of relationship, responsibility and restoration as essential to the experience of Abundant Life. Chapter 3 will explore the echoes of relationship, responsibility and restoration in historical sources beyond the biblical narrative. As we delve into the continuum of philosophers, behavioral scientists and historians, we will see the essential nature of human flourishing echoing the biblical narrative's clarion call to R3AL life. Chapter 4 is dedicated to uncovering the flawed eschatology that unwittingly contributes to floundering humanity. We will see how a flawed definition of justice has produced an escape and retribution eschatology with dire consequences. Then, from Revelation 19, we will present a view of justice which points to the restoration of all things. Chapter 5 is the culmination of our journey to rekindle our imaginations for the ultimate life that awaits men and women in Christ. We will set our sights on New Creation. We will imagine a world of R3AL HOPE. It is a world where heaven and earth become one and all things are made new. It is a world filled with HOPE: Harmonious, Ongoing, Participatory and Euphoric. Chapter 6 and the Afterword help set our sights on how a life of R3AL HOPE can practically be experienced here and now. 1 Eikon is the Greek word for “image.” Scot McKnight uses it throughout his works "because, since it is rarely used, it gives us a new term to think with. By using a new term we will be able to fu ill it with its own meaning." Scot McKnight, Embracing Grace, (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2005), 18.
Callahan, Richard J., "R3AL HOPE: Living with the End in Mind" (2013). Doctor of Ministry. 69.