Eschatology and ethics are joined at the hip, says Michael Allen, and both need theocentric reorientation. In Grounded in Heaven Allen retrieves the traditional concept of the beatific visio
Eschatology and ethics are joined at the hip, says Michael Allen, and both need theocentric reorientation. In Grounded in Heaven Allen retrieves the traditional concept of the beatific vision and seeks to bring Christ back into the heart of our theology and our lives on earth.
Responding to the earthly-mindedness of much recent theology, Allen places his focus on God and the heavenly future while also appreciating ways in which the Reformed tradition provides a unique angle on broadly catholic concerns. Reaching back to classical ethics as well as its reformation by Calvin and other Reformed theologians, Grounded in Heaven offers a distinctly Protestant account of the ascetical calling to be heavenly-minded and to deny one’s self.
J. Todd Billings
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— Western Theological Seminary
“With his characteristic clarity and verve, Michael Allen presents an alternative to the recent evangelical trend of thinning down heaven to human—all too human—proportions. In its place, Allen articulates a richly theocentric account of heaven that affixes our affections and actions to the proper end of creation and redemption—the triune God made known in Jesus Christ. In the process, he presents an astonishingly countercultural vision of the Christian life lived in a ‘heavenly-minded’ manner. This lively book is a conversation-changer!”
Kevin J. Vanhoozer
— Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“Christians the world over pray as Jesus taught them, saying, ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ Michael Allen digs up new treasures from this phrase, arguing that heavenly hope—for eternal life in fellowship with the triune God—ought to inform our earthly way of life. The four chapters in this book work variations on the theme that the norms for Christian behavior today (ethics) are related to our hope for tomorrow (eschatology). Contra Marx, it turns out that heaven is not the opiate of the people, lulling them into indifference to present injustices, but a potent stimulant to work for the good of others, denying oneself and, in the process, communicating God’s goodness and displaying God’s coming kingdom. Allen’s call to heavenly-mindedness on earth is a provocative corrective to the contemporary emphasis on earth-bound conceptions of heaven.”
— Mundelein Seminary
“Can we still say, with the disciple Philip, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied’ (John 14:8)? Is the desire of our hearts ordered to everlasting communion with the Holy Trinity, so that eternal life will rejoice us insofar as we share in Life? Instructed preeminently by John Calvin and John Owen, Michael Allen urges that our encounter with Jesus Christ’s eschatological words and deeds must give us the spiritual-mindedness and self-denial that configure us (and this world) to the Lord whom we love. Ecumenical readers will find this book to be, at its core, an exercise in sound biblical and Augustinian good sense.”
Kelly M. Kapic
— Covenant College
“In this provocative book Michael Allen reorients our thinking and our lives by, as he says, challenging us to ‘recenter’ our Christian hope and life on God himself. We need Allen’s voice in this conversation, for his arguments are not simply about the future, but about how we live in the present, helping us make sense of the biblical call of self-denial and heavenly-mindedness as we long to be with Christ.”
— Westminster Seminary California
“This is a splendid volume. Drawing deeply from the past while engaging a wide variety of contemporary voices, Michael Allen summarizes the richness of Reformed teaching with clarity and insight. His Grounded in Heaven focuses on the main issues, and beneath its superb brevity lies a deep reservoir of research.”
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Michael Allen is John Dyer Trimble Professor of Systematic Theology and academic dean at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando. He has written many books and is coeditor (with Scott R. Swain) of the Oxford Handbook of Reformed Theology.