Good work of ‘non‐Christians’, empowerment, and the New Creation
Weir, Stuart Charles
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The last two decades have seen a large increase in evangelical theologies of work as has also been the case in other Christian traditions. Numerous different angles and perspectives on the subject have been unfolded so as to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the meaning of human work. Prominent themes have included work as a means towards sanctification, work as a means towards effective proclamation of the gospel, work that enables a fuller expression of worship to God, work as a means towards serving one’s neighbours. and even work which might transfer from this age into the new creation as part of humanity’s salvation in Christ. The Problem This thesis will provide in a thoroughgoing manner that which has not yet been dealt with in evangelical theology ‐ an examination of the work of those who are not Christian as it pertains to the new creation. That is, this project will examine whether there is any connection between earthly work performed by those who are not Christian and the kingdom of heaven. Protestant theologies (e.g. William Perkins, Emil Brunner, Karl Barth, Lee Hardy, together with each theological figure of this study) almost exclusively rule that such a connection lies beyond the margins of orthodoxy. Miroslav Volf, however, following in the theological footsteps of Jürgen Moltmann, briefly suggests the importance of such a connection in his Work in the Spirit in an attempt to assemble a framework for a synthetic vision of work. This passing mention by Volf has been the initial idea and point of departure for this study. And since Volf has welcomed others to develop his structures further into something more robust, I will do so as it pertains to the good work of ‘non‐ Christians’ and the eschaton. Although I will seldom revisit Volf’s contribution to the theology of work in the subsequent chapters, it is an appropriate launching point for this study and has made a formative impact upon this project’s inception.