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Paradigms of the Future – 2003

by staff writer, Sep 10, 2003

dog_paradigms-lSince the work of Thomas Kuhn, it has become increasingly common to talk about paradigm change in science. But how does this apply to theology? How has faith’s view of the future been shaped by large-scale paradigm change in society? Is eschatology still relevant, or are we  barking up the wrong tree?

Thirteen participants joined the Christian Futures Network from Nov 20-21st, 2003 in Atlanta, for its “Paradigms of the Future” consultation to gain new perspective as a ministry leaders. The focus was on apocalypticism, millennialism and eschatology, each as distinct paradigms, operating throughout history. 

jaygary_sDr. Jay Gary is president of, a foresight consulting group. Over the past twenty years Jay has helped non-profits, foundations, civic leaders, and strategic alliances to create more promise filled futures. He also teaches strategic foresight, innovation and leadership at the graduate level and through professional development courses.

clouse-sDr. Robert Pierard, co-author with Dr. Robert Clouse, historian, author of The Millennium Manual, opened the program on Friday morning. Dr. Pierard spoke on “The Pursuit of the Millennium,” and shared how the quest for the kingdom of God captured the imagination of emperors, popes, heretics and reformers.

ted_peters_sDr. Ted Peters, theologian, professor at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, led two sessions, from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m., on the “proleptic” framework from his well-known textbook, God-the World’s Future. How has current theology been shaped by eschatological hope? What new paths are being taken to relate the “coming” of God to the “becoming” of humanity? How do today’s Christian paradigms anticipate, or pre-actualize the future? The consultation will ended at 12:30 p.m on Friday.

“Paradigms of the Future” was sponsored by the CFN and was held at the downtown Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

paradigms_lThis is the third Christian Futures consultation this year. The first consultation was in San Francisco, this past July 2003. It looked at foresight and leadership development. The second consultation in Virginia Beach, Sept 26-27, 2003. We looked at foresight and organizational development. This third consultation in Atlanta looked at foresight and theological development, based on God’s revelation.

Pre-consultation readings and discussions were opened online before the meeting for registered participants. The Atlanta Consultation on “Paradigms of the Future” was held to overlap with the proceedings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, Nov 22 – 25th, 2003.

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