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Jesus--the End and the Beginning

Tracing the Christ-Shaped Nature of Everything

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Telford Work examines some of the most important ways Jesus is "the omega and the alpha"--the end and the beginning. Jesus alone fulfills the divine purpose for all things, brings about the end of the old world's evil and suffering, and is the beginning of eternity's new creation. This core conviction is one of the deepest logics that shapes Christian thinking and life.

Jesus--the End and the Beginning offers a unique, big-picture introduction to how Jesus's life and death shape Christian theology and practice and helps readers fully understand Jesus's transformation of all things. The author uses Jesus's life and death as an entry point into understanding Christian theology, offering readers an accessible way to understand elusive and abstract theological concepts. Most chapters feature a central biblical character who illustrates the book's thesis. Professors and students in introduction to theology, Christology, soteriology, eschatology, and other theology courses will value this work. It will also be of interest to pastors and church leaders.

1. Introduction
2. Jesus, the End and the Beginning of God
3. Jesus, the End and the Beginning of the Cosmos
4. Jesus, the End and the Beginning of Humanity
5. Jesus, the End and the Beginning of Israel
6. Jesus, the End and the Beginning of the Nations
7. Jesus, the End and the Beginning of a Life
Afterword: Jesus, the End and the Beginning of the Book


"In Jesus--the End and the Beginning, Telford Work invites us to follow him to oft-avoided vantage points where new vistas of Christ can be pondered. Like studying a photograph's negative, contemplating Jesus as the omega and alpha draws disciples deeper into the richness of Christ's beauty, provoking us to grapple with our rehearsed Christologies and compelling us to explore afresh what it means for Jesus to be the center of Christian faith for us today. This book will not just provide you new frames of reference, but most importantly it will prod you to reconsider if Jesus is or can be your omega and alpha."

Brian Lugioyo, Azusa Pacific University

"A dynamic and engaging vision that proclaims Jesus Christ as the answer to everything. Simple but not simplistic, Work's book shows that Jesus can transform every dimension of human life from individual salvation to civic life and international relations. Work's focus on biblical theology and specifically on Jesus as the omega and the alpha makes this an effective book for classroom teaching and discussion."

Steven M. Studebaker, McMaster Divinity College

"This is a wonderfully fresh approach to Christology--or, better, to the pivotal place of Jesus in the entire Christian vision. From multiple angles, Work guides readers in apprehending the concrete difference Jesus makes for all creation. Attentive readings of Scripture abound in this book, and they are shaped by deep engagement with the Christian tradition. Work's prose is a joy to read--it is simultaneously lively and precise, shining new light on familiar themes. Particularly well suited for classroom settings, this volume is a gift to all who seek a coherent and compelling account of the centrality of Jesus."

Doug Koskela, professor of theology, Seattle Pacific University

"In his accessible, often witty, yet theologically deep way, Telford Work retells the scriptural story from the perspective of Jesus as the disruptive turning point of history. Examined from this Christ-outward perspective, God, the cosmos, Israel, humanity, the nations, and even our own lives all have fresh light shone on them. Deeply scriptural and orthodox yet culturally current, Jesus--the End and the Beginning is a wonderful way to know more deeply and to be challenged by Jesus, who is at the nexus of all things."

David Stubbs, professor of ethics and theology, Western Theological Seminary

"As a slogan, 'Jesus is the answer' can be found in a wide range of mediums from songs to bumper stickers. As a theological truth, many Christians struggle to appreciate it. Telford Work's latest book unpacks this truth to reveal Jesus as the key to understanding God, the cosmos, humanity, etc. He skillfully weaves together Biblical passages and modern examples to explain the centrality of Jesus for everything. Work deftly navigates different and differing theological traditions to paint a coherent picture of Jesus as both the ending of the old and the beginning of the new, the omega and alpha. Work's text is an invitation to Christian discipleship. He warns believers throughout of ways Christ could be displaced as the omega and alpha in their own thinking before ending with a call to a richer understanding of a Christ-shaped life. This book is profound and quotable. Jesus--the End and the Beginning will be required reading in my classes."

D. Allen Tennison, dean, College of Church Leadership, North Central University

"What if Christ were all in all? What if Jesus truly were our beginning and end? Drawn by these questions, Telford Work presents the reader with a vision of life enfolded by Jesus Christ. A scriptural imagination engages here with matters of faith. This lively book opens up questions of the Christian faith to show their root and resolution in Jesus. All things, Work reminds us, are gathered up in Christ. Here is the engine that propels him through his consideration of numerous issues of faith and contemporary life. Jesus discloses to us our beginning and end, and life is found in the midst."

Stephen Wright, Nazarene Theological College

The Author

  1. Telford Work

    Telford Work

    Telford Work (PhD, Duke University) is professor of theology and chair of the department of religious studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He is the author of several books, including Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Living through the Lord's...

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