Cookies 🍪

This site uses cookies that need consent. Learn more

Skip to content
Tyndale Theological Seminary
Soteriology as Motivation in the Apocalypse of John

Soteriology as Motivation in the Apocalypse of John

Alexander E. Stewart, PhD - 2015

Gorgias Biblical Studies 61. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press

John did not write the Apocalypse in order to provide a detailed time-table of events that would unfold thousands of years in the future. Instead, John wrote to affect and move his hearers at the end of the first century-to motivate them to reject idolatrous compromise with the surrounding cultural and political institutions and overcome through repentance, worship, witness, perseverance, and obedience. How does the Apocalypse of John accomplish this motivation and persuade its hearers to adopt a course of action that would put their present lives, income, and security in jeopardy? This monograph employs Stephen Toulmin’s model of argumentation analysis to study John’s explicit and implicit motivational argumentation and to argue that the two primary grounds for John’s argumentation are soteriological. Hearers are motivated positively by the promise of future salvation and negatively by warnings of future judgment. In addition to this main claim, this monograph will (1) argue that the Apocalypse of John is a thoroughly rhetorical text; (2) highlight the centrality of logos, or logical argumentation, in John’s argumentation; (3) demonstrate the general applicability of Toulmin’s model of argumentation analysis to biblical texts; (4) argue that one’s systematic theology of motivation or salvation must be grounded in a comprehensive analysis of the actual motivational argumentation within a text; and (5) explore some of the theological questions raised by the use of soteriology as motivation.