Garrett-Evangelical News

Dr. Brent Waters Promotion Lecture Focuses on Navigating the Moral Terrain

EVANSTON, Illinois, October 2011 - In his promotion lecture, “Dead Reckoning: Eschatology and Ethics,” Dr. Brent Waters, the Jerre and Mary Joy Stead Professor of Christian Social Ethics 
at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, charts a trajectory for the Christian moral life between what he calls “the poles of anticipatory remembrance and imaginative restlessness.”

_MG_2623“The Christian moral life is formed and lived out between the ascension and the parousia, in this time between times,” Waters remarks. “In remembering Jesus’ life, teaching, and ministry, his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, we are necessarily redirected to his return, the return Christians anxiously anticipate.”

Influenced by pastoral theologian and faculty colleague Dr. David Hogue and his book, Remembering the Future, Imagining the Past, Waters examines the relationship between eschatology and ethics by likening the Christian moral life to the ancient mariners and early pilots who, when unequipped with charts and instrumentation, employed what is known as “dead reckoning.” The term referred to traveling solely by the knowledge of a destination on the horizon and prominent landmarks en route.

“Navigating the moral terrain in this time between times is a challenging, inexact, and perilous enterprise,” Waters says. “Not entirely devoid of guidance, we have travel logs from our ancestors in the faith. We can learn something about the direction and necessary course adjustments by their good and bad example, their wisdom and their folly, and their faithfulness and infidelity. And like them we will do the same for those after us.”

To watch this presentation go to  To learn about upcoming faculty lectures go to

Founded in 1853, Garrett-Evangelical is a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church. Located on the campus of Northwestern University, the seminary serves more than 500 students from many denominations and various cultural backgrounds, fostering an atmosphere of ecumenical interaction. Garrett-Evangelical creates bold leaders through master of divinity, master of arts, master of theological studies, doctor of philosophy and doctor of ministry degrees. Its 4,500 living alumni serve church and society around the world.

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UMC Logo Garrett-Evangelical, a seminary related to
The United Methodist Church, welcomes
students from a wide range of faith traditions.