The Kingdom and the Mission of God’s People

The Good News that Conquers Our Predicament, part 11

In a biblical worldview, the emphasis of salvation is on community, not individuality. Individuals are saved only to become a part of the new society that God is creating, namely, the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom that Jesus proclaimed transforms relationships, values, and ethics. The idea in some Christian quarters that one can accept Christ as “Savior,” but not as “Lord” until some later time, is untenable. To become a Christian is to yield to Christ as the Lord of His Kingdom, repenting of being a part of the dark empire that destroys God’s intentions for justice and shalom and deciding rather to be a part of Christ’s transformative community in this world.

How do we enter into the Kingdom?

Jesus’ idea of the Kingdom was different from the Pharisees, the zealots, and even the Jews of Qumran. His Kingdom would not be found through strict adherence to man-made rules (Pharisees), by violent revolution (the zealots), or by separation from the wicked world (Qumran). (What are the contemporary analogues to these three?) Instead, God offers the kingdom by supernatural means as a sheer gift. “We enter not by good deeds or social engineering, but only as we repent and accept God’s forgiveness.” (Ron Sider, Good News and Good Works, p. 56)

The point of all the New Testament’s teaching about grace and mercy is that God accepts sinners. The only requirement that we have is to accept God’s supernatural gift. This was Jesus’ teaching:

  • “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14)
  • “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3)
  • “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 18:3)
  • “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
To enter the Kingdom, one must repent of the direction he or she has been going and decide to follow Jesus as the King for their deliverance—this is what we say when we call Jesus “Lord and Savior”(Mark 1:14). The only way into the Kingdom is to experience a supernatural rebirth, a conversion and regeneration from the way we were into the person we are meant to be (John 3:3). This is done by humbly submitting to the salvation and lordship of Jesus Christ (Matt 18:3). It is not a reward for what we do; it is a free gift, given to us by the Father (Luke 12:32).

Once we are in the Kingdom, what is our purpose?

The most popular articulation of gospel in evangelical circles has been one that emphasizes God’s forgiveness. It’s the gospel that says simply that each one of us is guilty of sin and will be damned to Hell unless we accept that Christ died on our behalf to forgive our sins and give us eternal life. I don’t want to seem derogatory to this expression of the gospel (for on one level, it is true), I just want to point out that I believe it’s not enough to change people’s lives. A truncated gospel leads to truncated transformation. When forgiveness and our entry into heaven is the framework of our gospel, it makes life in the here and now secondary. It makes our Christian existence only about evangelism and personal piety, looking forward to our heavenly reward, rather than the wholeness of who we are and the Kingdom life we are called to live in today’s world.

“In (a) typical day, look at how much time you spent on activities other than Bible reading, prayer, and evangelism. If Christianity speaks only to these personal acts of piety, then it does not address most of our lives at all. If life includes more than Bible reading, prayer, and evangelism, then the Christian life must include more as well.” (Mike Wittmer, Heaven is a Place on Earth, p. 20)

The point of this post is to explore the Christian life as Kingdom people. When we enter the Kingdom, we are called not to simply bide our time awaiting some heavenly bliss. That is not the call of the King for his people. The gospels do not end with anything that sounds like, “Jesus died and resurrected. Now you’re assured of forgiveness and your heavenly place is guaranteed. Don’t worry about justice and peace in this world, for it is all going to pot anyway. Abide your time, awaiting your heavenly bliss to come.” No, the gospels end with something more like, “Jesus has died and resurrected. Now you’ve got work to do!”

Look at how two of the Gospels end:

  • “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:18-20)

Notice a few things in this passage:
1. After Christ’s death and resurrection, Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” This is significant. The Kingdom is now inaugurated, and Christ is the King.
2. What we might expect of the Messianic King, is the pronouncement that he will now take down the evil rulers and bring justice and shalom to the earth through his power and might. However, this is not what he says. He instead tells his followers that they, yes they, will be the ones doing the work of the Kingdom, rescuing more from the dominion of darkness and making them disciples of the King.
3. And Jesus promises them that they will not be alone in this endeavor. He will be with them always, until the work is finally finished.

  • On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
    Again Jesus said,
    “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
    (John 20:19-23)

Notice a few things in this passage:
1. It is the “first day of the week.” This is the second time John emphasizes this in chapter 20. The point: Easter did not just happen to be on Sunday and that’s why Christians now go to church on that day. No, the “first day of the week” harkens back to the six days of Creation. What we’re being told here is that, with the resurrection, God has initiated the New Creation. This is the new Genesis. God has begun “making all things new.”
2. Jesus’ first words to the disciples is, “Peace be with you!” This is not just some common greeting. The Prince of Shalom Peace is proclaiming that since he has been resurrected, shalom is now available in this new creation.
3. We might have expected Jesus to have said (with our American evangelical worldview that gobbles up the “Left Behind” series and thinks that the Christian hope is to escape this world and be in some heavenly bliss), “I’ve died but I’ve resurrected! The purpose of this is to assure you of eternal life with God in heaven!” (though this is partly true). But that is not what we find. What Jesus says is this: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you,” and he breathes on them the gift of the Holy Spirit to empower them for their Kingdom work.

The gospel stories do not end with “And so, you now have the promise of heaven. Thanks be to God.” No, they end with “Go, make disciples. I am sending you on a mission. I will be with you as you do it… but get to it!!”

So, as Christians we are called to a vocation.

“A prime citizen (of the kingdom of God) has been redeemed far down in her spirit, way downtown in her heart, so that she deeply loves God and the things of God…Because of her enthusiasm for the kingdom, she doesn’t merely endorse justice in the world; she hungers and works for it. She doesn’t merely reject cruelty, she hates and fights it. She wants God to make things right in the world, and she wants to enroll in God’s project as if it were her own. She ‘strives first for the kingdom’ in order to act on her passion. In short, she is a person with a calling.” (Cornelius Plantinga, Engaging God’s World, p. 108)

Our education, our jobs, our leisure time, our artwork, our raising of our children, our activism for social causes, our politics, our church life, our eating, drinking, and all that we do must be for the building of the Kingdom, for the glory of the King.

It is not enough to strive to be moral and honest in our work (though it cannot be less than that). It isn’t enough, either, to try to share with our neighbors or our friends at work about Jesus (though evangelism is a major part of it). It is seeking first the Kingdom in ways that will transform our work and our play, our duties and our passions, our tasks and our relationships. It is praying, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” and then doing what it takes to cooperate with God in his answer to that prayer.

“The core of Jesus’ radical ethical thrust is precisely his summons to begin living now in this fallen world according to the values and demands of the dawning kingdom…Jesus’ gospel of the kingdom does indeed produce a disturbing community. But it is a community that lovingly challenges the evils of the status quo and dares to strive now toward that wholeness in personal, socio-economic, and political life that Christ will bring in its fullness at his return.” (Ron Sider, Good News and Good Works, p. 71).

Links to the entire series:
1: Define the Predicament, and You Understand another Facet of the Gospel
2: Predicament #1: The Lack of Shalom
3: Evil Bondage in the Place of Shalom
4: EXODUS and the GOOD NEWS of FREEDOM in Paul
6: Another of Humanity’s Predicaments: Broken Relationships
7: The Prophesied Kingdom of God
8: The Kingdom of God Restoring Israel from Exile
9: The Kingdom of God Healing Broken Relationships
10: The Kingdom of God and the Atonement
11: The Kingdom and the Mission of God’s People
12: What is my view of the Kingdom of God?

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Darius said...

Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior will be hard for all the people in India, China, all the Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus...

Saved by Christian doctrine alone, and dammed by a loving merciful God if you happened to grow up in the wrong culture?

caucazhin said...

Sounds like your ripe for a Ecumenical takeover of planet earth.
"Friendship with the world is emnity with God."
"Be in the world and not of it"

Bob Robinson said...

You betray a gnostic understanding of Christianity.

Gnosticism says that anything that is material or physical is evil simply because it is material. Therefore, only spiritual existence is good. Gnosticism combines Creation and Fall and sees the world as inherently evil.

But the Christian worldview states that God created the world and said it was "very good." The Fall is a separate moment in the history of the world. God's plan is to redeem all of Creation. Ontologically, the "world" is still God's Creation. What makes it evil is the sin that is in it. God's plan, through Christ, is to redeem the world through his kingdom people, and ultimately in the King when he returns.

This is not about ecumenical takeover of the world (that is the view of the "Kingdom Now" or "Restorationist" Christian camps that border on heresy). This is about seeking to bring the eschatological Kingdom that we will experience in the future into the present, praying "Thy kingdomcome, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

caucazhin said...

YOU SAID:"This is not about ecumenical takeover of the world (that is the view of the "Kingdom Now" or "Restorationist" Christian camps that border on heresy). This is about seeking to bring the eschatological Kingdom that we will experience in the future into the present, praying "Thy kingdomcome, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."OK I agree with you on what you said here AMEN!

Creation won't be redeemed until after Christ returns physically after he burns the whole corrupt creation and earth with fire.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God.

20 For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope

21 that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

23 And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

24 For in hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopeth for that which he seeth?

25 But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

Bob Robinson said...


I agree that Romans 8 is a key passage for understanding what God is doing in redemption.

This passage teaches that not only do we humans suffer from the fall, the entire Creation suffers as well. The entire Creation awaits the revealing of the children of God (the pinnacle of Creation) so that it TOO will "be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God." We all "groan" (all of Creation, including humanity) as if in childbirth, awaiting the human redemption of our bodies so that the rest of Creation can be redeemed. Just like resurrection of our bodies is not a whole new body with nothing in common with our present bodies, the redemption of the earth will be a newness as well--different from the current Creation (because there will be no sin) but the same in many ways. The groaning of the creation looks back to its subjection to frustration (v. 20), whereas the pangs of childbirth anticipate the age of renewal. In other words, the same sufferings are at once a result and a prophecy. Christ spoke of the renewing of the world and called it a "rebirth" (palingenesia, Matt 19:28). Paul makes a parallel between the saints and the material creation. In three respects their situation is the same--groaning (cf. 2Cor 5:2), eagerly awaiting the new age (v. 23), and "the redemption of our bodies," is parallel to the transformation of the earth.

The idea that the Creation will literally be burnt with fire comes not from this passage but from 2 Peter 3:10-13, where we read, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness."

At first reading, this sounds pretty straight-forward: This planet is a goner; it's going to be totally destroyed by fire.

But reading that passage in context gives us a different interpretation. Earlier in the passage, we read, "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." (2 Peter 3:3-7)

This lends clarity to how God will judge the world in the future. With the great flood, the world was "deluged and destroyed." So this raises the question--DID GOD UTTERLY DESTROY THE EARTH WITH THE FLOOD? The answer is obviously "NO." He purged the earth of its evil, but the flood waters subsided and a "new" earth was there for Noah and his family and the animals to habitate. So, in this passage, Peter is saying that just as God purged the world of evil in the flood through water, there will come another purging.

The symbolic language of "fire" to purify is used often in Scripture. "If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." (1 Cor 3:12-15).

Therefore, the earth will not be totally destroyed by fire, it will be judged (by the purging of "fire" - whether that is literal or not), and the things that are ethically good in God's judgment will survive, the things that is evil will be destroyed. The things "destroyed" are the evils of the world, not the world itself.

Now, onto another thing you said: When you say, "Creation won't be redeemed until after Christ returns physically," there is truth there. We cannot pretend that through our efforts we will bring about absolute redemption. But it is also a mistake to think that the Christian's vocation in the world is to just sit and bide our time awaiting the return of Christ. We are to bring the future into the present as best we can, for the Kingdom is not only a future reality, it is also, in part, a present reality. That is why Jesus said things like, "The Kingdom is NEAR," "The Kingdom has COME UPON YOU," "The Kingdom of God is IN YOUR MIDST." The sad state of the world today has much to so with the complacency of Chritians who are called to be a redemptive people.

caucazhin said...

There is a very clear pattern throughout the Old & New Testaments that He came to save his sheep out of the world because for the present time it is corrupt and under the influence of sATAN,in fact he offered the kingdoms of this world to Christ.Moses brought the Israelites out of Egypt the way Noah took his family out of the world through the Ark so that God could then Judge the world the way he judged Pharoh and the eGYPTIANS at the red sea.Moses & Noah are types of Christ as well as all the other Patriarchs.Pharoh represents sATAN and eGYPT is the world.It doesn't get any plainer and your pontificating Christian Physco babble doesn't change things one iota.(or is Babel)
Have you turned on your TV or radio lately?Todays church is so intermingled with the world I believe it is part of the great apostacy under the guise of prosperity and world peace.And I never said anything about sitting on our petards till Christ comes back.
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).

"We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from
God" (1 Corinthians 2:12).

"Christ gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age
[world]" (Galatians 1:4).

"You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live
when you followed the ways of this world" (Ephesians 2:1-2).

Bob Robinson said...

Good stuff there. I think it’s interesting to think of the Egypt/Pharaoh story as a type for the Christ story. I made this point in this series (see "EXODUS and the GOOD NEWS of FREEDOM in Paul )" and "EXODUS and the GOOD NEWS of FREEDOM in the GOSPELS"), though I did not see it as the escape from the world and the devil as you say it is. I will have to ponder this point a little more…it is intriguing.

However, my point (though I did not make it very respectfully, for which I apologize) about the “world” (the verses that tell us that the world is evil) is that the “world” in these verses is not the ontological “world” (the actual PLACE that we live), but the ETHICAL “world” (that is corrupt because of sin). There is a difference between the actual THING and the ACTIONS that happen in or with the thing (for instance, “flesh” is not evil in and of itself, or else Jesus would not have come “in the flesh;” it is what we DO with the flesh that is evil). Same with “the world.” The world (ontologically speaking—the PLACE in which we live) is not ontologically evil (God created it! And he saw that it was “very good”). But what has happened in the world (ETHICALLY) is what is evil.

Here’s what I mean:
You quote some excellent verses:
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 2:2)
Is Paul referring to the pattern of the physical world, or the pattern of ethically sinful actions that occur in a cultural system that he is calling “world”?
I think it is the latter, for later he defines it:
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (verses 16-21). These are all ethical commands, not commands to rid ourselves of the physical realm of the earth.

Another example:
“We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God" (1 Corinthians 2:12)
The next verse tells us what Paul means: “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.” So, the “world” that Paul is referring to is not the physical place, but the “human wisdom” that opposes the wisdom taught by the Spirit.

"Christ gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age." (Galatians 1:4).
The verse does not say “world,” it rightfully says, poneros aion, "evil age." I talk about this in that post on the EXODUS. Yes, Christ rescues us from the present evil age, but that is an ETHICAL category, not an ontological category.

"You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world." (Ephesians 2:1-2)
This passage, I believe, shows that the issue is not “the world” (as in the ontological PLACE), but with the “WAYS of this world” (as in the ETHICAL actions of the fallen people in the world).

Still not convinced? Then let Pauls words to Timothy sink in:
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Tim 4:1-4)

This has been a great conversation. Thanks!

caucazhin said...

Self centeredness revolves around self preservation which is why we have to die to our flesh which can only be done in the newness of our "REBORN" spirit.Among other things Christ came to show us how to live in dependancy on the Father(The Spirit)in the newness of life."Not my will but thine".Our flesh is totaly and completely corrupt as is the spirit of the world which lives in and after the flesh.

"who will free me from this body of sin and death?"

18 For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not.
19 For the good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I practise.
23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members.
24 Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?

3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace:
7 because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be:
8 and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.
12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh:
13 for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, PEACE 2 U

Bob Robinson said...


Again, we are closer than you think. I affirm the statement, "Our flesh is totaly and completely corrupt as is the spirit of the world which lives in and after the flesh."

The only nuance I would make to that is this: The "flesh" is not the physical skin on your bones. It is what the New International Version translates to: the "sinful nature."

Gnosticism sees material things as evil and spiritual things as good. Christianity affirms the physical nature of our humanity in that God became flesh. Christianity affirms the creation as originally good and yet fallen and in need of redemption.

Yes, the physical world is in need of redemption - but that is saying something completely different from saying that the physical world and our fleshly existence is to be abandoned. Resurrection is a physical thing as well as a spiritual thing.

Let me paraphrase what you said (so that you can better understand what I mean and how close we actually are in our thoughts):

"Self centeredness indeed revolves around self preservation which is why we have to die to our sinful natures which can only be done in the newness of our "REBORN" spirit. Among other things Christ came to show us how to live in dependancy on the Father (through the power of the Spirit) in the newness of life. "Not my will but thine". We are now taught to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," which indicates that there is good, redemptive work to be done on this physical planet one which we live. Our moral capacities are "totally depraved," meaning that there is not one part of it that is not touched by the Fall. However, God has redeemed and is also in the act of redeeming the imago Dei in those who have experienced the regeneration that comes from salvation in Christ. Therefore, we can become redemptive agents in this world - redeeming the Creation toward God's good purposes and fighting the evil one which is corrupting our society, our culture, and the individuals trapped in this "world" - that is, the corrupt system in which we live.

caucazhin said...

Well I respect what your saying here and drawing lines on biblical things isn't always easy.
Legalism is the worst LEVIN.
This is something to think about though that Christ not only became Flesh as you said "he became SIN (in his flesh) for us all".
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (aren't sinful and evil synonamous)and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Here are a couple of interesting articles.

caucazhin said...

Sorry I don't know why those pages didn't fully print on the final blog page



caucazhin said...



Bob Robinson said...


Thanks for the links.

And good point about "sinful flesh." I will have to ponder that for a while.

It raises questions:

How is it that Christ (who is sinless) came "in the likeness of sinful flesh"? The Greek word, homoiōma, indicates that Jesus took the "form" of sinful flesh, so this raises some questions as to what this verse means.

Did Jesus take on the fullness of humanity, identifying with us completely, or did he just take on a "likeness" of our flesh?

And if Christ is fully "in-fleshed" (that is, incarnate), then what does that say about flesh?

caucazhin said...

I think had Jesus not been crucified he would have died a natural death because he was born in a body that was subject to pain suffering and death.Therefore taking on the likeness of fallen man.The Perfect Spirit of God in an imperfect vessel of clay.
The difference being is that we are imperfect in body and spirit until we are born again but after our rebirth we are still living in this corrupt corpse (if you will)until our bodies are reborn at the resurrection.
"Who will free me from this body of sin and death?"
"It is not I that sinneth any longer but sin that liveth in me".
New wine old wineskins???
I have enjoyed this exchange and I'm sorry if a threw a couple of darts at you earlier but you know it gets awfully barbarous out here in blogland sometimes.
I guess you are a Messianic Jew??
I have done alot of reading this last year on our Founding fathers,Deism,Freemasonry,Secret societies,the nEW wORLD(oDOR)and the like and if you are interested in any of this and or would like to exchange email please let me know.
Here are a couple of pages you might find interesting about law and grace I'm not really sure of your take on things but these are quite good from my viewpoint.






Bob Robinson said...


I am not a Messianic Jew; I just believe that if we are to understand the real Jesus, we had better understand him in the Jewish context in which he proclaimed the gospel. Jesus' gospel is rooted in Judaism, and any attempt to short-circuit that reality will short-circuit the gospel.

I also am thoroughly anti-gnostic, which means that I hold to a worldview that embraces God's good creation and the gospel that Christ is in the act of redeeming that good creation from the fall. Creation - Fall - Redemption is the storyline of the Bible, and our modern evangelicalism tends to be gnostic in its tendency to disparage the good creation (combining creation and fall) and thus missing the purpose of the gospel: RE-CREATION (RE-demption, RE-conciliation, RE-generaion).