Interestingly, just as I was finishing this series on the gospel that centers on the Kingdom of God, a test has been flying around the blogosphere called "What is the Kingdom of God?" (HT: Jamie Arpin-Ricci and Scot McKnight).
Here's how I scored:
|You scored as Kingdom as a Christianised Society. Christians shouldn't withdraw from the world, but by being present in it they can transform it. The kingdom is not only spiritual, but social, political, and cultural.|
What is the Kingdom of God?
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I'd agree with that. It is definitely my contention that the Kingdom is not only spiritual, but social, political, and cultural.
My short answer to the question, "What is the Kingdom?" is this:
The Kingdom of God is the society of Christians who love God and love others in order to transform the world.
The gospel I'd like to see Christians sharing is one that says:
God's purpose is to create a society of Christians who follow Christ's Lordship in such a way that they prayerfully seek to bring God's Kingdom rule onto earth as it is in heaven -- infiltrating every aspect of this world, transforming it all into what God wills it to be. This transformation process starts when God, through Christ, transforms individuals into a community that will love God and each other and will seek to transform the world around them. This transformation work is manifested when the community of the Kingdom use their gifts to further Christ's Lordship over all aspects of life on this earth.
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).
Now, I did not always think in these terms. I became a Christian in my early 20s at a dispensational church that taught that the Kingdom and the Church are two different things. The Church, in this view, is a parentheses in the middle of God's intentions for the nation of Israel. The Kingdom in dispensational theology is the literal millenium that will come when Christ returns (after the rapture and the tribulation) in which Satan will be bound for 1,000 years and Christ will rule as King.
The lesson: Keep studying; never think you've figured it all out yet. My view of the Kingdom, I no doubt, will continue to change as I continue to study Scripture and listen to the voices of top biblical scholars.
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
5: EXODUS and the GOOD NEWS of FREEDOM in the GOSPELS
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?
technorati: emerging church, spiritual formation