6/24/2006

What is my view of the Kingdom of God?

The Good News that Conquers Our Predicament, part 12

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.

Kingdom as a Christianised Society

100%

The Kingdom as Institutional Church

67%

The Kingdom as Earthly Utopia

67%

The Kingdom as a counter-system

67%

The Kingdom as a political state

58%

The Kingdom is mystical communion

58%

Inner spiritual experience

25%

The Kingdom is a Future Hope

25%

What is the Kingdom of God?
created with QuizFarm.com


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?

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7 comments:

Ted Gossard said...

Bob,
Keep studying. You're so right. I've changed, I'd say radically, in some ways in my understanding of the kingdom of God, largely through N.T. Wright (G.E. Ladd, in the past), with Scot McKnight coming along to help me see it all, I think, in a more biblical way, that kept the new insight intact for me.

I would like to take that test again, down the road (say in a year) to see how I've changed.

Thanks for your presentation of the gospel here. I probably am lacking in the Kuyperian aspect of seeing it as so transformative, potentially, of society here and now, in this world.

Ted Gossard said...

"Keep studying", I meant in quotes. You said that in one of these posts.

caucazhin said...

Don't kid yourself "His Kingdom is not of this world"!!!

Bob Robinson said...

By "world" in that passage, we understand it as the morally and sinfully fallen world that needs redeemed.

It is not the ontological world that God created and called "very good."

God's Kingdom is about the redemption of the fallen world--that it has become deeply tainted by the effects of sin.

caucazhin said...

Wide is the gate!

Bob Robinson said...

caucazhin,

"Wide is the gate"??

That is not a very good critique. If you want to engage us here at VanguardChurch, you must give substantive arguments. Do not throw about quick little jabs like that. You MUST read the entire series, The Good News that Conquers Our Predicament, and offer specific critiques. If you decide to continue with these worthless jabs, I will have to ask you to no longer comment.

Anonymous said...

You got to receive the grace of Jesus and produce good fruit in your heart by reading the word of God. It's sad that only a few understand, and that many don't, it's because we all inherited the wrong kind of love from Adam and Eve, instead of listening to God, they chose the wrong leader, Satan. Biblical love is the answer, it's that simple.