The Kingdom of God

Why is there so little teaching about the kingdom of God in the west? What there is (various forms of Dominionism, the Social Gospel and even strains of Prosperity teaching) do not come close to that which we see in Christ and in persecuted places around the planet. It is interesting in that while Christ spoke more about the kingdom of God than He did about hell, heaven, money or faith; it seems that modern day "church" talks about all those things to the near denial of the kingdom of God. Why do suppose that is so?

Forum Tags: 
963 reads
TylerR's picture

Editor

I have been struck by this ever since studying Matthew in Seminary. I think perhaps it has something to do with an increasing Biblical illiteracy. This is why I think a birds-eye concept of Scripture is so important. The texts I have read on biblical theology that advocate a more "center" approach studying what the big picture of Scripture is all about have been very helpful. I have benefited enormously by Grame Goldworthy's According to Plan and Craig Barthelomew's The Drama of Scripture

God has a plan, doesn't He? Aren't all events in history, as recorded in Scripture, marching towards some grand finale - the Kingdom!? Isn't that what Daniel's visions are all about? God is sovereign and Christ will establish His kingdom. 

This is something which needs a lot more attention in our preaching. There is certainly nothing wrong with diving into the nuts and bolts of a passage - that is what we're supposed to do! However, we also need to remind Christians of the bigger picture. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Timothy L. Price's picture

Tyler, Thanks! There is the dichotomy in discussions of the KOG that touch both "the now" and an "eventuality" which you touched upon. Theology largely dictates this. And for the most part, evangelicals, fundamentalists and a good number of charismatics focus on "the eventual" side of things. There is the wish for "the end" and a "waiting" until God is finally at peace in His kingdom.

There seems to be a mindset of "its going to be worth it some day" while we put up with thing and try to hold on to the eventuality aspect in the humdrum or viciousness of the nasty now & now...

Yet, I don't see the dichotomy in the NT the way I see it in reality in the days in which we live. I see a dynamic in the early church which cannot be found in most places today. 

I think it has a lot to do with the loss of an understanding of the KOG.

Timothy L. Price

Author of: The Diluted Church, calling believers to live out of their true heritage

Phil. 3:20 (NASB)

TylerR's picture

Editor

 In writing a paper on the Lord's Prayer recently, I was forced to re-examine where, precisely, I stood on how to interpret the Sermon on the Mount. This, obviously, comes back to my theology of the Kingdom. I was extremely grateful to Stanley Toussaint's overview of the various approaches in his book Behold the King:

1. Soteriological Approach. Men gain salvation by living out principles from Sermon on the Mount.

2. Sociological Approach. It is a guide to the salvation of society

3. Penitential Approach. It brings knowledge of sin and drives us to God

4. Ecclesiastical Approach. It is for the church

5. Millennial Approach. It is for the future earthly kingdom.

6. Interim Approach. It is for disciples of any age, exhorting them to live a righteous life in light of the imminent kingdom. The fact that Christ did not establish His kingdom due to Israel's rejection does not negate the Sermon, even though it was preached to Jews who awaited the coming kingdom Christ preached was present in Himself; it is perfectly applicable for this present dispensation as well

My basic approach now is #6. We are to pattern the kingdom of God in our hearts and lives as a witness and light to the lost, while awaiting the return of Christ. We cannot somehow inaugurate the kingdom through good works, righteous living or the conversion of souls. God will establish His literal kingdom in His own time when Christ returns. In the meantime, we must shoot for this ideal and rely on Christ to sanctify us day by day. We'll never attain this goal, but it is our ideal (Eph 5:1).

This is why kingdom is so important in the Christian life. I also see great significance in Eph 2:10 - God saved us individually for a specific purpose. We are part of His plan to redeem His creation! This is impetus to live for God if there ever was one. I saw somewhere on the monster Bauder/Ketchum post that somebody mentioned he knew of very few people who would say the kingdom of God is not here yet. I WOULD say that. I see no evidence it is kinda here and kinda not. I suppose I'm with the "old school" fundamentalists on this one.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?