Beginning Sunday, my two little churches are going to do something brave and challenging. We are going to embark on a journey of kingdom theology.
For the next several weeks, we are going to dive deep into our understanding of the kingdom of God. We are going to go beyond the usual statement of saying the “kingdom is here, but not yet,” and begin to process what it means that the kingdom of God is both a present and future reality. We will start by simply defining the kingdom reality and then spend time on general themes throughout the summer and fall. Some of the topics include: being kingdom people, proclaiming the kingdom, desiring the kingdom, and serving as the kingdom.
But, why is it important to focus so much attention on the kingdom of God? Continue reading
Modern Christianity can be defined by two sides.
On one side, you have committed Christians who believe Jesus’ act of salvation on the cross is the most important belief. Jesus came to “rescue” sinners from this world, they argue, so that “believers” may experience eternal life in Heaven. The cross and forgiveness become central ideas in this belief. Others argue Jesus is more interested in building the kingdom of God. This idea was central in the social gospel movements of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Here, Jesus is about justice and reconciliation.
Both are important contributions to Christianity, but the two sides rarely interact with one another. Those who advocate Jesus is only about the cross often ignore the kingdom realities of Jesus’ life and teaching. At the same time, those who argue that Jesus is building a kingdom often forget that Jesus is interested in naming sin as sin and calling people to forgiveness.
What do the gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – have to say about Jesus’ ministry and purpose? What is the message that the gospels are trying to make regarding Jesus, his mission, and his kingdom? Continue reading