Confusion Over Kingdom Theology

(AP/Paul M. Walsh/The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram)

In my upcoming book (The Here and Not Yet: What is Kingdom Theology and why does it matter?) I define Kingdom Theology as a way of life that acknowledges that through the person of Jesus, the new age of life broke into human history and provided humanity with a new way to live life, while also acknowledging that the rule of evil, sin and death is still actively resisting the leadership change (i.e. enacted inaugurated eschatology).

We are only six days into 2017 and already there has been two news articles written about Kingdom Theology. And unfortunately, they both miss the mark on defining Kingdom Theology.

The first article (Jan 1st at PJ Media) directly defined “Kingdom Theology” as the desire use government power to create the God’s kingdom “here on earth.” The author then proceed to tell his readers that this view was incorrect. Rather the modern Christian shouldn’t “try to force” the kingdom to come down to earth “before the right season has come.”  In doing so, the author not only reduced the kingdom of God to a political nation, but they also embraced a delayed eschatology worldview (i.e. God’s kingdom is in the future somewhere and Christians just have to wait until it comes).

The second article (Jan 3rd at Religion & Politics) talked about an “attitude shift about Kingdom theology” in which the kingdom of God changed from being a “religiously pure…and established after a period of apocalyptic upheaval to a vision of communities of mutual concern that support diverse forms of human flourishing in the here-and-now.” In other words, this article defined Kingdom Theology either as a spiritual kingdom (i.e. spiritual salvation with a future kingdom coming after the 2nd return of Jesus) or a social justice kingdom (i.e. ethics and doing good stuff).

It is because of articles like these that I wrote my book as the kingdom of God is larger and more complex than any reductionism. In the book, I talk about six different reductionism that Jesus followers fall into:

  • The kingdom becomes the church
  • The kingdom becomes a nation
  • The spiritualizing of the Kingdom
  • The kingdom becomes a doctrine
  • The kingdom is already here
  • The kingdom is all about me

While it is tempting to reduce the kingdom, we must hold on to the tension that comes with living between the ages.

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