“Being” King

“Being” King

It is interesting to me to see the actions of God shortly after Adam and Eve left the garden. In Genesis 4, the Bible records the first murder, that of Abel by the hands of his brother Cain. Murder in and of itself is not that interesting as it is actually kind of common in this crazy, messed-up world. What is interesting is how Cain was treated. Three things could have happened after the murder. First, the people in the area (Cain’s family – Adam, Eve, siblings, or their descendants) could have gathered together and punished Cain for his deeds. In modern terms, this would be a type of democratic society in which the people decide what is right and wrong according to popular vote or what is best for society. In other words, society as a whole becomes the king who determines what is right and wrong. Second, they could have ignored the killing and continued living out their lives as if nothing happened. This would be a similar concept to the first choice – namely promoting society to the role of king. Granted, there may have been some folks who would disagree with society and try to enact judgment on Cain themselves. But, then again, this would still be humanity deciding what is right and wrong – and if we learned anything from the Genesis 1–3, it is that God alone determines what is right and wrong. This brings us to the third choice people had after Cain killed Abel: they could let the Creator King judge the deeds of Cain. This may sound self-evident, considering that...
Is There a Theodicy Built into Kingdom Theology?

Is There a Theodicy Built into Kingdom Theology?

The above question was recently posed to me by a friend and it made me stop and think for a bit. Is there something inherent in Kingdom Theology that accounts for the problem of evil (i.e. theodicy)? And if so, what is it? It was – and is – a very good question. (For those unfamiliar with the term ‘theodicy,’ I’ve included a brief overview at the bottom of this post) If we are talking about generic kingdom of God theology (i.e. inaugurated eschatology), then I would have to say that there isn’t any one theodicy inherit to that theological system. This is because inaugurated eschatology is primary focused on answering the question of when the end-time promises of God will be fulfilled (i.e. is God’s rule and reign here today? Is it delayed? When is it coming, etc.?). Accordingly, it is possible to add inaugurated eschatology onto whatever theological and/or theodicy worldview you might already have. This is how you get people as diverse as N.T. Wright, Wayne Grudem, Scott McKnight, Derek Morphew, Bill Johnson, Greg Boyd, and R. Alan Street all promoting different views on inaugurated eschatology while using kingdom language. The definition of Kingdom Theology promoted by myself and others within the Vineyard worldwide movement (e.g. John Wimber, Derek Morphew, Don Williams, Bill Jackson, etc.) is one of ‘enacted inaugurated eschatology.’ This is a theological worldview that starts with the life and ministry of historical Jesus before building out other theological concepts. Meaning that everything is seen through a lens of the here and not yet of the ages. Being ‘enacted’, it is a worldview that...
Why should we trust Jesus?

Why should we trust Jesus?

I think it is very important to stop for a moment and ask the question that the early church had to ask itself: “With all the different versions of the kingdom of God, why believe Jesus’ version? What was it that made his claims different than all the other claims out there?” The New Testaments gives us two answers as to why the first-century followers of Jesus took his word over and above the words of all the other voices of their time. These answers are also the ones that we, in the twenty-first century, must hold on to, as they are what set us apart, not only from other definitions of the kingdom of God, but from all other religions. In 1 Corinthians 15:1a, 3b–8, Paul gives us the first answer to the question of why we should believe Jesus’ version of the kingdom: “Let me remind you, brother and sisters, about the good news which I announced to you…The Messiah died for our sins in accordance with the Bible; he was buried; he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Bible; he was seen by Cephas, then by the Twelve; then he was seen by over five hundred brothers and sisters at once, most of whom are still with us, though some fell asleep; then he was seen by James, then by all the apostles, and last of all as to one ripped from the womb, he appeared to even to me.” (TKNT) It was the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth after three days in the grave that marked him as someone different. If...
It’s Here!!

It’s Here!!

I’m happy to announce that my book, The Here and Not Yet: What is Kingdom Theology and Why Does it Matter?, has officially been released!! Book Description Life is messy and rarely simple. There are times of victory when things seem to be going really well and times of struggle when things seem to be falling apart. The way we process these ups and downs of life is extremely important as it sets the tone for everything in our lives. Kingdom Theology provides a worldview that allows us to embrace the tension in which we live. It is a worldview based upon the central message of Jesus that the kingdom of God has come, is coming, will be coming soon, and is delayed. Written in an easy to read conversational tone, Joshua Hopping’s book, The Here and Not Yet, seeks to develop a scriptural framework for Kingdom Theology before exploring how this worldview changes the way we live. In holding the tensions of life together, we are better able to respond to the challenges of life while following the lead of our king and savior, Jesus of Nazareth. Where to buy the book? The physical book can be ordered through Amazon.com. Those with an e-reader can purchased the book through Amazon (Kindle), Kobo, Apple iTunes, Barnes & Noble (Nook), Scribd, and Inktera. Endorsements  “I am…keen to see the baton passed to the next generation. Therefore, when a writer much younger than I comes along and shows not only a wide reading on the subject, but a passion to articulate the kingdom to his generation, I can only be delighted.” –Dr. Derek Morphew,...
The Mystery, the Way and the Journey

The Mystery, the Way and the Journey

The writing bug has hit me hard this week… so I took yesterday off work and spent the morning at a local coffee shop writing. The project I’m working on is centered around three concepts: the mystery, the way and the journey.  Split into three parts with three chapters each, it will explore some of my thoughts on how to live between the here and not yet. The project builds upon the Kingdom Theology of my first book (The Here and Not Yet) while pulling in elements of spiritual formation, post-modernism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. Below is a quick snippet from the first chapter about the three parts of the book: So how do we set aside our fears and fully embrace Jesus? How do we move beyond a two-dimensional Jesus to a fully body Jesus who is active around us? I would suggest that the way forward centers on embracing three underlying concepts that will shift the way in which we see Jesus and the world around us. The first concept is that of the Mystery. That is to say, that we must embrace the tension of knowing and not-knowing. It is a worldview that understands and is comfortable with never fully knowing or understanding Jesus while still passionately seeking him. The second concept is that of the Way. For years modern Christianity has taught us that following Jesus is centered on a single salvation prayer that saves the soul from eternal separation from God. While there is truth in this view, I propose that following Jesus is more than just a single prayer. Rather it is a way of life that...
Why I call myself a Christian Mystic

Why I call myself a Christian Mystic

I know it is risking as the term “mystic” is seen in a negative light by a lot of folks within the American Christian culture. Yet when I wrote the biography for my upcoming book, I called myself a “Christian mystic.” Why did I do that? I did it because I think we need more mystics with their embracement of the mystery of life in the American Christian culture. The last few hundred years have been spend trying to define everything. And why this desire to know gave us a lot of cool technology, it also cost us something (NT Wright touches on this in chapter three his book Surprised by Scripture). The Oxford American College Dictionary defines “mystic” as “a person who…believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.” In a similar manner the Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines “mystical” as “having a spiritual meaning or reality that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence.” So in a lot of ways, the term “Christian Mystic” is an oxymoron in that Christianity begin with an understanding that people would have a spiritual experience that is beyond our understanding. Yet in reality most of what passes as “Christianity” these days denies any spiritual experience as it is all about rules, logic, behavior, etc.  This is true even in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles where folks are taught how to get God to do something (i.e. having enough faith, pray long enough, fast long enough, etc.) If one looks back towards history we see Christian mystics who promoted a deeper understanding of God and an embracement...