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 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...
A More Christlike God: Thoughts on Brad Jersak’s book

A More Christlike God: Thoughts on Brad Jersak’s book

I read it twice. Within three months. This, I might add, is a VERY rare thing for me as I typically only read a book once. And those books which I do re-read, I usually re-read them after a few years. So to say that I read Brad Jersak’s book “A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel” twice within three months is saying a lot. Granted if I’m being completed honest, I must admit that it was the prospect of meeting Brad in person that prompted me to re-read the book. Brad was scheduled to be my one of my professors at St. Stephen’s University this past October and I wanted to be able to ask him some questions about his book. And yes, the books was required reading by Brad along with N.T. Wright’s “Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters.” (You HAVE to love classes that require you to read the books you would read on your on! No more self-justifications of the cost – instead it is all wrapped up in the “education” bucket of the budget!!) 😀 Before talking about the book itself, it is helpful to know a bit more about Dr. Brad Jersak. As mentioned already, Brad is an adjunct faculty member at St. Stephen’s University in Canada. He also teaches New Testament and Patristics classes at Westminster Theological Centre in the United Kingdom in addition to serving as the senior editor of Plain Truth Ministries. His faith journey includes growing up within the Baptist General Conference before becoming a church planter/pastor within...
A Cruciform View of Solomon’s Kingdom

A Cruciform View of Solomon’s Kingdom

The golden age of Israel is widely considered to have taken place during the reign of King Solomon. As the human representative of God, Solomon’s rule was said to describe “the various facets of the kingdom of God manifest in his time” [Morphew 2006, 28]. Years later while under the rule of Rome, the people of Israel would use Solomon’s kingdom as a model for what they hopped God’s future kingdom would look like. Jesus, however, challenged the typical view of God’s kingdom and “quite deliberately remodeled first-century Jewish expectations around himself” [Wright 2011, 117]. And since Jesus is the “one true and living avatar of the transcendent God” [Jersak 2015, 83] it is worth paying attention to how Jesus’ view of God’s kingdom contrasts with the view revealed through Solomon reign. The zenith of Solomon’s kingdom is best recorded in 1 Kings 4. It was during this time that the people of Israel become as “numerous as the sand on the seashore” [verse 20, NIV] in fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham [Ge 22:17]. King Solomon defeated Israel’s enemies and ruled over all the people from Tiphash to Gaza with foreign dignitaries and ambassadors flocking to his banquet table. Each day “85 bushels of fine flour, 375 bushels of meal, 10 grain-fed cattle, 20 range cattle, 100 sheep, and miscellaneous deer, gazelles, roebucks, and choice fowl” [verses 22-23, Message] was served. In addition to physical wealth, Solomon had great wisdom and insight given to him by God [verse 29-31]. He wrote 3,000 proverbs, 1,005 songs and knew the ways of the birds, plants, mammals, fish, and reptiles. There...
Kingdom Theology Resources (Updated)

Kingdom Theology Resources (Updated)

A year ago I posted a list of Kingdom Theology resources for those wanting to know more about the Kingdom of God. This post is an updated version of that original post with even more resources for those wanting to know about the Kingdom. The resources listed in the first section are dealing with the theological foundation of Kingdom Theology while the second section contain books whose focus in the practical application of Kingdom Theology. Have fun digging into these books and wrestling with the concepts found between their covers.   Section One: Theological Foundation of Kingdom Theology   Kingdom Theology Proper Breakthrough: Discovering the Kingdom by Derek Morphew – If you were to just read one other book on Kingdom Theology, this would be the book I would recommend. Derek Morphew is a South African Vineyard pastor, scholar and theologian who has been studying, living and teaching Kingdom Theology for decades. This volume beautifully captures his view of Jesus’ message of the enacted inaugurated eschatology.  Morphew also has published numerous other books on Kingdom Theology through Vineyard International Publishing. Kingdom Come: How Jesus Wants to Change the World by Allen Mitsuo Wakabayashi – This is a good starter book on Kingdom Theology and what it means to join God in His Mission to redeem all of creation to Himself. Sadly however, Allen fails to take Kingdom Theology outside of the parameters of conservative evangelism (i.e. no signs and wonders or healing prayers in this book, just a focus on Bible studies and living a life devoted to Jesus). Heaven on Earth: Experiencing the Kingdom of God in the...