Monday, June 12, 2006

Kingdom paradox

Just what the hell is "the Kingdom" anyway??

I've been skeptical the word kingdom in church contexts. It has been the newest buzzword in the church culture for close to 10 years. Sure, Jesus talks about the kingdom over and over. But he talks maybe once about the church. I believe this exposes the pro-church people so they simply slapped the word
kingdom over anything meaning church in their mind. Thus, kingdom has made a good euphemism for the word church.

I don't know of any black or white definition of the kingdom. Jesus' parables in Matthew 13 always start with a "the kingdom is LIKE...", not "the kingdom IS...".

The kingdom seems to be a paradox of sorts.

To live you must die. To be strong you must be weak. In suffering, there is joy. Power is restraint.


??!?

9 comments:

Mark said...

I agree that there is great interest in "Kingdom" language in church these days. Maybe I'm just now opening my ears to what's been going on for quite some time now, but I fear that people who focus to heavily on the correlation between the Kingdom of Heaven and the CHURCH will end up with another holy war of sorts. I personally think that the church is only a sign of the Kingdom, and that the Kingdom exists outside the church. I know this in my head, but I'm only beginning to experience it in my life. It's pretty freakin' awesome.

Mike said...

the kingdom is in you.

the church is a sign of the coming and already began kingdom - when the church - that is the folks who are part of the kingdom - live as jesus taught us to live.

the church is simply (and by definition) the called out ones, the ecclasia. called out of other kingdoms to be a part of The Kingdom.

i resonate with your issue with the church. and you and i are not the first nor will we be the last to take issue with the church's failure to actually be the church.

that is what the monastic movement was about, that is what the pre-reformers, the reformers, and the first great awakening was about.

Will Spina said...

Rev. 1:6; 5:10; Heb. 12:28; 2 Thess. 1:5; Col. 1:3; 4:11;
Acts 8:12 and John 3:5;

If anyone actually takes the time to read those they will find:
THe church is the kingdom right now! It is also a royal priesthood and a seperate nation- The whole seperate nation things sounds like being called out of the kingdom of this world doesn't it? It is language all expressing the same thing. The Apostles seemed to understand the church to be the kingdom. Many today are saying that the church only comprises part of the kingdom as well as many other views. Not so, I believe the NEw Testament beyond a shadow of a doubt verifies that the church is the kingdom of God. And when I say "church", I am referring the the true church not the counterfeit one. The last two scriptures up above confirm that we are baptized as a response to the reality of this kingdom and its ever present coming, and upon that response of being born again to the rule of God- we are given entrance to it. I like the way John puts it- "we see it".

Agent B said...

Thanks for everyone's input.

Will...don't know where you were going w/ Col 1:3, but thanks.

My main beef with anything called "kingdom" by the church is: "kingdom" has become a replacement for the word "church"...even to the point that sunday clubs have changed their names (ie: "Joe-Blow Fellowship Church" is now "Joe-Blow Kingdom Fellowship").

And I haven't seen anything different from the sunday social club (ie: church) than what they've done for years.

But they've embraced this kingdom term as if to say, "we're about something much bigger than our sunday club".

Words only go so far. In general I've seen no action to indicate what Jesus talks about with kingdom.

Just more of the "same ole same ole". Or as my favorite rock band The Who sings: "Meet the new boss...same as the old boss".

Don't get fooled again...

Elaine said...

If we think about all of the references to who we are as Christians, it all points to a kingdom mindset rather than a membership to a building called a church. To be a witness of the love of Christ requires being out of the church building and more on the streets, in homes, shopping areas, schools, in the backyards, etc. It is not a Sunday morning job or a Wednesday night job. It is who we are. To be joint inheritors with Christ, means to inherit salvation, healing, prosperity, and deliverance from Christ, not the church building (the pastor, apostle, or teacher). A lot of people using "churchese" language try to counterfeit the real thing, almost trying to use politically correct language to impress the other religious people. I agree that life in the kingdom counters life in the world, or the church building. We do not have to perform anymore for people on earth! We can BE Christ because we have the mind of Christ, we can do greater things than He did, and we have the power to speak to things because of our position in this kingdom of God.

Sorry for the rambling.

Mike said...

a b,

i am with you. we do tend to use "new" or novel language to try and signify that things are different, but really all that new verbage is just so much white wash.

what i do when i find myself doing that is i slam my hand in a door a couple times.

then i go out to all the folks who are also making the same mistake and i punch them in the nose.

Agent B said...

??!?

Anonymous said...

David Bercot has written a great article distinguishing between the Kingdom and the church. You can read it here: http://www.deerparkwashingtondisciples.net/believers/churchorkingdom3.html

Agent B said...

Thanks for the link, anon. Good stuff.