What the Kingdom is Not, Part 2

The kingdom of God is coming. But it won’t, as I outline in the previous post, be the kingdom the Pharisees had envisioned. It will also not be the kingdom that we typically envision either. While the Pharisees anticipated a kingdom of law fulfillment and conquering king, we, today, often have a very different perspective. And it starts with a false either/or dichotomy.

The kingdom of God is either…

Just more Christians

There are some who think evangelism is the only thing that Christians should concern themselves with. Our job is the kingdom is only to make more Christians through the preaching and sharing of the gospel. The danger here is that the kingdom is overly spiritualized and missed the call to care for the hurting and the oppressed.

or

Social Gospel

Some take the opposite perspective that social welfare is the only thing that Christians should concern themselves with. Our job in the kingdom is only to give people food, care for the poor, etc.

Both of these positions are flawed. It’s a false either/or dichotomy. The kingdom comes both in the preaching of the gospel and in the meeting of the needs of the hurting. Consider the example of Jesus. He fed the hungry and he called himself the bread of life (John 6). He healed the blind man and called himself the light of the world (John 9). He healed a man of his paralysis and he forgave him of his sins (Mark 2). The kingdom task is about multiplying the image of God through new Christians and caring for the outcasts, outsiders, sick and hurting people around us.

Summary: The kingdom of God is evangelistic and it is caring for the needy and hurting. It’s both/and, not either or. A true understanding of the Kingdom shows us that is both word and deed – proclamation and action – so that as we talk our walk, sharing how Christ is king of what we do and what we say.

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