The coming of the kingdom of God
Recently my church has just started a series on the kingdom of God which I see is a major step forward in our theology and mission. I think my pastor created the series in repsonse to reading Mclaren’s ‘Secret Message of Jesus’ which I recommend but dont always agree with. So i have had a chance to design a Kids church curriculam for the upcoming series with my girlfriend who is the Kids church leader.
However, it has given me such a headache. I thought I understood the basic message of the coming Kingdom but as I delved into scripture and read some of Andrew’s posts I started to question some of my assumptions, which were largely based on NT Wright’s view of the Kingdom coming in the present with a final consumation in the future. However, from matthew to revelation there is no evidence that any of the writers had thought the Kingdom had come in their time. Also Nt Wright and others seem to assume that when the Kingdom comes (as it did thru Jesus’ ministry as they beleive) justice and peace will come to the whole world as promised in the prophets. Obviously this justice and peace hasnt come yet so the development of a two stage coming of the Kingdom has been the result. The first with Christ inaugurating the new kingdom and then later at the renewal at all things.
In this regard, I have started to doubt the coming kingdom as the fulfilment of the promise of the renewal of all things. Rather, I have started to see the Kingdom as a real historical event that involved the liberation of the prople of God from the Beast and the establishment of a people free to live under the reign of Christ. So the kingdom has come, Jesus is Lord over his people who are free to worship him and the false kings have been defeated, namely the Caesars and their cult. In addition, the new creation language now is our hope and future, not the consumation of the coming kingdom. If I have misrepresented Nt Wright’s beliefs feel free to put me straight. In conclusion, i feel the kingdom motif is given extra narrative that makes some scriptures like Matt16.28 hard to interpret.