“The time has come,” Jesus announced, “the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
The announcement of the nearness – the present availability – of God’s kingdom is at the very heart of the gospel proclaimed by Jesus and his followers. For a very long time in Western Christianity, however, this vision was obscured. For a range of reasons, notions of God’s kingdom became virtually synonymous with the idea of Heaven as “place” that we (our souls?) might go to once we die.
Thankfully, many pastors and careful theologians are helping us to recover a vision of God’s kingdom as a reality that is at once present – something that intersects with our lives precisely where and when we find ourselves – and eternal – something that exists from and extends into all time. Such a vision has significant implications for how we understand and relate to God, for evangelism, for discipleship, and perhaps especially for how we understand and practice what it means to be the people of God in the world, the Church.
That is this focus of the workshop and conversation we’d like to put forward this week. What is the relationship between Church and Kingdom?
In the workshop below, Scot McKnight, Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary and Bruxy Cavey, Teaching Pastor at The Meeting House in Toronto, Canada, explore this topic, offering theological and pastoral proposals for how we might think about and engage this issue.
What about you… Whether in church ministry or in the Christian life:
- How have you understood the relationship between the Church and the Kingdom of God?
- What practical difference does such an understanding have on your life and ministry?
- What resources have you found most valuable in grappling with this (or related) issues?
The Kingdom of God is often equated with “good things done in the public sector by active Christians.” The teachings of Jesus challenge this understanding of kingdom, connecting it more to the followers of Jesus and the “society” (or Church) that he is creating among his followers. If our imagination for mission is to be renewed, Kingdom and Church need to be brought into a healthy connection again. A kingdom “mission” needs to be intrinsically connected to the local church’s mission. This workshop will explore these issues from theological and pastoral perspectives.
The audio download of this workshop is available HERE and is available for free all day today, 10/21/13 (discount automatically applied when you add the workshop to your cart).