The Kingdom, Evangelism and Easter

Since Revolution has been getting launched, I have had little time to blog. But here are some thoughts that have been bouncing around in my brain.

1> You cannot talk about the Kingdom of God and neglect eschatology. I think it is perfectly possible to minimize apocalyptics and teach the Kingdom. But it is theologically impossible to leave out eschatology. The bible is far more concerned with what will be once the Kingdom is consummate, than it is concerned with the particulars of the consummation. What does this mean for us? It means we are living in an “in-between” time. The light is breaking into the otherwise dark world. But it has not fully broken in yet. But it will. This leaves us with only one possible ethic for how we live in this “in-between” period. We are eschatological people – that IS what makes us distinct. Literally, that IS the light. The Spirit-filled church, IS the international people of God scattered across the globe, who are FULLY committed to the Kingdom in it’s consummate form. That means that we are peaceful, because there is no violence in the consummate Kingdom. That means we are truth-tellers, because there is no deception in the consummate kingdom. etc. etc. etc. Here are some less complicated ways to say it – we are citizens of another age, resident aliens in a foreign land. We are the people of the Sermon on the Mount. We are Salt and Light. We are the Counter-Cultural Kingdom. We swear allegiance to another Kingdom – the upside-down Kingdom of God.

2> There has been a lot of talk lately about Evangelism reform in my own heritage. “We need to stop treating other believers from other denominations like evangelistic opportunities, and focus on reaching the lost.” While I agree with this statement, I need clarity. First, let me say, I completely agree with the first part. Disciples from other denominations are not opportunities for evangelism. They are fine. Leave them alone. (Unless you are so arrogant as to think you have all the answers and they have none – in which case, go ahead and do what you think you need to.) Secondly, I want to say that I need some clarity with regards to the second part. “We should focus our attention on evangelizing the lost…” I agree, if what you mean is proclaiming the good news. I disagree if what you mean is recruit the lost. An evangelist (theologically speaking) is not a recruiter, rather he/she is an announcer or a “Proclaimer.” Major difference between the two. One day I’ll have to post on why I think this is so important and why I think the word Evangelist has taken on a new meaning in the West.

3> I am sad every Easter season that this week is not a bigger deal to my heritage. We are absolutely missing the most important season of all, with the transformational liturgy, the fasting, the seders, etc. etc. etc…. and all because we value tradition over the Word of God (at least in some arenas). And I think it is sad.

Comments

  1. Yes I have found in my involvement with the Catholic Church that we are missing great opportunities to have a rich and meaningful encouter with our risen Lord through observance of the lenten season. Also I have observed that there is much in Catholicism that manefest a rich Jewish influence that many in the early Church must have observed-seder etc. Our protestant reformation heritage, inspite of our plea to “restore the primitive Church” has robbed us of much of these Jewish influences. Although I am aware that the Gentile churches moved away from these influences as the Church grew, there were many Gentile “God-fearers” that came into the Church as a result of their initial involvement with Judiasm. This of course has nothing to do with binding these things on Christians but are simply a much richer and more “New Testament” way of observing what we, in our heritage have neglected. As I watch the Priest pass the incense around the altar I can see the symbolism of our prayers being offered as a sweet smelling savor up to God and there are many such observences that have increased my appreciation of the Judiac influence of the early Church. Mike

    Reply

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