Some within the Body of Christ have attempted to reach the marginalized in society; those who they feel are being excluded by [what they see as] the rigidity of God's morality as expressed in the Bible. That has led to a skepticism of God's Truth as spoken in the Word, and an attempt to explain the inerrant Word as allegorical, symbolic, metaphorical, or figurative. Such is the new trend of theology in what is known as the Emerging Church, which follows a postmodern, "new paradigm" in today's Church.
|I guess I'm just "old school" and "old paradigm"
But the point I want to make is this: such postmodern, self-absorbed ideas about our roles as Christians have translated into new theologies about just what The Kingdom of God looks like, and what our role is in it. I have written several blogs on this subject, and I have found one more reason to further discuss this idea of The Kingdom of God. It has recently come to my attention that there is a movement based on what is known as Kingdom Now theology, and it appears to be coming from this branch called The Emerging Church. Just like I mentioned a couple of days ago, it is important for us to understand what we believe and why; to be a good Berean, receiving the Word with readiness and searching the Scripture to make sure it is true. The bottom line for me is that I read, test, check and examine my understanding for Biblical veracity and accuracy. While that has often led to a bigger picture of my God than the traditional Church has held, I am always careful to make sure I don't elevate myself beyond what Scripture tells me is my significance. (That being said, I have also discovered, through Scripture, that I am more significant to my Lord than The Church had taught me, but that is a different blog post for a different day).
So, just what is Kingdom Now theology? According to one Christian website, "Kingdom Now proponents believe that God lost control over the world to Satan when Adam and Eve sinned. Since then, the theology goes, God has been trying to reestablish control over the world by seeking a special group of believers—known variously as "covenant people," "overcomers," or "Joel's army"—and that through these people, social institutions (including governments and laws) would be brought under God's authority."
First of all, don't you think if God wanted to do something like take back His control [if He ever lost it, in the first place], that He could do it all on His own? Don't you think He could bring about what they call "The Kingdom Age" without needing the help of us broken and sinful people? But it appears that this movement sees Believers as inheriting Jesus's divine nature when the Holy Spirit indwells us at our salvation experience. In fact, this same website says that, "Kingdom Now theology sees the Second Coming of Jesus in two stages: first through the flesh of the believers (and in particular the flesh of today's apostles and prophets-- (this is where it resembles the New Apostolic Reformation movement), and then in person to take over the kingdom handed to Him by those who have been victorious (the "overcomers"). Prior to the second coming, overcomers must purge the earth of all evil influences. Kingdom Now claims that Jesus cannot return until all His enemies have been put under the feet of the church (including death, presumably)."
I guess my biggest question for movements like these is, "Can you show me, where in the Bible, this is written"? It is apparent how easy it is to take the idea of "overcoming" -- which the Bible does say that we do when we are born again in Christ and believe that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5:4-5) -- and expand upon that idea to make it all about us. The Kingdom of God is the place, or the location, where the King resides, right? And if we can all agree that Jesus is our King, then He resides in our hearts when we accept Him as our Savior and the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us. The location of the Kingdom is spiritual! We, as human beings, cannot establish an earthly Kingdom for Him and then hand the keys over to Him ... nowhere is that expressed in the Bible!
The Second Coming of Christ will be when He, not men, defeats His enemies and puts all things under His feet. The description of the Second Coming in Revelation 19 is the description of a mighty warrior who comes to put all things to right; not of one who comes to an earth already cleaned up and ready for Him to rule. That scenario totally negates the reason for Jesus to "tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God, the Almighty". If the earth has been “purged of all evil influences" by the overcomers, as the Kingdom Now-ers believe, why does Christ need a sharp sword to strike the nations, and why does the anger and wrath of God still exist against them when He returns?
I guess the thing that grieves me the most about these New Age interpretations of Scripture is that they really don't regard Scripture very well. They seem to be philosophies that emerge from the imaginations of men to 1) bend the Bible to their own self-interests [and sins], and 2) to bring God down to the level of our human characteristics, while attempting to elevate our human nature to near deity status.
I can't say it any plainer than this ... nowhere in the Bible do I see a physical Kingdom of God on earth before the return of Jesus. His realm exists now in our hearts and our spirits. To proclaim [or imagine] anything beyond that is treading dangerous Biblical ground.
Luke 17:21 "nor will people say, ‘Look! Here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For the kingdom of God is among you [because of My presence]."