Dr. Mark D. Roberts, Senior Director and Scholar in Residence for Laity Lodge near San Antonio, Texas, has begun a series entitled “What is the Kingdom of God?” Here is his teaser:
The kingdom of God has been equated with all sorts of things in the last two millennia. Some have claimed that it is heaven, and that Jesus was saying, in so many words, “Now you can go to heaven when you die.” Others have understood “the kingdom of God” as referring to the Church. From their perspective, Jesus announced the beginning of the age of the Church. Still others have seen the kingdom of God as a world infused by divine justice. They have taken Jesus’ announcement as a call to social action. In recent times, “spiritually” inclined people have reduced the kingdom of God to inner awareness of one’s divinity. Like the ancient Gnostics, they understand the good news of the kingdom to mean “You are divine.”
The advent of the Kingdom of God was, according to Dr. Roberts, the foundation of the teaching of Jesus. If you claim to follow Jesus and do not understand His conception of the Kingdom, then it’s hard to imagine what you mean by “follow”. In my own view, Dr. Roberts’ characterization of Jesus’ teaching is absolutely correct – and the implications of what this means to live the Christian life are profound. Put another way, if Dr. Roberts is correct (and I think he is), then living for the Kingdom is manifestly not how we order our lives today.
Here’s a hint: the Kingdom of God is not a place. And if you are intrigued, you would do well to Dr. Roberts article.