Evangelism, the Gospel, and the Kingdom

Some time ago, when in a particularly contemplative mood, I was pondering the gospel.  Thinking through the good news.  This time my thoughts were more troubling than usual.  Because I realized that I may have been getting it wrong all along.  This is what I wrote:  “I think that in my zeal to advance a particular understanding of the gospel (mainly a specific reading of Paul through the lens of evangelical individualism) I may have missed the main thrust of the gospel of Jesus.  Jesus always preached the “kingdom of God.”  This phrase (as we see often in the gospel of Luke) is used by Jesus interchangedly with the word “gospel.”  The good news was (and is), I think, this:That there is a king and a kingdom that is far better than the rule of anything here and now, in this world.  This king and kingdom, which we have rebelled against and replaced with other rulers and masters, is here now decisively in the man Jesus and will come finally with his return.  Will you submit to this kingdom, which both is and will be, or will you continue to be ruled by masters of your choosing?  The more I think about it, the more I think that this is closer to it.  I’m still not totally sure, but it seems to me that this is the gist of Jesus’ message.  And so, perhaps, Jesus didn’t live, die, and rise again so we could have a personal relationship with him.  Interestingly enough, this “personal relationship” language is nowhere (at least not that I can find) in the Bible.  Sure, Jesus came to save sinners, so that you and I can know God.  But I think he came for more than that.  He came to restore the relationship between the king and his kingdom.  He came to show us how to live in right relationship with this king and with each other.  His life, death, and resurrection are the climax of the story of God’s action in this world, his kingdom that has rebelled against him and which he has been redeeming since the rebellion began.Just some preliminary thoughts.  I’m still trying to figure this all out.  But the implications, oh the implications!

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~ by Mike Seawright on November 12, 2007.

2 Responses to “Evangelism, the Gospel, and the Kingdom”

  1. Amen and amen.

  2. […] first began re-thinking my understanding of the gospel last fall.  You can read the post here.  I began to be convinced that the gospel is a whole lot more than the “Four Spiritual […]

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