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What is the Kingdom of God?

An exploration of the different views of the kingdom held by the church
by

David Sliker

on 25 March 2014

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Transcript of What is the Kingdom of God?

Kingdom = Church
As most clearly defined by Augustine in
The City of God
, the church universal is the manifestation of the kingdom of God in the physical realm.
Kingdom = Eschaton
In the 20th Century, through the works of men like Johannes Weiss and Albert Schweitzer, the idea that Jesus believed purely in an eschatological idea of the kingdom entered into the debate.
Kingdom = Moral Ethic
In the liberal tradition, the kingdom of God is viewed as a personal religious experience in which Jesus reigns over the individual soul through the moral teaching of the Bible - particularly those of Jesus.
What is the Kingdom of God?
The Kingdom of God
The definition of the kingdom of God has been one of the most disputed subjects in church history. What exactly is the kingdom? How does it function?
Kingdom = Dispensational Pattern
Dispensationalists made a distinction between the "kingdom of heaven" and "the kingdom of God" related to their pattern of thinking: the pre-tribulational rapture of the church and the salvation of Israel creates two peoples -
heavenly
and
earthly
- with two very distinct destinies and divine programs.
This would form the predominant view of the kingdom of God until the Reformation, and still remains the underlying foundation for understanding the kingdom today.
Adolf Van Harnack presented this view in
his work, "
What is Christianity
" in 1901.
The Kingdom is an idea that finds fulfillment at the end of the age, when God destroys evil on the earth. It is an eschatological order with no bearing on life today, an idea that may have never come.
There have been many interpretations of the kingdom throughout the centuries. Some are listed here.
Kingdom = Divine Reign
Popularized by George Elden Ladd, the kingdom that Jesus appointed for His disciples involves His "royal rule". The prayer of Jesus for the will of the Father to be done on earth is a prayer for the rule of the Father to be fully expressed and realized.
"Already but not yet."
Kingdom = Governmental Entity
A physical place
A powerful government
A beautiful expression of the person, power, and culture of the heart of Christ
Full transcript