Establishing God’s Reign?

Missional churches often use "kingdom" language. We hear of "proclaiming the kingdom,” “extending the kingdom," or "kingdom values." This has morphed in the minds of some, critics and advocates alike, to "establishing the reign of God over society."  In my opinion this would be an inaccurate kingdom articulation. I prefer to say with N. T Wright that “we do not ‘build the kingdom’ all by ourselves, but we do build for the kingdom” (Surprised by Hope, 143). Jesus clearly inaugurated His reign at His first coming (Mark 1:1, 14-15) and no amount of exegetical gymnastics or other uses of the phrase "kingdom of God" can overturn that.  


As R. T. France says, "God's kingship is both eternal and eschatological, both fulfilled and awaited, both present and imminent" (NIGTC: Gospel of Mark, 93). We cannot establish what Jesus has already inaugurated and what He alone can and will consummate at His second coming. As the gospel is preached and sinners repent and come under the authority of Jesus Christ there is an extension of God's reign in the lives of those who are now "a royal priesthood, a holy nation" (I Pt. 2:9) and a “kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (Rev.1:6) and a foretaste on earth of things to come in the new creation.

Leave a Reply