According to Scot McKnight, “kingdom” is the biblical term most misused by Christians today. It has taken on meanings that are completely at odds with what the Bible says. “Kingdom” has become a buzzword for both social justice and redemption so that it has lost its connection with Israel and with the church as a local church.
McKnight defines the biblical concept of kingdom, offering a thorough corrective and vision for the contemporary church. The most important articulation of kingdom was that of Jesus, who contended that the kingdom was in some sense present and in some sense in the future. The apostles talked less about the kingdom and more about the church. McKnight explains that kingdom mission is local church mission and that the present-day fetish with influencing society, culture, and politics distracts us from the mission of God: to build the local church. He also shows how kingdom theology helps to reshape the contemporary missional conversation.
“The Kingdom is not a means to a bigger church; the church is a means to demonstrating the Kingdom!10” (Page 78)
“When Jesus declared, ‘The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news,’ the average Jewish listener didn’t say, ‘Finally, someone to tell me how to get saved.’ Instead, what first came to mind when Jesus spoke this way of the arrival of the kingdom were thoughts about ‘David’ and ‘king’ and ‘messiah’ and ‘temple’ and ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Kick the Romans out!’ and ‘justice.’ Kingdom makes no sense in the New Testament, from Jesus to Paul and to the Apocalypse, until you understand the specialized story kingdom is telling.” (Page 28)
“If kingdom means a story is being told, then kingdom mission means at least the following: we are to enter into that story as the one true story of the world through conversion, and we are to deepen our participation in that story through discipleship; but we need to be reminded that conversion and discipleship are only partial as we live in the now before the fullness of the not yet.” (Page 36)
“Kingdom mission lives by faithful witness regardless of its political potential, regardless of its possibility for cultural change, and regardless of its power to influence society.” (Page 58)
“For the Pleated Pants crowd, then, kingdom has been boiled down to specific redemptive moments, moments when God’s redemptive reign breaks in to save, to restore, to reconcile, to heal. Our brief thumbnail definition above, that kingdom refers to ‘a people governed by a king,’ is reduced by the Pleated Pants crowd to the word ‘governed,’ and the word ‘governed’ has become the word ‘redeemed’ or ‘saved.’” (Page 15)
There is so much talk these days about ‘the kingdom of God,’ and yet there is so much confusion about what this phrase even means! For many, it simply represents whatever theological, political, and/or cultural ideals they deem best. The result is that a beautiful, powerful concept that should be uniting the church is now contributing to its fragmentation. This is why Kingdom Conspiracy is one of the most important and timeliest works to be written in recent years. Using airtight arguments solidly anchored in Scripture, McKnight brings much-needed clarity to what ‘kingdom of God’ means—and doesn’t mean—and how it relates to the church and its mission. He writes in a clear and informal style that is accessible to all. And that is a good thing, because this is a book that needs to be read by everyone—scholars and laypeople alike—who wants to understand and consistently live out what it means to be a follower of King Jesus.
—Gregory A. Boyd, senior pastor, Woodland Hills Church, St. Paul, Minnesota
The misappropriation of faddish terms can be an unfortunate reality for American Christians. The casual manner in which we toss around phrases like ‘kingdom theology’ and ‘missional churches’ can have an adverse effect on our efforts to form a robust ecclesiology. Evoking ‘kingdom’ language has become the new vogue among missional communities—almost as in vogue as the word ‘missional’ itself. With prescient analysis and pastoral insight, Scot McKnight succeeds in providing a scriptural and theological text for those who have heard the word so often but failed to think through its meaning. McKnight offers a fresh take on the kingdom that will serve as a primer for followers of Jesus who seek first the kingdom of God in our own context.
—Soong-Chan Rah, Milton B. Engebretson Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism, North Park Theological Seminary
Unlocking what Jesus meant by ‘the kingdom of God’ is essential to our witness to the gospel. If Christians today are going to live in the world as the church, we need to understand the message of this book.
—Rich Stearns, president, World Vision US
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.