Redefining “Kingdom Building” by deconstructing “Kingdom Building”

The American

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In thinking about what a rediscovery of a “doctrine of vocation” might look like in our contemporary context, we must turn our attention to the notion of “building the kingdom of God” and the problematic trappings that come with the employ of that phraseology within the modern context of our evangelical ghetto:

It is also important to underscore that while the activity of culture-making has validity before God, this work is not, strictly speaking, redemptive or salvific in character. Where Christians participate in the work of world-building they are not, in any precise sense of the phrase, “building the kingdom of God.” This side of heaven, the culture cannot become the kingdom of God, nor will all the work of Christians in the culture evolve into or bring about his kingdom. The establishment of his kingdom in eternity is an act of divine sovereignty alone and it will only be set in place at the final consummation at the end of time… Perhaps it will be that God will transform works of faith in this world into something incorruptible but here again, it is God’s doing and not ours.

(James D. Hunter, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World, pp. 233)

And so why, then, would we come out of our evangelical ghetto, if what we are doing is not in the strictest sense “kingdom work”? More on that to come later.

How does this quote strike you? Does it offend you, provoke you, or affirm you?

I am a pastor, a husband, a father, and a lover of Jesus. I am also an unpredictable blogger, who can go for several years without blogging a thing, and then inexplicably write a book. Perhaps this is one of those times.

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Posted in Culture, Theology

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