Monday, January 22, 2007

Kingdom Now

1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (NIV) Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I agree with Dallas Willard in that the Great Omission in the Western/American Gospel is a life in the Kingdom Now. The evangelical dogma is a means to forgive sins so that one day we can live in heaven. I see and understand this as about 8% of what the gospel story of redemption is actually about. Its a part, but it is not even a majority piece of the pie. I believe that in our communion with Christ and His Kingdon now, that we are already experiencing a quality of heaven that is yet to come. Its not about pearly gates, streets of gold and mansions so great you don't even need a "no interest" loan to acquire. Heaven is perfect communion with God like we had in the Garden. A reality of being one with our Creator as Christ said, "I and the Father are one". We don't have to wait til we die to live in the reality that He will be our God and we can be His people. As westerners, we always look ahead to more progress, we need to learn to stop and notice that Kingdom is already all around us awaiting our communion.

What I believe is that now we have access to the "quality" of heaven and what we get after we die or at the final resurrection will be the "quantity" of heaven, all of it for eternity. We suck the joy and power out of our Kingdom lives now if its all about going to heaven someday. And that's what we have in America, a powerless and pathetic Christianity. Our best idea to judge and condemn the world, so that everybdoy knows that we are right and they are wrong. To become blood-thirsty for political power where the ends justify any means. To be seduced into the arena of corporate America and apply it to our church growth agendas. We are not showing the fruit of a people who are content and rooted in our identity in Christ, rather we show the fruits of a people who have forgotten who we are.

I believe each of us have the opportunity to access the quality of heaven now, just not yet its quantity. We yet live in a broken world and will taste tears, but its not wihtout hope and not without the presence of the Power of the heavenly realm. I also believe that many are already living a quality of hell now. The results of making choices away from God leave us in a state of misery and tasting death and isolation. Hell is alienation from God and Creation. Its a miserable existence trying to feed the abyss within with things that only make us more dead.

Kingdom Now, evangelicals have harshly criticized me for this view and put me on the pedastal of being a heretic. When I study the stories of redemption from the Old to the New Testament, I see a God offering the hope of a full communion with Him both Now and for Eternity. That is Kingdom Now and I'm glad I found it.


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