The Kingdom of God: Protecting or Proclaiming?

The United States is a post-Christian nation. This fact is backed by every major study on Christianity in America over the last thirty years and is generally accepted no matter the vantage point. The response to this reality reveals an ever-increasing divide within American Christianity: Those who are trying to protect what little Christian values they see as still existing in our country and those who view their country as a mission field to be reached. Although the goal behind either approach may not be wrong, only one is in keeping with the mission and purpose of Jesus, as seen in our scriptures.

We Can Do Nothing to Protect God's Kingdom.
Long before Jesus came to our world, Daniel foretold, "the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be shall stand forever." (Da 2:44)  A very unlikely King would initiate that kingdom, one that did not yield earthy power but willingly emptied Himself in humility, even to the point of allowing his own murder (Philippians 2:5-9). When asked about His kingdom under trial, Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world." (John 18:36)

The kingdom of God does not operate within the world's logic. It is not obvious to detect. When asked about the kingdom's arrival from the religious leaders, Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' (Luke 17:20-21)  This unshakable kingdom is not rocked by the politics or darkness of this world. It is not made from the stuff of our lives, and nothing that is done here can add or take away from its existence, power, or purpose.  We are not told anywhere within scripture to establish or protect God's kingdom on earth. It is already established and growing through the work of Christ, and we either proclaim its reality through our lives, or we ignore it, but we can do nothing to ensure its existence. Instead, God's kingdom influences the state of things in this life through its children's lives who are called to live counter-culturally.

We are Called to Proclaim God's Kingdom.
In Matthew 10:5-8, Jesus tells His disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God in both words and in compassionate action. The kingdom of God is the realization of God's good rule in which humanity is reconciled to Him, through Christ, and healed in His love and life.  The members of that kingdom are called to be conduits of the life and love they have received to transform the sufferings of others. The weight of scripture backs these simple statements. What will not be found in the Bible, however, is a call for Jesus' followers to proclaim the spiritual kingdom of God through worldly means such as politics. Americans who desire the best for our families and future generations should exercise their rights to vote per their conscience. But this temporal right, civic duty and blessed privilege are nowhere close to even being on the same playing field as our more considerable gift and obligation. America's grandest political dream is still rubbish compared to the Kingdom of God we are called to spend our lives proclaiming in word and action.  

When our focus shifts from how to best protect the kingdom, to how to best proclaim the kingdom, our priorities change, and we spend our time seeing, hearing and doing things differently. This focus returns us, not to the propagandist machine but to Jesus and to learn from Him anew how to follow His example and fulfill his teachings in this world.

The Kingdom of God is growing in this world, not through worldly means, but through redeemed and willing people who pray and live for its full realization, when Revelation 11:15 will come to pass,
    "The kingdom of the world has become
    the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
    and he will reign for ever and ever."
-Vincent Donnachie, Pastor, RCC

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