What is the kingdom of God? Look no further than Scot McKnight’s recent book, Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church. And open your Bible.
Nearly six years ago at Ashland Seminary, I heard Scot McKnight advance this thesis. God’s kingdom consists of a king: King Jesus, subjects, God’s sons and daughters in Jesus, wherever the church is gathered throughout the earth, under the law of that kingdom by grace and in the Spirit.
The current evangelical theological understanding of God’s kingdom, Scot divides into two categories: the skinny jeans approach, which basically sees it as consisting of any good works done especially for the poor. And the pleated pants approach which sees the kingdom in terms of God’s works of salvation. What both approaches fail to take into account, Scot argues, is what the Bible itself teaches, particularly in the groundwork laid in the Old Testament, which by no means is set aside in the New Testament.
Rather than try to do a review with passages arguing Scot McKnight’s point along with the details, which would be lengthy, I would rather set forth something of the basics along with some applications the book makes.
What ends up being the emphasis as suggested in the book’s title, is the central place of the church in this. And how Scot sees church and kingdom of God in the present as virtually synonymous, even if referring to different aspects. The church carries on by the Spirt in, through and under King Jesus as Israel Enlarged (not Israel Replaced). The true politics for the subjects of this kingdom is in and through King Jesus. The common life shared in the church spills out into the world, the sacramental lfe in Jesus underlying that.
Scot deals with how God’s kingdom is thought of by the religious left and the religious right. And he goes into some detail concerning “the Constantinian temptation.” There is much more, even though the book is written to the point, direct and concise.
Like The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited, I believe this book is certainly a paradigm impacting book. Don’t take my word for it. Either purchase a copy, or borrow it and give it a careful read (and reread). The effort will be well worth it. I can’t help but think for any who hold to a high view of scripture, this book will make a difference. And not only that, but a difference that is needed for the kingdom work that God would have done through King Jesus.