The kingdom of God
Fundamental to our theology is the kingdom of God. That is, the reign, government and rule of God inaugurated in and through the divine agent of God, Jesus Christ. This kingdom intrudes into every area of life (i.e., the spiritual, physical, emotional, material, and socio-political affairs) through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom breaks in to overthrow oppressive individual and socio-political structures, whether visible or invisible - to transform the human condition through the grace of God. The in-breaking of the kingdom comes with power and miraculous effect as a normative aspect of God’s redemptive intent. Our goal is to live by the values of this kingdom, and not the values of this world.
Values of the kingdom of God
Kingdom values begin with God’s self-giving love as the context for the kingdom (John 3:16; Rom 8:3, 32, 5:8). It corresponds to the love of Christ and is the law of the kingdom (Jn 15:12-13; Mark 12:30-31; Rom 13:10; Gal 5:14; James 2:8). Reaching its full expression in the cross of the Crucified, it gives meaning to a cruciformed life fashioned in the image of God in Christ.
- Humility enables and holds together the kingdom values and practices (Matt 3; Luke 18:9-14).
- Mercy as extravagant compassion is required of the individual and the faith community (Matt. 5:7; Mark 5; Luke 9, 10, 17, 24; Mark. 16; Matt. 10, 28).
- Repentance is both an individual and corporate surrendering of agendas and turning to God in response to God’s intervention in human affairs (Luke 2:76; Matt.3:1-12, 11:20; Luke 13:3; Mark. 6:7,13; Isa. 42).
- Faith is the requisite trust in God in order for the power of the kingdom to manifest in human experience (Mark. 4:40; 9:18-19, 11:22-24; Luke 9:41).
- Justice is God’s intention of setting things right in the world through Christ, including the least, the last, and the lost, as justice to some is no justice at all (Matt 12:18; Isa 42:1-4, 9; Matt 12:29; Mk. 3:27; Luke 11:21, 4:17-18).
- Service is ministry to God and others (Mark 10:33-34, 45).
- Righteousness is the individual and corporate priority of God’s rule by infusing Jesus’ ethic into everyday life (Matt 5:6, 10, 6:33, 38-47).
- Sacrifice is provocative wisdom that disturbs the status quo with potential to change the balance of power in oppressive relationships. Through provocative acts of submission and sacrifice (i.e., turning the other cheek), a disciple demonstrates that he/she has been empowered by a higher source – the power of the kingdom of God (Matt 5:38-42; Mark 10:45, 15:29-30; Luke 18).
- Suffering is experiencing the adverse consequences of solidarity with Jesus’ kingdom message (Mark 10:33-34; Matt. 20:17-19; Luke 18:31-34, Mark 10:38-39; Matt. 20:20-28, 24; Mark 13; Matt 26-27; Mark 15; Luke 22-23; Acts 14:22). Through suffering, the disciple is conformed into the image of Christ, confirmed in the faith, empowered by the Spirit and glorified in the end (Matt 5:10; Rom 8:28-30; 2 Cor 4; 12:9; 1 Pet 1:6-7).
- Boundary crossing is the demonstration of the priority of human worth over geographical, ethnic, cultural, religious and spiritual boundaries (Mark 3, 5; Luke 1:40-42; Matt 15; Luke 6).
- Preaching the good news to the poor in spirit and in substance, is the Spirit empowered conduit for the kingdom power to break into human experience, bringing healing, deliverance, and restoration as the favor of God (Luke 4:17-18; Mark 3:1-6, 7-11, 5:1-19; Luke 5:17-26).
- Teaching the mystery of the kingdom is teaching Jesus (Matt 18:8, 28:20; Mark 4:12-13).
Nonviolence is the recognition that the kingdom does not come by violence or military force (Matt 11:12, 5:9; Luke 9:51-55, Matt 13; Isa. 42).
Demonstrating the power of the kingdom is the manifestation of the kingdom by healing the sick and casting out devils (Luke 9, 10, 24; Acts). By implication it is the delegation of the commission of Jesus’ works to his disciples, and by extension to the church.