Kingdom Conspiracy: Thinking It Through, Part 5 (Light)

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

(Mat 5:14-16 ESV) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Very properly, many who argue for kingdom works speak in terms of being salt and light. Amen. But notice this. We’re light because we are very visible. Like a city on a hill, our light can be seen for many miles. Continue reading

Posted in Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight, Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Kingdom Conspiracy: Thinking It Through, Part 4 (Blessed)

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

(Mat 5:1-10 ESV) Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.  2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

So how does the church become the church? How does the kingdom partly realized become the kingdom in its fullness? Well, here’s a pretty good place to start. But it’s not  that easy, because of a translation problem. The word translated “blessed” has no English equivalent. Continue reading

Posted in Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Kingdom Conspiracy: Thinking It Through, Part 3 (Stanley Hauerwas)

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

So back to Hauerwas —

“The heart of the gospel is that you don’t know Jesus without the witness of the church. It’s always mediated.”

You see, the gospel is the “good news of the kingdom” (Matt 4:23: 9:35; 24:14). And so if the church doesn’t demonstrate the good news, there is no good news. To the extent we Christian fail to live Acts 2, we contradict the gospel. Hence,

“The first task of the church is to be the church.”

Continue reading

Posted in Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Kingdom Conspiracy: Thinking It Through, Part 2 (Adding to the Church)

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church. And I’m still on break. Subject to exceptions.

So this is not from McKnight, but I think it fits pretty well with his ideas. Let’s take a look at Acts 2 —

(Act 2:42-47 ESV)  42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 

43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.  44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.  45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.  46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,  47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

So I’ve been wondering just what Luke meant in v. 47 by “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Traditionally, in the Churches of Christ, we’ve interpreted this as accounting. That is, we emphasized the fact that God adds the saved to the church, rather than our choosing to join a church. And that’s true. Continue reading

Posted in Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

On Break

pausebreakI’m taking a week or two off. Need a break.

In the meantime, you might spend some time over at Wineskins.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Kingdom Conspiracy: Thinking It Through, Part 1

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

So I’ve been trying to think through all this. What does it mean on the ground. What would things be like if we took Scot’s advice seriously?

The part of the book that strikes me as most clearly true — and that really struck me — is the idea that the point of Christianity is not to fix the world but to draw those in the world into the church. To repair the brokenness from which all humans suffer, we have to be part of a community shaped like a cross, filled with the Spirit, and redeemed by the blood of Jesus. This is grace. Continue reading

Posted in Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

1 Corinthians 12:4-12 (“the body is one”)

spiritual giftsPaul gets into the meat of his argument in a classic Trinitarian passage —

(1Co 12:4-6 ESV) Now there are varieties of gifts,
but the same Spirit;  

5 and there are varieties of service,
but the same Lord;  

6 and there are varieties of activities,
but it is the same God

who empowers them all in everyone. 

The Spirit gives gifts. The Lord Jesus produces “service.” God empowers them all.

διακονία [diakonia], “service,” is essentially a profane concept. The word must be allowed to keep the general character of its significance. The essential point is precisely that everyday acts of service are now set on a par with the recognized, supernatural phenomena of the Spirit.

Hans Conzelmann, 1 Corinthians: A Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Hermeneia 67; ed. George W. MacRae; trans. James W. Leitch; Accordance electronic ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1975), 208. Continue reading

Posted in 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

1 Corinthians 12:1-3 (speaking in the Spirit of God)

spiritual giftsIn chapter 12, Paul continues to discuss the assembly — a subject that continues to the end of chapter 14. However, the focus now shifts from the Lord’s Supper to the exercise of spiritual gifts.

(1Co 12:1 ESV) Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.

Paul lays out his purpose clearly enough. He wants the congregation to know about spiritual gifts. Surely, the same is true today: that our churches should not be uninformed about spiritual gifts. Of course, we sometimes run from the topic because so many controversial questions arise when we discuss it. Continue reading

Posted in 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy: Putting It All Together

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

This is going to be an unusually long post. I decided not to break it into pieces — and so I’ll skip the next day or two to give the readers time to read, reflect, comment, and discuss.

There is much more in the book that I will not cover. But I’ve covered what I consider the core theses.

So what is the problem that Scot wishes to solve? What’s the point of the book? Well, from my own perspective, I see it like this —

1. Among our younger ministers and members, I have noticed a definite tendency to emphasize good works — what we used to call “benevolence” — at the expense of evangelism. Teen ministers haul their kids halfway around the globe to paint houses and plant gardens, but spend not a single minute teaching their kids how to be evangelistic. Continue reading

Posted in Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy: Kingdom Redemption

KingdomConspiracy2We’re discussing Scot McKnight’s latest book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church.

We skip a bit ahead, so we can talk about —

First, kingdom mission admits the primacy of evangelism but sees the locus of the social dimension to be first and foremost in the church as a witness to the world.

(p. 153). Now, many will not like this conclusion because it’s so, you know, obvious. No one gets published or honored for stating the obvious. And very nearly every pewsitter has this figured out already. It’s the intellectuals who sniff at mere evangelism and want to push another agenda first. Continue reading

Posted in Kingdom Conspiracy by Scot McKnight | 1 Comment