The Kingdom and the Church - Suggesting an Interpretive Construct

Discussion of various biblical doctrines
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The Kingdom and the Church - Suggesting an Interpretive Construct

Post by Tim »

There is a range of opinion in Christian circles regarding the nation of Israel in relation to the modern church. Some see the church replacing Israel and others see an integral whole. These views often impact how people understand the “Kingdom of God”.

For those who see Israel replaced, there is difficulty dealing with the many prophecies in the bible specific for the nation of Israel that have yet to be fulfilled. For those who see everything in the gospels as applicable to the church today, there can be a problems with verse like the one that stumped Francis Chan.

Mat 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Francis once said that when he was younger he responded to the verse by trying to make a pencil move on a table. In the same vein, many Christians claim some of the charismatic gifts described in 1 Corinthians and Romans and may find similarly disappointing results.

Many encounter problems with a particular approach to the bible and just avoid further questioning or study. Some are even told by denominations to cease questioning as it shows a lack of faith. I suggest that when one encounters a dilemma such as not being able to resolve an observation with what is stated in the bible, that more questioning is perhaps beneficial.

One way to resolve the declaration by Jesus that “nothing shall be impossible unto you.” is to consider that the use of the word “shall” indicates future tense and the word “you” may only refer to the disciples. It is tempting for Christians to want to take every word recorded of Jesus and apply it to ourselves today. However, this can lead to the disappointment Francis Chan related.

If one adopts a view that the modern church is not the kingdom of God or even constructing the kingdom of God, many of the difficult passages in the Gospels become less difficult. If a future kingdom is considered for a restored nation of Israel, many apparent contradictions and difficulties begin to recede.

Almost like a detective investigating a crime, we advance in our proximity to truth as our theories are modified to accommodate more evidence.

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