What is a Kingdom culture? Anyone who has travelled will have encountered a variety of differing national cultures, and even if we haven’t some of them can be found on our doorstep in many of our towns and cities. Then within any national culture there are a whole variety of subcultures, with varying beliefs, emphasis, passions and expressions, which leads me to the question, what is a Kingdom culture?
Well it’s certainly not the culture of the world at large, nor a particular national culture, neither is it a Chritianised version of our own national culture, or the particular way we do church in our church, denomination or stream etc..
No, a Kingdom culture is much bigger and more expansive than that. It’s not touched by our national sensibilities, or our own personal likes and prejudices etc.
When Jesus came he came proclaiming the Kingdom of God, not some sanctified national identity, Jewish or otherwise – it certainly wasn’t casting the Romans out and restoring Israel’s national pride, nor was it a case of religious rites or rituals.
It was a radical message that gave an open invitation to all to come in, empowered radical personal and relational transformation, creating colonies of heaven on earth, and equipping them to be a mighty influence in the world in which they found themselves.
As Jesus approached the end of his ministry here on earth Jesus commissioned the disciples to go and do likewise, to preach and demonstrate the Good News of the Kingdom of God and as they did so to disciple the nations, the various cultures of this fallen world into the culture of the Kingdom.
Now some have tried to see a difference between the Good News of the Kingdom and the Good News that brings salvation. The New Testament knows no such difference. The Gospel, the Good News is shorthand for the Good News of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom that has come and is coming in Jesus, a message that yes, includes salvation but is so much bigger than personal salvation and a home in Heaven when I die.
That Kingdom challenged the kingdoms of the day, both the personal kingdoms and cultures of individual sinners and the larger political, economic and cultural kingdoms of the larger fallen world – those belief systems, disciplines, practices and relational boundaries that are the expression of life as it is lived in any particular people group.
Second part to follow…