Cross over to Calneh and see;
from there go to Hamath the great;
then go down to Gath of the Philistines.
Are you better than these kingdoms?
Or is your territory greater than theirterritory,
you who put far away the evil day
and bring near a reign of violence? (Amos 6:2-3).
Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets[a] of the kingdom of God, but to others I speak in parables, so that
‘looking they may not perceive
and hearing they may not understand’ (Luke 8:9-10).
Understanding the kingdom of God as God’s dynamic, redemptive reign has profound implications for our understanding of the nature of the church. The relationship of the concepts of the kingdom of God and the church is at the heart of unraveling many of the problems associated with church life today. It is also central to a proper understanding of a missiological ecclesiology—Craig Van Gelder, The Essence of the Church (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000), 75.
For many years now I have regularly taught the basic theology courses at the graduate level. When I present my material on the church and its relationship to God’s kingdom, I have basically affirmed the accepted theological party line—the church and the kingdom are related, but they are not synonymous; the church is the glimpse, the foretaste of the kingdom.