In this message I will do a brief SWOT analysis on the Christadelphian understanding of the Kingdom of God.
STRENGTHS - traditional Christadelphianism has emphasised that the Gospel is the "good news of the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ". It has rightly focussed on Jesus' teaching that the Kingdom of God will be established on the earth and that our hope is the resurrection of the body. NT Wright, the Bishop of Durham, recently published a book titled Surprised by Hope in which he explained that the hope of Christianity is the resurrection and the restoration and regeneration of the earth, and not some disembodied state in heaven. His teaching is readily catching on apparently (for example, at this years Spring Harvest gathering in the UK several teachers said that there is no immortal soul, no heaven when we die and no torments in hell and there was an emphasis on physical resurrection and the coming kingdom of God).
It's great to see mainstream Christianity accepting to some degree a truth which Christadelphians (and others) have always understood.
WEAKNESSES - Christadelphian teaching on the Kingdom of God concentrates almost totally on the future consummation of the Kingdom and says very little about the present aspects of the Kingdom. It ignores almost completely the Scriptures which speak of how Christians in this age experience the "powers of the coming age". It also tends to focus on the details of the Kingdom, including the events prior and subsequent to the 'second coming', the building of 'Ezekiel's temple' and the boundaries of the Kingdom. Disagreements about some of these details have also been the cause of divisions in the Christadelphian community.
It seems to me that a potential Christadelphian influence for good on the wider Christian community has been significantly thwarted by the divisions, infighting and negativity.
OPPORTUNITIES - as mainstream churches look closer at the subject of the Kingdom of God, particularly in Jesus' teachings, there is an opportunity for groups such as Christadelphians to join in the dialogue with a spirit of cooperation rather than confrontation in helping our Christian friends to come to a clearer understanding of truth.
There is also an opportunity for Christadelphians to learn from other believers about the present aspects of Kingdom living, and to have a more complete understanding of the subject and a greater experience of God's grace.
THREATS - if Christadelphianism continues to ignore or neglect the present Kingdom realities there is a very real possibility that members may shift to denominations which teach both the coming Kingdom and the present realities. There are some signs that this shift has already begun.