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.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Christadelphian SWOT analysis (2) - the Kingdom of God
Labels: SWOT analysis
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You wrote: "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."
The signs have been there for many years but most brethren and sisters will not have seen them, maily because they do not want to see them.
The reality of the Holy Spirit in our lives is easy to see for those who have a conversion and who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
The Kingdom of God is within us NOW, and we are a manifestation of it to those with whom we come into contact.
The denial of the INDWELLING of The Holy Spirit is a sign of a deeper problem that also taints a persons view of so much else.
For those who do not understand, I feel sadness. For those that do understand I send encouragement.
Since joing the Church of Christ in Ringwood Victoria (Aust) I have found Unconditional Acceptance, I have not been abused, had fingers waved in my face, I have not been ignored. I have been loved, included, and encouraged to use my "Giftings" for the work of the Church.
Praise God, Come Lord Jesus Come.
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