An Upside Down Kingdom

What is the gospel of the kingdom?

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We hear, from time to time, the biblical phrase "the gospel of the kingdom." For starters, we should remember that the word "gospel" means "good news." And so, this is an invitation, really, to reflect on why the announcement of the kingdom is, in fact, good news. And, number one, it's good news because it's real. And second, it is guaranteed in its fulfillment. So, there's a concrete anchor for looking forward to it, leaning into it, feeling the anticipation of it. But what makes the kingdom good news is the intrinsic quality of it. It manages power in ways that are so dramatically opposed to rulerships and organizations with which we are familiar that it's been rightly called "the upside down kingdom." And another thing that, if we go back all the way to Calvin, he once said, you need to understand about the kingdom of God that it's not an ego trip — I'm paraphrasing, of course — but he rules more for our sakes than his own. And the whole idea of kingdom, if we're caught in prejudices of it being egocentric for the ruler or dominating and coercive, we miss the point that the king rules for our sake, creating safe space for human flourishing. For this and many other reasons, it is indeed a gospel, a good news of the kingdom.

Answer by Dr. Glen Scorgie

Dr. Glen Scorgie is Professor of Theology at Bethel Seminary in San Diego