Our posts of late have raised a significant question: What does “kingdom of God” mean? It seems to me that many today have switched their Christian rhetoric from Paul’s word “salvation” to Jesus’ word “kingdom.” But, not as many are interested in spelling out what they mean by the word kingdom when they use it. There seems to be an unwritten set of assumptions of what it means and that everyone has simply agreed to assume we’ve all got it right. I don’t think so and that is why I’m glad to see a book you may not know of.
Allen Mitsuo Wakabayashi, in his book Kingdom Come, presents a readable, intelligent sketch of what “kingdom” means. Furthermore — and even more important to his book — he explores the significance of the kingdom for the church and discipleship and missional life today.
Allen, an IVCF worker here in northern Illinois, defines the term in terms quite familiar to those who have read George Ladd’s famous book, A New Testament Theology. Here’s Allen’s definition: “the kingdom of God is about the dynamic of God’s kingdship being applied” (30). That is, God reigns and when that reign becomes specific one can say the kingdom of God is here.
What I like most about this book is three-fold:
1. It seriously interrogates the gospel of individualism and finds it falling short of what the gospel of the kingdom is saying.
2. It seriously engages social justice as an inevitable expression of God’s kingdom.
3. It formulates an outline of evangelism that is rooted in the gospel of the kingdom. This outline is for me the highlight of the book — partly because this is what my Embracing Grace book is about and partly because I’m always interested in seeing how kingdom folks frame the gospel.
I have some disagreements, but I highly recommend this as a book that briefly and readably introduces Christians to the gospel of the kingdom.