The Kingdom of God as a numbers game


So with this expansive imagination of the Kingdom of God, that has been available to so much of the church, and is one of the key theological motifs of Vineyard Churches, how have we lived within that imagination, what have we done with it?

The 'now and not yet' of the Kingdom is, I fear, often reduced to a 'numbers game.'  Praying for the sick, and being able to explain why some are healed and some are not, can soon become about praying for enough people until eventually someone is healed.  Our understanding of the 'now and not yet' gets all to easily reduced to a 'do it enough until you get a result'.

And that reductionism, often takes place within a larger reduction, of the Kingdom of God being about answers to prayer for the sick, and for receiving answers to prayer in my life.  The expansive, universe containing vision from Jesus of the Kingdom of God, is all to easily reduced to a slot machine lottery, of personal benefits.

Yet surely the 'now and the not yet' of the Kingdom, the time we live in between the ascension of Christ, and the Parousia when Jesus returns, is the freeing from the pre-occupation with the personal benefits of our 'own kingdoms'.  It's not that there aren't benefits within this Kingdom, but the 'now and not yet' is so much more.

And within that I suggest that whilst we might have theologically explained how the Kingdom has broken in but is not fully here, we have yet to really explore beyond praying for the sick, and personal benefits what is really within this conception and experience of the Kingdom.

Perhaps it is the translation of our identities into the eschaton, into the mission of Jesus, with his followers, for the transformation of ourselves, and all of creation, socially, economically, politically.  What would church look life if that was the imagination of the Kingdom we explored and experienced together?