Kingdom Mission So Far, in 500 Words

By Daniel Durrance

Here’s a summary of the RWI’s take on history and mission from a Kingdom perspective, in 500 words. It’s a bit of a squeeze, needless to say, so please forgive the dryness and sweeping statements! See our other posts and essays for more nuance and depth. [1]

Our physical and spiritual universe arose ex nihilo an extremely long time ago, created by God for good purposes. God has revealed that human history is but one part of a longer conflict between him and a created but fallen Satan. Humans have been instructed to steward ourselves, our communities, and the corners of creation that we inhabit, pushing back on evil wherever possible, sustained and empowered by God. Satan has been allowed some level of temporary spiritual and physical authority over at least this planet, and our salvific pushback (individual and corporate) is to be likewise both spiritual and physical. Spiritual responses include repentance and prayer; physical responses include biological and environmental care.

Humanity started in what the Bible terms the Garden of Eden, in—from what we can tell—an already war-torn Earth, physically and spiritually manipulated by Satan. Satan soon likewise attacked humanity with the aim of alienating us from God and distorting our biology. God, through general and special revelations, is constantly working to turn humanity back to him. To this end, he chose to create and sustain the people of ancient Israel, instructing them from the outset to be a blessing to all nations, bearers and enactors of the good news of the Kingdom. His people mostly failed in this responsibility, seeing their relationship with God as something to be contained and manipulated rather than graciously and intentionally shared. Jesus Christ lived the perfect human life, proclaiming the Kingdom through his words and deeds, and then giving his life to and for his enemies. After his resurrection, in reiteration of the blessing mandate, he commissioned his followers to likewise proclaim the Kingdom in word and deed ”to the whole creation.”

The Kingdom has expanded immensely in the two millennia since, as evidenced by the 'grafting in' of scores of peoples, the transformations of cultures (e.g., away from violence), and a deeper understanding of God. These developments have come in temporal and geographical waves, with transformed nations and individuals tending to follow in the self-centered footsteps of the early Israelites, often with catastrophic consequences for themselves and others (kingdom building vs Kingdom building). God has been at missional work despite our misguided intentions, working good out of dire situations, miracles out of evils. 

Recent centuries give rise to much hope. The Catholic and Protestant mission movements have been particularly fruitful Kingdom ventures, with the peace and safety they have helped foster (albeit in the context of terrible failures, past and present) laying the soil for rapid advances in all areas of human knowledge, in turn securing the possibility of a safer and more just Earth.

Humanity’s increasing understanding of physical, biological and social science also makes possible the discernment of new missional opportunities – for example in the fields of health and disease: Kingdom advancement at the cellular level.

[1] For what it’s worth, I personally subscribe to theistic evolution and do not believe in a six-day creation. Should the Satan talk sound overboard to you, please give these two pieces a read for some context. Evil is for sure an overused word, and we don’t use it lightly. 

Daniel Durrance was born in the United States and raised in Great Britain where he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. He has worked for Christian worldview organizations and is currently raising funds and awareness for pediatric palliative care work in Swaziland.

Posted on February 11, 2015 and filed under Blog, Third 30.