In Proposition 23, George Peters states:
“There must be some substantial reason why the phrases “Kingdom of God”, etc., were thus adopted.”
This is certainly a valid proposition as after all, words in Scripture matter. God did not just randomly select a phrase or series of related phrases because they seem to roll nicely off the tongue. We learned over the past couple of days the importance of this phrase for the people of God. Since we too are the people of God being grafted into the promises made to Israel, it is thus important to investigate why these phrases are worded in the manner we find them in Scripture. They clearly point to something quite specific. When the biblical authors let along Jesus use this term, there is great meaning and purpose behind it.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 23 is the following:
“Others, again, under the plea of non-essential, pass by this early use of phraseology and its resultant effect on the church. In the reaction against formalism, infidelity, etc., they go to the extreme of asserting that a few elementary truths, sufficient to reach the masses, such as repentance and faith, are all that are requisite. Their theological sphere is the most narrow and contracted, and the great fundamental theological questions relating to the Divine Purpose in Redemption are totally ignored. This class finds no difficulty whatever in the early preaching; for whatever does not directly teach their view of the Kingdom is easily made to do so by spiritualizing the grammatical sense.”
Peters hits on another pet peeve of mine, namely that of asserting that all we need is repentance and faith. While it is certainly true that repentance and faith in Jesus are foundational, to teach that is all there is to our walk with God or all that is important for people to grasp in regards to Scripture is theological minimalism at its finest. If we are to preach repentance and faith, then repentance from what and faith in what? Repentance in Scripture is far more than confession of sin. It involves action – the turning away from that which displeases God and towards actions that please God. Since He is the King, He makes the rules that need to be obeyed by those in His kingdom. Being part of the kingdom of God means being obedient to the commands of the King, the rejection of lawlessness. As one unpacks the doctrine of the kingdom, they will find it is intimately connected to all other theological issues. In fact, in my humble opinion, nothing in Scripture is to be ignored or treated as of secondary importance. Even a phrase such as the “Kingdom of God” is of the utmost importance given the manner by which it is connects to numerous theological doctrines.