In Proposition 3, George Peters states:
“The meanings usually given to this kingdom indicate that the most vague, indefinite notions exist concerning it.”
I find this true regarding a number of theological terms, perhaps most notably the recent focus on naming everything as “gospel-focused”, “gospel-centered”, “gospel-driven”, or whatever else the world gospel proceeds or is connected with in discussion. What is meant by gospel is rarely defined and when it is, the definition or approach applied is often lacking in substance, focus, and connection to what the gospel actually is as identified in Scripture. Peters is asserting and perhaps rightfully so such a situation exists with the term “kingdom” as well. We use the phrase “kingdom of God” quite often in theological parlance, but what does it really mean and are we using it correctly?
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 3 is the following:
“It is a lamentable fact, that few theologians are to be found who are willing to give a rigid scriptural examination to this subject. Preachers, who profess themselves called to proclaim “the gospel of the kingdom,” totally waive such a study. A few isolated passages, either torn from their connection, or misapprehended in their relationship to other Scripture, form the basis of a vast inferential structure. Instead of making Holy Writ the standard of interpretation, multitudes, while in theory recognizing the Bible as the sole measure of faith, yet in practice will take the explanations and Scriptural references given by favorite authors as their reliable guides, without the least attempt to verify, by a personal application to Scripture, their correctness. Undoubtedly we are greatly indebted to writers for definitions, interpretations, suggestions, etc., yet, after all, those who are called on to instruct others should satisfy themselves by a personal study of revelation that their belief and opinions are scripturally founded. Error, too, is often plausible and friendly; truth sometimes comes in the garb of an adversary.”
I give this observation a hearty amen!