Kingdom theology is the study of the kingdom of God, but it also is a label for a specific theological movement.
As an area of study, kingdom theology sees history as either the "present evil age" which began with the fall, or the "age to come" which begins with the second coming of Christ. We live in the present evil age and Satan is the ruler of the world (Ephesians 2:2; 6:12). When Jesus returns, the age to come is realized and God rules.
The theological movement known as kingdom theology often uses the phrase "already, but not yet" and is popular among Charismatics.
Here are some salient points of kingdom theology as a movement, also known as inaugurated eschatology:
• That we currently live in the end times, which began when Jesus ascended to heaven.
• That Jesus rules from heaven, but that because His rule is not complete, we suffer under the effects of the fall, such as sin, sickness, and death. Some extremists believe the age in which we live can be experienced without sickness and death if we have enough faith to believe.
Among those who have embraced kingdom theology are the Vineyard movement and John Wimber. The aberrant Latter Rain Movement is influenced by a distortion of kingdom theology. Within the movement, there is debate as to the degree to which the power of the kingdom is manifest in our lives today. Some leaders and churches take the extreme view that it is only a lack of faith that prevents us from living free from sin and its effects.
Even further, some who would claim kingdom theology believe modern prophets and apostles can perform greater miracles than what is recorded in the New Testament. Heretical teaching such as Kingdom Now Theology, Dominion Theology, and Word of Faith are among those in error.
The most egregious of these errors are to nullify the need for Jesus to return to earth, to make God and His actions dependent upon His followers and the amount of their faith, and putting the onus on each person to control his own destiny through whatever amount of faith that can be drummed up. God has not lost control of the world, nor has His plan been thwarted for a time. His power and work are not diminished or increased based on the amount of faith any specific group of people exhibit. Further, the idea that God wants His people to take over the earth's institutions, such as government, financial industry, and others, is misguided. God will establish His kingdom on earth.
While the kingdom of God is in effect now and God is sovereign, the Bible states that Jesus is at the right hand of God (Acts 7:56). He taught that His kingdom is not of this world right now (John 18:36) and taught His disciples (and us) to pray for God's kingdom to come (Luke 11:2, and others).
We must take care when we use the phrase kingdom theology and take care when we evaluate the doctrinal positions of certain teachers and leaders.
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