Sunday, November 21, 2010

Does the “Kingdom” Make Sense to Muslims?

Why do we hear the Synoptic Gospels talk so much about the Kingdom but then the Epistles talk so much about Jesus?  Newbigin explains (chapter 5):

In Jesus the kingdom is present.  That is why the first generation of Christian preachers used a different language from the language of Jesus: he spoke about the kingdom, they spoke about Jesus.  They were bound to make this shift of language if they were to be faithful to the facts.  It was not only that the phrase “kingdom of God” in the ears of a pagan Greek would be almost meaningless, having none of the deep reverberations that it evoked from someone nourished on the Old Testament.  It was that the kingdom, or kingship, of God was no longer a distant hope or a faceless concept.  It had now a name and a face – the name and face of the man from Nazareth.

Sometimes I feel that my “Kingdom” talk has the same effect on Muslims as it did on first century Greeks.  In my experience, Muslims interpret “Kingdom of God” as simply meaning “God’s Creation.”  I know kingdom talk is quite popular in Muslim ministry these days, but can anyone else relate to this issue I’m having? 

In any case, it is always a sure thing to just talk about Jesus.

Related Post: The Kingdom, the Cross, and the Church

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