Paper Pt II: Why Write?

This paper is born out of the twin impulses of 1) grappling with the implications of allegiance to a Crucified Messiah and 2) watching Church leaders and practitioners encourage and implement a praxis that seems to have other allegiances.  There are simply too many examples of practice and language that communicate a foreign theology. A praxis that effectively equates success with a pastor’s ability to raise a salary, or a praxis that attempts to grow a church by way of racial profiling (i.e. the homogenous principle), clearly communicate a theology very different than the one we claim to hold. People who implement such a praxis are often comfortable with much of the theology outlined in this paper, and even some of the implications for praxis, yet fail to comprehensively work that theology out into their vocabulary and practice.

I am sure that others will be able to find yet more practical implications, and specific recommendations, than those that we will here outline. The goals of this paper are not an exhaustive study, but rather something more like planting a flag. It is imperative that we do not lose sight of the very center of God’s purpose and powerful activity as we begin to pour our time and energy into maintaining the structures that were intended to be a vessel for that very purpose and power. Lest we become like a gardener who dutifully props up the tomato cages, keeping them perfectly aligned, long after the tomato plants have died.

We will break our project into four sections, the first and second are only necessary to lay down the underlying theological framework, the third will address the significance of that framework, and the fourth (and most important section) will address the practical application of that framework. Section one is a rudimentary discussion of the Kingdom of God, attempting to understand Kingdom theology in terms of ‘power,’ ‘justice,’ and ‘the Cross. ’ Section two will move briefly to examine the Church’s relationship to the Kingdom. Section three will extrapolate fourteen specific implications of our Kingdom theology for the Church. Section four is the crucial aspect of our work, here we will finally be able to critique current Church praxis and determine just how our practices fail to adhere to our theology.

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