The Coming Kingdom (40)
Dr. Andy Woods
In this series, the biblical teaching on the kingdom of God has been surveyed from Genesis to Revelation to demonstrate that the whole counsel of God's Word conveys the idea that the kingdom is a future reality. In addition, this series has examined the isolated New Testament texts and miscellaneous arguments that "kingdom now" theologians rely upon, and it has demonstrated how each is insufficient to convey "kingdom now" theology. As we move on to the final leg in our journey, we began noting why this trend of equating God's present work in the church with the Messianic kingdom is a matter believers should be concerned about, since this theology not only radically alters God's design for the church but is also the seedbed of many major false doctrines that have sadly entered Christ's church.
In the last two installments, we called attention to Alva J. McClain's warning concerning the impact of how "kingdom now" negatively impacts the church's calling, purpose, and mission. It is interesting to observe similar warnings given nearly a century ago in the writings of Clarence Larkin:
Larkin further notes:
Here, Larkin notes at least five consequences that 'kingdom now" theology has upon Ecclesiology, or the doctrine of the church. First, "kingdom now" theology causes the church to drift into a Social Gospel agenda favoring holistic redemption of societal structures in lieu of fulfilling the Great Commission. When the church becomes something that God never intended nor called her to be, she cannot expect, and in fact will be emptied of, His divine resources and empowerment. Second, viewing itself as the kingdom of God upon the earth causes the church to become at home in the world in contradistinction to the New Testament portrayal of the church as a mere pilgrim passing through both temporary and alien territory en-route to her ultimate eternal destination. Both of these points were covered in the prior installment. However, let us now take note of three equally important points that Larkin's above comments surface.
ALLIANCES WITH NON-BIBLICAL GROUPS
Third, because there are not presently and numerically enough Christians necessary to establish God's kingdom upon the earth, it becomes necessary for the church to find common ground with those who do not share its biblical convictions in order to build the political coalition needed to implement a "kingdom now" social agenda. As noted above, Larkin well explains:
In the prior installment, we noted the "kingdom now" agenda behind popular pastor Rick Warren's "PEACE" plan. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that Warren has become one of the leading advocates of ecumenism in our day. Recently, the "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" mantra has been given new life by mega-church pastor and bestselling author Rick Warren. In a recent interview with Catholic News Service, he noted:
Has Warren forgotten that we, as Protestants, broke away from the Roman Catholic Church during the days of Martin Luther and John Calvin? Why the existence of this historical rupture between Protestants and Catholics? The answer to this question lies in the fact that we as Protestants saw things in Roman Catholicism that we could not find in Scripture. There are vast and insurmountable theological divisions between Bible-believing Evangelicals and the Roman Catholic Church. The rallying cry of the Protestant Reformation involved the five "solas." "Sola" is a Latin expression meaning "alone." These five solas are Sola Fide (faith alone), Sola Gratia (grace alone), Solus Christus (Christ alone), Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), and Soli Deo Gloria (to the glory of God alone). While Protestants embrace these five theological realties or solas, Roman Catholic theology rejects them. Yet, the "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" mindset erases all of those theological barriers and puts Evangelicals and Catholics on the same theological footing.
Apparently not content to build a bridge to Catholicism only, Warren also seems to be building a similar bridge into Islam. Such advocacy of interfaith cooperation across vastly divergent belief systems is revealed through many of Warren's public statements. Note Warren's words from a recent World Economic Forum panel discussion
Note how Rick Warren, with Tony Blair present at this World Economic Forum panel discussion, publicly referring to an Islamic cleric as “My Islamic brother.” The New Testament, on the other hand, teaches that our brothers are only those who believe in Christ and do the will of God (Matt. 12:46-50). Thus, in no sense can an Islamic cleric be viewed as a brother of a born-again believer.
(To Be Continued...)
 Clarence Larkin, Rightly Dividing the Word (Glenside, PA: Clarence Larkin Estate, 1920), 48.
 Clarence Larkin, The Second Coming of Christ (Glenside, PA: Clarence Larkin Estate, 1918), 51.
 Larkin, Rightly Dividing the Word, 48.
 Matt Slick, “Rick Warren's Comments on Roman Catholicism,” online:www.carm.org, accessed 20 July 2015.
 For more differences, see James McCarthy, The Gospel According to Rome (Eugene, OR: Harvest, 1995).