Archives For The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

Mark Beuving —  January 28, 2013 — 2 Comments

Winterim 2013Last week, Eternity Bible College hosted its annual Winterim course, which always features distinguished guest professors teaching on a issue that is pertinent to the life and health of the church. This year, we were honored to have Dr. Joel Willitts from Northpark University teaching on the Kingdom of God. (Click here for more information about the course.)

The course itself was insightful, informative, and helpful. We decided to share the audio from this event with all of you. So here it is. Download it below and be challenged on your thinking about the Kingdom of God and its implications for your life.

The audio files we are sharing below are four of the lectures from last week. These sessions were designed to supplement the core of the class content (which was a bit more technical/academic) and was directed at ordinary church folk who wanted to deepen their understanding of the Kingdom.

You should be able to download these files by right/control clicking on each link and selecting “Save File As.” You should also be able to stream them by simply clicking on the links.

Enjoy!

Lecture 1: Jesus the Davidic Messiah

 

Lecture 2: Jesus’ Messianic Manifesto

 

Lecture 3: The National Anthem of the Kingdom of God

 

Lecture 4: Kingdom Through Covenant

 

 

Winterim 2013Every winter at Eternity Bible College, we bring in a guest professor to teach a class within their expertise. This “Winterim,” as it’s been called, is close to my heart since I was Eternity’s first official Winterim teacher. When I was teaching at Cedarville University (Ohio), I flew out to Eternity to teach a course on “Pauline Theology” in December of 2007. A year and a half later, I was hired on at Eternity and the rest is history. Since then, I’ve overseen the Winterim program and have tried to bring in teachers who have an expertise in areas that we are wrestling with at our school. And so over the last three years, we’ve been blessed to have Drs. Charles Kraft, Tom Schreiner, and Todd Wilson visit Eternity and talk to us about various issues facing the church.

This January (21-26), I’m very please to have my good friend Dr. Joel Willitts from Northpark University (Chicago) come to teach a class titled “Jesus and the Kingdom.” I’m not sure if you’re aware of it, but there is a major issue brewing in the church today about the meaning of the gospel. Some people want to define the gospel narrowly in terms of Christ’s death for our sins. Others look to the teaching of Christ for a broader definition of “gospel” (or “good news”), finding in Jesus’ statements about the “kingdom of God” an extensive meaning of what good news means. I won’t spoil the fun here on our blog. But I will say: if you’re close to Simi Valley, you won’t want to miss this exciting class!

In the past, we’ve tried to make the Winterim relevant for both students and laypeople in the area. But it hasn’t always worked. To pull off the Winterim, we have to cram 5+ hours of teaching into a single night for 5 consecutive nights. While students can commit to this, most lay people can’t. So this year we’ve adjusted things a bit to meet the needs of both students and non-students. This year, Joel will lecture in-depth for 3 hours each afternoon, and then for 2 hours each evening. If you’re taking the class for credit, you’ll need to be here for all 5 hours. But if you’re not a student and want to simply sit in on the class (we call this “auditing”) to further your knowledge about Jesus and the Kingdom, then you can come and sit in on those 2-hour nightly sessions (Mon-Thurs). These nightly sessions are self-contained (i.e., you can follow the topic, even if you can’t make the afternoon sessions), so you’ll get a lot out of the class, even if you can’t take it for full credit.

I’m looking forward to what will be an invigorating discussion this January! Joel is an outstanding teacher with a pastoral heart. He’s got a Ph.D. from Cambridge University (England), and has been involved in church ministry for a number of years. He currently serves as a College pastor in Chicago along with his duties as a professor and writer. I am so excited to have him out to Eternity!

Learn more about the Winterim course here.

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Update: The audio for this course is now available for free download here: http://facultyblog.eternitybiblecollege.com/2013/01/the-kingdom-of-god/

 

 

 

 

 

BallotElection day. The past few months have been leading up to this moment, so much so that our Facebook newsfeeds carry all the same headlines as the major news outlets. So much passion, so many hopes, so much skepticism, so much disagreement, so much slander—all coming to a head today.

And depending on when you’re reading this, all of the critical decisions of Election Day 2012 will either be done soon or are already settled. So how should a Christian respond to a finished election? Here are a few thoughts.

Be ready for disappointment. Keep in mind that I’m writing this before the election, so I don’t have a clue about who will be the next president or which ballot issues won the day. But I’m insightful enough to know that all of us are going to be disappointed in some way. Maybe your guy will lose the presidential election. Maybe the ballot initiatives you feel strongest about will go the wrong way.

But even if the election goes your way in every respect, you should still be ready for disappointment. Your choice for president will let you down. Our best ballot measures will always stop short of solving society’s problems.

Elections offer us a unique opportunity to share in the direction and development of our nation. In many ways, we are never more powerful than we are on an election day. When else does the government ask you what they ought to do? Voting gives us an opportunity to give input into matters that are typically far above our pay grade.

But then again, we are also relatively powerless on an election day. Think about it. How much will your solitary vote accomplish? Sure, the government asks for your input on this one day, but are they really hearing you over all of the shouting voices?

So we follow our conscience on Election Day and say what needs to be said. But once that is over, we have to decide how to respond.

Will Jesus remain on his throne? Count on it. Is he still sovereign over human governments and social issues? Of course. Are we still called to pray for our leaders, whether we like them or not? 1 Timothy 2:1–4 says that we must.

So on November 7, no matter what has been decided or which candidate has to figure out if he can actually keep any of the promises he made to the American people, we continue to submit to the governing authorities (Rom. 13:1–7), we continue to pray for our leaders (1 Tim. 2:1–4), and we continue to labor to see God’s will done on earth (Matt. 6:10).

Voting is one way to work towards seeing God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven, but in reality, we are far more effective in this regard in our everyday lives than we are in a voting booth. Sure, our vote goes toward something much broader than we typically take on, but in our smaller spheres of influence we have much more power to actually make changes.

I am one impersonal voice among millions when I vote on the abortion issue, but I carry a lot of relational weight when I comfort a young woman who is wrestling with how to handle her unplanned pregnancy. I can fill in a ballot in an attempt to influence healthcare, but I am far more powerful on a smaller scale when I join with my church in caring for the needy in our community.

The point is, regardless of what happens with this election, we must still feel a sense of calling and confidence in working to see God’s will done in the smaller spheres of influence which he has entrusted to us. Let the election be what it will be, we still have work to do for the kingdom.

 

A Tale of Three Kingdoms

Mark Beuving —  March 21, 2012 — 1 Comment

Every person works to build his or her own kingdom. This affects all of our relationships, but the effect is compounded in a marriage relationship. In marriage you have two people who are each bent on meeting their own needs and getting what they want, living together in the most intimate of arrangements. Each person took a vow to love and serve the other, but they’re still human, and their default approach to life is to ensure that they get what they want.

This is why much of what is typically done in marriage counseling falls short. A couple that fights frequently and has difficulty resolving their conflicts could certainly benefit from marriage counseling. And very often, this counseling will focus on their communication. They will be taught to “argue better,” to make sure that what they are trying to say is being effectively communicated, to better control their tone, etc. Christians counselors will also teach couples biblical principles of communication.

But what happens when this couple heads home with their newly improved communication skills? They will continue to build their own kingdoms. Only now, they have more impressive communication tools for getting what they want. They are better manipulators. Better kingdom-builders.

Our only hope of enjoying the kinds of marriages that God intended us to have is to let go of our kingdoms. If my life is based on expanding my own kingdom, then my wedding vows were a sham. If I am bent on gaining control over every aspect of my daily existence, then every compliment, every “I love you,” every time I take out the trash or empty the dishwasher is simply a manipulative attempt to reign over a kingdom that glorifies myself. So we have to let go.

As I said yesterday, this is extremely difficult—it requires us to lay every thought, desire, skill, and interest at the Lord’s feet, allowing him to use every aspect of our existence however he wants to. Yet this is how we were created to function. Life is about God and his kingdom. Living life for any other purpose amounts to forcing a square peg into a round hole. It’s incredibly frustrating, and ultimately it doesn’t work.

This is true of life in general, and it is true of marriage. Two opposing kingdoms can’t co-exist under the same roof. And you can’t get around this by simply joining your two kingdoms into one. I think that this is the gameplan of most people as they head into marriage. They assume that sharing everything means that they can co-govern their domain. But it will never work. And even if it could work, it’s wrongheaded from the start. God already has a kingdom, and our task is to submit our kingdoms to the service of his.

So let’s take everything that God has given us personally and everything that he has given us in the context of marriage, and offer it to him to use in the way he knows is best.