Preaching the kingdom, would Paul have spoken of the church?

Ancient ruins in Ephesus
Ancient ruins in Ephesus

Commenting on Acts 19.8, William Baird wrote, “In Acts the kingdom of God seems similar to the church (cf. 8:12), but the idea of God’s rule to be consummated in the future is not lacking (cf. 14:22)” IOVC. Indeed it does seems similar, since the church is the present earthly manifestation of the kingdom.

And Paul preached this kingdom. “So Paul entered the synagogue and spoke out fearlessly for three months, addressing and convincing them about the kingdom of God” Acts 8.12.

The Way and the disciples are mentioned in the following verse, both referring to the church, reinforcing the inclusion of the people of God as part of his message. The referrent of the Way is “the early Christian movement” NNIBD; the “teaching and manner of life relating to Jesus Christ” BGAD; “the way of the Christian faith” Mounce.

There is simply no way to separate the message from the messengers, the Christ from the body, the kingdom from the people over whom God reigns.

And those who refuse to explain to the lost who these people are, distinct from the false religions that exist, including those that call themselves Christians but are not, fail to do their duty of proclaiming the gospel of Christ.

2 Replies to “Preaching the kingdom, would Paul have spoken of the church?”

  1. “…the church is the present earthly manifestation of the kingdom.” The eternal kingdom, the everlasting kingdom, the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God; it seems that the church is a relatively small temporal subset of an overall entity that includes much more. We shall see…

  2. Alan Webster has a very good article on the subject of the kingdom in relationship to the church, and other things: http://www.housetohouse.com/HTHPubPage.aspx?cid=13079

    The sad thing about the view that most people in the religious world adhere to when it comes to the kingdom (largely due to the erroneous doctrine of Premillennialism) is that they relate it entirely to the future tense instead of seeing the blessings, and responsibilities, of its current presence among us today (Hebrews 12:22-29). It’s no coincidence that the text begins with an idea involving the word “church” and then ends by using the word “kingdom”. Mark 9:1 is a verse that I always keep in mind when it comes to the kingdom and whether or not it’s among us today.

    As for Paul, since this is what your post was actually about :), I believe Colossians 1:12-18 makes a clear connection between Paul’s preaching, and the topics of the kingdom and the church.

What do you think?