The Mission of the Kindomizer
There has been a continuous argument about the mission of the church. Some says the mission of the church is to proclaim the good news as the primary task (Grand Rapids1982:43-45). Some argues that humanization is the mission of the church, therefore church should ﬁght against all kinds of evil structures (Moltman 1969:38-41). Other insists the proclaiming the Gospel and social action are equally important mission of the church (Sider 1975:18-20).
We, however, need to acknowledge the essence of message of Jesus, which enhances us to understand the full mission of the church. The message which Jesus brought was the Gospel of the kingdom of God in which all the arguments of the centuries are contained.
We will examine the mission of the church in the light of kingdom of God which contains everything we argue, both individual and social.
The kingdom of God: the central theme of the message of Jesus
Modern scholarship is quite unanimous in the opinion that kingdom of God was the central message of Jesus (Ladd 1973:57). Mark initiates the gospel with words saying "The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:14-15) Matthew summarizes the ministry of Jesus with the words saying, "He went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and heal the sick (Matthew 4:23). Luke confirms the ministry of Jesus with Jesus’ own proclamation of the fulﬁlled Kingdom saying, "Today this scripture (Isaiah 61:1, 2) has been fulﬁlled in your hearing" (Luke 4:21). It is remarkably noticeable that Jesus after His resurrection, appeared to his disciples to speak about the kingdom of God (Acts 1: 3). Throughout the Acts of the apostles, we can clearly conclude that the disciples of Jesus proclaimed the gospel of kingdom (Acts 28: 23-28).
Not only the kingdom of God is the central message of Jesus but also Jesus proclaimed that the kingdom is already present.
The Present Aspect of Kingdom of God
Jesus saw his ministry as fulﬁlled of Old Testament promise of messianic kingdom of God. Jesus at the beginning of his ministry, publicly proclaimed that the expected Lord’s favored year has been fulﬁlled by quoting Isaiah 61 (Ladd 1973:63).
John the Baptist also proclaimed the kingdom of God. There was, however fundamental difference between John’s message and Jesus’. According to John kingdom of God was immediate but still future (Douglas 1977:693). But Jesus proclaimed that in him the great future has already become ‘present time.’ In Jesus the new kingdom age has started and nothing can stop his kingdom (Bright 1978:216-218).
The Sign of the Present Kingdom of God
The first entering the Kingdom is repentance from sin. The careful study of the Bible directs us to recognize that the cause of sin was not God nor his creature, human being. The starter of sin was the tempter Satan. Human beings had been tempted by Satan. Even though they determined to disobey God, their motivation of sin was temptation of Satan. Therefore we need to acknowledge that there is a tempter beyond our sin. Jesus, the son of God came down not only to save us from sin but also to destroy the works of the devil, who is the tempter and causer and root of sins (I John 3:8; Hebrew 2:14). Therefore we need to realize that the son of God appeared to pluck out the root of sin, the Satan, and deliver its fruits, the sins of human. Jesus demonstrated the presence of kingdom of God by casting of demons. Let us consider signs of presence of the kingdom of God.
Jesus’ Dethronement of Satan
Paul makes it clear that the powers were created through Jesus Christ, ‘For in him all things are created, which are in heaven, and earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, dominions, principalities, power; all things are created through him ,for him (Col 1:16). The powers are part of God’s good creation.
Unfortunately Satan, by means of sin, has invaded the good creation and the powers have been corrupted to the point that they are now hostile toward God. At the cross, however, God disarmed the principalities and power (Col 2:15).
Therefore Jesus is now Lord of the world as well as church. He is the Lord of all rule and authority and power and dominion. Jesus is the Lord and this Lord demonstrated the kingdom of God by casting out demons. John Bright argues that the purpose of Jesus’ casting out demons was The fulfillment of the kingdom of God promised (Bright 1973: 216). Satan is not of this world anymore (John 16: 11, 33). He is illegal, and the defeated.
Jesus drives out demons by the Spirit of God, and kingdom of God has come upon us (Matthew 12:28). Satan has been bound by Jesus, therefore those who knows the truth will be set free from Satan’s bondage of deceive. Then how can we explain the present activity of Satan? Oscar Cullman answered that the final decisive battle was over, but the tide of battle turn before the gaining of final victory (Douglas l973:66).
Demonstration of Power of the Kingdom of God
Jesus demonstrated His power in individual and social ways. And His approach to heal humans was very holistic.
Forgiveness (Spiritual Restoration)
The present gift of forgiveness was the sign of the kingdom of God. According to Mark, this conﬂict between Jesus and scribes began when Jesus claimed to forgive sins. Such a claim was nothing less than blasphemy to God, for only God can forgive sins (Mark 2:7). In the prophets, forgiveness will be one of the blessing of the messianic age (Isaiah 33:28). Jesus, instead of teaching a doctrine of forgiveness pronounced sins forgiven (Luke 7:48). The glorious expectation of perfect forgiveness of God is offered now in the person of Jesus. It was the activity of God in the person of Jesus bringing to men present experience what the prophets promised in the eschatological kingdom.
Casting out of Demons (Mental Restoration)
Jesus triumphed over the power of evil, over the demons that held men captive. He explained to the scribes who have come from Jerusalem that what he was doing in liberating the possessed, was of God. In this the reign of God came upon them (Luke 11:20). No prophets subdued the demons to cast out them like Jesus in the Old Testament age. Casting out demons was recognized as the sign of activity of messiah.
Healing the Sick (Physical Restoration)
Jesus, to John the Baptist’s question as to whether he was the messiah, simply pointed to his works of healing, for John would know that they were the works of messiah (Isaiah 35:5).
Matthew summarized the ministry of Jesus as preaching, teaching and healing (4:23). Healing was one of the greatest sign of the presence of the kingdom of God.
Jesus, by forming divine community, demonstrated the presence of the kingdom of God. The group which Jesus formed had quite a revolutionary aspect, for his generation. We read, "Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and inﬁrmities: Mary called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who provided, for them out of their means" (Luke 8:1-3).
There was a overcoming of status in that group. For, there was Mary Magdalene, a woman out of whom seven devils had gone. She was probably a public prostitute - low in the scale of society and Joanna, the wife of Herod the king's steward - high in social status. They were brought together in the fellowship of the kingdom of God and neither one was low or high. The kingdom of God broke the social discrimination.
There was a overcoming of sex and race discrimination by kingdom of God. Even the disciples of Jesus marvelled that Jesus talked and had intimate fellowship with women (John 4:24). The kingdom of God which Jesus brought in his mission and person restored the dignity of women which was approved by God from the begging, but rejected by history. The approval of God was clear. "So God formed man in his likeness , in the likeness of God, he formed him, male and female, he formed both" (Gen. 1:27). In the kingdom of God, there was no sex or race discrimination.
The kingdom of God, not only initiated to restore individual brokenness but also it did for social one. Now we came to the juncture where we should describe the Mission of the church in the light of present aspect of kingdom of God.
The Mission of the Church
The mission of church takes place in the context of Kingdom of God. It takes place in last days between pentecost and the parousia. Church should proclaim the kingdom of God to the world, and also it has a great responsibility to demonstrate what the Kingdom of God is like by forming new community so that the world may see and taste the power and goodness of Kingdom of God to aspire to enter into it.
Relationship between Church and Kingdom of God
Most of the scholars agree the church is not identical with kingdom. But it is the witness of the Kingdom of God. Jesus gave his order to the church to be the witness of him (Acts 1:8).
Church is to proclaim the forgiveness of God in the mission of Jesus, especially what he has done and accomplished on the cross. And Jesus gave authority to his disciple to forgive the sins of men (John 20:22). People have been suffering from guilt of sins which led people to both self-destruction and social destruction. Church with its might and authority of God is to provide the chance to be forgiven by God through cross. What God has done on the cross is to be proclaimed. Therefore salvation is free gift to the world. Repentance and forgiveness were signs of the kingdom of God. They are soaring fountain of joy and church has glorious privilege to proclaim that this signs of Kingdom of God is available now and here.
The Church is to cast out demons for restoration of mental ability of human being. In spite of the remarkable advance of technology and business, the western civilization, especially USA, have been suffering from mental illness, stresses, and mental brokenness. Mental hospital is one of the most rapid-growing organization in the world.
The early church not only proclaim the Kingdom of God, but it demonstrated its presence by casting out demons (Acts 19:11-12). Satan and his kingdom is real enemy of Christ, and there is a war on. Church is not to fight against human organization or ideas. The real enemy of the church is the Satan and his followers (Eph.6:l1-13).
To fight correctly, the church must correctly understand the power and authority in the Kingdom of God (Wimber 1986:11). In Luke 9: 1-2 we read, "When Jesus had called the twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure disease, and he sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick.
With this acknowledgement of endowment of power, church ought exercise their power to the world to demonstrate the presence of kingdom of God, and to let the world taste the goodness of the Kingdom to join into it.
We refuse to demythologize the teaching of Jesus and apostles about demons. Although the "principalities and power" may have a reference to demonic ideologies and structure (Sider1975:10-11), we believe that they certainly are evil personal agents under the command of the devil (Sider 1975:24). Demon possession is real and terrible condition. Deliverance is only possible in a power encounter in which the name of Jesus is invoked and prevails (Grand Rapids1982:31).
Healing Through Divine Power
Jesus gave the church the power to heal the sick by his name (Mark 16:15-17). That promise was confirmed by Jesus in Acts 1:8. The early church exercise this power of Jesus (Acts2:48).The healing of the lame provided Peter a great chance to convert ﬁve thousand men (Acts 3: 1-11). Healing is effective ministry for the suffering world. Ron Sider insists that social action sometimes facilitated the task of evangelism (Sider 1975:19). The healing people facilitates the task of evangelism of Jesus. Jesus spent considerable time and energy to heal the sick which attracted countless multitude to hear his message.
Healing Through Social Action—Hospital
One of the most essential elements of fast growing of the church in Korea ascribed to the ministry of the hospitals, which introduced western medical science. Countless People opened their hearts because of the social good works of the missionary. Church, with help of hospital facilitates the mission of evangelism.
Sharing Economic Resources
The economic sharing was initiated by Jesus and his followers. Luke 8:1-3 shows us that some women who provided for disciples of Jesus out of their means. Here was the mastery of the material by spiritual, an important mastery in life. They dedicated their money in the greatest movement that ever struck the earth, the movement of the Kingdom of God. “The principle of the Kingdom is to share to each other according to their need. The early church is characterized by economic koinonia. The massive economic sharing of the early church is remarkable. " Now the company of those who believer were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common "(Acts 4:32). Everywhere in the early chapters of Acts, the evidence is abundant and unambiguous (Acts 2:43-47; 4:32-37; 5:1-1l; 6:1-7). The early church continued the pattern of economic sharing practiced by Jesus. The evangelistic impact of their demonstration on oneness is striking. "And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes... praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day (Acts 2:46-47). Ron Sider gives us the principles for sharing in the body of believers by observing Paul's teaching (Sider 19752107).
(1) Give all you can. Each person should give "as he may prosper" (I Cor.l6:2). Paul praised the Macedonians who "gave according to their means... and beyond their means" (IICor.8:3).
(2) Giving was voluntary (II Cor.8:3). Paul speciﬁcally noted that he was not issuing a command to the Corinthians(II Cor.8:8). Legalism is not the answers.
(3) The norm, Paul suggests is economic equality among the people. "I do not mean that others should be eased and you burned, but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality. To support his principle, Paul quoted from the biblical story of manna. "As it is written, ‘he who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack’ (IICor. 8:13-15). This unique transformed life styles of church was found second and third and fourth century (Sider 1975:108-109).
The careful biblical and historical study encourages the church to practice ﬁnancial sharing in the self-centered world. It is the mission of the church to demonstrate the presence of the kingdom of God here and now. Present relationship in the world-wide body of Christ are not biblical, sinful as hindrance to evangelism and discrimination of the body of Christ.
Church should follow the clear precise teaching of the Bible that God wills fundamentally transformed economic relation among the people of God. Rauschenbusch pointed out that selﬁshness is the most typical sin of the human race which is totally against the construction of dissent social life (Rauschenbusch 1918:31). Church should repent her sin of selﬁshness and self-centered activity and stretch her hand to help the poor, and share her resources.
Overcoming the race discrimination
Hiebert acknowledges the oppression as the one of the threatening problems in our current society (Hiebert l978:26-27). The race discrimination is one of the worst oppression practiced in our society. Is there any hope and cure for this deadly disease?
The early church as a visible witness of the kingdom of God solved this disease. "Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, Simeon, that was called Niger (literally, " the black") (Acts 13:1). There was in that early church Simeon, the black man. And he was not on the edges, but was the center as a prophet or teacher, and he with others laid hands on Paul and Barnabas to send them forth to preach the gospel of the kingdom to white Europe. This was the place of the Negro in the early Christian society of the kingdom. After wandering in the wilderness of racism for two thousand years, we are coming back to the place where the church began and we need to think we as the glorious church should repent the past sins. The Christian ordinary was and is to be the overcoming over the race segregation. The shameful segregation is the anti-kingdom of God. Wherever the kingdom of God invades, the darkness of the race discrimination is passing by. And the church is to invade the darkness of this age with proclamation and demonstration in the visible community.
Overcoming the Sex Discrimination
Jesus revolutionized the segregational twisted thought about the female. The society did not counted women in number, furthermore women were recognized as property. Jesus by breaking the crooked culture, openly communicated with women (John 4:22-27), restored their dignity and demonstrated his love by showing himself to women first after his resurrection. In Jesus the segregation of female was broken. At the day of Pentecost female received the authority of public ministry. "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith the Lord, I will pour out my Spirit upon all ﬂesh: and your daughters shall prophesy..."(Acts 2:17).
Church, as a witness of the kingdom of God, is to proclaim and demonstrate the restoration of the dignity of female.
The mission of the church is to be the witness of the kingdom of God by proclaiming and by demonstrating as the visible model of the kingdom of God.
Therefore her mission is not to be partial but to be wholistic. Her mission is both individual and social, not only spiritual but also mental and physical. The church should serve both God and the world. She must proclaim the gospel of kingdom of God, and share her economic resources. She should proclaim, demonstrate, suffer for, serve, and pray for the kingdom of God.