Thursday, May 13, 2010

The True Foundation of the Kingdom by David VanCronkhite

I have to repeat a most profound quote from G. Campbell Morgan, one of the most influential Christian leaders of the 20th century, of that most venerable of evangelical churches, Westminster Chapel. He said, "It's possible to be biblically correct, doctrinally pure, theologically sound, morally impeccable, and spiritually useless."
Because I thoroughly agree with Morgan's statement, I had to take issue with the Pope this week when I read an article with the headline, "Pope urges Portugal to rediscover Christian roots." Now, that's good for any country to do. But I would offer a different measuring rod to determine if a country was returning to its Christian roots and heritage.
His message for change, as reported, seemed to be that secularism, abortion, divorce, and marriage of same-sex couples is the proof that Christianity has gone awry. While asking myself "who am I?" to find issue with the pope or any denominational leaders who seem to be in agreement on this, I truly believe we have blundered and are indulging in a wrong focus.
If we got rid of all the abortionists, all the divorced, all those of the same sex who wanted to be married, and had left only the most morally correct, law abiding people, then what? Probably, as is being proven in American politics, the most religiously correct would only keep upping the ante of moral behavior and letting people join or remain in their world by their growing legalistic standards and rules.

Jesus' supernatural standards

Before you label me as soft on morals and Christian values, let me remind you that Jesus raised the ante of our hearts and actions to the highest, most demanding precipice of any religious or cultural standards. He took it to a whole new level. In order to rediscover our Christian roots, we need to first rediscover what those are.

Jesus said," I give you a new commandment: love." Talk about impossible! Talk about life-altering and world-changing! No way that's going to happen except with a supernatural intervention, aka being "born from above." Jesus told Nicodemus that must happen if he or any of us were to enter and live in His Father's Kingdom. But we do not need a supernatural move of faith to stop divorce, adultery or same sex marriage. All we have to do is put on our sheriff's badge and enforce the law.

Yet, it is impossible to fulfill the new command of Jesus without a supernatural heart change, without the born from above experience. Using Gordon Campbell's quote above, the question might be, "Can we really be born again without being born from above."

Can we join the Christian community without a heart change, or call ourselves Christian because we joined such and such denomination? Can we be well trained and walk out all the disciplines exactly as defined by our system and miss the very heart of Jesus' all-fulfilling commandment? We can pass laws and legislate right behavior, and still miss the fact that God in His graciousness, His mercy, His compassion, His truth, His forgiveness, His slowness to anger, and His covenantal faithfulness is simply attempting to impregnate our spirits with His DNA contained in His seed of agape love.

"They will know me by your love for one another," Jesus said. What if we only loved those who loved us, who agreed with our political, religious, and economic positions? Even the world does that, Jesus reminded us. He called us to go into a supernatural realm that is impossible to walk out in the natural. "I call you to a new command: love your neighbor and, even more, love your enemy."

What to do with our enemies

Following Christ will create enemies. Yet, if we decide to be a Christ follower and are born supernaturally from above, we are supposed to have a heart change that says, "I have a special power to love those that hate me and want to harm me." It is a power greater than the signs and wonders of healings and raising the dead. True Christianity cannot exist if it keeps declaring as enemies those we are called to find and love as Jesus did.

And then, how are we going to love our neighbor when we don't even know who our neighbor is? At one point in our culture, our neighbor was the person who lived next door to us or on the neighboring farm where relational connectivity often meant survival. Neighbors were the families on the same block who made up the geographic community. We knew one another and were known by one another.

Today, it's easy to leave our neighborhood and go to a building to be enveloped in a pleasant atmosphere we call church or community. Then we return home and live in isolation from the geographic surroundings. We have turned our neighbors into souls and converts to be won, or potential enemies to be made if, heaven forbid, they reject our message and lifestyle.

It will take a lot of love--the supernatural agape kind--that says we can, we should, we must imitate God.
Because I now have my Father's DNA maturing in my spirit, I can show to my neighbor what, thankfully, God has shown to me on a daily basis. I can offer compassion, graciousness, slowness to anger, mercy, truth, covenantal faithfulness and forgiveness, all the time knowing that love covers a multitude of sins. The love of the Father is to draw the sinners, the disenfranchised, the lonely, the discontented, the brokenhearted, and the losers of man's systems to Himself.

The measuring rod of the Kingdom is not morality, but love. It is love that causes man to become human as God intended. It is love that changes a man into one who simply wants to please the Father. It is love that makes morality a by-product of life. The law never, ever caused anyone to have a heart change. It can only demand obedience out of fear of being shamed, shunned, or totally cast out.

Perhaps our churches and ministries, spiritual schools and training centers should focus first on rediscovering and teaching the next generations the true foundation of Christianity: a King and His Kingdom filled with sons and daughters supernaturally impregnated with His amazing DNA. It changes everything. It is the only thing that changes us. The Kingdom, if it is anything--and it is everything--is relational and supernatural.

And He and His Kingdom are pure love.

David VanCronkhite


  1. So well said David!
    It has got to be about love and not all the other issues...we will miss the point of what we have been called to be in this world. thank-you

  2. Right on brother. Love IS the answer!

  3. I might add this, a true Christian loves a British soldier fighting to keep a colony loyal, it loves an appointed governer that taxes the people without representation.

    You see there is a kingdom from above built upon Christ and His love, and a kingdom of men built upon morality, the desire to have my OWN rights.

    Those who shed blood for this moral manmade kingdom did not meet the standards of Christ.

    Hmm, time to rethink our false foundations maybe..



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