ASSIGNMENT LCW-3 (The kingdom of God and the non-Christian world)
Talking of the kingdom of God and the lordship of Christ over all the earth raises questions in the Christian mind about the status of secular government and non-Christian belief systems. Our relationship to secular government might be addressed in the Study Day as Topic C (Politics and Public Theology). Assignment LCW3 is more in the context of other belief systems including Communism, Humanism and revived forms of Paganism.
Because Christian insiders are so accustomed to singing of Jesus as Lord, they often do not recognise how absurd or even offensive it can sound to outsiders. It certainly offended the witnesses and ruling Council at the trial of Stephen (Acts 7).
The broad questions raises are, for example:
- Is it possible to speak of Jesus as Lord without appearing to proclaim religious war and to plan a Christian world empire?
- Do we envisage a Christian world empire, or everyone becoming Christians, or will God’s final kingdom be something broader than the Christian Church?
Write down your thoughts in response to the following (around 500 - 700 words in total):
1. Especially in relation other religions, it is easy to think of situations in which Christianity has proved a dividing force. Describe situations in which the Church has been or could be a reconciling agency.
2. How can we accept the equal right of Muslims (say) to make converts?
3. How might it be possible to have dialogue with, and value at least some elements of, other people’s beliefs while maintaining that Jesus is the true witness?
4. Which, if any, of the following do you envisage, and why?
- a Christian world empire;
- everyone becoming Christians;
- God’s final kingdom being something broader than the Christian Church.