Should Christians try to force the kingdom on others?Question: "Should Christians try to force the kingdom on others?"
Answer: As a background, please read our article on Christian reconstructionism, which is closely related to “dominion theology” and “theonomy.” This line of theological interpretation states that biblical Christianity will rule all areas of society, personal and corporate, and that the goal of Christians is to help create a worldwide kingdom patterned after the Mosaic Law. Those that hold these views believe that Christ will not return to earth until such a kingdom has been established, a view that is completely antithetical to the Bible’s teaching on the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The principal goal, then, of dominion theology and Christian reconstructionism is political and religious domination of the world through the implementation of the moral laws, and subsequent punishments, of the Old Testament (the sacrificial and ceremonial laws having been fulfilled in the New Testament). This is not a government system ruled by the church, but rather a government conformed to the Law of God.
God has never called Christians to establish a physical kingdom ruled by His laws, commands, and statutes. The mission of Christians is to share the gospel of salvation with the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). When people are saved, the Holy Spirit will begin the work in them of changing their lives into conformity with God’s Word (Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). It is only when a society or culture is populated with born-again Christians that the society is changed, one heart and one life at a time. That is why Christ put an end to the Old Testament Law (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:24-26; Ephesians 2:15) and instead instituted the law of Christ (Matthew 22:37-40; Galatians 6:2). The law of love and grace is what is needed in the hearts of men who, once their hearts are changed, can corporately effect change in their society.
Attempts to change societies and cultures from without will always fail. Changing people on the inside is God’s work through His Holy Spirit, and therefore no one can be forced into the kingdom. God is more interested in saving people’s souls than He is in forcing people to obey His laws. If an unsaved person if forced to obey God’s law, he would be doing it out of fear and obligation. God wants a person to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) and then to obey His commands out of reverence and love (1 John 5:3). So the answer to the question is no. God has not called us to enforce His commands on an unredeemed world. Rather, he has called us to proclaim the message of salvation—the redeeming power and life-transforming message of Jesus’ death on the cross (Romans 5:8).
Recommended Resource: Hard Sayings of the Bible by Kaiser, Davids, & Brauch
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