We often divide our culture by generation. This is very common within the Church in North America. McKnight identifies the view of the kingdom of God which he thinks is prevalent
among the older generation.
McKnight, Scot. Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Brazos Press, 2014. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 2, “Pleated Pants Kingdom.” pp. 9-19
McKnight refers here to the “pleated pants” leadership of churches as opposed to the “skinny jeans” people. In discussing the work of the kingdom they seem concerned about when and where God’s kingdom is found. The natural conclusions: “the kingdom is both present and future, and the kingdom is both a rule and a realm (Over which God governs)” (McKnight 2014, 9). McKnight cites Bible passages which can lead to those conclusions. Yet he says the theological categories developed here rarely show what the kingdom looks like. His reaction is to observe, “to the degree that the kingdom has been inaugurated, it can be realized in our world today” (McKnight 2014, 11). Yet McKnight is of the opinion that leaders of the older generation have abandoned any idea of God at work in the civil realm, or any realm, for that matter (McKnight 2014, 12). I observe that McKnight cites G.E. Ladd as exemplary in this discussion. He then goes on to others who do not view a kingdom as other than a spiritual redemptive force.
McKnight also identifies the possibility that kingdom work is equated with public activism (McKnight 2014, 15). He then cites several authorities who have framed ministry in terms of public engagement. Some, seeing that Christian activism is not changing culture, suggest a model more akin to the historic doctrine of vocation (McKnight 2014, 16). McKnight does caution the reader (McKnight 2014, 17) that attempts to redeem culture may go counter to Jesus’ stated purpose. The Gospels speak in terms of Jesus redeeming people from the world, or the culture. This may be a better emphasis.
Both the approach of treating the “kingdom” as only a remote, spiritual world and the approach of treating it as only a sociopolitical context will fall short of the way the Bible views it. McKnight will attempt to find and articulate a biblical view.