Is God’s kingdom now? Is it at some point in the future? Is it both? There’s a dynamic some people like to talk about which would help McKnight. It’s often referred to as the “now but not yet” dynamic of Scripture. God’s people have entered into eternal life, though they are not yet showing all the signs of that life.
McKnight, Scot. Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Brazos Press, 2014. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 11, “Kingdom Is Hope.” pp. 179-204
McKnight considers the kingdom of God as something bearing a present and a future. The future is a hopeful one. In this future kingdom he looks for “a flourishing fellowship” (McKnight 2014, 179). He draws a picture based on a list provided earlier in the book (p. 46), including a return of Jews to Zion, healing, and a reign of the Messiah. There will be some sort of gathering of God’s people together and a final time of celebration.
McKnight second looks to a future judgment (McKnight 2014, 183). At the end God will come in to establish right. Jesus will be the judge (McKnight 2014, 184). This judgment will involve punishment of evil (McKnight 2014, 185) as well as reward (McKnight 2014, 186).
A third element of the future is a perfected community, a utopia of sorts (McKnight 2014, 188). McKnight makes an oblique reference to different views of utopia but it is sufficiently cryptic to elude explanation. It is a time of magnificence and of God’s glory (McKnight 2014, 188). The utopia is a place of God’s blessing on his people, those who receive God’s favor so as to obey (McKnight 2014, 195). Here, as at other points, McKnight seems to lose the idea of justification by grace through faith.
McKnight draws us back to his original theme, then, that kingdom mission is based on hope in Christ. As we look to that hope, McKnight urges specifically “table fellowship” which is open to all (McKnight 2014, 198). It is not altogether clear if he has generalized this to communion or if he is using “table” metaphorically. He does (McKnight 2014, 200) look forward to a time of judgment, but excludes that element of life for the time being (McKnight 2014, 201). Rather, it is a life of enjoying God’s blessings together for now, always looking forward.