In God’s kingdom we will find God’s people living and working together for good. This is very right and true. McKnight makes applications based on this idea. Sadly, they look very much like a version of moralism rather than biblical Christianity.
McKnight, Scot. Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Brazos Press, 2014. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 10, “Kingdom Is a Moral Fellowship.” pp. 159-178
McKnight now looks at the identity of a kingdom as a fellowship. He says that Israel would view its kingdom as that of moral conformity to Torah (McKnight 2014, 159). How would the Christian find a parallel? He identifies the kingdom of Jesus as “the redeemed people governed by King Jesus who live according to his way of life and teachings” (McKnight 2014, 160). He further states, “Jesus conditions entry into the kingdom of God on morality” (McKnight 2014).
McKnight cites seven statements of Jesus indicating a need for righteousness for salvation. He sums it up, “to enter the kingdom means a person surrenders to live under King Jesus” (McKnight 2014, 161). The core commitments McKnight has identified he will discuss in turn.
“To follow Jesus . . . meant embracing the cross as the way of life” (McKnight 2014, 162). The Christian life accepts death and defeat.
Second in his list is righteousness. Jesus calls his followers to practice righteousness (McKnight 2014, 163). This is a strong call to live a life of good works. McKnight uses Matthew 5 as God’s command to be salt and light by doing good deeds. He continues this idea by comments on much of the Sermon on the Mount, demonstrating that we become Christians by good works and obedience.
McKnight moves on to a commitment to love (McKnight 2014, 167, central to the fellowship of the Kingdom. Jesus serves as the model for the Christian’s love (McKnight 2014, 168). These commitments lead to conclusions about living in the kingdom.
First, kingdom life is subjected to Jesus. Therefore, in the church, we live a life together characterized by the cross, righteousness and love (McKnight 2014, 170). We make peace in the world by calling the world into the church, a place of peace (Ibid, 171). This, McKnight says, can generalize into worldwide pacifism (McKnight 2014, 172). As Christians we also realize we listen to a higher voice and live by a higher standard than that of our world.
Another manifestation of Jesus’ kingdom is that we give up money and possessions in order to seek Jesus’ righteousness (McKnight 2014, 173). This means that our wealth is intended to be used to care for the needy, not for ourselves (McKnight 2014, 175).