If the church is not identical to the Kingdom of God, then what is the nature of her relation to the Kingdom of God? For that matter how does the missio dei relate to the cosmic scope of that Kingdom? Can she hide her light under the bushel; or is her heavenly Father calling her out by His Spirit through His Son unto mission as a living and walking light to the world? 

Vos is not nearly as easy to read and peruse as Ridderbos, nevertheless his words carry similar wisdom and depth though the Old Amsterdam and Old Princeton value differences are hard to miss. Continuing a muse upon the nature of the relationship between the Kingdom of God and the ChurchI wanted to post Vos’s concluding thoughts on the matter found in P&R’s anthology of his writings.

“We may say, therefore, that in its church form the kingdom already assumes the character of an organized community, standing midway between the invisible spiritual kingdom forces as such and the perfectly organized eschatological consummation.” Gerhardus Vos, Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation

I may be mistaken but it appears, at least in my reading, that Vos places more emphasis upon the radical, physical expressions of the consummation of the Kingdom of God at the end, versus the spiritual and organizational features of the Kingdom in the church now than does Ridderbos.

And whereas Vos would draw our attention to the organized character of the church as the expression of the Kingdom of God at present. I would suggest that it is in the catholic character of the churches membership, which is itself held spiritualy together ‘in union with Christ’, that her closest ties to the Kingdom of God shine through. Christ, as the Son God had always searched for in human representatives, but never found in Adam, Abraham, Moses, or David who’s kingdoms did not reach to the ends of the earth. This Christ has sent his bride out to those very ends and calls her from them. Christ now is Lord over of all the creation/cosmos and his people who embody his kingdom rule extend at least in an analogous sense to the ends of the earth to embody the the substance of his reign and realm in their community dynamics and global presence.

Simply put its the catholic character of Christ bride achieved and maintained by her passion for the missio dei that depicts the clearest her association to the Kingdom of God. And this could never be so apart from his substitutionary labor on her behalf whereby he procures for her the benifits of adoption which unite her to himself.

Thoughts, suggestions, criticisms…

(Photographic art by Metamerist, piece title, “In the Shade”)