Is Christ’s Kingdom Progressing?
The awakening of the church, the Body of Christ, from its slumber within the Roman Catholic Church in the sixteenth century is known as the Protestant Reformation. Although many faithful preachers shared in the awakening; including Wycliffe, Hus, Zwingli, Tyndale, Calvin, Knox and others, it was the Augustinian monk, Martin Luther’s, nailing of his 95 Theses on the door of Wittenberg Church on October 31, 1517 that marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
Based on the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ’s shed blood alone and advanced by the timely invention of the printing press, thus making possible the mass distribution of Bibles; the Protestant Reformation fanned the flames of Truth that brought freedom to many enslaved in a dead works religion.
Generally all those who embraced the Protestant Reformation were Reformers, but in a stricter sense, only the doctrines of John Calvin are known today as Reformed Theology. His theology known as TULIP theology are summarized by the five points.
Total depravity of man
Irresistible grace and
Tulip Theology is a topic itself and perhaps we will deal with it later.
Though I hold to all the points of TULIP doctrine: I do not carry them to the extremes of Reformed Theology. One major difference I have with Reformed Theology is with their understanding of who Israel is and her future.
Reformed Theology believes that when the Jews rejected Christ 2000 years ago, that God was through with the Jews as a race. They believe that at that point, the Church replaced Israel. They believe that all prophecies of Israel‘s future apply only to the Church.
I agree with Reformed Theology that the blessings promised to Israel can rightfully be applied to the Church as Romans 11:17 teaches. In that chapter Israel is pictured as an olive tree into which we Gentile believers, pictured as a wild olive tree, have by God’s grace been grafted. We partake of the blessings of Israel. Note, that the olive tree, Israel, was not dug up and replaced with a new olive tree, the Church. Rather, branches of the olive tree were cut off and the wild olive tree, the Church, has been grafted into the olive tree of Israel. Together, we share in the blessings of Israel.
Note that the blindness of the Jews to Jesus their Messiah is temporary, according to Romans 11:25. Verse 26 teaches that Israel, the house of Jacob, who rejected Jesus is going to one day be saved. That’s made very clear in Scripture, as we will see as we continue with this study.
Another area of disagreement with Reformed Theology is in the matter of Christ’s Kingdom. They believe it began with Jesus’ Resurrection. I encourage you to go to my category, Reformed Theology for more on this topic.
Reformed Theology advocates believe that they have an optimistic view of the Church and her calling to extend Christ’s Kingdom which they believe is being extended throughout the earth, as Jesus explained in His parable of the mustard seed in Matthew 13:33
They believe that we, who believe that the world system is growing worse and seeking to hinder and even attempt to annihilate the Church even as we seek to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission, have a pessimistic view of the Kingdom.
The question is not who is optimistic or who is pessimistic. The question is, what does the Bible say about our progress in carrying out The Great Commission?
For God’s answer, read II Timothy 3:1-5,12-15, 4:1-5, II Peter 3:3-18, Jude 3-4, 17-25, I John 2:15-19. Note, that this present world system is not in the process of becoming the Kingdom of God. It is in the process of decay and passing away. We are not moving towards the Kingdom of God; rather we are moving towards the Kingdom of Anti-christ, which kingdom will be destroyed when Christ returns to this earth to set up His Millennial Kingdom.
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