Tonight in our spiritual formation class we talked a great deal about the Kingdom of God (or Heaven). In fact, we seem to talk of the Kingdom more than anything else. This may sound odd subject matter for a spiritual formation class, but my prof believes it is essential.
He believes that many today dislike the “spiritual formation movement” primarily because it often seems to be disconnected with the actual Gospel. For many, spiritual formation means little more than integrating psychological techniques into Christian life(for better or worse, depending on your perspective).
What is so great about my profs perspective is that he takes this criticism very seriously, so seriously that is approach is undergirded and permeated by Jesus’ Gospel of the Kingdom of God. In fact, one of his great laments is over how the Kingdom of God has by and large disappeared from the church.
His simple question “where is Jesus’ Gospel in the church today” resonates with me. I’ve only heard a handful of sermons about Jesus’ Gospel, and all of them occured in just two churches. Sadly, Harnack’s criticism of Jesus proclaiming a Kingdom and instead leaving a church has become a prophetic indictment of the church’s proclamation.
So what DID happen to Jesus’ Gospel of the Kingdom of God in the church today?