Pages 146-148 of “The Starfish Manifesto”
Where humans join God voluntarily in this conquest, ever new beachheads of God’s rule are established, breakthroughs and victories are accomplished that advance God’s ultimate plan – that heaven and earth should meet – against the dark schemes of “the enemy”. If the Bible describes “The Kingdom” as the sphere of God’s uncontested rule, we can call the growing synchronization and increasing integration between heaven and earth Kingdomization. Jesus teaches us to pray to our father: “your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
The Kingdom is designed to grow on earth, based on two core prerequisites:
1) when and where human beings as individuals place themselves under the King, they become royal subjects, “God’s own possession” (Titus 2:4), sons and daughters of the Kingdom. 2) As they do that in unity with others, and as more and more individuals – starting with two – begin to understand their role and mission in life, they become officials – agents! – of their heavenly King here on earth, his ambassadors, and are empowered and mandated to start establishing his heaven-based Kingdom also here on earth as Jesus did. Just like him they need to die like a kernel of wheat in order to see fruit. And as they do that, they stop being individuals anymore, and become part of a corporate entity, the church, a civitas dei, a city of and under God, where Jesus has promised his presence “when two or three are gathered in my name,” or, an Old Testament precursor of this: “How good it is when brothers dwell together in unity, for there the Lord commands his blessing” (Psalm 133).
Once a part of the Kingdom, people will need to begin functioning according to the laws of the government of this Kingdom – and not anymore according to their own whiff and will, personal preferences, and opinions, the operating system of the world. For a government to be established, it has to be inaugurated, to be sworn in. And once it is operational, it requires not only individual but corporate obedience to the governmental principles of the Kingdom. Much of what the Kingdom actually is all about has been misinterpreted in our modern hyper-individualistic times as individual obedience.
Individuals, passionate for God, pursuing their individual journeys with their God, being obedient to their maker, are simply not enough. Individual Christians make no sense whatsoever. That aspect of individualism, seen through the glasses of our modern times and mainly a problem of the highly liberalized West, is not entirely correct. And to reject the fact that a kingdom has rules and regulations, and to demand or celebrate the complete absence of systems or structure is neither a biblical nor a particularly mature thing to do. It is chaos, absence of order, and has neither a lasting shelf life nor power to change anything. The anti-institutionalism that we often see today among many Christians is often born out of the spirit of the Age – remember Elvis, Marlon Brando, jazz, Hip-Hop, Pop, 1968, the results of an age where being anti-everything was hip and cool? But many Christians are also perplexed: if the church is supposed to be the solution, why do they experience so many problems with the church? Many have wandered the minefields of church systems not at all built in accordance to God’s patterns and have been cut and bruised in the process. Today, many carry wounds of loneliness, bitterness and rebellion, suffering from church-produced – ecclesiogene – traumas, wounds and neuroses. But none of this should cloud the reality that a Kingdom is not a group of individuals doing what they want, but a group that does as it should. It has to learn the high art of moving in unison, flying like birds in formation, swimming like fish in a shoal. This only becomes possible when the sons and daughters of the Kingdom will specifically agree on three things: a) who they are (and therefore what their specific role is), b) what the general objective is (the mission), c) and what the battle plan, the overall architecture looks like. This can only happen when people reach a certain maturity level, a level of Christian existence I call corporate obedience, where people start to do what the early church modeled for all of us. They preached as one, acted as one, they were one. And God was with them, because they respected and reflected his building principles of ekklesia. One of these principles was: they dwelled in unity, so God could command his blessing. This is how the apostolic multiplication of the church to the ends of the earth began. Another principle was apostolic alignment: apostles were able and allowed to function as apostles, and the rest of the body aligned itself into their architectural design.
Once this crucial oneness has been established, then the Kingdom can expand, according to the will of Jesus who taught us to pray: “Your Kingdom come.” The Kingdom is designed to grow organically, “like a mustard seed,” says Jesus, and it grows unerringly towards a culmination point, a climax. The Bible calls that ultimate historic apex the “fullness of time,” when the fullness (Greek: pleroma; Rom 11:12) of the gentiles are brought into the Kingdom, when all nations have heard the gospel of the Kingdom (Matt. 24:14), and all nations are being discipled (Mt 28:18). “With your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on earth” (Rev. 5:9.10). This speaks of the time seen by Daniel, when the rock, Jesus, devastatingly thrown without a human hand at the feet of the Statue representing systems of human might has grown to became a mountain and filled the whole earth (Daniel 2), when “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” (Rev. 11:15). From our present day situation, this will mean getting the church ready to become truly prepared for a host of mass movements in order to reach all those goals, rather than to be or to remain a reflective group with a ghetto-mindset that huddles together in seemingly safe traditions and that tries to weather the storms our globe will go through.