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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Fall and Spring 1997

The True Nature Of Christ's Kingdom

    A Wesleyan fundamentalist is a Christian who contends that Christ established the kingdom He intended to establish at His first advent: His messianic kingdom was not postponed. He believes that the kingdom Christ established at His first advent—His true messianic kingdom-is a kingdom of salvation--of redemption from all sin--an inner spiritual kingdom of moral transformation manifesting itself in "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Romans 14:17).

Wesleyan fundamentalists deny that Christ ever intended to offer the Jews a physical kingdom of material aggrandizement and political fame, such as was popularly expected by the unregenerate masses of Christ's earthly days, and such as is being offered as Judaism's future expectation by many popular antinomian end-time Bible prophecy theorists in our own day.

Wesleyan fundamentalists accept the New Testament teaching that Christ's kingdom is not of this world (John 19:36), but a heavenly (II Timothy 4:18) and everlasting (II Peter 1:11) reality operative in this present world as a leavening influence (Matthew 13:23), as critical to mankind's spiritual salvation and survival as what salt and light are to natural life.

Wesleyan fundamentalists believe that among the confessors of Jesus as the true Messiah of all Israel have been deposited the keys to Christ's messianic kingdom (Matthew 16:15-19), and that through the preaching of said kingdom God intends that the Christian Church is to be established throughout all the earth (Matthew 28:18-20).

The first apostles preached the kingdom and thereby established Christian churches (Acts 8:12; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23,31). Now we have been told by erstwhile dispensational teachers that the kingdom has been postponed, and have accepted a radical dichotomy between the church and the messianic kingdom as the necessary antecedent to our fable that the purpose for Christ's second coming must be to set his kingdom up.

And then we have the gall to wonder why some of our Wesleyan Holiness churches are in such conditions of extreme debilitation and dearth these days! The liberal seed of unscriptural dispensational heresies having been sown among us for three quarters of a century, what more could we expect?

Pastor, Christian worker friend, are you preaching and teaching the Wesleyan holiness gospel of the kingdom of our Lord? In New Testament Christianity the heart of the matter is true holiness of heart! And heart holiness is the crowning feature of the new covenant--the central blessing of citizenship in Christ's messianic kingdom.

In classic Darbyism, however, we are told that Christ has "postponed" his messianic kingdom--at least as far as racial Jews are concerned--at the end of Daniel's sixty-nine weeks. Thus, in place of the dynamic concept of messianic fulfillment portrayed in the New Testament, we (who have swallowed the Darbyite system of prophetic fables hook line and sinker) are left holding the bag of a theology filled with disunifying dichotomies--dichotomies between the Jews and Gentiles, between the Church and the kingdom, and between the state and the standing of the believer in redemption's wondrous scheme.

The challenge facing the modern Wesleyan Holiness movement lies in how quickly she can move to dissolve those unscriptural dichotomies that flow from the admixture of her time-honored doctrines with the anti-perfectionist theology of modern dispensational antinomians, in order to return to the simple, unifying doctrine and experience of true Christian holiness.

When we have a generation of Christian workers in the field who will quit "postponing the kingdom" and start preaching the Christian kerygma of messianic promise and fulfillment in Christ, yea, the beautiful New Testament message of "the gospel of the kingdom" once again, the present galling apostasy will cease, and the ground-swell of a genuine holiness "revival" will begin to happen.

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