One thing that will emerge from this time of social isolation and cultural shutdown will be a clarification between the Gospel of Salvation and the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Those who follow the Gospel of the Salvation believe that Jesus came to Earth solely to lead people to Himself. While that is true, and thankfully so, it is not the only reason He came. When Jesus spoke the Great Commission, the Lord instructed us to go and make disciples of all nations. The assumption is He must first bring people to Himself before they can begin to reach the nations. The Gospel of the Kingdom casts a much wider net.
While the Gospel message includes the salvation and discipling of individuals, it does so with a mission in mind to disciple nations. A Kingdom-focused gospel will call people to Christ and then send them out to speak the truth in love to those institutions of a culture where the dominant sound may not reflect the heart of God. All of this must be done while keeping our eyes on Jesus, or it will become selfish, partisan, and self-centered.
Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ and Loren Cunningham of YWAM met in 1975 and spoke of the seven spheres of cultural influence where the Church needs to be involved if a nation is to be discipled. Much of their ministry focus that followed reflected that shared understanding. The areas of culture Bright and Cunningham discussed, where the Church is called to be a transforming presence, are Government, Religion, Education, Economy, Arts & Entertainment, Media, and Family. The current 7 Mountain understanding of the Great Commission mission flows from that meeting 45 years ago.
Each believer is already an influencing presence in the area of Family and Religion. Some who believe in a salvation only Gospel are not comfortable with believers involving themselves in areas like politics. Those same critics celebrate a recording artist becoming a believer and staying in the sphere of media as a witness for Christ or an educator who contends with a local school board that wants to introduce an unrighteous curriculum. It’s okay for a believing economist to attempt to direct tax funds toward an inner-city project by changing a funding policy. Still, somehow a believer “getting political” is out of bounds. It makes no sense when viewed through the lens of the Great Commission.
The Lord is currently defining and refining His Church. None of us will go through this process without stumbling, many times, offending each other. In this unusual time, our most challenging task will be to monitor the condition of our hearts and the character of our response to those with whom we disagree.
Jesus came to seek and save the lost so that once transformed, we could go into all the world and declare the heart of God under the influence and power of the Spirit. Hopefully, our efforts will lead to the transformation of the institutions within each nation to more accurately reflect the heart of God. As a result, each citizen will have an opportunity to flourish and prosper. If that freedom is ever taken from us, it will not stop the Gospel from being released. The Church in China and Iran are current examples of that truth. While we have such freedom, we should use it.
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).