Kingdom or Christendom

In popular usage, the English term ‘Christendom’ refers to “that part of the world in which Christianity prevails,” either because most of a nation’s citizens claim to be Christian, or because a specific church or denomination is recognized by the State as the country’s official religion. Thus, the nation becomes identified as “Christian,” it is one of the “Christian nations” as opposed to the less enlightened non-Christian peoples and cultures of the planet.

Today, the term is virtually synonymous with “Western Civilization” and "democracy." Consequently, Christianity is associated and even identified with specific political ideologies, forms of government, economic theories, and nation-states. Unfortunately, too many followers of Jesus have yet to embrace the idea of separation from the world - “In the world, not of the world.”

Cross Sunet - Photo by Daniil Silantev on Unsplash
[Photo by Daniil Silantev on Unsplash]

This practice has prevailed since at least the merger of Church and State under Constantine the Great in the fourth century. The English term ‘Christendom’ combines ‘Christian’ or ‘Christianity’ with the noun ‘kingdom.’ However, the resulting word occurs nowhere in the Hebrew or Greek Bible.

Political operatives in the Church masquerading as pastors and prophets speak of ‘American Christendom.’ This is madness. ALL the kingdoms, empires, and other regimes of the present age will disappear when Jesus arrives at the end of the age.

In contrast to ‘Christendom,’ Jesus proclaimed the “Kingdom of God,” a realm in which the old social, national, and ethnic barriers of this sinful age have no place. God’s Kingdom welcomes “immigrants” from even the remotest corners of the planet, especially those rejected by human society.

In the four gospel accounts, the term “Kingdom of God” is heard most frequently on the lips of Jesus as the summary statement of his message and the designation for the new political reality he inaugurated.

Public pronouncements about ‘Christendom’ by political and religious leaders are roadblocks to the proclamation of the Gospel since they associate the name of Jesus and his Gospel with specific nations, cultures, and ideologies. It is a counterfeit of the true faith that hardens hearts to his message, especially those not well-disposed to the nation or culture that claims to represent Christ.

‘Christendom’ is a pale imitation of God’s Kingdom, and politicians use it and similar terms to advance their agendas and gain popular support, implying to the gullible and ignorant that God backs their presumptions of power.

In contrast, Jesus summoned all men to repent and submit to God’s sovereignty. His Kingdom is a political reality that transcends all national, ethnic, economic, political, geographic, and cultural boundaries.

REDEMPTION, NOT CONFLICT


Through his Death and Resurrection, Jesus began to redeem men and women from every nation, tribe, tongue, and people, making them a “Kingdom of Priests,” a “holy nation,” and one New Covenant community. All divisions based on national identity, economic status, race, or gender are disallowed - (Galatians 3:28, Revelation 5:5-12).

God dissolved the “middle wall of partition” between the circumcised and the uncircumcised, between Jews and Gentiles. No man or woman is advantaged or disadvantaged before Him because of gender or nationality. Every attempt to identify the Apostolic faith with specific nations, societies, and “civilizations” contradicts Scriptural teaching and constitutes idolatry.

God is one, and He created all men. Christ was Jewish while on Earth, but now he is the Lord who reigns as Sovereign over all nations. What counts is not national identity or political ideology but whether a man is “in Christ.”

The methods Jesus bequeathed to us for establishing his Kingdom differ radically from the strategies and tactics employed since time immemorial by the political institutions of this “present evil age.” Jesus tasked us with engaging humanity through Gospel proclamation, by living cruciform lives, and by serving others, not through political might or state-sanctioned coercion and violence.

The “weapons” given to his Assembly are contemptible in the eyes of the world, yet they are the very means by which he is redeeming men and women. His method is epitomized by his submission to arrest, trial, and execution at the hands of the all-powerful World Empire.

The more politicized the Institutional Church becomes, the more it identifies the name of Jesus with the culture and political ideology of the nation in which it resides. When it adopts the ways of the world, church leaders embrace the insidious heresy named ‘Christendom,’ thereby succeeding at discrediting the Gospel message and paganizing the Body of Christ.

“Christians” who immerse themselves in the political system will not reform it. All attempts to do so prove futile. Ironically, they will be corrupted by the same political entities they hope to reform.

Those who are most responsible for this idolatrous conceit are the church leaders who have chosen to employ the ways of this world rather than deny themselves and embrace the Cross of Christ. Caesar and Rome are more appealing than Calvary.

The crucifixion of Jesus stands in opposition to the political methods and values of this age. He exhorted us to love our enemies and do good to them, ideas that none of the governments of this world endorse, practice, or comprehend.

The deception of ‘Christendom’ is the attempt to domesticate the Jesus of Scripture and exploit him to validate the programs, values, and ideologies that are far more Antichrist than Christian.



RELATED POSTS:
  • Greatness in His Kingdom - (His disciple is called to engage in self-sacrificial service for others just as Jesus gave his life as a ransom for many – Mark 10:35-45)
  • Fleeting Power - (In the end, only God’s kingdom will prevail and endure. All other political powers are transitory, and already they are passing away)
  • Servant or Caesar? - (Satan offered Jesus unlimited political power to achieve his messianic mission if only he acknowledged the Devil as his overlord)

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