Report of the
Study Committee: Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God Study Committee met five times since the 127th meeting of the BFC Conference.
During the course of the year we continued to study the issue and receive presentations from the various Committee members. Our plan of study has been to focus on the area of large agreement over the already/not yet nature of the kingdom. It has been our hope that this will help us avoid some of the complex issues related to differing hermeneutics of Covenant and Dispensational theology which sometimes arise within discussions of the kingdom of God.
In our first meeting this year, Calvin T. Reed presented work on the role of Christ as the Second Adam and the importance of the three aspects of the Kingdom: God’s eternal reign, His present reign and His future reign. It was determined that, with this common ground-work, different members would study different aspects of the Kingdom and its relevance to ministry. We agreed that there was a broad unity on the Committee over these three aspects of the Kingdom.
At our second meeting, we continued to receive presentations from Committee members. Timothy J. Bertolet introduced some work he was beginning on how Genesis 1-3 lays a foundation for the Kingdom in the First Adam. Davis E. Duggins presented work on the role of the Holy Spirit as related to the Kingdom. Richard B. Ravis presented his work on the historic creeds and the conception of the Kingdom in them. John C. Studenroth presented on the missional aspects of the Kingdom of God starting with Titus 3:4 and the use of the word philanthrōpia. We also began to make plans for a theological seminar at Fellowship Manor to present our work to the wider BFC.
At our third meeting, Timothy J. Bertolet presented a paper “Genesis 1-3 as the Foundation for the Kingdom of God.” He proposed that just as Christ ministers His Kingdom-bearing three offices of prophet, priest and king, so also Adam, created in the image of God, was shaped to be the tri-fold office bearer. We laid the groundwork for our seminar agreeing that the morning sessions would be exegetical work and the afternoon sessions would be practical theology. We discussed the present aspects of the Kingdom but also the necessity of the Millennial Reign as part of the process of the unfolding of the Kingdom. We agreed that the Millennial Reign must advance the present aspects of the Kingdom rather than return to a pre-church form of the Kingdom.
In our fourth meeting, we presented and discussed the work we would share at the conference.
On February 17, 2010, at Fellowship Manor, the Study Committee led a seminar series: “A Fresh Look at the Kingdom of God” as part of the Fellowship Bible Institute’s Ministry Leadership Seminar. The first session presented by Timothy J. Bertolet was a paper “An Overview of the Kingdom of God in the New Testament.” The paper argued that Jesus clearly brought the Kingdom of God by inaugurating it. The New Testament expects future aspects to be fulfilled, but it also clearly sees a present aspect beginning in Jesus’ ministry and being inaugurated in Christ’s coronation as Davidic king on the throne of David at his ascension into Heaven. The second session was entitled “The Second Adam and the Image of God as It Relates to God’s Kingdom” presented by Calvin T. Reed. It argued that because Christ is established as the Second Adam the Millennial Rule must come. Christ’s people are also recreated to bear the image of Christ’s rule and those now redeemed are being renewed in the various aspects of that image. The afternoon session was entitled “Practical Implications for Living as Citizens of the Kingdom of God.” Richard B. Ravis led a presentation and discussion of the role of mercy ministries as an outworking of the reign of God. Michael D. Roberts presented on the relationships between culture, politics and the kingdom of God. John C. Studenroth presented on the significance of the Kingdom of God for evangelism and discipleship.
Our desire is to make this material available to the wider-BFC so that they might benefit from the work of the Study Committee. We are distributing DVDs to the churches of the BFC conference. These DVDs contain the video recordings of the presentations along with PDF copies of the papers and handouts from the seminars. We would encourage the churches to familiarize themselves with the issues related to the Kingdom of God through the usage of these materials.
Our final meeting was to prepare our presentations to the BFC conference.
Our plan is to propose an article on the Kingdom of God at the 129th BFC Conference.
Kingdom of God Study Committee: Calvin T Reed, Chairman; Timothy J. Bertolet, Secretary; John C. Studenroth, Richard B. Ravis, Davis E. Duggins, Robert C. Kaatz, Jacob J. Susek, Jr.