...that is the question...

Last year I worked on my philosophy of ministry (see the related posts below). This year at College Briefing one of the speakers (can't remember who) caused me to rethink one of my verbs. I had been using "expand the kingdom" but he or she pointed out that the Bible never uses such language in reference to our kingdom responsibilities. We are called to enter the kingdom and proclaim the kingdom. In response to this I began changing the verb to "embody".

Last week, I turned in a draft of a small portion of the first section of my thesis, applying my three-part theology of ministry [know the story-be the people-expand/embody the kingdom] to emerging ecclesiology [the fit was rather nice, btw]. Today, in speaking with the director of the Th.M. program, I have begun to swing the other way. He pointed out that to embody the kingdom is rather like being the people...it's a bit redundant. He also pointed out that a theological case could be made for our expanding the kingdom, as long as sovereignty-of-God-insuring caveats were put in place.

So, to use a term I learned a few days ago: I'm swithering.


Here's some bits on both:

"expand the kingdom"
  • expanded vertically through sanctification
  • expanded horizontally through proclamation (disciple-making, AKA evangelism)

"embody the kingdom"
  • verbal proclamation
  • behavioral proclamation

I'm really leaning toward "expand"

Related Posts:
College Ministry Ponderings (oct '05)
Philosophy of Ministry, draft one (jun '05)
Theology of Ministry (feb '05)
Summing up a Year (jan '05)


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“Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” http://www.esv.org/


  1. Anonymous7:38 AM

    I agree with your Th.M. director. "Embody" is a bit redundant to being the people. I like expand because it has us doing something. The ministry statement kind of flows from itself: know, be, do. If you know, you will be. If you are, then you will do. Furthermore, it's difficult to jump straight into do if you don't know and be (pardon the grammar).

  2. The more I think it over, the more I agree. Once I've recovered from writing the paper I finished at 8 AM (after getting up at 3 AM...yup...I'm tuckered), I'm going to do a bit of a word study on "kingdom" in the NT--probably focusing on Matthew (since that's where the know-be-expand notion arose). Hopefully on Saturday, but I'll see.