Part 2: Q&A with theologian and professor Scot McKnight about his new book, One.Life

We are continuing the Q&A between myself and prolific theologian, author, professor and blogger, Scot McKnight, about his new book, One.Life. You can check out a number of his award winning books and blog here.

Andrew’s Question: In the chapter Kingdom.Life you talk about Jesus’ understanding of kingdom (God’s dream for this world come true) versus our Christian cultural understanding of kingdom today (personal experience with Jesus). Can you explain for us more about a ‘kingdom’ that encompasses the society and community of God rather than an experience-driven kingdom of God?

Scot’s Response: There’s a history here, Andrew. The foundation for most of what evangelicals think about “kingdom” is a scholar named George Ladd. George Ladd was fighting old guard dispensationalism, for whom kingdom was (for Ladd) too much about a place and an earthly arrangement with a king. So Ladd pushed for the kingdom meaning “God’s dynamic reign.” The next thing you know, evangelicals colonized “kingdom” into our personal experience of salvation. That is what kingdom means: God’s personal reign in my life.

I’m not a dispensationalist (and there aren’t many classic dispensationalists left), but they had a view of kingdom that pointed to something that is coming much more into focus today: kingdom is about God, about land, about citizens, about a law, and about King Jesus. In other words, those early followers of Jesus didn’t say “Jesus is talking about kingdom. Come along, guys and gals, and we’ll get saved.” They thought “Wow, the promises to David are about to happen. Jesus is the Messiah.” The first word was “Messiah” not “salvation.”

Which brings me to this, Andrew: when Jesus talks about kingdom he is talking about a society shaped by God’s will as taught by Jesus, about a society where Jesus is king, a society where we are his citizens, a society marked by doing justice and peace and love and grace and forgiveness and holiness and righteousness. The word “kingdom” always and forever will be a society – and never just a personal relationship with God.

Much love.

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About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation ( He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • Brad Ketch

    Couldn’t agree more about point that Kingdom has been overly internalized. But the opposite can lead us back to the Moral Majority. So what is the path?

    Jacques Elllul reminds us that we can’t do anything to make the Kingdom get bigger. We simply manifest the Kingdom wherever we go, and those with ears to hear get it. I have seen many Kingdom breakthroughs that were associated with my presence. While folks think that I am doing a lot, I know the secret: I am simply in attendance while Jesus reaches out to hungry hearts.