Kingdom Life

On earth as it is in heaven

Here’s a quote from an interview with Alan Hirsch in The Black Swan Effect:

I don’t understand how a true evangelical can claim to appropriate the Gospel in all its fullness and countenance, and tolerate, for example, racism. So if someone questions me on issues like these, here’s what I say:

“Can you imagine a situation in heaven, when Jesus is fully King, and God reigns completely, where people are traded as slaves—bought and sold as other people’s property?”

People reply, “Of course not. There’s no way that would happen in heaven.”

And then I say, “Racism: can we conceive that in heaven there will be some kind of hierarchy of race in heaven?”

Everyone says, “Absolutely not!”

Then I take it to the issue of gender. I say, “Can you foresee a situation in heaven when you stand before God, that women are inferior in status or function to men?”

It would be very hard to hold a belief in the inferiority of women in light of the weight of glory. Of course I’m reflecting Galatians 3:28 here: “There’s neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, but Christ is all in all.” (paraphrase).

The people of God are meant to live in a Kingdom reality. “May your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10, paraphrase). We’re meant to embody what the Kingdom stands for and make it real now. If we’re the ones who are to model what the ultimate heavenly reality is going to be, then we can’t avoid the gender issue, because the Gospel does address it. That’s the theological nub to me, the center. The evangel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, does away with all the idols and false distinctions that people claim, and that must include one of the most fundamental definitions of all—male and female.


7 replies on “On earth as it is in heaven”

This is a great rationale for explaining my position on this issue (which is the one reflected here).

It still rankles that, no matter how logically presented, some people (good people) will not accept that, even in Heaven, men won’t somehow be “better.” I guess these folks think that, in Heaven, I’ll finally “get it.” (Facepalm.)

Exactly. Alan Hirsch, who is so often quoted by the loudest proponents of patriarchy, asks “how?” How do “gospel-centered” ideas ignore the whole gospel of good news to all people? I also do not understand. And, quite honestly, it is a stumbling block to me that makes it hard for me to receive “the gospel”.

I think many people would share your view, Erik, that the church’s attitude is a major stumbling block to many who are looking in at the church from the outside. For that reason, if for no other, the church needs to reconsider its position.

But to fully live in this “Kingdom Reality” we had better stop engaging in “due benevolence” or marital intimacy – and disobey the word of God in 1 Cor 7:5 – for in the resurrection we will neither marry nor be given in marriage, no?

It is dangerous to ‘lean on your own understanding’ (fatal even?) in these matters as you have illustrated above instead of learning what the will of the Lord is (from His word and Spirit).

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