Kingdom Thinking

Kingdom thinking, salt and light of the world

It was a tease… an interaction with a good friend. This friend is a fiercely loyal citizen of his city and said that it was the centre of the world. (It is not the city I live in by the way.) But I teased my friend saying that God probably considered Jerusalem as the centre of the world at least at one time, and it would be again. While my friend considered a reply, I said, “You need Kingdom thinking, not personal thinking.”

It set me thinking.

How many of us need to develop Kingdom thinking? Most of us. Remember, even the disciples did not understand much of what Jesus was talking about at first. They believed he was unique, different from anyone they had ever known. When Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” he did not understand how different his own life would become.

It isn’t enough to believe that Jesus is extraordinary, or even to believe that he is the divine Son of God

So, what is Kingdom thinking?

Dietrich_Bonhoeffer - Kingdom thinker

It is a process, well, that is my opinion. It is a process where we learn to live like Christ. For some that has already meant death. In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s famous book, The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer comments that “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Although Bonhoeffer died in a Nazi concentration camp, not everyone is called to die physically. We have to learn to die to self. This is why I said it is a process.

Apostle John series, all 5 cover images

Review comments from some of the people who read the books in the Apostle John Series …

“We are so lucky to be able to worship as we wish or choose not to without being persecuted.”

“It really makes you think deeply about the level of Christian commitment in the tense and troubling times of the first century church and wonder if it would be matched should we ever face similar circumstances.”

“Life in the early years of the Christian Church, when believers lived under Roman rule and faced tests on every side? Really made me think of how I would act in similar circumstances.”

To be honest, when I researched them, I wondered the same thing.

Jesus preached the ‘Kingdom of God.’

Judaism-v-kingdom-thinking.

Matt 5 – When Jesus said ‘You have heard it said – He was talking about the teaching of Judaism.

v 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment

v 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.

v 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.

v 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

v 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’v

v 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

To successfully develop ‘Kingdom thinking’ we have to be committed to living as if fully  in the Kingdom of God now, not discouraged by our failures, ready to repent when we have done something wrong, and to encourage others.

Remember we are called to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ (Matthew 5: 13, 14) That is why I chose the top image.

Plodding,

Susan

Constantine, a true convert or merely adding a new ‘god’?

'sundog's' image, Constantine's vision?

Saint Constantine the Great, Emperor, Confessor and Equal to the Apostles

That is according to Wikipedia – but who made him equal to the Apostles?
Never, mind – that’s a rhetorical question.

So, who was Constantine?

Statue of Constantine


Most of us – or maybe these days, only some of us… have heard the story of how Constantine was the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity.

‘Legend’ has it that before a great battle, he saw the sign of the cross in the sky and was told “with this sign, you shall win” – there are some variations in the story.

Constantine's conversion

The same article that proclaimed him equal to the Apostles says…

Although he lived most of his life as a pagan, he joined the Christian faith on his deathbed, being baptized by Eusebius of Nicomedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_the_Great

Clearly, his ‘baptism’ was ‘sprinkling.’ He could not have had full immersion baptism such as John the Baptist performed, and the Apostles did, because Constantine was on his deathbed. Because of this ‘deathbed conversion’ some modern scholars, however, debate his beliefs and even his comprehension of the Christian faith itself.

So, what about the vision of the cross? Did he see it or not? If he did, why was his conversion recorded as a ‘deathbed conversion?’

A discussion thread in a forum predominantly cited the fact that ‘baptism is one time only’. For this reason, and because Constantine knew he would continue to sin, left his baptism until his deathbed so he would be ‘clean’ when he died. 

Sounds rather duplicitous to me. (And if I can recognise it, you can be sure, God would.)

Did Constantine have a vision of the cross or not?

First, see the ‘featured’ image at the start of this post. That is claimed to be a modern version of the cross on the sun.

Be that or be it not… according to chroniclers such as Eusebius of Caesarea and Lactantius, the battle of the Milvian Bridge marked the beginning of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity. Eusebius of Caesarea recounts that Constantine and his soldiers had a vision sent by the Christian God. This was interpreted as a promise of victory if the sign of the Chi-Rho, the first two letters of Christ’s name in Greek, was painted on the soldiers’ shields.

I guess I am cynical, but that sounds like ‘superstition’ to me. (I grew up bound by superstition, we Scots are good at it, but I gave them up.)

superstition

Doing a quick search, I could not find any example of God (or Jesus) requiring a symbol for the clothing or shields of people ‘fighting in His Name.’

Conversely there are a lot of scriptures promising that He will fight for them.

The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:14)

“Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” (2 Chronicles 32:7)

When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. Deuteronomy 20: 1

After reading, and researching on the subject of Constantine, I find it tempting to believe that, for his own purpose, Emperor Constantine added his branch of ‘Christianity’ to the arsenal of gods he already worshipped. 

See these pictures of the Roman temples in Constantine’s time. Consider if he was trying to balance the beliefs of the population, then the report I read might be true that he did offer pagan sacrifices up until he was too ill to go to the temples anymore.

Credit:
Photos taken from Rome in 312 – Emperor Constantine the Great.
Panorama in the Gasometer in Pforzheim/Germany, by Yadegar Asisi and posted in the Roman History group by Karen Gronbach Grüneberg

Perhaps most ‘telling’ is Constantine’s Arch.

According to the YouTube video linked below – there is not one Christian symbol on the Arch – but there are pagan dieties.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tY9ae6SE1oo

Starting at 11.34 the Arch of Constantine is explored. (The whole video is approx. 44 minutes long.)

This information is part of the many, often contradictory, sources I sifted through while writing the Apostle John Series.

What you believe is your choice, I am simply sharing some interesting information I came across.

Susan