A while back I had posted my early reflections on Kingdom Come: The spiritual legacy of Harding and Lipscomb. I just finished reading this book today. This book needs to be required reading of all serious Bible students, church historians and disciples of our Lord. The kingdom thinking and living of Harding and Lipscomb was ahead of their time. It is unfortunate that their robust kingdom theology was replaced by a deistic rationalism that has infected the church universal. The church of Christ in 2006 would do well to get reaquainted with these two giants of faith and the teachings of the Nashville Bible School of Theology.
The kingdom teachings of Lipscomb and Harding are not innovations or additions to Holy Writ. No, their understanding of the kingdom arises out of their time in the Word of God and their understanding of the Sermon on the Mount, as well as their living with the real hope of the 2nd Coming.
Lipscomb and Harding called the church to a kingdom life. For these two men, the only agenda worth living and dying for was a kingdom agenda. A kingdom agenda seeks to right broken relationships, eradicate poverty, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the orphaned and widowed, anc care for the earth. Harding and Lipscomb saw allegiance to the kingdom of God as their first priority. As a matter of fact, Hicks and Valentine share a story of an accusation of treason to the Confederacy at the time of the Civil War. Lipscomb was accused of being disloyal to the cause of the Confederacy, so a Conferderate military man was sent to check him out. What was said about Lipscomb is amazing, “whether or not he is not loyal to the confederate, I do not now, but he is faithful to the kingdom of God.” I want to have others say that about my own allegiance, that it is to the kingdom of God over any earthly kingdom.
The real tragedy in all of this is that since the death of these two men, a once robust kingdom theolgy has been replaced by a rationalistic, complacent, nationalistic view that has crippled the church. We would do well to encounter the kingdom teachings of Lipscomb and Harding. Our postmodern world needs the church to rediscover the kingdom agenda. One that is more than saving souls, for the sake of saving souls, but one that seeks wholeness and the shalom of God.
Whatever is on your reading list, move it down. Read this book first. And once read, let’s start living out the kingdom agenda of God. Our world needs us to let the light of Christ shine.