In Scot McKnight’s latest book, Kingdom Conspiracy,he has an axe to grind. He’s doing some honest complaining. The way he sees it, the word “Kingdom” has become muddled. The phrase “Kingdom of God” has lost its moorings. It has come to mean many different things to different people within the Christian world. As a result, the word “Kingdom” has lost its impact. And McKnight thinks this word is too important to the Christian mission to get sloppy with. I think he has a righteous complaint.
So right off the bat he starts with a metaphor in which he explains the problem. He divides the two most dominant camps of understanding the Kingdom into the “Skinny Jeans Kingdom” people and the “Pleated Pants Kingdom people.” The Skinny Jeans people understand “Kingdom” to mean good deeds, done by good people (Christian or not) in the public sector for the common good. Kingdom reaches not only beyond the purview of Christians and the church, it really does not need Christians (as narrowly defined) or the church. Kingdom happens wherever justice may be found. That is God working. Let’s join in with that! This is the world of mainline Protestantism (over-generalization). It is also the world of many progressive Christians including evangelicals. McKnight asks these people, “did Jane Addams do Kingdom work?” The Skinny Jeans people would say “yes.” McKnight would say “No!”