Showing posts from June, 2013

Is the Kingdom of God Geographical or non-Geographical?

It is common in NT studies to state that the kingdom of God is a non-geographical concept. Rather, it relates to God’s rule. There is good reason for this. First, the Kingdom of God stands in marked contrast to the idea of a Kingdom based around the land of Israel and especially Jerusalem, Zion, and the temple. Rather, the Kingdom Jesus inaugurated is truly international and not localised geographically. Jesus did not fulfil the expectations of Israel in regards to and Israel-centred Kingdom. Rather, he sent the disciples from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, the whole of the world, the four winds, every nation, to preach the gospel and make disciples. This is the establishment of a non-geographical kingdom, at least in a sense. That is, one can be a Christian (or subject of the Kingdom) in any time and place. The Kingdom then is truly impartial, “in Christ Jesus there neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female” (Gal 3:28). The Kingdom’s people are gathered from every …

Why the Church in Philippi was Definitely Not the First European Church

It is time to get something off my mind. It is something I keep coming across that gets under my skin. It is the claim that is found often in New Testament literature, even among some Philippians’ specialists that the church in Philippi was the first European church (e.g. Hendriksen, 15; Hawthorne and Martin, xxxix; Vincent, xix, cf. Bockmuehl, 1). It is time to put this idea to bed for good. It is plainly wrong! The church in Philippi was definitely the first church Paul planted in Europe. But there were Christians and churches in Europe before Paul got there. How do we know?

We know because there is clearly a church in Rome from early on. There were Romans at Pentecost who came to the Lord and were baptised (Acts 2:10). There were enough Christians in Rome in a.d. 49 for the Emperor Claudius to expel the Jews from Rome (Suetonius, Claud. 25.4). The expulsion was based around contention among Jews concerned a certain Chrestus, who is almost certainly Christ. If so, there were enough…