Friday, October 3, 2008

Eternity: Slow Train Comin’ -- Day 1

A few days ago I had the privilege of doing an interview with Alexandra Alter with the Wall Street Journal. Alexandra called me to ask for feature story ideas. I asked her what kind of story ideas? She said she was looking for ideas for feature stories at the intersection of Christian faith and other spheres of life (besides business). I was intrigued. What ideas would you have suggested to Alexandra? Actually, I still have a blank check from her to pitch new feature story ideas. What would you recommend?

One feature story idea Alexandra and I discussed, of course, were some of the key themes from my new book, If God Disappears. Why is it that so many Christians walk away from the faith before they go to heaven? One explanation, of course, is that we have overlaid the American dream on top of our Christian faith. As a result, we’re expecting too much from this brief life and are too little focused on eternity with God and His people forever.

Another feature story idea I could have mentioned to Alexandra is how the evangelical church is once again beginning to understand its place within the broader Church, within the much larger family of God, and within the much, much larger kingdom of God.

God’s kingdom. God’s family. God’s Church.

They’re not the same, but how are they different?

At the risk of oversimplifying what the Bible teaches, allow me to use the image of three concentric circles.


In the first and smallest sphere, we see God’s Church.

In the second sphere, which encompasses God’s Church, we see God’s even bigger Family.

In the third sphere, which encompasses both God’s Church and God’s Family, we see God’s much bigger Kingdom.

Thankfully, Scripture doesn’t blur the distinction between these three spheres. So, let’s look at them briefly one by one over the next few days.

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