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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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The kingdom of God

What does it mean?

I appreciated Marcus Borg’s emphasis on seeking to bring the kingdom of God into our present situation (June, "Jesus & the kingdom of God"). We are to be yeast and lamps to help renew our society and nation. However, Borg fails to mention the twofold interpretation in the New Testament—namely, that God is going to bring in his perfect kingdom at the end of the world, establishing a new heaven and a new earth. Borg says flatly, “Importantly, the kingdom of God is not about heaven, not about an afterlife.” We work hard to be God’s servants in this world, but we also know that there is an eschatological aspect to God’s kingdom. We need both emphases if we are to be true to Scripture.

Don Docken
Maplewood, Minn.

Biblical scholars said it

What a pleasant surprise to read the fine article by Marcus Borg. We biblical scholars have been saying those things for several decades now, but it’s encouraging to know that the ELCA does finally recognize such a contribution.

Richard Simon Hanson
Emeritus professor of religion, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa

Unsurpassed in clarity

The three treatments of the kingdom of God are unsurpassed in clarity and clout. Unsurpassed, that is, in my reading of The Lutheran and its predecessor publications for more than six decades. Your choice of Marcus J. Borg, Craig A. Satterlee and Robert C. Blezard for their trenchant witness to Jesus is, I hope, a promise of more of the same.

Richard E. Olson
Edgartown, Mass.

Illustrating the theme

Marcus Borg
urges us to refocus our vision of Jesus’ message about the kingdom of God to see that it’s not primarily about the afterlife but about “what life would be like on earth if God were king and the rulers of this world were not.” It’s about “a deep centering in God that changes us,” making it possible “to enter his kingdom now, to experience God’s reign in our lives now.” A few pages later the article about Greg Mortenson and his work of founding 58 schools (so far) in Pakistan and Afghanistan, to me reads like a striking illustration of Borg’s theme. Thank you for publishing them both.

Harland Nelson
Decorah, Iowa


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December issue

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