Airplanes and birds need two wings to fly, and so does the Kingdom. The greatest tragedy of the modern church is that we have clipped one wing or the other from the Gospel and sabotaged the flight of it’s message. The twin wings of the true Gospel are Personal Salvation and a Changed World.
Today’s evangelicals champion the wing of personal conversion. “Come to Jesus and receive forgiveness and eternal life.” This glad and glorious message is as true today as the day Jesus told Nicodemus, “Unless a man is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” The wing of personal salvation will lift us into the heavens and circle us about in thermals of joy. Though it is a strong medicine for the soul, evangelicalism often goes silent in the face of poverty, injustice, hope for a better world or strategies for transforming cities. The born-again crowd mostly expects darkness to grow until Jesus intervenes, nukes the world, and spirits us off to heaven.
Hope for the future rests mostly on the shoulders of mainline liberals who focus like lasers on injustice, environment, and reforming society. Never mind that a conversion-less gospel is no gospel at all, and doomed from the start. It too is a one-winged plane so cumbersome it cannot even lift off the ground.
The gospel of the Kingdom is a bird that soars on both wings. Born anew in the life of the Spirit, it engages the world with power, hope, and transformation. It’s time the church returned to the full gospel that pulls evangelicalism and liberalism together again. The good news of the Kingdom begins in the heart and spills out into every crevice of a needy world.