Expounding on Kingdom Theology at 'Unshakable Kingdom' Symposium in Thailand

Dr. Leonard Sidharta gave an online lecture with the theme of “Teach You How to ‘Eat’ the Bible” on September 23, 2021.
Dr. Leonard Sidharta gave an online lecture with the theme of “Teach You How to ‘Eat’ the Bible” on September 23, 2021. (photo: screenshot)
By Christine Lau March 28th, 2024

During the "Unshakable Kingdom" symposium held in Thailand, the concept and characteristics of "kingdom theology" were elucidated to Chinese believers. 

Conducted by the GETS Theological Seminary in Bangkok fom March 4 to 7, the conference was aimed at helping Chinese churches develop a kingdom perspective. 

Starting on March 4, the four-day symposium digged into kingdom theology from five perspectives: the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Trinity (systematic theology), the cross, and the church.

In her lecture-themed "Concept of the Kingdom in the Old Testament," Dr. Sarah Zhang, assistant professor of Old Testament at GETS Theological Seminary, interpreted the idea of the kingdom through exegeses—using the changeable to illustrate the unchanging. She mentioned the focus of 21st-century missions as reaching those who were apathetic despite knowing the gospel message, to lead them to return to the Lord and become new channels of blessing.

In the second lecture, Dr. Sunny Wang, assistant professor at the Taiwan Baptist Christian Seminary, explained the concept of the kingdom through its interpretation from a New Testament perspective, covering five different stages in the history of Christianity. Dr. Wang pointed out, "We can understand the message of the kingdom conveyed by Jesus and the apostles only when we realize that the kingdom is both a future event and a present reality, an anticipated future and an experience in which God takes power over us."  

Dr. Leonard Sidharta, academic dean of GETS Theological Seminary, then spoke from the perspective of systematic theology. Sidharta described the kingdom of God based on the love of the triune God, which originated from the Father and returned to the Father. The incarnation also reflected the doctrine of the Trinity in the movement of salvation, which served as a model and epitome of the new humanity, history, and universe. The Exodus event reflected the new creation and salvation of God, from Jesus Christ leaving Egypt to all people who returned to the heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.

As the fourth session's keynote speaker, Dr. Leonard Sidharta continued that without a concrete kingdom, talking of the cross would devolve into soteriological individualism, and the kingdom without the cross would become triumphalism or an ideological gospel.

Dr. Ian Sun, associate professor of historical theology at GETS Theological Seminary, then explained kingdom theology from two perspectives: the presence of the kingdom of God and the manifestation of the kingdom by the church. He said that the kingdom of God was omnipresent and visible only through the eyes of the soul in small crevices.

Furthermore, he shared that the church represented God’s kingdom, emphasizing the responsibility of the church to testify that Christ is king and the commonality of the church. He also pointed out the misconception that the authoritative Jesus would change social structures and systems through churches. Dr. Sun stated that the church was neither the kingdom of God nor the present Christ. The church shared in the suffering of the world and brought hope to the world, he concluded.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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