In Proposition 109, George Peters states:
“An examination of the passages of Scripture supposed to teach the Church-Kingdom theory will confirm our doctrine of the Kingdom.”
At first glance, it might seem Peters is stating an examination of Scripture will reveal the Church-Kingdom theory is compatible with the doctrine of the Kingdom he has been outlining thus far. For myself, that was how this proposition initially read which of course forced me to read it again for clarity.
What Peters is actually saying is a close examination of the relevant passages reveals no support for the Church-Kingdom theory as it is typically presented. What that theory contains is explained in somewhat more detail in the notable observation discussed below.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 109 is the following:
“It is supposed that the most direct Scripture in support of the Church-Kingdom theory is found in Col. 1:13, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son.” This undoubtedly is the strongest proof text that can be presented in favor of the prevailing view. But (1) if we receive our version as it stands the language is easily reconciliable with the principle that future blessings are spoken of as present, as exemplified in Heb. 12: 22-23, etc. (comp. Prop. 65, Obs. 9). This is a peculiarity of Paul’s, so that in Rom. 8:30 he has those who are justified also glorified, when, as is taught in the same chapter, the period of glorification is still future. In the context itself the allusion to the inheritance of the saints and deliverance from darkness indicates the same, seeing that “the inheritance” is only bestowed at the Sec. Advent and that a complete deliverance from darkness (which includes death and the grave) is only obtained at the Coming of Christ. This Scripture must be explained according to the general analogy of Scripture, and it is too indefinite to form the foundation of so important a doctrine as that of the Church-Kingdom. (2) Some authors, however, give a different rendering from our version, making the reading “changed us for the Kingdom of His dear Son,” contending that the preposition “eis” should be translated “for” as, e.g. in Luke 9:62, etc. Either view will secure uniformity of promise, etc. A passage from which it is inferred that John was then in the Kingdom (i.e. Church) is found in Rev. 1:9, “I, John, who am your brother and companion in tribulation and in the Kingdom and patience of Christ.” The best comment on this is to be found in 2 Tim. 2:12, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him,” or in Rom. 8:17, “If children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” Commentators (as e.b. Bloomfield, loci) frankly admit this explanation and think that reference is made to the hope of the Kingdom expressed in verse 6. Hence John declares in the most decided manner his strong faith and hope of sharing in the Kingdom.”
In this observation, Petes interacts with a verse he submits is typically put forth as the proof text for the Church-Kingdom theory. What is this theory you might ask? Based on the statements and tone of Peters observation, the Church-Kingdom theory is essentially the belief that the Kingdom of God is something fully experience by the believer in the here and now. Such an approach is rooted in the belief that because the believer is transferred from the power/kingdom of darkness to being part of the kingdom of God and thus a child of God, that transferrance equates to the full establishment and benefits of the Kingdom of God being in operation this side of glory. Passages such as Col. 1:13, if read in isolation, might appear to present such a concept. As Peters aptly notes, when read in concert with the rest of Scripture, the fullness of the Kingdom of God is yet future.
Thus, ruling and reigning, obtained the inheritance, and the complete, utter destruction of the kingdom of darkness is a future event. Believers can lay claim to that blessed hope of the coming Kingdom as did the Apostle John in Rev. 1:9. However, in doing so, we must not fall prey to a “Your Best Life Now” type of belief system where we try and affirm all elements of the Kingdom are in the present. The doctrine of the Kingdom, as presented in the fullness of Scripture, does not allow for such a theory to be presented as valid. It is vital to note the use of the term glorification in relation to the notation of the kingdom. That receipt of glorification will take place at the Second Advent. Until then, we await that glorious day.