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Saturday, September 18, 2010
Review-The Kingdom of God Is a Party
It was instantly evident, as I read The Kingdom of God Is a Party, that Tony Campolo and I are kindred spirits. It would be no surprise that he and I share the same descriptors on any personality test. With that said those who are not kindred spirits will likely not agree with his comparisons and opposite personalities will likely be sharply critical.
Campolo introduces his premise by explaining that in order to communicate the gospel to the current generation, the words and imagery need to affect the current generation. Words and images need to come from their culture; where they live, what they do, how they communicate. He posits the word “party” is the word best used to describe God’s kingdom to the modern listener and reader.
His first essential point, which warrants closer inspection, yet flies in the face of long standing pulpit proclamation, is this: “Once a year, according to what Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 14, all the people of God were to bring one-tenth of all their earnings to the temple in Jerusalem. Imagine! One-tenth of Israel’s GNP! And it was not to be used for mission work. It was not to be used for charity. It was not to even be used to build an education annex onto the temple. It was to be used on a gigantic party. Here! See for yourself:” Deut. 14:22-29.
Campolo is quick to explain that the tenth is for the party but it also limits what we should spend on the party. The work of the kingdom is to be done with the remaining 90 percent. “The 90 percent is to be sanctified for the work God has called us to render as we join Him in establishing His kingdom here on earth.”
This concept is his hardest sell. If you buy into the first point, the remainder of the book reflects on the lack of “joy” expressed in the church body and how it should be, and can be, expressed at home and at work using the “party” image. Campolo doesn’t discount the trials and sufferings of life but points out we have reason to party because of the eventual triumph of God; Romans 8.
Campolo develops an interesting concept but Christians have a poor record for understanding the gift of salvation much less showing their joy over having accepted it. Unfortunately, I expect his call to arms will largely be ignored.
What I have taken from The Kingdom of God Is a Party is a re-evaluation of my “tithe” and a conviction of how much more I could/should be doing with what God has given me, for the kingdom. As well, those happy souls don’t need to apologize for any cheerfulness they exhibit. If the joy stems from our knowledge of Christ, and what he has done in our lives, we need to openly and joyfully exhibit that too.
Does your life reflect the joy of a life in Christ?