Jewish Views of the Kingdom (§ 1).
    The Pauline Doctrine (§ 2).
    The Teaching of Jesus (§ 3).
    The Kingdom Previous to Augustine (§ 4).
    Augustine's Doctrine of the Kingdom (§ 5).
    Luther on the Kingdom (§ 6).
    Luther's Earthly Kingdom of God (§ 7).
    Theories of Zwingli and Calvin (§ 8).
    Pietism and the Enlightenment on the Kingdom (§ 9).
    Kant and Herder (§ 10).
    The Theory of Schleiermaoher (§ 11).
    Reconciliation of Conflicting Views by Schleiermacher (§ 12).
    Ritechl's Theory of the Kingdom (§ 13).
    The Kingdom of God and the Church (§ 14).

In the teaching of Jesus "kingdom of God" is a phrase denoting his adherence to the expectation of salvation developed from the Israelitic belief in God as the king of the people; although in modern systematic theology it implies a body of subjects who obey a ruler, so that the highest good, in the religious and ethical sense, is regarded as a saving gift of God and as a common aim to be attained. Since, however, the Oriental kingdom is not an organic nation, but dominion over a territory, the dominant idea is not so much the rule of God over his people, as manifested in their obedience, as the realization of the future kingdom (Isa. Iii. 7; Ob. 21), overcoming its present obstacles in favor of his people. From this kingdom mankind shall reap abundant blessings, though for its progress they can do nothing, since it comes only through the miraculous intervention of God, and by means of a total and sudden change of the world (Dan. ii. 44). These deviating concepts of history and of systematic theology, however, are supplementary rather than contradictory, since the realization of the kingdom of God in favor of his people presupposes that they are obedient to the divine governance, as is evident from the prophetical writings (cf. Isa. vi. sqq., x. 20 sqq., xlv. 8, lx. 21).

1. Jewish views of the Kingdom.

The hope of the future "kingdom of God" in Jewish eschatology had various forms regarding the obstacles to God's rule, whom the kingdom concerned, the manner in which it was to be realized, and the consequences of its establishment. The obstacle to God's rule was seen at first in the oppression of God's people by neighboring nations and by the universal empires which followed each other; later in the oppression of the pious by impious factions and rulers; subsequently in the dominion of hostile spiritual powers, such as stars, avenging angels, and Satan; and finally, about the first century B.C., in the belief that the whole present world is evil and doomed. Those whom the kingdom of God concerned were originally the people of Israel; then righteous individuals, first in Israel, and later also outside the chosen people. Its realization meant primarily the restitution of the old national glory by the aid of God and the cooperation of man; but later, as conditions became worse, solely by miraculous divine intervention. Finally there was expected an entire change of all things, a new world which already exists in heaven and is brought about by the conquest of Satan, the last judgment, the resurrection of the dead, and the downfall of the old world. The gifts of the kingdom are partly temporal and partly heavenly, consisting on the one hand in the universal rule of Israel or of the pious, with peace on earth; and on the other hand in eternal life, the cessation of evil, Sabbath rest, and communion with God and the angels. Nevertheless, there was only a partial spiritualization, and the expectation of the blessings of salvation was still more or less connected with the idea of a recompense for the fulfilment of the law.

2. The Pauline Doctrine.

In the New Testament both the old elements of Judaism and the new concepts of Christianity are clearly represented by Paul. He shares with Judaism the pessimistic view of the present world which stands under the dominion of Satan (II Cor. iv. 4; cf. Gal. i. 4; Rom. viii. 20 sqq., xii. 2); and, as in Judaism, only the righteous, who fulfil the law, can inherit the future kingdom of God (Gal. v. 21; I Cor. vi. 9; I Thess. ii. 12, iii. 13; cf. I Cor. xv. 50 sqq.). With him, too, the "kingdom" is the dominion of God, who will be "all in all" (I Cor. xv. 28), and the just shall rule with him (Rom. v. 17, iv. 13). He goes beyond the Jewish conception, on the other hand, by dating the arrival of the kingdom from the coming of Jesus the Messiah, by substituting universal human moral requirements for specifically national conditions, by spiritualizing the gifts of the kingdom (Rom. xi. 17, cf. viii. 19 sqq.), and by abolishing the concepts of legalism and reward, which are replaced by ethical fulfilments (Rom. xiv. 18; Gal. vi. 7 sqq.). While these changes may still be considered as purifying and completing the Jewish idea, Paul differed essentially from Judaism by the new concept that the future world with its miraculous powers projects into the present world (Rom. viii. 24 sqq.; Phil. iii. 20), and that upon earth God grants the blessings of the kingdom to those who believe in Christ, as partaking already, in a sense, of the life of the world to come (II Cor. i. 22, v. 5, 17; I Cor. xv. 24 sqq.; Gal. i. 4; Col. i. 13). Nor does the Pauline equation of the Church and the kingdom of Christ (which represents no essential change in the concept, but only a divergent view of the initiation and the development of the consummation) denote a human society for the independent solution of ethical problems, much less a legalistically organized association, but an organism of divinely granted powers or "graces," by which God permits the Church to grow as the body of Christ (Eph. ii. 19-22, iv. 16). Paul again transcends the Jewish concept by not considering these divine powers to be ethically indifferent "graces," but by regarding the moral life of the Christians in sanctification and love as the fruit of the supranatural and supramundane power of the Spirit (Gal. v. 22 sqq.), and by valuing the other "graces " according to their usefulness for the moral upbuilding of the Church (I Cor. xiv. 5).

In consequence of this projection of the future kingdom of God with its powers into the present world, the fundamental ethical and religious ideas


of the kingdom as, on the one hand, an obedient people ruled by God, and, on the other, as the totality of gifts which God's rule vouchsafes to its members, approach each other much more closely than in the Jewish scheme. The exercise of the "graces," by which the kingdom of God or Christ is extended, becomes an ethical task for the Christian, however much before and after the efforts of his will he may be filled with the consciousness of his dependence on the working of divine grace (Rom. xii. 6-8; I Cor. xii. 14 sqq.); so that Paul calls his missionary associates "fellow workers unto the kingdom of God" (Col. iv. 11).

The Apocalypse, in like manner, recognizes not only a future kingdom of God (xix.-xxi.), but also one that is active in this present world. The believers are already rulers (i. 6, v. 10), though the special blessings of the divine kingdom are promises and there is no organic connection between obedience and promise. On the other hand, the Gospel and Epistles of John set forth the same concept as that of Paul, except for the individualism and spiritualism of Hellenistic terminology, as exemplified in the substitution of eternal life for the kingdom (except in John iii. 3, 5, xviii. 36 sqq.). While, however, Paul makes the arrival of the kingdom in this world dependent upon the elevation of Jesus to the right hand of God, for John the kingdom comes immediately through the knowledge of God (xvii. 3, xviii. 37, xiv. 9).

3. The Teaching of Jesus.

In distinction from Paul and John, the preaching of Jesus follows the Jewish scheme, in that he urges the will of man to the acquisition of moral justice by pointing to the future kingdom, since God will reward such an attitude alone with a share in his kingdom (Matt. v. 1-12, vi. 2, 33, vii. 21, xviii. 3, 8 sqq., xix. 21, 27-29, xxv. 34; Luke xii. 35-48). By the kingdom Jesus understood the establishment of the rule of God in the immediate future, with a general resurrection and judgment by a miracle of God, accompanied with a renovation of the world denoting for the just the enjoyment of an abundance of blessings, such as participation in the divine governance (Matt. xix. 28), a share in the Messianic meal with the patriarchs (Matt. viii. 11, xxvi. 29), and the sight of God, whose children they become, being equal to the angels (Matt. v. 6, 8, 9; Luke xx. 36). From Jewish hopes he drew the political and national factor and the portrayal of physical pleasures, but he did not use the term "kingdom of God" to signify the obedient subjects of God, or an organized community of such subjects. Whether the view of Paul and John concerning the projection of the future kingdom of God into this world was foreign to the spirit of Jesus depends on the question whether the justice demanded by him as a condition for a share in God's kingdom was of the same high quality as the gifts of the kingdom; whether he considered those gifts as an organic completion of justice or as a reward which stood only in a mechanical relation to it; and whether his preaching was merely mandatory, or possessed a creating and saving power, so that voluntary obedience to it could at once be felt to be the reception of miraculous, morally saving, and beatifying powers of God. As to the first point, we know that Jesus abolished the heteronomy of the legalistic attitude, and consequently the basis of a mechanical concept of a future reward, by laying all stress upon the disposition of the heart (Mark vii. 15; Matt. vii. 16-17), by substituting for the legalistic relation the relation of children to a father (Mark x. 14 sqq.), by denying any legal claims to reward (Matt. xx. 1 sqq.; Luke xvii. 7-10), by making God himself the model (Matt. v. 48), and by promising the kingdom of God to those who long for righteousness (Matt. v. 6). At the same time, Jesus subordinated temporal rewards to the spiritual blessings of the kingdom, so that with him there is an organic relation between the moral condition in this world and the blessings of the world to come. Jesus himself knew that sonship with God was a blessed thing (Matt. xi. 27), and he admonished others to feel themselves to be the children of God (Matt. x. 29-32; Luke x. 19). He promised rest to all who should take his yoke upon them (Matt. xi. 28-30), and he urged his hearers to trust boldly in God with the full assurance that their prayers were heard (Mark xi. 22 sqq.; Matt. vii. 7), and to live in purity of heart and in love even of their enemies. It is thus clear that, despite divergencies in terminology and concept, the teachings of John and Paul on the kingdom of God were in harmony with the preaching of Jesus. It is plain from Matt. xii. 28 and Luke x. 18-20 that Jesus held that the kingdom of God had already come in its religious, though not in its ethical, concept; and in like manner the comparison of John the Baptist to the least in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. xi. 11; cf. Luke xvi. 16) implies that with him the time of prophecy had ended and that of fulfilment begun. Such parables as those of the grain of mustard seed, the leaven, and the tares also teach that the kingdom had already begun, and foreshadow the progress of revelation and of the divine power entered into the world; while the victories over the powers of evil and the divine success of his preaching of the kingdom also confirmed his belief.

4. The Kingdom Previous to Augustine.

In later primitive Christianity the kingdom of God was an exclusively eschatological concept, so that, according to Hegesippus, kinsfolk of Jesus declared to Domitian that "the kingdom of Christ is not cosmic or earthly, but heavenly and angelic at the consummation of the age" (cf. also I Clem. xlii. 3; Hermas, Similitudes, x. 12, 8). The Church is distinguished from the kingdom of God; she will be gathered from the four corners of the earth into the kingdom which God has prepared for her (Didache, ix. 4, x. 5). For Tertullian, Cyprian, Justin, and Irenaeus the characteristic feature of the coming of the kingdom is the rule of God, by which they understood the discontinuance of their state of servitude and oppression, and the enjoyment of a wonderfully increased fertility of the earth. On the other hand, Lactantius (Divinae institutiones, VII., xxiv. 4) held that the righteous would reign with God and Christ on earth, the wicked being not entirely destroyed, but doomed to perpetual bondage


and the objects of the victory of God and the triumph of the just. Irenaeus (Haer., v. 32 sqq.), in opposition to the Gnostic allegorical interpretation of the New Testament, understood the cosmic Sabbath of the millennium (cf. Heb. iv.), and the heavenly feast (Matt. viii. 11) as the expectation of the kingdom, that the just might rightly enjoy the reward of their patience where they had suffered oppression. Among the Greek Fathers it was Origen who, under the influence of the Greek ideal of the dominion of reason over the passions, originated an ethical and individualistic concept of the kingdom of God based on Luke xvii. 21; Rom. xiv. 17, vi. 12; I Cor. xv. 28, but so modified that the gift of God and of his saving blessings transcends ethical duty, and the spiritual state of the Christian is considered the beginning of heavenly perfection. He understands the second petition of the Lord's Prayer expressly after the analogy of the rule of a king over his subjects in a well-ordered city, so that the soul must submit to the governance of God and obey his spiritual laws. The perfection of the kingdom of God, so that God will be all in all, takes place in every individual when Christ has conquered the enemies in him, and he progresses unceasingly until knowledge, wisdom, and other virtues come to perfection in him. The same thoughts are found in Cyril of Jerusalem ("Mystagogical Lectures," v. 13) and Gregory of Nyssa (De oratione, ii), while Chrysostom, influenced by the Stoic idea of the wise man as king, develops the thought that with the coming of the kingdom the soul itself will become a king, thus coming into harmony with the New-Testament test of the kingdom of God that we shall acquire dominion in it (De oratione dominica hom.). Ephraem (Cohortatio ad pænitentiam, xxiv., cf. ix., x.), like Johannes Cassianus (Cohortatio, i. 13), following Origen, laid stronger stress on the mystic indwelling of God.

5. Augustine's Doctrine of the Kingdom.

Augustine unites in the concept of the kingdom of God the two characteristics of "being ruled by God" and of "reigning with God," the latter, which begins after the resurrection, being the decisive indication. The saints or the just themselves constitute the kingdom of God, since their hearts are governed inwardly by Christ or God (MPL, xxxix. 830, 832); but the kingdom, strictly speaking, is still in the future (MPL, xxxiv. 1814, xxxvi. 388), and he declared it madness to connect temporal life with the kingdom of heaven. With Augustine the future "reigning with God" had no analogy with a rule to be exercised over others or with an influence upon others, but consisted wholly of the contemplation and enjoyment of God. Nevertheless, Augustine gave up his former expectation of the millennium and referred the promises of Rev. xx. to the present (De civitate Dei, xx. 9), so that the reign of the saints with Christ promised for the millennium must exist in the present, though with a power far inferior to that of the future. The kingdom consequently implies for him, as for Barnabas before him, Sabbath rest (ed. MPL, xxxvi. 1198). However personal this conception of the kingdom in which God rules may be, Augustine regarded it from the very first as a community, a phase in the battle which is waged in the course of the world between the "kingdom of heaven" and the "kingdom of earth" or "of the devil." On the other hand, he also identified the empirical church, which includes sinners, with the kingdom of God (MPL, xxxvi. 409, xxxvii. 672 sqq.). This organization is for him an instrument of the rule of God, and the activity of its ministers is useful to the kingdom, even if their personal conduct is evil (MPL, xxxvi. 1169). It was not strange, therefore, that scholasticism should make Augustine's ethical "Church of conflict" the "Church militant," and in like manner he influenced the course of medieval development by his idea that the secular state should submit to the guidance of the Church, which embodies true justice for the community. Alongside the concept of the kingdom of God as relating to organized society, there developed after Augustine the idea of the kingdom in relation to the individual. St. Bernard, like the Greek Fathers (cf. Thomas Aquinas, Catena aurea, on Matt. vi. and Luke xi.) and Augustine, distinguished, on the basis of Luke xvii. 21, between a free submission of man's will to the will of God in the present world, and the future reign with Christ. Bonaventura (Stimulus amaris, iii. 17) regards devotion to God and the experience of salvation as the highest good, which is the indwelling of God; while according to Tauler (Predigten, Frankfort, 1703, 774, 926, 1202, 1206), the kingdom of God is God himself, dwelling in the soul in his own nature and essence, with all his heavenly gifts and treasures.

6. Luther on the Kingdom.

Luther follows, on the whole, the thoughts of Augustine, though with important modifications. He treats the kingdom of God from the standpoint of the law and the Gospel, the law expressing the eternal destiny of man, which is realized by the Gospel, so that life according to the law is life in the kingdom of God. In this connection he also uses the analogy of a commanding king and an obedient people. The life of voluntary submission to the will of God is at the same time the blessed life, so that "blessedness means that God rules in us, and we are his kingdom" (Werke, Erlangen ed., xxi. 184). Thus the kingdom of God as the ethical rule of God is for him the highest good in the ethical as well as in the religious sense. Man is under the dominion of sin, but the Gospel comes as a message of redemption through Christ, whereby the law is fulfilled, or the rule of God is realized according to its two factors, beginning in the present and completed in the future. Upon earth this is called the kingdom of Christ, but for Luther there is no real difference between the kingdom of Christ and that of God. Owing to Luther's concept of redemption, he differs from Augustine in regard to the realization of the kingdom of God. While both regard the kingdom as voluntary devotion untrammeled by the law, and as a miraculous gift of the spirit of God, Luther derives the effect of this change, which still takes place through the miraculous powers of God, psychologically from the individual assurance of forgiveness through Christ. Moreover, in consequence of his doctrine that, more than all human actions, faith resting upon the


pledge of forgiveness in Christ is the certainty of salvation, the faith of the Christian means for Luther experience of salvation in a way quite different from that of Augustine, and thus for him the future "reigning with God" coincides with the present "rule by God" both in time and in content. Luther extends the thought of the royal dominion of the believers over all creatures and over heaven and earth, in the sense that the assurance of the fatherhood of God includes the assurance that all things work together for good, i.e., for eternal life. Thus by his concept of the kingdom, which is a share in the dominion of God or Christ over all, he avoids the disregard of the good and evil of this world which had been taught by Augustine and, at first, by himself.

7. Luther's Earthly Kingdom of God.

As the kingdom of God consists of the Christians over whom and in favor of whom God or Christ rules, and who rule with him, it was but natural for Luther to regard the kingdom on earth as in an extensive and intensive state of growth, so that it is the duty of every Christian to increase the number of the faithful or to build up God's kingdom (Erlangen ed., viii. 241, xii. 319, xxxiii. 344, xxxix. 14, l. 153, 235). But Luther did not go far enough to regard the kingdom of God as the highest ethical good or as an all-comprehending ethical end. This was because, in the first place, his ethics was not teleological but experiential, and in the second place because he did not subordinate the spheres of the economic and political states which, together with the Church, make up his ideal of life on earth, to a common and eternal purpose. The secular spheres and their various vocations have for him only earthly aims, and their works are governed by natural law. He did not think of the possibility and necessity of elevating earthly callings to a higher sphere of morality by means of Christianity; yet he did not contradict the view of Melanchthon, who saw in the good works of Christians in their secular callings a "policy of Christ to show his kingdom before the world." For Luther, as for others, the realization of the kingdom of Christ was the Church, which, however, he held to be the congregation of believers whom Christ rules through the Word and the Spirit. On the other hand, he recognized the kingdom of God wherever faith and love were manifest in earthly callings, and he held the Church to be the kingdom only where her activity truly proceeded from faith and love (Erlangen ed., xxiii. 385).

8. Theories of Zwingli and Calvin.

With Zwingli the ethical conception of the kingdom of God preponderated. For him it is contained, in the first place, in preaching, i.e., in the offering of heavenly blessings and of the grace vouchsafed in Christ, and, in the second place, in the Church, to which preaching calls. Where the Gospel is received, there is established the kingdom of God, which consists of faith, piety, justice, and innocence, so that it coincides with those who are regenerated through Christ (Opera, ed. H. Schuler and J. Schulthess, Zurich, 1828-42, vi. 210, 236, 239, 289, 302, 352, 390, 609, 693); and he emphasizes the view that the "people of God" are characterized simply and solely by their striving to have the kingdom of God within them. With Calvin the fundamental characteristic of the kingdom was the rule of God, in the sense of the subordination of man to the divine will (Commentarii in N. T., ed. A. Tholuck, Berlin, 1833-34, i. 167). It is not in the future, but begins in faith upon earth through the Word and the secret working of the Holy Spirit (ib., i.167, iii. 44, 336). It is, therefore, a product of divine as well as human activity; nor did it first come with Christ, whose office it was "to spread through all the world the kingdom of God, which was then restricted to a corner of Judæa" (ib., i. 287). The future kingdom is thus the completion of the one begun on earth, and is characterized by continued progress (ib., i. 167; CR, xxx. 667). Unlike Luther, Calvin sought to bring the kingdom of God to expression in the external forms of life. The realization of the rule of God is, in the eyes of Calvin also, the Church, and the communion of saints is the test of the empirical church (ed. A. Tholuck, i. 146, 262, ii. 198; CR, xxx. 757). He again differed from Luther in so far as he was inclined to regard the constitution of the New Testament as an eternal law given by God, and to regard church discipline as an order instituted by God for the conservation of the spiritual state (CR, 776 sqq., 867 sqq., 891 sqq.); while he carefully distinguished political from ecclesiastical dominion (CR, xxv. 1092 sqq.).

9. Pietism and the Enlightenment on the Kingdom.

In Pietism (q.v.) the longing for the betterment of religious conditions led to a distinction between the kingdom of God and the official Church or Christian morality. Spener advocated the expectation of better times for the Church, interpreting this as a preparatory triumph of the glorious kingdom of Christ; a time of the expansion and awakening of the Church, which was to begin with the destruction of Babylon (the Roman Catholic Church); and the conversion of the Jews. The younger generation of Pietists, like J. J. Moser, dated the beginning of the kingdom from the movement of Spener, thinking of the contrast between traditional and genuine Christianity. Emancipation from dogmatics, a deeper study of the Bible, and its historical interpretation led to the tenet that the Scriptures contain the records of a history of revelation and religion passing through a series of developments comprised under the general term "kingdom of God," a theory represented especially by Bengel, C. A. Crusius, and Johann Jakob Hess. The period of the Enlightenment (q.v.) emphasized primarily the active ethical side in the kingdom of God and its analogy with a community of obedient subjects, but did not overlook the religious side, since it was only through God's government of the world that the harmony between the sphere of morality and that of nature was accomplished, or that the comprehensive union of humanity was effected which was necessary for the realization of the moral idea. Owing to the indelible goodness of the heart, it was held that there is no sharp distinction between the history of natural humanity and the history of salvation,


so that the kingdom of God progresses even outside Judaism and Christianity. Leibnitz interpreted the "kingdom of grace" as the dominion of God in the spirit-world, while Semler understood it as the new spiritual reign of God in the Church, and Reinhard conceived it as an ethical brotherhood established by Jesus to include all peoples.

10. Kant and Herder.

Kant, on the other hand, made morality entirely independent, even regeneration being an act of the individual. Morality leads, however, to a religious faith of reason in so far as the duty is felt to aim at a highest good. The power of morality is insufficient to realize this; and it must, therefore, postulate a moral ruler of the world, since a society must be established according to the laws of virtue for the protection of the individual against the evil principle which surrounds him. This ethical community, which can be realized only as a people of God under laws of virtue, Kant calls the kingdom of God on earth, and uses its idea as a test for the criticism and purification of the empirical Church. Herder considered the kingdom of God to be the development of humanity as it proceeds under the laws of nature or of the goodness, power, and wisdom of God, who furnishes the means and endowments; and he was the first consciously to combine the ethical and religious sense of Christianity with the Greek universal and free development of the entire personality.

11. The Theory of Schleiermacher.

The founder of the specific use of the concept of the kingdom of God in modern theology was Schleiermacher. The idea of the kingdom of God forms the basis of his teaching, governing his system both of doctrine and of ethics. The kingdom of God is the purpose and realization of redemption; and it is not only the highest purpose of action, but also the highest blessing (Christliche Sitte, Berlin, 1843, p. 78). He conceives the kingdom of God after the analogy of the relation between a ruling king and his obedient subjects, yet so that the king's will is the will of all who serve and live under him. The manner in which the rule of God (or the being of God) is exercised in man is consciousness of God, which is real only as motivating activity or, more specifically (since God is the supreme all-embracing unity), as the love of all mankind (Glaubenslehre, Berlin, 1821-22, §§ 90, 94). This consciousness of God raises man above the world, and through it is realized the further progress of the kingdom of God throughout the earth. Unlike Kant, Schleiermacher not only conceived moral activity as immediately religious, as having its motive in the consciousness of God; but he was also able to understand human activity as the working of the Divine, in virtue of his ethical fundamental concept of the highest good. By this he understood such a result of moral activity as both included this activity within itself and propagated it. Nevertheless, Schleiermacher's restriction of the blessedness arising from the consciousness of God to those filled with the love of all mankind was, at least in terminology, an ethical narrowing of the concept of the immanent kingdom of God. For Schleiermacher the realization of the kingdom of God was the work of Christ, in so far as he, through the strength and bliss of his consciousness of God, exercised a creative power of attraction which originated a common life ruled by the same impulse of divine consciousness; since before Christ there had never been so great a power of pure consciousness of God, and hence no society comprising all mankind.

12. Reconciliation of Conflicting Views by Schleiermacher.

In endeavoring to harmonize Christian tradition with the point of view of historical development, Schleiermacher saw, on the one hand, a course of evolution, first realized in Christ, and, on the other hand, he looked upon conditions before Christ as a universal life of sin, i.e., an impediment of human nature contrary to its destiny, and upon the work of Christ in founding the universal life of the kingdom of God as redemption. For both points of view he presupposed the original, or indelible, perfection of man and the world. He thus shared the view of primitive Christianity, regarding a kingdom of evil opposed to the kingdom of God, even though he rejected the rule of a personal devil, and replaced the Pauline view of "the flesh" and Augustine's doctrine of original sin by that of universal sin; but he contradicted himself by considering sin a necessary step in development. The kingdom of God becomes real through redemption from sin and evil. The consciousness of God, given by Christ to the believer, is pure and blessed will directed toward the kingdom of God; but this continual impulse toward the kingdom of God becomes real in the individual only in so far as the spirit of the universal life founded by Christ becomes his own impulse (Glaubenslehre, § 121). This universal life of the kingdom of God coincided for Schleiermacher with his concept of the Church, since for him the existence of the Church was a matter of faith in Christ, who alone can be sure that in a world of sin and evil the empirical Church is a place of goodness and salvation. His position here is similar to that of Luther in so far as he too held that the kingdom of God can not be tested by the legal organization of the Church and does not coincide with the empirical Church. While there is a wide divergence between the concept, both in primitive Christianity and later, that the immanent kingdom of God comes to pass through the miraculous power of the Spirit proceeding from the exalted Christ, and Schleiermacher's view that the personal life of Christ on earth became the motivating power of the universal spirit of the universal life, this divergence is based merely on a changed psychology. On the other hand, there is an essential limitation of Christian hope when it is reduced to an expectation of infinite organic progress, with a rejection of the eternal perfection of the individual and the mass. Schleiermacher marked, however, an important development not only in the doctrine of faith, but also in the doctrine of ethics, since the doctrine of faith developed for him into the ethical impulse to do all that is in our power for the realization of the kingdom of God, while in the religious satisfaction granted by God is found a sufficient motive for morality.


At the same time it becomes possible to harmonize the divergent incentives to morality presented in the New Testament, and to blend in the concept of a single moral highest good the two previous varieties of Christian ethics, the theory of duty and the theory of virtue. It likewise obviates the danger of quietism in case there is no end to stimulate the will, and, finally, it affords a basis of uniting early Christian and pre-Christian ethics.

13. Ritschl's Theory of the Kingdom.

Ritschl followed Schleiermacher, but deepened his thoughts by a closer approach to the New Testament and to Luther. He took his stand in the historical life of the body of believers, which is assured that it is established through the revelation of the free grace of God in Christ which brings forgiveness of sins. Like Schleiermacher, he united the recognition of a moral development which culminates in Christ with the concept of sin, but to him sin was more than imperfect development, it was the contradiction of good, and its judgment as our own action and guilt was not phenomenological, as it was with Schleiermacher, but inherent, and according to the judgment of God. The spiritual movement of believers proceeds in two directions, in the specifically religious function of the consciousness of reconciliation with God, and in the moral function of activity for the kingdom of God. This kingdom Ritschl understood after the analogy of a people that heartily obeys its ruler; the will of God, however, he regarded not as a sum of norms, but as a uniform purpose. For both Schleiermacher and Ritschl, the kingdom of God is the highest good, not only as a problem to be solved progressively by the activity of all mankind, but also as a religious good, as a gift and work of God, and as something that makes life and blessedness. Although Ritschl was rightly led by Kaftan to emphasize not only the divinely fixed purpose of the kingdom of God, but also the divine blessings to be enjoyed, he justly refused to speak with Kaftan of two sides of the kingdom of God, of an ethical aide by which man faces the world, and a mystical side by which he retires from the world; for not only does the super-mundane kingdom of God in the New Testament include the ethical side, but Kaftan's idea leads to quietism.

14. The Kingdom of God and the Church.

The ethical results of Schleiermacher's concept of the kingdom of God were fully accepted by Ritschl, and he was thus enabled to obviate a dualism between the moral requirements of holiness and justice on the one hand, and love on the other, by recognizing love, as directed toward the ends of the kingdom of God, to be itself the moral will. He likewise removed Luther's and Schleiermacher's lack of clearness in defining the relation of the kingdom of God to the Church by distinguishing between the religious, ethical, and legal concepts of the Church. In so far as both are regarded as the working of God, the Church and the kingdom of God coincide; they are both the sum total of persons who have been transposed by the Gospel of Christ into the life of an ethically active faith, independently of any legal organization. The Church has the special duty of worship, acknowledgment, and education; the kingdom of God that of the organization of humanity through love. The legal organization of the Church is only a means for the solution of her ethical problems. If systematic theology retains the concept of the kingdom of God, it must always be in objective continuity not only with theology since Origen, but also with primitive Christianity although its formulas must be amended by modern historical knowledge.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: A review of the subject is given in J. Weirs, Dis Idee des Reiches Gottes in der Theologie, Giessen, 1901. Much of the literature under MESSIAH; PARABLES; and BIBLICAL THEOLOGY treats the subject (especially the discussions by Weiss, Holtzmann, and Beyschlag) as do many of the treatises on the life of Christ. Consult further: Schürer, Geschichte, ii. 4968-556, Eng, transl., II., ii. 126 sqq.; F. Theremin, Lehre vom göttlichen Reich, Berlin, 1823; K. Wittichen, Die Idee des Reiches Gottes, Göttingen, 1872; J. S. Candlish, The Kingdom of God Biblically and Historically Considered, Edinburgh, 1884; G. Wilson, The Kingdom of God . . . According to the Inspired Records, Bloomington, III., 1888; A. B. Bruce. The Kingdom of God; or Christ's Teachings according to the Synoptical Gospels, Edinburgh, 1889; E. Issel, Die Lehre vom Reich Gottes, Leyden, 1891; O. Schmoller, Die Lehre vom Reich Gottes, ib. 1891; E. Haupt, in TSK, Ixv (1892); Hering, in Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche, 1892; O. Holtzmann, Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte, new ed., Tübingen, 1906; G. Schnedermann, Jesu Verkündigung und Lehre vom Reich Gottes, 2 parts, Leipeic, 1893-95; H. Holland, God's City and the Coming of the Kingdom, London, 1894; L. Tolstoi, The Kingdom of God is within you, New York, 1894, and often; L. Paul, Die Vorstellungen vom Messias und vom Gottesreich bei den Synoptikern, Bonn, 1895; A. Titius, Jesu Lehre vom Reiche Gottes, Freiburg, 1895; R. Belaney, Kingdom of God on Earth, London, 1898; Klöpper, in ZWT, 1897; F. Krop, La Pensée de Jésus sur le royaume de Dieu, Paris, 1897; J. Schäifer, Das Reich Gottea im Licht der Parabeln, Mainz, 1897; R. Wegener, Ritschls Ides des Reiches Gottes, Leipsic, 1897; G. Dalmann, Die Worte Jeau, pp. 75-113, Leipsic, 1898; A. Jülicher, Die Gleichnisreden Jesu, vol. ii., Freiburg, 1899; W. Baldensperger, Das Selbstbewusstsein Jesu, Strasburg, 1900; J. Weiss, Die Predigt Jesu vom Reich Gottes, Göttingen, 1900; W. Bousset, Die Religion des Judenthums im neutestamentlichen Zeitalter, pp. 199-276, Berlin, 1903; P. Volz, Jüdische Eschatologie von Daniel bis Akiba, §§ 27, 42-48, Tübingen, 1903; P. Wernle, Die Reichgotteshoffnung in den ältesten christlichen Dokumenten und bei Jesus, ib. 1903; W. Bousset, Jesus, pp. 71-98, New York, 1906; J. Böhmer, Der religionsgeschichtliche Rahmen des Reiches Gottes, Leipsic, 1909.


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