A common misconception about the kindgom of God is that it is the same thing as the Church. Thus, this miconception holds, if you are in the kingdom of God, you are in the Church. Here’s the problem with that.
When Jesus explained the Parable of the Wheat and Tares to His disciples he said, “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire…” (Matt. 13:41-42). Non-Christians are obviously not in the Church, meaning they are not part of the universal body of believers. Yet, Jesus says that in the end they will be taken out of the kingdom.
This must mean it is possible for non-Christians to be part of the kingdom of God on earth without being part of the Church. Another way to look at it is that the kingdom of God includes the Church, but the kingdom’s borders lie outside the borders of the Church. If you are a Christian you are in the kingdom of God, but you can be in the kingdom of God and not be a Christian. We reject this logically inescaple conclusion from Jesus’ explanation of the parable because it doesn’t fit our presupposition, instead of asking how it can be true.
More in a later post on how one can be in the kingdom of God on the earth and not be a Christian. GS