2009 marks the fifth anniversary of the publication of The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective [Crossway] by Russell D. Moore. Okay, so a fifth anniversary is not such a big deal, but I was grasping for an excuse to put this book where it belongs — on your reading list. I recently had the opportunity to reread this book, and I was reminded how helpful it really is. Russell D. Moore, Senior Vice President and Dean of the School of Theology (where, you ask?) at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, clarifies so many of the issues swirling about evangelicals as we discuss the Kingdom of God, eschatology, and Christian political engagement. He offers a really helpful survey of these issues, and an even more helpful theological and biblical framework for understanding the Kingdom of Christ.
It is impossible, however, to relate salvation to the Kingdom without addressing fissures within the reformist wing of evangelical theology over the definition of salvation. The first has to do with the growing reluctance, especially within the reformist wing of evangelical theology, to articulate salvation in terms of the necessity of explicit faith in Christ. The inclusivist position, which is held by theologians ranging from Clark Pinnock to John Sanders to Stanley Grenz, holds that salvation is universally available only through the atonement of Christ, but that this salvation may be apporpriated through general revelation. When, however, inclusivist evangelicals argue that the salvation of the unevangelized can come about in the same manner as that of the Old Testament believers, they ignore the Kingdom orientation of biblical soteriology.