Subversive Kingdom by Ed Stetzer: A Book Review

Many Christians use the phrase kingdom of God a lot like some politicians use words like freedom and liberty.  They sound nice but there’s usually an agenda attached.  For some, the kingdom of God means the Church while others use it in reference to a political utopia where every elected official votes the right way and all social problems are gone.  While these types of interpretations contain some truth they certainly aren’t the truth.

In his book Subversive Kingdom, Ed Stetzer gives us the truth about the kingdom of God as well as what impact it should have on individual Christians and the Church as a whole.  Anyone who cares to know more about the kingdom of God and their role in it would be doing themselves a favor by reading this very accessible book.

Stetzer starts out by explaining what the kingdom of God is.  The kingdom of God is not the Church although the Church is a result of the kingdom of God.  The kingdom of God is not political reform because, frankly, there hasn’t been true political reform since Adam and Eve sinned.  Instead, Stetzer describes the kingdom of God as the pushing back of this world’s darkness with the light of Christ or “rebelling against the rebellion.”  This pushing back or rebelling, while already happening, will not finally be complete until the return of Christ.

Subversive Kingdom is not a textbook.  What makes this book really good is that Stetzer is not content with simply defining the kingdom of God and talking about how great it is and will be.  Stetzer writes as though he intended for his readers to walk away not only with a better understanding of what the kingdom of God is but also what the believer’s role is in that kingdom.

“We are obsessed today with making our churches attractive to others.  Yet the secret to the viral gospel influence of postresurrection kingdom citizens was not the meetings in their churches but their everyday lives.”

Usually when people say things like that, they’re about to declare war on the Church and tell us that we don’t need it as long as we just live for Jesus on our own.  That’s not the case in Subversive Kingdom.  Stetzer is simply pointing out that it does no good for a church to attract a bunch of people when most of the leadership of that church and its members are living their daily lives as if they belong to the kingdom of Me instead of the kingdom of Christ.

When individual Christians covenant together in their local churches to live out the kingdom of Christ in their everyday lives, that church is changed in such a way that an impact is felt in the surrounding community and around the world.

“Because actually, the church doesn’t have a mission; the mission has a church.  God, who by nature is on purpose and on task, has invited people like us, gathered in churches like ours, to join him in fulfilling his chief desire.  And that mission is this: for God to be glorified.”

The kingdom of God is a weighty topic but what makes Stetzer’s book stand out is his ability to address it in an easy to read style that goes beyond the academic to the practical without betraying biblical foundations.  Christians at all stages of their walk with Christ will always need help when it comes to living out their calling as kingdom agents.  Ed Stetzer’s Subversive Kingdom will prove to be a tremendous aide to the Church until our King returns to finally and forever establish his perfect kingdom.