Justin Hiebert

Catalyzing Change

Kingdom Conspiracy {A Review}

Posted on 21 Oct 2014 in Books, Christianity, Culture, Uncategorized | 4 comments

Diving into the latest book by Scot McKnight, Kingdom Conspiracy I had the words of Weird Al running through my head:

Everything you know is wrong
Just forget the words and sing along
All you need to understand is
Everything you know is wrong

It’s fitting, I think, I to talk about how we’ve missed the idea of Kingdom, and the one thing that McKnight does really well is confront some of the misnomers that the Church has  believed about the Kingdom.

[pullquote]Everything you know is wrong
Just forget the words and sing along
All you need to understand is
Everything you know is wrong ~ Weird Al[/pullquote]

McKnight confronts what he sees as the two biggest failures of the church movement, what he calls the ‘pleated pants’ crowd and the ‘skinny jeans’ people. Each, he argues, is wrong in their understanding of the Gospel. For one, Jesus wasted his time if all we care about is his death and resurrection. If we negate the life and teachings of Jesus, we must admit then that Jesus should have just gone straight to the cross and not wasted our time.

Kingdom Conspiracy CoverFor the other, the failing is almost the opposite. A negation of the idea of personal salvation/transformation is the bedrock upon which good deeds are built. Social justice is meaningless if it isn’t met equally with the idea to find salvation in Jesus. This message is nothing more than a political narrative.

McKnight concludes his initial argument with this: “These two approaches to kingdom, one focusing on social activism through the public, political process and the other focusing on redemptive moments, reveal important truths about the kingdom in the Bible. There is no kingdom that is not about a just society, as there is no kingdom without redemption under Christ. Yet I’m convinced that both of these approaches to kingdom fall substantially short of what kingdom meant to Jesus, so we need once again to be patient enough to ponder what the Bible teaches.”


We cannot enter into this story without surrendering. Why? Because if Jesus is the one and only King, we must surrender to Jesus as the King. ~ Scot McKnight


McKnight sets about his approach to the understanding of kingdom. It is  something that is relevant, practical, applicable, and dynamic. It’s an approach that finds life in both its historical understanding of Anabaptist thought, but fresh expressions in a highly polarized and highly divided American culture. It’s a refreshing read that highlights the much needed perspective that social activism can only happen when it has been rooted in a life of personal transformation. The church, as a people, must be thoughtful, engaged, and practical both privately and publicly in order to adequately understand and implement life ‘in the kingdom.’

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Justin Hiebert

Leadership Catalyst - Entrepreneur - Coach at JSHiebert Leadership Coaching
I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture. In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society. I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith. I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary. I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.

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  • I definitely tend toward the Skinny Jeans Kingdom way of thinking, as most my age do, at least outside of the neo-Reformed camps. Not necessarily to the exclusion of the Pleated Pants perspective, but I do de-emphasize that. Even though I have never and probably will never wear skinny jeans – much prefer pleated pants.

    I’m about halfway through the book and loving it so far. Hope to wrap it up this weekend if I can get some time for it.

    • Ryan,

      I think it’s fairly common for those our age to have a skinny jean mentality, perhaps at least in part as a reaction to the pleated pants crowd. His critique is fair and challenging, something I appreciated throughout.

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