Moving Toward The Kingdom And The Seven Deadly D’s -- By: Gene Heacock

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 39:0 (NA 2007)
Article: Moving Toward The Kingdom And The Seven Deadly D’s
Author: Gene Heacock

Moving Toward The Kingdom And The Seven Deadly D’s

by Gene Heacock*


The purpose of this work is to present the biblical theme of the Kingdom of God as the central model for Christian leadership, congregational life, mission, and cultural transformation. The Kingdom offers an alternative paradigm in contrast to established evangelical forms grounded in human wisdom and understanding.

Through biblical paradigms and statistical research, the author describes the condition of early 21st century American Christianity. Through the use of systems thinking and cultural diagnosis, he defines what he terms the “seven deadly D’s” of American church life. The Kingdom of God is presented as the only theological, systemic approach to remedy these maladies.

The significance of this work is in recovering the model of the Kingdom of God as the necessary biblical corrective to modern evangelical leadership formation and church practice. This includes implications for the rethinking of Evangelicalism, a new approach to theology, and the formation of multidimensional leadership. This will assist 21st century Christian leaders in dealing with complexity, diversity, changing spiritual paradigms, and interdenominational unity. It offers hope as new fuel and a Kingdom model as a cognitive construct as well as recommendations for application.

This paper will introduce the reader to the condition of the church in the United States today. The author will use the term “system” to describe it. The term is used both in its popular sense and in the specific meaning as it relates to systems theory and change.1 He will then describe the process in which he rediscovered the Kingdom of God, and propose that the Kingdom of God is the only comprehensive theological systemic solution to the seven deadly D’s of church life. He will explain what they are and contrast them to the teaching of Scripture as the necessary corrective. Scripture is “the word of the great King,”2 and God’s design to remedy the church from the condition described as the seven deadly D’s. Only the King can solve the problems within his Kingdom.

There are many reports ranging from mission agencies3 and public surveys4, to futurist predictions, that indicate the church in America is waning in vitality and influence. This writer’s pilgrimage forced him to ask, “Why is American Christianity in the condition it...

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