The Song about the Kingdom

The year was 1970, 48 years ago, and I got Eli Stanley Jones autobiography written 1968. Stanley Jones was born 1884 in Maryland, USA, and called to missionary service in India 1907.  

He was called “the world´s greatest missionary evangelist” by TIME magazine in 1938. E. Stanley Jones had a great impact on the millions of people throughout the world who heard him speak or read his many books including presidents, politicians, scientists, students, businessmen, ministers.

Amazon presents him: “Jones spent 70 years traveling throughout the world. His approach to evangelism presented Christ as the universal Son of Man without the trappings of Western culture.”

I like to read and many nights I read this book about the Kingdom very thoroughly and used my pencil to mark. The Swedish book title is “Sången om Riket” (The Song about the Kingdom), the English title is “A Song of Ascents”. I was captured by the message about the Kingdom. Still after 48 years it is burning inside me. E. Stanley Jones theology and teaching was:

• The Kingdom of God is the ultimate order and God´s answer to man´s total need.

• The Kingdom of God is to be taken seriously as a present reality.

• Jesus believed in life and in its redemption.

• The Kingdom of God is the collective redemption of all mankind.

E. Stanley Jones went to Soviet during the 1930-ies to study how an atheistic communistic kingdom functioned and could be successful. During this long journey he recognized that pagan or worldly or political ideologies as communism, nationalism, fascism, capitalism, etc. could not stand. They will not create peace, life, freedom or success in the long run. Just one Kingdom is unshakeable because of its unshakeable King! “We are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken” (Hebr. 12:28).

Jesus is Lord, and if we have any doubt, we can simply recall the resurrection on the third day. Put out the candles, the sun is up. Jesus is alive now and Jesus is Lord”. Since then E. Stanley Jones made known the Kingdom of God.

In 1963 E. Stanley Jones received the Gandhi Peace Award. Jones had been a close friend of Mahatma Gandhi and wrote a biography on his life. This book inspired Martin Luther King to “non-violence” in the Civil Rights Movement. This was Kingdom life.

E. Stanley Jones is also the founder of the Christian Ashram movement. “Christian Ashrams seek to help all people deepen their experience of the dynamic reality of God in daily living. The word “ashram” – meaning “retreat” – is a word that comes from Sanskrit.” (United Christian Ashrams).

In the summer 1971 I participated in an Ashram in Sjövik, Dalecarlia, Sweden. E. Stanley Jones was there and he was teaching sitting in a wheel chair. Jones was 87 years of age but had strength and power to teach about the Kingdom. He was mentally and spiritually alive. I asked him to write a greeting in my bible, and he did. “Jesus is Lord! E. Stanley Jones.”

From Sweden E. Stanley Jones went to USA, then Israel and finally India, where he died in January 1973. The legacy after E. Stanley Jones is great.

Amazon presents E. Stanley Jones´ book “The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person” in this way:

• Jesus swept onto the scene declaring that the Kingdom of God had arrived! He proclaimed that we would experience life at its fullest only when we organize our lives around the Kingdom.

• E. Stanley Jones suggests that life in any other way is a muddled, maddening, and impossible way to live.

• Throughout the centuries we have lost the Kingdom as a clearly defined and workable system for order and influence in our daily lives. We have reduced the Kingdom by putting it into narrower molds, a refuge now, a present security, a future hope, anything but the Kingdom as Jesus preached it – God’s total answer to man’s total need now.”

• Dr. Jones shows us how to claim our spiritual heritage and the abundant life promised us by embracing the Kingdom and Person of Jesus. He suggests how our experience with God and His Kingdom should be taught and shared in the life of the individual, in the life of the church and in the nations of the world.

I am grateful I met this ambassador of God´s Kingdom! 

I am inspired by E. Stanley Jones to work even when you are old, “while it is day: the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).

God´s Kingdom is at hand! When we have put our hand to the plow, we are not fit for the kingdom of God, if we are looking back or quit (Luke 9:62).

Jesus has promised we will do greater works on earth, because He has gone to His Father (Joh. 14:12).

This is life at its fullest when we organize our lives around the Kingdom.

Kiell Tofters

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