Question: "Should Christians try to force the kingdom on others?"
Answer: As a background to a discussion of a Christian kingdom, please read our article on Christian reconstructionism, a teaching closely related to dominion theology and theonomy. This line of theological interpretation states that biblical Christianity will rule all areas of society, personal and corporate, and that the goal of Christians is to create a worldwide kingdom patterned after the moral aspects of the Mosaic Law. Those who hold this view believe that Christ will not return to earth until such a Christian kingdom has been established.
The principal goal of dominion theology and Christian reconstructionism is to establish a literal Christian kingdom. When the Christian kingdom is in place, believers will hold political and religious domination of the whole world. The leaders of the Christian kingdom will implement the moral laws of the Old Testament—and mete out the related punishments for infractions of that law. (The sacrificial and ceremonial laws will not be part of the Christian kingdom, as those have been fulfilled in Christ.) The Christian kingdom will not be a secular government system ruled by the church as much as it will be a government conformed to the Law of God.
The Bible does not advise us to seek to establish a physical Christian kingdom. God had such a plan for Israel when they took control of the Promised Land, but, in the New Testament era, He has never called His people to establish a political kingdom ruled by His laws, commands, and statutes. Jesus said plainly that His kingdom is not of this world and, unlike the followers of worldly political leaders, His followers do not use force to establish the kingdom (John 18:36).
The mission of Christians is not to strive to take worldwide dominion and set up a Christian kingdom but to share the gospel of salvation with the whole world (Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 1:8). When people are saved, the Holy Spirit will begin His work in them, changing their lives to conform to God’s Word (Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). When the gospel spreads, society is changed, one heart and one life at a time.
Attempts to change societies and cultures from without will always fail. Just taking control of the political process or establishing moral laws will not effect change in people’s hearts. Christianity cannot be forced on people, and the Christian kingdom is not a biblical concept. Changing people from the inside out is God’s work through His Holy Spirit. God is more interested in saving people’s souls than He is in forcing people to obey His laws. If an unsaved person is forced to obey God’s law, he would be doing so out of fear and obligation. God wants a person to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) and then to obey His commands out of reverence and love (1 John 5:3).
God has not called us to enforce His commands on an unredeemed world. We cannot force people into a Christian kingdom. Rather, He has called us to proclaim the message of salvation—the redeeming power and life-transforming message of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection (Romans 10:9–11).