THE KINGDOM OF GOD
The Vineyard’s emphasis on the Kingdom of God has implications for the whole storyline of the Bible. Here’s a quick rundown of that storyline:
- Creation - As Creator of all, God is King of all. God appoints humans as His royal representatives to be agents of his reign over creation on His behalf. In the Beginning, heaven and earth were united in fellowship and love.
- Fall - Adam and Eve’s sin against God was an act of rebellion against God’s Kingdom rule. As God’s delegated rulers of creation, when they fell for Satan’s lie and disobeyed God’s will they gave the authority and dominion of the earth to Satan and not only did they, but the whole world became captives of Satan’s kingdom. Because of their sin, Adam and Eve were banished from God's presence, leading to their deaths and the separation of heaven and earth.
- Israel - On the day of the Revolt, God graciously promised that He would defeat Satan through one of Eve's descendants. The nation of Israel was formed to bring forth this Descendant and Rescuer (aka the Jewish Messiah) who would reestablish God's Kingdom on earth as the rightful King of the Kingdom.
- Jesus’ Birth - Jesus’ birth is the story of the rightful King’s invasion into enemy-occupied territory and the initiation of the restoration of God’s Kingdom on earth. Amazingly, God sent His OWN Son to rescue us! In Jesus, heaven came down to earth.
- Jesus’ Ministry - By withstanding Satan’s temptation, Jesus reversed Adam and Eve’s failure to withstand Satan’s temptation. His teaching, healing and deliverance ministry reversed the power and authority of Satan’s kingdom.
- Jesus’ Death, Resurrection & Ascension - What seemed to be the greatest Kingdom defeat - the King’s death on the cross, becomes the greatest Kingdom victory because the King came back to life. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinners are forgiven, rebels are reconciled with God and captives are set free from Satan’s kingdom. Having accomplished the Victory, Jesus ascends back to heaven as the King of kings and Lord of lords.
- The Gift of the Spirit - The Spirit was given to the church to empower God’s people to carry on Jesus’ ministry of setting captives free from Satan’s kingdom. Through the Spirit, the church extends the forgiveness and life of God’s Kingdom to the whole world. Through the Spirit, heaven continues to come down to earth through the presence and ministry of God's people. Through the Spirit, every Christian becomes a little “Jesus", carrying His Kingdom authority into every sphere of life.
- The Christian Life - When we repent and believe in Jesus, we are transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light. We are reborn as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Christian life is learning to live like Jesus by assimilating the values, priorities and mission of this new Kingdom in the middle of the world which is still captive to the kingdom of Satan. This is why the Christian life is both an abundant life and one of intense spiritual warfare.
- Jesus’ Return - God’s Kingdom has been reestablished on earth by the ministry of Jesus and now by the ministry of the Spirit through the church. The kingdom of Satan, however, continues to have influence on the earth. This influence will be completely broken when Jesus returns in glory and brings the Kingdom of God to earth in all its fullness and perfection. Then heaven and earth will once again be united in fellowship and love forever.
This is a synopsis of JesusChurch’s Discover the Kingdom course.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
This is from the Vineyard Statement of Faith …
THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Church at Pentecost in power, baptizing believers into the Body of Christ and releasing the gifts of the Spirit to them. The Spirit brings the permanent indwelling presence of God to us for spiritual worship, personal sanctification, building up the Church, gifting us for ministry, and driving back the kingdom of Satan by the evangelization of the world through proclaiming the word of Jesus and doing the works of Jesus.
We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ and that He is our abiding Helper, Teacher, and Guide. We believe in the filling or empowering of the Holy Spirit, often a conscious experience, for ministry today. We believe in the present ministry of the Spirit and in the exercise of all of the biblical gifts of the Spirit. We practice the laying on of hands for the empowering of the Spirit, for healing, and for recognition and empowering of those whom God has ordained to lead and serve the Church.
The Vineyard teaches that all believers receive the Holy Spirit at conversion. Either at conversion or subsequent to conversion, believers may experience and are encouraged to ask for the empowering or filling of the Holy Spirit for ministry. This empowering and filling is not meant to be a one time experience, but an ongoing relationship of dependency on the Spirit’s presence and power. The Vineyard encourages all believers to continually seek the Spirit’s filling and take risks of faith expecting the Spirit’s empowering.
The Vineyard believes that all the spiritual gifts are available and valuable for today. The gift of tongues is NOT consider THE gift that marks the Spirit-filled Christian. Instead, the Spirit-filled Christian is to be characterized by the fruit of the Spirit, especially love, and any gift that the Spirit determines to give them.
THE TENSION OF EXPECTATIONS AND DISAPPOINTMENTS
This is from What is the Kingdom: A Vineyard Perspective on the Kingdom of God …
The Kingdom Not Yet
While the kingdom of God was breaking into the world through Jesus, all human suffering, pain, and difficulty did not disappear. In fact, it still remains with us to this day. For Jesus, while the kingdom of God was happening in the present, it was also yet to come in all its fullness in the future.
Through Jesus, God had inaugurated the kingdom on earth, but he would consummate it one day in the future. In practical terms, this means that when we pray for the sick (a hallmark of the Vineyard from the beginning), some will be healed and others will not. Yet, with faith, we pray confidently for healing and entrust the results to God.
The Dynamic Tension We Live In
In the Vineyard, we embrace this dynamic tension. While we believe that God’s kingdom can invade any moment of our lives, not everyone will experience God’s love the way we want for them. We rejoice when one person experiences a miracle of healing, while we grieve as another person succumbs to the effects of cancer or poverty.
Some Christians respond to this tension between the now and the not yet of the kingdom by saying that God does not do miracles today. They contend that the gifts given by the Spirit of God were just for Jesus’ time and are not available to us now.
Some Christians respond to this tension by largely ignoring the reality that suffering continues in the world. These groups triumphantly declare that the kingdom should always be experienced demonstrably in the here and now – or something is wrong. If we don’t experience a moment of physical healing or personal transformation, it is probably our fault. For them, unanswered prayer reveals a lack of faith in us – and we had better work up more if want to see God do what he has promised to do.
How We Carry This Tension In The Vineyard
In the Vineyard, we choose to respectfully step away from both of these extremes. We believe that a necessary tension will always exist between the now and the not yet of the kingdom. We pray for the sick, and we have seen many healed. We do the work of compassion, and we have seen the poor restored to hope. But we do not always see the results we want to see this side of heaven. Yet we believe that every faith-filled act of prayer puts a deposit of love in to the person who is suffering. And we have testimonies from every corner of the earth that, at times, the kingdom of God does break through with power to heal those who are sick.
As we live in this interim time, the kingdom of God to come is our future hope. It is a day when the Scriptures tell us that “all things will be made new” (Rev. 21:5) and every tear will be wiped away from the face of the brokenhearted (Rev. 21:4). It is the day Isaiah prophesied would come (Is. 35:1-10), and John describes in his vision in Revelation 21:1-5. There will be no more innocent girls enslaved in the sex trafficking industry. There will be no more cancer. There will be an end to poverty. God will one day right this world.
Toward that day, we trust, we hope, and we pray in the way Jesus taught us to pray: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
This is from the Vineyard Statement of Faith …
THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND THE FINAL JUDGMENT
We believe that God's kingdom has come in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, that it continues to come in the ministry of the Spirit through the Church, and that it will be consummated in the glorious, visible and triumphant appearing of Christ; His return to the earth as King. After Christ returns to reign, He will bring about the final defeat of Satan and all of his minions and works, the resurrection of the dead, the final Judgment and the eternal blessing of the righteous and eternal conscious punishment of the wicked. Finally, God will be all in all and His kingdom, His rule and reign, will be fulfilled in the new heavens and the new earth, recreated by His mighty power, in which righteousness dwells and in which He will forever be worshipped.
The Vineyard’s emphasis on the already, but not yet of the Kingdom of God has implications for our view of the End Times. Without getting into all the intricate details of the eschatology (the study of the End Times), this means the Vineyard leans toward Classic Premillennialism and A-millennialism because these views embrace the already, but not yet of the Kingdom. The Vineyard, therefore, leans away from Postmillennialism and Dispensational Premillennialism because these views reject the already, but not yet of the Kingdom.
WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP
This is from the booklet entitled One in Christ: Men and Women Together in Ministry in the Vineyard …
Women are serving in growing numbers as leaders in Vineyard churches. In some cases, women serve as the sole senior pastor of a church. In others, husbands and wives are teaming together to share the role of senior pastor. Women also serve as staff pastors, ministry leaders, volunteers, elders, small group leaders, and church board members. Women serve trans-locally as area and regional leaders who care for groups of pastors within our movement and as members of the executive team that makes up our National Board. There are no areas of ministry or levels of leadership closed to women in the Vineyard.
In this booklet, we explore the Vineyard's commitment to gift-based leadership, how we've arrived at this commitment, and what it means for Vineyard men and women as we serve together in the church.
This booklet can be found in it’s entirety HERE.
This is from the Vineyard USA Executive Team …
Four central points anchoring Vineyard's response to issue of homosexuality.
First, we must be committed to both mission and holiness. The message of the kingdom is a message of welcome. Anyone can come to the feast - Jesus himself was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard. And at the same time, the message of the kingdom is repent, believe, and follow Jesus in every area of life. At times, it can feel as if these two principles are mutually exclusive. But we are convinced they are not. It is possible to offer the radical welcome of Jesus while calling people to high standards of discipleship.
Second, the Bible promotes, celebrates and affirms marriage as a covenantal union between a man and a woman. Marriage is not the highest purpose of humanity. The apostle Paul himself was single, as was Jesus. At the same time, it must be honored as a sign and gift from God.
Third, we believe that all humans are to be treated with kindness and compassion, as the image-bearers of God on earth. We are all sinful, and it is profoundly unbiblical to pick out one sin that is stigmatized above others. In the history of the church, homosexual persons experienced such sinful stigmatization. We repent and renounce this sort of sinful treatment.
Fourth, we believe that outside of the boundaries of marriage, the Bible calls for abstinence. We know that in our culture, premarital sex, along with many other forms of non-marital sex, has become normative. We want to lovingly help people of any sexual orientation to live up to this standard. We recognize that it can be a difficult journey, and there must be grace along the way. The powerful, beautiful gift of human sexuality must be stewarded with seriousness and compassion within our movement.