Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Why Vineyard?

So, I found the following an interesting and concise historical explanation for the "sources" of Vineyard theology. It's taken from a short article entitled "Why Vineyard?", written by Don Williams, PTS grad and Ph.D from Columbia, as well as founding pastor of Coast Vineyard in San Diego. You may find it enlightening...

The Theological Structure of the Vineyard
The Vineyard’s “Statement of Faith” fed by a number of sources. First, the creeds of the Church Fathers. We confess the Trinity, one God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the two natures of Christ incarnate, both fully divine and fully human at the same time (God and Man).

Second, as heirs of the Reformation, we agree with Luther, “He only is a theologian who can distinguish between law and gospel.” Abandoning salvation by works or salvation mediated by the church, we hold to Pauline “Justification by Faith” alone. Like the Reformers, we concur that “Popes and councils can err.” Thus we accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the Word of God written, as the only absolute authority for the church. This (sola Sciptura) is the final rule for faith and practice. And like the Reformers, we know that “still our ancient foe, doth seek to work us woe” (Luther). Spiritual warfare is our lot in this world. While we live in Christ’s kingdom, we do battle with Satan’s kingdom, knowing that the victory has already been won. As Luther sings, “Let goods and kindred go. This mortal life also. The body they may kill. God’s truth abideth still. His kingdom is forever.”

Third, we embrace the themes of the Evangelical Awakening of the 18th century, led by John and Charles Wesley. We believe in the necessity of personal conversion to Christ through the “new birth,” authored by His Spirit, and personal holiness as its necessary fruit. The character of Christ and the works of the kingdom: reaching the lost, healing the sick, serving the poor, and seeking justice for the oppressed, come through this transforming work. As Detrich Bonhoeffer writes (in proper sequence), “Only he who believes can obey and only he who obeys can believe.”

Fourth, we are heirs of the “Great Century of World Missions” (the 19th Century), and believe that the “Great Commission” stands, making us intentional “missional communities.” Calls for conversion and church planting are not optional. As a movement, we exist to bring the nations to Christ.

Fifth, we are also heirs of the 20th Century Pentecostal/Charismatic renewals. We welcome this stream of the Spirit into the church, while remaining solidly evangelical in our theology. As our “Statement of Faith” confesses: “We believe in the filling or the empowering of the Holy Spirit, often a conscious experience, for ministry today. We believe in the present ministry of the Spirit and…exercise…all of the biblical gifts of the Spirit.” This leads to action: “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.”

Sixth, the “Biblical Theology Movement” instructs us. We see New Testament faith as fully “eschatological.” This means that we are not simply waiting for the End, we are living in it. The consummation of all things has already begun in the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and the outpouring of his Spirit at Pentecost. We live in the tension of the kingdom come and coming, “the already and the not yet.” We grow in sanctification and build churches knowing that the kingdom is here, but not fully here.

Grace & Peace