A little while back I traveled to Cincinnati to speak at the Cincinnati Vineyard to a regional group of Vineyard pastors and leaders. I have always enjoyed the Vineyard leaders, in part because I had friends in the Vineyard when it was launched and because I’ve watched so many in the Vineyard grow — theologically and ecclesially. I am grateful to Dave Workman, former senior pastor at Cincy’s Vineyard, and to Jason Smith for hosting me. Great to be with them, and good to have dinner — and make the acquaintances of Joshua Stoxen and Thom Lyons over dinner.
Vineyard folks are known for their worship times that shape both their gatherings and their theology, so I was not surprised that our evening session began with plenty of time carved out for prayer and worship. [Yes, I know there is debate about what “worship” means and not a little irritation on the part of some that “worship” is sometimes restricted to times of prayer and singing when gathered, but we can avoid that one for the time being.]
Well, I chose to talk about the kingdom, or they asked me to speak about kingdom, and talking to Vineyard about kingdom is VineyardTalk … but I wanted to urge them to consider a more robust vision of kingdom — so I sketched five elements of kingdom theology and that each element needs to be in play if we are going to approximate what the Bible means by kingdom: A king, a rule by that king — a rule that is both governing and redeeming, a people over whom the king rules (governance and redemption), a land/place and a law/ethics. Overall it was a very good session with good feedback from folks.
A well-known professor made the prediction way back in the 80s that the Vineyard would die out soon, but I want to say it’s here and it seems here to stay — a charismatic, theologically-developing movement within American evangelicalism.