Monday, March 22, 2010

here not yet, yet, yet, yet......

The Vineyard Church is heavily defined, especially by those within it to have a 'Kingdom Theology' That the Kingdom of God is here and now, yet not quite here 'yet'. The Vineyards outward  example of this is 'Signs and Wonders'. Yet through the emerging theology this definition has been expanded to include a Kingdom of God which helps to redeem the broken, poor, and hungry. I had written about this on the Ranges blog.

Lately Jason Coker has written about this looking at  N.T Wright::

Enter NT Wright. Like Ladd, Wright lent immense academic credibility to Evangelical theology, and much of it has built upon the “inaugurated eschatology” Kingdom motif. This has had a significant impact on Vineyard leaders, who have taken Wright’s work and applied it. Where Ladd understood the Kingdom to be the powerful presence of God, Wright emphasizes the redemption of the cosmos according to God’s powerful rule. Hence, the “now” of the Kingdom means “putting the world to rights.” This re-imagines the “now” in considerably less ethereal terms, often placing it squarely in the realm of political activism.

I like the term that Wright uses "the redemption of the cosmos according to God's powerful rule" It is holistic, referring to a myriad of things including justice for those in need as well as a environmental bent.
This sort of shift I think will bring about a significant underpinning to the Vineyard.

Coker goes onto write::

There is currently a great deal of energy for participating in this kind of “now,” and I’m grateful. It is a noble and Godly work to fight for the abolition of modern day slavery, bring racial reconciliation, etc. However, I can’t help but wonder, what excesses will this lead to? What will be the “Toronto Blessing” of the social justice movements? Does it bother anyone that a shift away from the transcendent immanence of God seems to have resulted in a widespread loss of the apocalyptic intensity that so pervasively characterized Jesus’ own ministry?

I would agree with this, but it is not a theological understanding within Australian Vineyard Churches. In my opinion I'm not sure that the connection with the Kingdom as "the powerful presence of Godthe redemption of the cosmos according to God’s powerful rule."is understood. Or even if it is understood takes away from a 10-15 year old understanding of what a Vineyard Church is, and therefore best left alone.