I discovered a lecture by Bert Waggoner, the US AVC National Director, entitled "The Vineyard Legacy" – given at the 2008 Northwest Leaders Gathering – Vancouver, WA. In this session, Waggoner pretty covers everything we have been discussing in this thread!! If you the time, I would highly recommend downloading and listening to it!!
Here are a few highlights from Waggoner's lecture:
- The Kingdom of God is our legacy. It is who we are and it is the mark we must leave behind for the church and the world.
- Waggoner commented on his concerns that the Vineyard movement is losing it's focus on the Kingdom of God. These concerns came out of three experiences:[@more@]
1) He was recently in India speaking to the Vineyard pastors about the Kingdom. During this time, five pastors came up and asked what was the Kingdom of God as they had never heard about it…..
2) When he sign a document promoting a two state solution to the Israel / Palestine issue, several Vineyard leaders/pastors came to him disagreeing based upon a dispensational theology.
3) The Vineyard Movement is a center set where people are "judged" (my word) on if they are moving towards to center (ie. Jesus and the Kingdom), not on where they are currently located. This is different from a bounded set where folks are judged on being "in" or "out".
Being a center set, the Vineyard makes room for different people, ideas, and cultures. However, more and more leaders are coming to Waggoner wanting him to set more rules on what's a Vineyard and what's not. Meaning that folks are wanting to go from a Kingdom center set to a bounded set….
- In discussing his concerns about losing the legacy of the Kingdom of God, Waggoner spoke about the danger of losing the Kingdom. He did this by walking through the Parable of the Sower – mainly that if we fail to understand the Kingdom, satan will take it away. We have to fully understand the Kingdom so it can be applied to one's life.
Three ways the Kingdom can be taken away:
- A hard heart; allowing satan to steals it away. This can be a theological hard heart. (on the path)
- Surface emotion responses based upon experience but no theological framework rocky ground)
- We can get caught up in life and forget about the Kingdom (thorns)
- Waggoner ended this selection with the comment that "practice without theology goes bad; theology without practice is dry…and is usually destructive."
- Why is it such a big deal? Because it was and is the central message of Jesus. After Jesus rose from the grave, he spent 40 days teaching the disciples about the Kingdom of God. This was his LAST days on earth and he spent it teaching on the Kingdom!
As such, we must:
1) We must go through a theological conversion and fully understand the Kingdom of God
2) We must make time to understand the Kingdom. If we don't constantly seek to understand and teach the Kingdom of God, we will be overcome by the cares of this world (ie. work, family, ministry, ect)
3) We need to embrace the full message of the Kingdom and how it transforms society, creation, hearts of men, ect