Category Archives: Vineyard Movement

Kingdom Theology Resources (Updated)

kogbooksA year ago I posted a list of Kingdom Theology resources for those wanting to know more about the Kingdom of God. This post is an updated version of that original post with even more resources for those wanting to know about the Kingdom.

The resources listed in the first section are dealing with the theological foundation of Kingdom Theology while the second section contain books whose focus in the practical application of Kingdom Theology.

Have fun digging into these books and wrestling with the concepts found between their covers.

 

Section One: Theological Foundation of Kingdom Theology

 

Kingdom Theology Proper

Breakthrough: Discovering the Kingdom by Derek Morphew – If you were to just read one other book on Kingdom Theology, this would be the book I would recommend. Derek Morphew is a South African Vineyard pastor, scholar and theologian who has been studying, living and teaching Kingdom Theology for decades. This volume beautifully captures his view of Jesus’ message of the enacted inaugurated eschatology.  Morphew also has published numerous other books on Kingdom Theology through Vineyard International Publishing.

Kingdom Come: How Jesus Wants to Change the World by Allen Mitsuo Wakabayashi – This is a good starter book on Kingdom Theology and what it means to join God in His Mission to redeem all of creation to Himself. Sadly however, Allen fails to take Kingdom Theology outside of the parameters of conservative evangelism (i.e. no signs and wonders or healing prayers in this book, just a focus on Bible studies and living a life devoted to Jesus).

Heaven on Earth: Experiencing the Kingdom of God in the Here and Now by R. Alan Streett – Written from a Pentecostal viewpoint, this book does a good job at explaining the kingdom message of Jesus as seen throughout the Bible. My main issue with the book is Alan Streett’s view on healing as he leans heavily towards the victory side of the tension with an emphasis on the faith of a person.

Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did and Why He Matters by N.T. Wright – N.T. Wright is one of the top theological historians of our times. Over the past few decades he has helped remind people of the first century historical context in which Jesus was born, raised, taught and died. Simply Jesus summarizes his more scholar works in a manner that the average person can understand. With that said, it must be noted that in this book N.T. Wright stops short of bring the inaugurated eschatology message of Jesus into the practical life of a believer. He touches on it a bit, but overall his main focus in Simply Jesus is to provide a historical context for the message of Jesus.

The Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God by George E. Ladd – Kingdom Theology is deeply indebted to George Ladd and his scholarly work on the kingdom of God. This book is based upon lectures by Ladd given during his time at Fuller Theological Seminary. While a bit scholarly at times, it goes a great overview of the ‘here and not yet.’ However similar to Wakabayashi’s book, Ladd stops short of fully exploring the practical ramifications of Kingdom Theology’s inaugurated eschatology. (Those who want a more scholarly version of Ladd’s works can check out The Presence of the Future: The Eschatology of Biblical Realism.)

The Genesis Café: Conversations on the Kingdom by Robby McAlpine – Written as a fictional conversation between three friends, The Genesis Café does a wonderful job of breaking down George Ladd’s writings on the Kingdom of God into a manner that the average church goer can understand. I would highly recommend starting with this book before reading Ladd’s Gospel of the Kingdom or The Presence of the Future as it will help establish a baseline understand of Ladd’s works.

“Start Here: Kingdom Essentials for Christians” by Don Williams – Written for folks who have just started following Jesus, this is a GREAT book for ALL Jesus followers as it summarizes the basic principles of being a Christian. While it is a bit of a topic book, I went ahead and listed it here as Don does a wonderful job of highlighting the value of Kingdom Theology within a very easy to read framework. Don, by the way, is one of the top Vineyard scholars/pastors out there. He was the one, for example, who crafted the Vineyard Statement of Faith.

Online Articles on the Kingdom

“What Is Kingdom Theology?” by Derek Morphew – A short article outlining the basics of Kingdom Theology

“Understanding Vineyard Theology: Introduction & Challenges” , “Kingdom Theology in the Vineyard: Upside Down & Now Not Yet” and “Vineyard Theology Doesn’t Mix with Dispensationalism” are some GREAT posts by Vineyard pastor Luke Geraty on the importance of Kingdom Theology.

“Defining ‘Kingdom of God’: Part 1, 2 and 3 – a three part blog article defining the central message of Jesus by yours truly (i.e. Joshua S. Hopping.

“A Vineyard Kingdom Hermeneutic: Pneumatic, Communal, Transformative, and Missional” by Luke Geraty – A paper written by Luke while at the University of Birmingham on how the Vineyard’s focus on the Kingdom effects how we read the Bible. While it contains a bunch of $5 words, it is a good read for those interested in Kingdom Theology.

Audio Files

“The Kingdom of God” – A five part sermon by Derek Morphew given at the Vineyard USA Southwest Regional Pastors and Leaders conference held in New Orleans from 5-8 June 2006.

“The Kingdom of God: Not just in theory but living a life of practice” – An 8 CD set produced by Robby Dawkins on that Kingdom of God means, how it works and how we are suppose to operate in it.

Metanarrative of the Scriptures

God’s EPIC Adventure by Winn Griffin – A great book which challenges the fragmentation of the biblical story in modern society by teaching the church to understand what “her story is and how to become the people of God living as his recreated humanity.” Griffin does a GREAT job at showing how each of the books of the Bible fit within the grand story of the Bible

The Biblical Metanarrative: One God, One Plan, One Story by Bill Jackson – Written from a Kingdom Theology viewpoint, Jackson traces the main themes of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The material in the book has been taught around the world as a seven hour seminar called NothinsGonnaStopIt!

Drama of Scripture, The: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story by Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen – Written by two Redeemer University College professors, this book summarizes the grand story of the Bible in an easy to read narrative prose. Some folks will find this book easier to read than Griffins or Jackson’s book as it is both physical smaller and shorter in page length.

 

Section Two: Practical Application of Kingdom Theology

 

Physical Healing/Signs and Wonders

Do What Jesus Did: A Real-Life Field Guide to Healing the Sick, Routing Demons and Changing Lives Forever by Robby Dawkins – Robby Dawkins is a Vineyard pastor with a passion for modeling the ministry of Jesus on the streets. Filled with first hand stories of success and failure, this is a must read book for anyone wanting to do the stuff that Jesus did.

GodSpeak: How to Hear God’s Voice Without Getting Weird by Rick Evans and Jessica Fischer – Embracing the tension of the Kingdom and practicing the gifts of the Spirit can be scary, especially if you haven’t had very many good models. Evans and Fischer do a great job at walking the reader through the ins and outs of hearing God’s voice, prophecy, healing and what not.

Healing Ministry by Jack Moraine – There are a lot of books out there about healing the sick. Of them, I like Moraine’s book the best as he embraces the tension of the here and not yet. He also does a great job at talking about the dangers of breaking the tension and failing into a victory or suffering view of healing.

Empowered Evangelicals: Bringing Together the Best of the Evangelical and Charismatic Worlds by Rich Nathan and Ken Wilson – This is a classic book about embracing the tension of the Kingdom and living with the best parts of the Evangelical and Charismatic worlds within the United States of America. It is a must read for anyone recently exposed to the concept of the here and not yet.

Inner Healing

12 Steps with Jesus: How Filling the Spiritual Emptiness in Your Life Can Help Your Break Free from Addiction by Don Williams – This is a powerful book about the Spirit of God coming inside us and breaking us free from all forms of addiction (chemical, relational, etc.). Williams has also created 13 week recovery course called “Freedom for Life” based upon this book.

Experiencing Healing Prayer: How God Turns Our Hurts Into Wholeness  by Rick Richardson – While some of the books in this list deal more with physical healing, this volume deals with the inner healing of addictive behaviors and broken relationship.

Doing Healing: How to Minister God’s Kingdom in the Power of the Spirit by Alexander Venter – Written by a South African Vineyard pastor, this book contains a lot of practical advice those engaged in praying for both physical and inner healing. Venter also does a great job looking at the Kingdom Theological aspect of healing, although I do disagree with him on some minor points.

Environmental Stewardship

Saving God’s Green Earth: Rediscovering the Church’s Responsibility to Environmental Stewardship by Tri Robinson – Filled with lots of real-life stories, this book does a great job of laying out the biblical command for taking care of God’s creation.

Green Revolution: Coming Together to Care for Creation by Ben Lowe – Unlike some environmental books – Christian or not – Ben does not “preach” at you through the pages. There no lists of shoulds or should nots – nor were there any chapters condemning one group or another. Instead, Ben told the stories of regular people serving God through their personal lives, church, university and/or non-profit organization. These stories were held together by the greater theme of God’s work in the land.

Tending to Eden: Environmental Stewardship for God’s People by Scott C. Sabin –  This book isn’t just about being good stewards of God’s creation – it is a book geared towards getting past the symptoms of rural poverty and focusing on the root causes. It is a fantastic book showing the holistic nature of poverty and all the factors attributing to it.

Social Justice/Human Rights

God of the Empty-Handed: Poverty, Power and the Kingdom of God by Jayakumar Christian – Written by the Associate Director of World Vision India, this is a powerful book that is split into three parts. The first part provides the background to how different groups have defined poverty throughout history. The second part is a challenge to the reader to look at reality through the eyes of the poor. The last part is Christian’s proposal for tackling the issue of poverty across the world.

Kingdom Theology and Human Rights by Derek Morphew – Part of Morphew’s “Kingdom Theology Series,” this book looks at the Scriptural text for human rights before diving into the biblical theology thereof. After that, he looks at the history of human rights throughout the ages as well as the different theological viewpoints of human rights by the major branches of Christianity (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Liberation, etc.).

Doing Reconciliation: Racism, Reconciliation and Transformation in Church and World by Alexander Venter – Written out of the pain of the South Africa apartheid, this book is about the theology and praxis of reconciliation and transformation through the lens of Kingdom Theology. This was one of the hardest and most challenging books I have ever read due to the real world application of the materials.

Missional Living

Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism by Carl Medearis – It may sound odd, but in our 21st century world there is a difference between Jesus and the Christian culture that surrounds a lot of the churches in the world. In this book, Medearis does a wonderful job of helping the reader come back to a love of talking about Jesus rather than talking about the Christian culture in which they live. I highly recommend everyone reading this book!

The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon – Written by two pastors in Colorado, this book challenges the reader to think about what God is doing in their neighborhood. It also gives the readers a lot of practical examples and ideas on how to be a good neighbor.

Small Footprint, Big Handprint: How to Live Simply and Love Extravagantly by Tri Robinson – In today’s hyper-consumer culture it is easy to get caught up in buying stuff. Tri Robinson fights back against this consumption mentally with a mandate to live simply so that Jesus followers can have the time and money to love people extravagantly.

My Book Manuscript Was Accepted By VIP!!!

VIPGood news folks – my manuscript was accepted by Vineyard International Publishing (VIP)!!! 😀

And more importantly, they said that they loved my writing style: “It reads easily and communicates well.” Much happiness!

I still have a way to go before the book is officially published… right now I’m awaiting feedback from some reviewers. Once I’ve heard back from them, I will need to tweak the content before sending it off to VIP to be edited (say, in September-ish). This is a new chapter that I’m very much looking forward to, and it’s very exciting to think that my very own writing is actually going to turn into printing a hardcover book and having it published! Of course, I’m a little nervous at what should happen within the editing stage, but there’s not too much to worry about considering it’s been accepted. There is no exact time-scale on much of it yet, but it’s getting there!

I am also going to launch a Kickstarter campaign in a few weeks to raise the funds needed to cover the publication cost. Being a small publishing company, VIP works with new authors to help them publish books but they don’t provide them with any monetary advances like some of the big publishers. As such, I am going to need to raise around $1,500 to cover the editing, cover design and book layout costs.

So yeah… there’s still a lot of work left to do over the next several months. But, hey, the ball is moving and it looks like I just might have a book published in 2016. =D

Remembering Dr. Bill (Jax) Jackson

bill jacksonI went camping this past weekend, relaxing under a shade tree while my son dug holes in the ground (LOTS of holes and tunnels, mustn’t forget the tunnels…).

Keeping me company on this trip was Dr. Bill Jackson’s “A History of the Christian Church: Book 1: AD 70-1730.”  Ever since last fall when I heard that Bill (or Jax as those in the Vineyard called him) was publishing a book on church history, I have been wanting to read it. Some extra birthday cash gave me the excuse to download the book to my Kindle and, well, the rest is history. =)

In a kind of sadly odd way, this reading of Jax’s book turned out to be a tribute to him as Dr. Bill Jackson passed away while I was camping (June 7, 2015) after a long battle with his health.

questradicalmiddleA tribute… yeah, I think I can call reading Jax’s book on history a tribute as he spent his life telling the story of the scriptures through the lens of a pastor/historian. His first book was a history of the Vineyard movement called “The Quest for the Radical Middle.” This was one of the first books I read when I joined the Vineyard Movement twelve years ago. Published in 1999, this book told the story of the Vineyard, warts and all. Lite on fire by the Spirit during the Jesus Movement of South California, the founders of the Vineyard (Kenn Gulliksen, John Wimber, Bob Fulton, Lonnie Frisbee, and others) tried hard to walk the line between Pentecostalism and Evangelicals, having traits of both but belonging in neither group. In reading this book and experiencing the radical middle through the Vineyard Boise, I found that I had stumbled upon a tribe of people I could run after Jesus with. It was a good feeling.

Years later I read Jax’s second book, “Nothins Gonna Stop It.” For decades Jax went around the nation telling the Bible story from beginning to end as most Jesus followers don’t know or understand how all the smaller Bible stories fit together. This book was originally a study guide for his video class under the same name. Later on Jax would publish a shorter version of this book (“The Eden Project: A Short Story”) as well as a longer version (“The Biblical Metanarrative: One God – One Plan – One Story”). The latter book along with the original were both VERY influential on my understanding of Kingdom Theology.

In addition to reading the above books, I had the pleasure of reading several of his papers – both pastoral and scholarly. Most notable, his pastoral teaching guides “Learning to Ministry Like Jesus” and “Notes on the Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts” were EXTREMELY helpful on my journey towards the radical middle from a Pentecostal/Charismatic upbringing.

NGS003.176I also had the honor to meet and chat with Jax on a number of occasion. He was a regular at the Missional Leaders Meetings hosted by the Vineyard USA Missions Office for many years, allowing a young mission minded pastor the opportunity to bump into him. Rather than being standoffish, Jax was kind, caring, loving and more than willing to answer the questions of a rookie pastor trying to find his way in the world.

One of the things that stood out to me the most was an email exchange I had with him in the summer of 2011. I had just read his “Nothins Gonna Stop It” book and was thrilled to find that he had listed out some of the different gods the Creator King had conquered during the ten plagues. This was something I had been searching for and could not find… in an effort to find out where he had gotten the information from, I emailed him. Not only did he get back to me quickly, he also shared with me his “Nothins Gonna Stop It” notes with the full bibliography as well as his recent PhD dissertation on Luke-Acts!! It was like I had won the jackpot at Vegas!! Here I was, an unknown young man in the back hills of Idaho, receiving notes from THE Bill Jackson!!!!

Thank you Jax for sharing your love of the Kingdom with me. May you enjoy dancing before the King as we await the blessed hope of the resurrection.

ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς

Stick Close to Jesus

celtic cross vineyardAndy Croft, Senior Pastor at the Soul Survivor Church in Watford, UK, recently released a short two minute video about the key to longevity in ministry via Vineyard Churches UK & Ireland.

In listening to his talk, I couldn’t help but think about my own ministry journey… the last decade has been full of activity, pain, joy, happiness, and struggles. There have been times when I have felt close to Jesus and seasons where he has seemed very far away….

Sticking close to Jesus…it is a good policy. Perhaps the best one as Christianity is a journey rather than a doctrine or a destination. There was a reason why the first name for the church was the Followers of the Way. The Way…. a name that hints at a journey with Someone…

yeah… stick close to Jesus. That’s what we I need to do. One step, one moment at a time.

The First Draft is Done!!!

writeabookGood news everyone – I have finished the first draft of my book on Kingdom Theology! 😀

Ten years of research, hours of reading, tons of books, and years of applying Kingdom concept to real life all  boiled down into 81,244 words making up 13 chapters plus an epilogue. It has been quite the journey from the first glimmer of a thought of writing the book four years ago to finding the time to actually write it.  But it is done! Well, the hard part is done…I still have some tweaks and rewrites to do before it goes to print – but the first draft is complete!!

As far as the topic, the book seeks to answer two questions:

  • What is Kingdom Theology?
  • How does it affect my life?

All too often, we in the Vineyard will take about Kingdom Theology and how central it is to our theology and practice. Yet, very little has ever been written about Kingdom Theology and how it changes our worldview. It is true that there have been some books that mention Kingdom Theology or use it as a starting point; however those have typically been books about healing and/or signs and wonders and not about Kingdom Theology per say.

The only two books that I know that have been written about Kingdom Theology itself from a Vineyard viewpoint has been Derek Morphew’s book “Breakthrough: Discovering the Kingdom” and Robby McAlpine’s “The Genesis Cafe: Convesations on the Kingdom.” From outside the Vineyard, there have been a few other books – but even those are rare and sometimes carry with them viewpoints that I don’t think go with an Enacted Inaugurated Eschatology worldview.

It was this lack of resources that first led me to start thinking about writing a book about Kingdom Theology. Rather than focusing on a particular aspect of the theological viewpoint, I wanted to see if I could capture the full breath of the worldview and its practical application in one book. I also wanted to make sure that the material was presented in a manner that the average person sitting in a Vineyard church could understand (and yes, the Vineyard is my target audience). Time will tell whether or not I have accomplished this lofty goal or not…  😕

For those interested, below is an outline of the book as it stands today (who knows what will happen before it goes to print). If you are interested in helping with the review process, please let me know as I am sharing the content with a few select people. I figure the more feedback I receiving during the beginning stages, the better the final book will be. 😀

 Table of Contents: 

  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Our Perspective
    • What’s your “theology”?
  • Section One: What is Kingdom Theology?
    • Chapter Two: Jesus of Nazareth
      • The Message of Jesus of Nazareth
      • Understanding the Kingdom of God
      • The Mystery of the Kingdom
    • Chapter Three: The Story
      • In The Beginning…
      • Knowing Good and Evil
      • “Being” King
      • The Calling Out Of A People
    • Chapter Four: The Story – Part Two
      • The Disgraced Shepard
      • The Results of The Plagues
      • Crossing the Red Sea
      • The Song of Moses
      • Called for a Purpose
      • Holy Nation
    • Chapter Five: The Day of the Lord
      • A Human King In Israel
      • The Exile Dilemma
      • A Few Odd Items
      • Wrapping Things Up
    • Chapter Six: The Time Between
      • The Maccabean Revolt
      • Wiping Out Judaism
      • The Rise of the Roman Empire
      • Under Rome’s Thumb
      • 1st Century Jewish Factions
    • Chapter Seven: Jesus and the Counterfeit Kingdoms
      • Caesar versus Jesus
      • Untwisting the Kingdom
        • Twist Number One: Defining Who Are The People of God
        • Twist Number Two: Ushering In the Kingdom
        • Twist Number Three: The Coming Of The Kingdom
      • Why Should We Trust Jesus?
    • Chapter Eight: A New Way of Living
      • The Kingdom Message of the Lord/Disciples’ Prayer
      • Eternal Life
      • St. Paul and the New Testament Writers
      • The Language of Paul
  • Section Two: Applying Kingdom Theology to Our Lives
    • Chapter Nine: Reducing the Kingdom of God
      • Reduction One: The Kingdom of God Becomes The Church
      • Reduction Two: Humans Can Create The Kingdom of God on Earth
      • Reduction Three: The Spiritualization of the Kingdom
      • Reduction Four: The Kingdom Is Already Here
    • Chapter Ten: Embracing the Tension
      • Embracing the Suffering
      • Embracing the Victory
      • Salvation
      • Normal Christian Living
    • Chapter Eleven: Symbol Metamorphosis
      • Circumcision
      • The Temple of God
      • Kosher Meals
      • The Promise Land
    • Chapter Twelve:  Experiencing the Kingdom
      • Experiencing the Kingdom Through Work
      • Experiencing the Kingdom Through Rest
      • Experiencing the Kingdom Through Environmental Stewardship
      • Experiencing the Kingdom Through Spiritual Rebirth
    • Chapter Thirteen:  Walking in the Kingdom
      • Tools of the Trade
      • Understanding the Different Types of Packages
      • How do we deliver the packages?
      • Go And Do It
    • Chapter Fourteen:  Missional Living
      • Being Missional
      • Realms of Influence
      • Local Gathering of Jesus Followers (i.e. the local church)
  • Epilogue
  • Appendics
    • Appendix A: Enacted Inaugurated Eschatology
    • Appendix B: Kingdom Theology Resources
    • Appendix C: Biblical Covenants

It requires a missionary mentality…

The following text was written by Cheryl and Lance Pittluck, pastors of the VCF of Anaheim, for the recently released “Remember the Poor” booklet published by the Vineyard USA.
Cheryl and Lance Pittluck
Cheryl and Lance Pittluck

“There can be little argument that the goal of the Christian life is to be more like Jesus… to act and think, to respond and speak like Jesus. And therefore, we must also aim for the priorities of Jesus.

‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed’ (Luke 4:18).

We preach, and we preach good news, and we preach good news to the poor, I hope. But reaching out to the poor doesn’t necessarily come naturally. Unless ‘the poor’ are your family, friends and immediate community, it’s easy to not give them much thought. They often go unheard, not having a voice in society. They may not shop where we shop, hang out in the places where we socialize, or even attend our churches. And yet, they are to be a primary concern to us, as they are to God.

‘For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight’ (Ps. 72:12-14).

The answer seems obvious that we are to make a concerted effort to carry out God’s commands to love, serve and minister to the poor. Taking our faith out into the streets may mean searching for the streets that are hidden from our daily lives. It requires a missionary mentality… the kind of thinking and planning that goes into ministry to another culture different from our own. Because that is what poverty is, a culture. They live by different rules, having learned to survive with less than they need – less money and material possessions, but also less education, tools, opportunities, and options. And before we can really serve them, we have to learn from them what it means to be poor, and who they are.

‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?’ (Is. 58:6).

How do I minister to you? I get to know you, spend time with you, listen, ask questions and even share from my own life. And I have to show you that I care and can be trusted. This takes time, persistence, consistency and commitment. How do we minister to the poor? We meet them, befriend them, listen to and learn from them, love and serve them, and invite them into our family to share what we have – the hope and promise and freedom that comes from living in the light and love of God.

‘For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom’ (2 Cor. 3:17).”

– Cheryl and Lance Pittluck