Tag Archives: Kingdom Theology

Kingdom Theology Resources

kingdom theologyA friend of mine emailed me today asking for a list of resources about Kingdom Theology. As I typed up the list, I realized that there might be some others out there who were wondering the same thing.

To that end, here is my list of the top Kingdom Theology resources. Note that I focused PRIMARILY on resources about Kingdom Theology proper and not on how Kingdom Theology affects how we live our lives. As in, I didn’t included John Wimber’s books on healing or evangelism as they mainly dealt with how Kingdom Theology influences our practical lives and not the theological structure itself.

If you know of other books, audio files, online articles, etc., please post them in the comments below.

Books on Kingdom Theology Proper

1.    Breakthrough: Discovering the Kingdom” by Derek Morphew – This THE BEST book on the subject, IMHO, and should be read by everyone in the Vineyard… Derek is a South African pastor, and theologian who was named the Academic Dean of Vineyard Institute, the online school started by six different national Vineyard Associations across the globe (i.e. USA, UK/Ireland, South Africa, Kenya, Norden, and Benelux). This book has the added bonus of having been translated in to Spanish… (oh, lest I forget, Derek has published several ebooks through Amazon which are great Kingdom Theology resources if you have an e-reader).

2.    “Kingdom Come: How Jesus Wants to Change the World” by Allen M. 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).

3.    “Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God” by George Ladd – Kingdom Theology, as understood by the Vineyard, 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. (For those who really want to dive into Ladd’s writings, try “The Presence of the Future: The Eschatology of Biblical Realism” as it was the book that started it all.)

4.    “The Eclipse of Christ in Eschatology: Toward a Christ-Centred Approach” by Adrio König – This book is out of print now and may be hard to find…however, it is worth the read for whoever can find it. König is a professor of Systematic Theology at the University of South Africa and member of the Dutch Reformed Church, which gives him a slightly different view on the Bible and the kingdom of God.

5. “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

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

2.    “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.

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

4. “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.

Kingdom Theology Audio Files

1.    “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.

Reading The Bible Through A Kingdom Theology Lens

1.    “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.” Winn does a GREAT job at showing how each of the books of the Bible fit within the grand story of the Bible. Winn, by the way, was the founder and director of Vineyard Institute for Ministry as well as the Research Director for Vineyard Ministries International under John Wimber.

2.    “The Biblical Metanarrative: One God, One Plan, One Story” by Bill Jackson – This book traces the main themes of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and is required  reading for all Vineyard Institute students. Bill is a Vineyard pastor, church planter and theologian who has taught at St. Stephen’s University and Vineyard Leadership Institute.

3.    “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 Winn or Bill’s book as it is both physical smaller and shorter in page length.

Understanding Vineyard Theology: Introduction & Challenges

Luke Geraty over at Think Theology as recently started a great series about the challenges facing the Vineyard’s dominant theology lens, i.e. kingdom theology. So far Luke has only published two posts on the topic, but I hear that he is getting ready to publish a few more.

As such, I would recommend heading over there and reading these two posts so that you are ready for the next wave…

  1. Understanding Vineyard Theology: Introduction & Challenges
  2. Kingdom Theology in the Vineyard: Upside Down & Now Not Yet

oh, make sure you read the comments on the posts as I have posted some of my thoughts there. 😀

My Life Through The Three Movements of the Holy Spirit: Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Third Wave

azuzs streetEd Stetzer, the President of LifeWay Research and great missiologist, has recently embarked on a series of blog posts about the Pentecostal / Charismatic / Third Wave Movements. The first post starts off by defining the “continualist movement” (i.e. Christians who believe that the spiritual gifts are still active today) as opposed to the cessastionists who believing that such gifts have stopped. From there, Stetzer gives a good history overview of the beginning of Pentecostalism before summarizing their doctrine/theology.

In the second post, Stetzer tackles the Charismatic movement – with a great history on how that movement got started in in the early 1960s. This was, to me, the most interesting article of the series as I didn’t know very much about how the Charismatic movement got started. (Spoiler: God used Dennis Bennett at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, CA to spark the movement).

The next post was about the Third Wave, which moved through the USA in the 1980’s. This wave was different from both the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements in both doctrine and practice. Pentecostalism was rooted in the Holiness Revival of the 1800’s and hold to a doctrine of subsequence (meaning that a believer is fill with the Holy Spirit in a second, or subsequence, event after conversion). The Charismatic movement pick up this doctrine of subsequence and brought it into the mainline churches (i.e. Anglican, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Lutherans, Orthodox, and Reformed).

Third Wavers, a term coined by C. Peter Wagner Professor of Church Growth at Fuller, disagreed with this doctrine. They believe that a follower of Jesus is baptized with the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion and that one could be filled with the Spirit without speaking in tongues (something the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches would disagree with). Stetzer lists John Wimber of the Vineyard and Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel as proponents of this view.

Wild Goose Chase Computer imageAs I write this overview of Ed Stetzer’s articles, I can’t help but smile as I’ve personally been shaped by all three movements. My paternal great-grandmother, paternal great-granduncle, paternal great-uncle, maternal grandfather, mother, step-father, maternal aunt, and maternal uncle all have been licensed and/or ordinated pastors within Pentecostalism (mostly with the Independent Assemblies, who broke off from the Assemblies of God in 1967). Growing up, I remember attending Buddy Harrison’s Faith Christian Fellowship in Tulsa, Ok, before my family sifted over to some Charismatic churches in Tyler, TX. College found me deeply rooted in a local Church On The Rock church, a network of Charismatic churches in Texas started by Larry Lea. After college I moved to Idaho where I fell headlong into the Third Wave through Tri Robinson and the Vineyard Movement.

Looking back, I can see where these three movements have shaped my worldview and theology. My Pentecostal roots taught me to look at the world through spiritual eyes, seeing the spiritual battle waging around us every day. It also introduced me to spiritual gifts, miracles, and the Christus victor atonement model, among other things. My journey within the Charismatic movement tampered my typically emotional self and introduced me to the Reform/Calvinist approach to spiritual gifts as well as the penal substitutionary atonement model. Charismatic and Evangelical college professors also opened my eyes up biblical studies, giving me a taste of the joy that comes with studying the Scriptures.

Life within the Third Wave over the last ten years have transformed me once again – opening my eyes up the center-set beauty of enacted inaugurated eschatology Kingdom Theology. Big words describing a worldview deeply rooted in the Kingship of Jesus who transformed history and all of creation with his birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension. Gone is guilt of not having enough faith when praying for the sick, or anything else matter; gone is the doctrine of subsequence (granted, I was introduced to the Holy-Spirit-at-conversion concept at the Charismatic leaning Church On The Rock); gone is the strict holiness club mind set of Pentecostalism…

It has been an interesting journey full of twists and turns (like any good journey). Three unique movements with different histories and doctrines with some overlapping theology and practices…three movements that have left their stamp on global church and my life. Three movements all chasing after the Holy Spirit with a belief that God is still working in the world today and is calling His people to step out in faith and do the impossible.

Fun times. Let’s go.

The Distinctives of the Vineyard

There are many tribes or denominations within the greater Global Church, some of them old and some new… Every group is important as they reflect the multifaceted mystery of the Almighty. We, I, need the entire body of Christ (i.e. Church) to help guide me and direct me down the path of life.

Yet sometimes it is nice to find a smaller tribe of people in which you can walk… a group that shares common values and whose heart breaks with the same intensity over the same issues. It is, as Jason Clark recently wrote, to be apart of a denomination in which you can find accountability and support. And the group that I belong to – the group that shares the cries of my heart – is the Vineyard. It isn’t the ‘cats meow’ for everyone nor does it claim to be the best. But it is the group for me!

Recently I was browsing a church planting forum when I saw a post by Michael Gatlin, National Church Planting Director, about the distinctives of the Vineyard. As I read through the list that he got from John Mumford, Director of Vineyard UK, my heart just jumped! This was it! This is why I call the Vineyard home and why I love my tribe.

So, being a blogger, I would like to share with you all this list of distinctives on what makes the Vineyard Vineyard. (underlines emphasis are mine)

The main and the plain.

  • What do what the scriptures say. The Bible is our gold standard, plumb line
  • Confident and thoughtful in the teaching of the bible in small and large groups the whole counsel of God, the good & easy bits and the difficult bits. We are a people who are wrestling with what the bible says, and how does it apply to our situations.
  • Are our people reading and looking up stuff in the bible? Get into the book yourself and push your people to do the same!
  • We’ve only really had the book in this form for 400 years and we tend to take it for granted.
  • We minister who we are, people impacted by the kingdom in our real lives. Taking it in and giving it away.

The now and the not yet.

  • This is crucial and foundational to who we are.
  • Encouraging a lifestyle that expects the kingdom of God to be demonstrated time and again everywhere we are. We are first and foremost a kingdom of god movement. Our central theological motif. It is not nearly a proposition to believe, rather a way to live.
  • This is a theology that empower and at the same time sustained us through difficulties. It keeps us from the triumpfatalism of Pentecostalism on the one hand, and from the cecassionism of conservative evangelicalism on the other.
  • We are unashamed and unembarrassed that power and suffering go hand in hand. This teaching helps life make sense, it takes my breath away.

Continue reading The Distinctives of the Vineyard

Love the Way You Lie

No matter the genres or the artist, I always love songs from the heart. Songs about real life – the pain, the joy, the sorrow, the happiness and the struggle of living day to day in a twisted world. Perhaps this is why I have gravitated towards more singer/songwriter genres along with a bit of classic and alternative rock, alternative folk, classic bluegrass and traditional Celtic throw in for good measure.

A few years ago I stumbled upon the song “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem and Rihanna and was stuck by the passion and emotion of the song. For those of you have not heard it, it is a song that explores the internal struggles and emotions of a couple caught in the cycle of domestic violence. Like real life, the song is raw and includes some hard theme and words (listener be warned) – yet it is honest…and for that reason it is a song I keep going back to over and over again.

One of the most powerful moments of the song is when Eminem raps the lines:

Now I know we said things, did things that we didn’t mean
And we fall back into the same patterns, same routine

This is an admission that the things that they wants to do they don’t do and the things they don’t want to do, they do. It is a re-stating of St. Paul’s words in Romans 7:15-20 – which, in turn, is a picture of the struggle between the coming Age To Come and the injustice, evil current age. Our spirits and souls know that we were made for peace and love, and yet we all seem to fall short of that goal…

Don Williams in his book “Twelve Steps with Jesus” states that everyone on the planet is an addict in the fullness of the word. Each of us have something in our lives that leaves us craving for more, which leads to that something controlling us and forces us to continue to use that it. This addiction may not be a chemical (i.e. alcohol, illegal or legal drugs), but could be an unhealthy dependence on people, something more like a masturbation addiction, a need to shop or to cover up pain with food – to name a few addictions.

So what is the solution?

Well there is no silver bullet or easy way out of this messed up world. Yet, there is a path that leads to wholeness and healing – a path that can only come into view once you acknowledge your addiction and give up control of your life to Jesus the King. He will take your broken life with all of its messed up pieces and not simply help you manage the sin – NO!! He will breathe new life into our body and lives – moving beyond repairing it beyond the point that it is better than when it began!

Continue reading Love the Way You Lie

“South Africa and the Powers Behind” by Derek Morphew

Growing up in the Pentecostal/Charismatic world I heard a lot about the ‘powers’ and ‘principalities’ of evil that ruled this current age (Eph. 6:12). Most of the time it these terms would be used when engaging in prayer walks or prayer meetings… Or, as the case may be, when someone was commenting on the darkness or evil of a particularly city, country, or geographical location (Daniel 10:13 was usually quoted at that time).

Yet in spite all the talk about “them”, I never fully comprehended what in the world St. Paul was talking about…

Accordingly, it was bated breath that I started reading Derek Morphew’s ebook “South Africa and the Powers Behind.” Derek, as a lot of you know, is a Vineyard South African pastor, scholar, theologian and practitioner who, in my opinion, is one of the best voices on Kingdom Theology in the world (yeah, I’m a huge fan!).

The book itself arose from a sermon series delivered by Derek in the late 1980’s to a predominalty white congregation struggling with the growing violence and tension within Apartheid South African. The sermons sought to provide an answer for some of the questions facing the congregation and help open their eyes to what was really happening behind the scenes in the spiritual world. After the fall of the apartheid, this book helped bring Derek to the attention of the The Evangelial Alliance of South Africa (TEASA), a covering body for all evangelical denominations and structures in South Africa, where he then served on their national board. He also represented the TEASA to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) chaired by Desmond Tutu. Derek’s primary statement to the TRC is included in the appendix of this book.

This information is of crucial importance as it provides the backdrop for how Derek approaches the biblical concept of powers and principalities and how these forces of evil manifests themselves in visible social structures (political, economic, cultural, etc.). It probably goes without saying, but while the book is dealing with a particular ideological struggle in a particular country, the concepts and biblical analysis contained in the book is useful to Jesus followers the world over.

Continue reading “South Africa and the Powers Behind” by Derek Morphew

What Is Kingdom Theology?

On one level answer the title question is easy enough (i.e. it is a theology system based upon enacted, inaugurated eschatology). Yet on the other hand, it is a question that is hard to understand and live out (i.e. is King Jesus really king of everything in our lives?).

In my wilder moments, I dream of answering the question of “what is Kingdom Theology” via a book I’ve been writing…granted I have been working on it for many years now and will most likely will be continuing to work on it for many more years to come…

In the meantime, I recently discovered a relativity short definition of Kingdom Theology on Bill Jackson’s website taken from a lecture by Derek Morphew, the South African Vineyard theologian, practitioner and pastor who is the best (in my opinion that is) Kingdom Theologian out there.

After you finished reading that definition, make sure you check out the rest of  Bill Jackson’s resources as they are fairly cool. =D

Junia or Junias: Thoughts on Women in Church Leadership

Last week on his blog Frank Viola (author/speaker) posted a link to his essay “Reimagining a Women’s Role in the Church” which was originally meant for this book Reimagining Church”, but was left out due to the length of the book in general.

Seeing how women in leaders is one of those ‘sticky’ issues in parts of the church today, I decided to wander over and skim his essay – well, that and the fact that Frank Viola is pretty influential due to his work with Leonard Sweet, George Barna, and others – meaning, of course, that it is good to know what his viewpoint is on the issue.

In skimming over the essay, I have to say that I was fairly impressed on the way in which Frank approached and dealt with the issue at hand. He retained the integrity of the Scriptures while looking at the full context in which they were written.

For example in his talk about the limited verses in 1 Timothy 2, Frank reminds the readers of the Gnostics teachings spreading throughout Ephesus that stated that Eve pre-existed Adam and because she tasted the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge first, she was the “bearer of special spiritual knowledge”, which was the hallmark and desire of Gnostics. Seen again this background, St. Paul’s words to Timothy begin to take on a different mean than when they are read by themselves devoid of any culture/historical context.

In addition to bring up some things I had not thought about, Frank’s essay also reminded me of an ebook I had read a month or so ago. The book is in entitled “Junia Is Not Alone” and was written by Scot McKnight, New Testament scholar at North Park University in Chicago.

In that book Scot tackles Romans 16:7, which is a fairly controversial verse in the whole women in church leadership debate. For those who recall, Romans 16:7 makes reference to an apostle named “Junia.” I put the name in quotes as the debate sounding this verse is limited to whether or not the Greek name is feminine (Junia) or masculine (Junias).

Continue reading Junia or Junias: Thoughts on Women in Church Leadership

The Kingdom New Testament

I don’t know if you all have heard or not, but I just found out that N.T. Wright released translation of the New Testament last fall called
“The Kingdom New Testament.” While I have not read it (although I am saving my pennies to get it!), Scott McKnight gives it the following praise:

“Better than any translation I know today, other than the most literal of translations (which have an entirely different problem), I hear the author’s Greek behind Tom’s translation. Still, Tom Wright is much more in tune with rendering the Greek NT into contemporary English, and that’s the subtitle of the KNT: A Contemporary Translation. He does so with elan at times. The translation is brisk and energetic, it’s gender neutral, and it has some real surprises that will make you smile — and provide insight at the same time….

“There is something quite distinct about Tom’s translation: he wants the reader to feel the 1st Century, to hear a Jew call Jesus “Messiah” or “King” and he wants his readers to know that the word “righteousness” just might not cut through ecclesial thickets and deserves to be translated at times a “justice” and (I observe in Matt 5:17-20) as “covenant behavior.” So, yes, there’s a touch of the new perspective, or as Tom calls his approach, the “fresh” perspective, but it’s very even-handed and not at all overdone.”

Yeah, I think I am going to have to figure out a way to get my hands on this Bible – especially as I’m getting ready to dive into a new sermon series on of the life of Jesus… 😕

UPDATE @ 11:00 AM : My lovely bride found a great deal this morning and ordered this Bible for me!!! She is SO AWESOME!!! 😀