Tag Archives: Rich Nathan

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.

What is the Kingdom? Booklet Excerpts #3

[box]The following text is an excerpt from the recently released “What is the Kingdom?” booklet published by the Vineyard USA.[/box]

rich nathan“One of the most challenging questions confronting Christian faith is simply this: If Jesus really was who he said he was, if he really was the long-awaited Jewish Messiah, then why is the world still in such bad shape? Why do so many people still die of hunger and cancer? Why are there still so many wars and suicide bombings? Why is there still so much slaughter taking place in Syria, in Iraq and in Afghanistan? Why is rape used as a common tactic of war across the African continent?

Let me make this really simple. If Jesus is Lord and he has all power and we have the Holy Spirit, and we have this powerful message called the Gospel, then why aren’t we more successful than we are? Why are so many marriages, even among church-going, supposedly Bible-believing Christians, in such bad shape? And why do some Christian marriages end in divorce? Why do so many kids raised in Christian families end up barely connected to church? Why are so many church-goers living double lives, hopelessly
addicted, unhappy, unfulfilled?

The bottom line is if Jesus is really true and is really risen, why is the truth not more obvious? Why don’t more people believe what Christians  believe? Why is the world not in better shape if the Messiah really did come? Haven’t you wondered about this?

Have these questions crossed your mind? For the last hundred or so years New Testament scholars have been unanimous in saying that the basic message of Jesus concerned
the kingdom of God. Jesus came preaching that through his person and his ministry the kingdom of God had broken into the world. So we read lots of texts like this one:

‘After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’”’ (Mark 1:14–15).

So what is the kingdom of God? What did Jesus mean when he said, “The kingdom of God has come near?” Is he saying Christianity has come near in my person? Is the  kingdom of God the Christian religion? No. Is the kingdom of God the church? Is Jesus saying the church has come near? Not at all. Is the kingdom of God heaven? Not really.

What are we Christians praying when we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?’ Very simply, the kingdom of God is what things would be like if Jesus ran everything and if his will was done everywhere. The kingdom of God is what things would be like if Jesus was in charge. When we pray “your
kingdom come,” we are saying that we want this situation to be like what it would be like, if you, Lord, were in charge, if your will was done. We say the kingdom has come when the Lord totally has his way, when he is running the show.

what is the kingdom 2There is a secret that God has kept for all eternity, but has now disclosed. Everyone who listens to Jesus hears the secret that God’s kingdom is going to come in two stages. In the first stage the kingdom is going to be hidden. It is not going to be obvious. You have to look for it and search for it. In the second stage God’s kingdom will be evident and open. It is going to be overwhelming, like a boulder from heaven. In the first stage God’s will doesn’t displace every other will. In the first stage of the kingdom coming into the world, God’s will is done, but so is the will of sinful human beings, so is the will of Satan.

In the second stage of the coming of the kingdom, when Christ returns, there will be only one will done on earth, the will of God. Right now, during this era, God’s will doesn’t always win the day. God’s will can be resisted. God’s will can be ignored.

The mystery of the kingdom is that the kingdom of God is here, but it hasn’t replaced every other kingdom. The will of God is being done, but so is the will of sinful men and women, and so is the will of Satan. In this age, we’re running on parallel tracks. When Christ returns creation is going to run on a monorail. Our world is going to run on
the will of God.”

– Rich Nathan

What is the Kingdom?

what is the kingdomThis week the Vineyard USA released a series of booklets about the distinctives of our movement. While all five of these booklets are great, I really want to focus on one of them as its topic is dear to my heart:

“What is the Kingdom?”

In answering this question (which I think is THE question), the booklet looks at the following subtopics:

  • The Kingdom Jesus Preached
  • The Now of the Kingdom
  • The Not Yet of the Kingdom
  • How do we become Kingdom people?

The folks who wrote articles for this Kingdom Theology booklet are among the whose who of the Vineyard: Rich Nathan, Derek Morphew, Mark & Karen Fields, John & Eleanor Mumford, and Bill Jackson.

Yeah..the national office did a great job in getting this published. Sadly, they copyrighted it so I can’t reproduce it in its entirety on this blog…but I can (and will) post a few of the articles here over the next few days. You can also read a sample copy of the booklet online or, if you want, you can simply purchase a few to keep on hand. 🙂


Introducing Vineyard Institute

For the first time, the Vineyard Movement around the world is joining together to help develop and train leaders for all levels of church life.

Vineyard Institute is a multinational, multicultural and multigenerational working partnership between all Vineyard Churches; with the aim to move forward and unite existing, recognised and future theological training under one umbrella, in order that leaders can be trained and supported at all levels of church life around the globe.

The Vineyard Institute draws from the best Vineyard theological resources available, as well as having a heavy emphasis on a two-way flow of content and best practices from local contexts, to provide an ever-evolving sharing from within the International Vineyard family and to meet the needs of each and every country involved.

Leadership for the institute is as follows:

  • VI Chairman: John Mumford (UK & Ireland National Leader).
  • VI Academic Dean: Derek Morphew (South Africa)
  • VI Board:
    • Costa Mitchell (South Africa)
    • Doug Brown (Kenya)
    • Juliet Barber (UK & Ireland)
    • Elba Dolan (Brazil)
    • Rich Nathan (USA)
    • Lance Pitluck (USA)
    • Michael Gatlin (USA)

Giving Away Our Best

A short video of Rich Nathan was recently posted on the Vineyard UK/Ireland website with a powerful message. In the video, Rich reminded local pastors that the Kingdom of God is much, much, much, much bigger than their local church. They are part of a larger movement of God throughout the world – and, as such, God may ask them to take some of their resources and “spread it around for the sake of the kingdom.”

This may sound scary to some local churches and pastors as it will cost them. They may not have anyone in place to take over the ministries of the people they are sending out…they may not have much money left over afterwards…but, as Rich said the in video, we give away our best. It is, after all, all God’s anyway – we (as pastors) are just stewards of God’s people and resources. If He says, give them away, we better give them away.

giving away our best rich nathan



Church Discipline and Restoration

Over the years church discipline have gotten a bad rap , so much so that most churches no longer hold their leaders or their members to any level of accountable. While some of this comes from abuses (which sadly continue to happen), I think the main reason why church discipline has gone the way of the dinosaurs is because of our hyper-individual culture that says that my life is my life and no one better tell me differently.

Life in the Kingdom under the rule and reign of God is different though… in this new life, which comes about when one bows their knees to the King and follows Him, there is accountability and community as all of our lives are interconnected. C.S. Lewis once used the analogy on ships on the sea. While each of our lives are individual ships, we are all sailing on the same sea and if your boat is in malfunctioning and cannot steer, then everyone around you is in danger as an accident in bound to happen.

As community, therefore, we all need to listen to the Holy Spirit and throw ourselves at the foot of the cross, asking Jesus to repair our ship and help us to sail in unity with those around us. Sometimes this does not happen and the community as a whole has to correct the path of one of its members – especially if that member is a highly visible leader.

About eighteen (or so) months ago I was shocked along with many others at the news that our VLI teacher, mentor, and friend Steve Robbins crashed his boat. He made some bad choices and ended up having an affair….which led to his immediate release from leadership at the Columbus Vineyard and their asking him to take some time off to allow God to repair his ‘ship.’

Continue reading Church Discipline and Restoration

All About Worship

Published in 1998 by Vineyard Music, the small booklet “All About Worship: Insights and Perspectives on Worship is a treasure trove of worship related information. The seventeen articles included in the booklet are written by fifteen passionate worships whose heart burns with the desire to share their love of God with others.

The articles themselves cover a wide range of information – from the theology of worship to practical steps in setting up a band to evangelizing the community through public worship.

  1. “The Life-Changing Power of Worship” by John Wimber
  2. “Worship: Out Highest Priority” by Rich Nathan
  3. “Humility, the Key to Serving in Worship” by Terry Butler
  4. “Putting God First” by Brian T. Anderson
  5. “Calling Women to Lead Worship” by Andy Park
  6. “Purity (A Woman’s Perspective)” by Cindy Rethmeier
  7. “Maintaining Purity While Working With The Opposite Sex (A Man’s Perspective)” by Andy Park
  8. “The Call to Worship the Father” by Brian Doerksen
  9. “What is Full-Time Worship Ministry?” By John Barnett
  10. “Performance: An Attitude of the Heart” by Danny Daniels
  11. “Worship Evangelism” by Mark McCoy
  12. “Worship Leaders from a Pastor’s Perspective” by Lloyd Rankin
  13. “Leaning to Lead Worship: A Beginners Guide” by Brent Helming
  14. “Leading Worship in a Small Group” by Brent Helming
  15. “Leading Worship in a Smaller Church” by Larry Myers
  16. “Ministry Time Worship: A Practical Point of View” by Scott Underwood
  17. “Serving Through Sound” by Marianne Kleine

As you can see from the above titles, having such a wide range of worship topics, it is hard to summarize this booklet in general… as such, I am going to leave you all with some selected quotes that I found particularly compelling:

Continue reading All About Worship

Who Is My Enemy?

The church talks a lot about “Who is my neighbor?” – which can be good. But I think Rich Nathan has a point when he said that the “first question the church must answer correctly is, ‘who is my enemy?’”

From this premise, Rich tackles five of the most pressing issues facing the modern church in his book Who Is My Enemy? Welcoming People The Church Rejects.

  • Is the Postmodernist My Enemy?
  • Is the Feminist My Enemy?
  • Is the Homosexual My Enemy?
  • Is the New Ager My Enemy?
  • Is the Liberal My Enemy?

Unlike a lot of books that tend to rant and rave about each of these issues, this book takes a very logical, pragmatic approach to each of the issues. This does not mean that Rich leaves out the aspect of love and compassion – far from it!!

The heart of this book and of Rich Nathan – if I might be so bold – it to draw people to the person of Jesus (especially those rejected and/or cast out of the church). Basically, Rich is calling the church to be the church – to quite tossing out those whom are sick and are in need of a Savior. [@more@]

One story in particular really stands out to me. It was about a Christian man who was struggling with homosexuality. Being in a church, he went to his pastor to share his struggles and to have someone pray with him. He wasn’t looking for a silver bullet or anything – he just needed someone to talk too.

However, the pastor of a Christian church told the man to leave the building and never come back!! Ooch!! I can’t even image the heartache felt that day! Yet – I am confident that this is not a “one-off” story. Shoot – I’ve talked to homosexuals in my city that have heard similar statements from Christian believers. How messed up is the church if we can’t love people?

The good news is that after leaving the church for many years, God brought this man back into his fold through a group of Christian guys who invited him to join their Bible study. While at the study, they be-friended the man and brought him into their lives – even after he told them about his struggles.

That is how we are supposed to act as that is what Jesus did. He hung out with the drugs, the prostitutes, the hurting and the struggling.

If you have any questions, anger or fears towards any of these five groups of people, I would highly recommend reading Rich Nathan’s book. You will find a powerful Biblical, historically, pragmatic, and spiritual look at who is our enemy.