The Vineyard is a movement that believes in the centrality of the kingdom of God in biblical thought. We view the kingdom of God as the overarching and integrating theme of the Bible.
In Jesus we discover that the kingdom of God was not limited to a physical city, country, or land mass – even to the borders of ancient Israel. Rather, the kingdom of God was the dynamic rule and reign of God over heaven and earth; all things visible and invisible; where justice and shalom were made manifest.
This good news of the kingdom of God (God’s rule and reign) began to bring transformation in hearts and lives. It happened as Jesus not only proclaimed the good news of God’s plan to crush the works of Satan (1 John 3:8), but he also demonstrated that good news by healing the sick (physical, emotional, and social), casting out demons, offering radical forgiveness, extending compassion, doing justice and delivering the oppressed. Then, by death on a cross, he offered himself for the sins of all humanity (Isaiah 53) and through his resurrection from the dead (Luke 24:1-6), God verified that Jesus was indeed the true King of the world.
In Mark 1:14-15, Jesus began his ministry:
“… 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!
As Jesus spoke about the kingdom of God that he was demonstrating, he seemed to speak about it in two different ways. The kingdom of God, for Jesus, seemed to be both now and not yet. In other words, the kingdom was something that was invading the earth through his ministry in the present. But then he would talk about the future kingdom, when all wrongs would be made right, and he would reign forever and ever.
Theologian George Eldon Ladd described how God’s future kingdom, where healing and justice and love will reign supreme for eternity, was brought into the present through the ministry of Jesus. In Jesus, humanity was experiencing the presence of God’s future.
In the Vineyard we call this “living between the times,” or the “now and the not yet” of the Kingdom recognising that we live in the tension between the kingdom breaking in at times now, and the kingdom that will be fully realised when Jesus returns at the end of time.
We believe that a necessary tension will always exist between the now and the not yet of the kingdom. We pray for the sick, and some have experienced healing. We also do the work of justice and compassion, and we have seen those on the margins restored to hope. But we do not always experience God’s dynamic Kingdom breaking in. We still see and experience the impact of our broken world but we know we have one who comforts us in our suffering (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
Jesus trained up his followers to do his words and works and then commissioned and empowered them to continue the ministry of the Kingdom by doing everything he had taught them (Matthew 28, Acts 1). In the Vineyard we believe that followers of Jesus are commissioned and empowered by the Spirit of God to do the words and works of Jesus and his kingdom in this world.