The Vineyard Movement is an expression of Pentecostal Christianity in the evangelical Protestant tradition. It is known by many Christians today, in part, through the well-known worship songs that are sung in a variety of different churches.
The Vineyard Church didn't originally have an official "statement of beliefs" like other denominations did (e.g. the Assemblies of God) or an official creed. This doesn't mean, however, that beliefs and doctrine are unimportant to the church or its members. Throughout their history, Vineyard churches have been evangelical in belief and practice.
Those who were involved in establishing Vineyard churches (see more below) believed that doctrine kept people from coming to church and feeling a sense of a belonging at church, and so sought to place theological dogma in the background, instead of the foreground, of the ministry of Vineyard churches. Over time, however, many in the Vineyard body thought it would be wise to clarify and articulate what Vineyard churches believe in order to find unity among like-minded Christians and also to shield themselves from false teachings (see the beliefs statements below).
The history and beliefs of Vineyard churches
A brief history
The two men primarily responsible for the birth of the Vineyard Movement were Kenn Gulliksen and John Wimber whose ministries merged in the early 1980’s.
Gulliksen was the founder of popular Bible studies in Southern California, some of which grew into churches. Wimber was a pastor in the Calvary Chapel network before doctrinal disagreements caused a separation.
In 1982 Wimber’s church joined the Vineyard network of churches and Gulliksen anointed him as leader of the movement. In a move from which Wimber would later regress, the Vineyard movement associated with churches that emphasized the practice modern-day prophecy. But after several failed prophecies, Wimber redirected Vineyard churches to concentrate on church planting.
Wimber’s death in 1997 was challenging to the Vineyard movement, but it continues to grow. Todd Hunter assumed leadership from 1998 to 2000, and Bert Waggoner took over oversight of the movement after him. Today Vineyard churches worship in the vein of Pentecostal Christianity and continue to emphasis church planting around the world.
Beliefs of the Vineyard Church
According to the church: "As evangelicals, the Bible is our final authority for faith and practice. Therefore, the statements that follow reflect our best attempt to understand and live out biblical precepts. Upon further reflection, greater biblical insight, or increased wisdom through experience, these statements could be revised. Until such a time, the Association of Vineyard Churches Board of Directors has formally adopted this document as our official statement of faith as of the Board meeting of November 1994."
The official Association of Vineyard Churches Statement of Faith reads as follows:
- WE BELIEVE that God is the Eternal King. He is an infinite unchangeable Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, goodness, justice, power, and love. From all eternity He exists as the One Living and True God in three persons of one substance, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory.
- WE BELIEVE that God's kingdom is everlasting. From His throne, through His Son, His eternal Word, God created, upholds, and governs all that exists, the heavenly places, the angelic hosts, the universe, the earth, every living thing and mankind. God created all things very good.
- WE BELIEVE that Satan, originally a great, good angel, rebelled against God, taking a host of angels with him. He was cast out of God's presence and, as a usurper of God's rule established a counter-kingdom of darkness and evil upon the earth.
- WE BELIEVE that God created mankind in His image, male and female, for relationship with Himself and to govern the earth. Under the temptation of Satan, our original parents fell from grace, bringing sin, sickness, and God's judgement of death to the earth. Through the fall, Satan and his demonic hosts gained access to God's good creation. Creation now experiences the consequences and effects of Adam's original sin. Human beings are born in sin, subject to God's judgement of death and captive to Satan's kingdom of darkness.
- WE BELIEVE that God did not abandon His rule over the earth which He continues to uphold by His providence. In order to bring redemption, God established covenants which revealed His grace to sinful people. In the covenant with Abraham, God bound Himself to His people Israel, promising to deliver them from bondage to sin and Satan and to bless all the nations through them.
- WE BELIEVE that as King, God later redeemed His people, by His mighty acts, from bondage in Egypt and established His covenant through Moses, revealing His perfect will and our obligation to fulfill it. The law's purpose is to order our fallen race and to make us conscious of our moral responsibility. By the work of God's Spirit, it convicts us of our sin and God's righteous judgement against us and brings us to Jesus Christ alone for our salvation.
- WE BELIEVE that when Israel rejected God's rule over her as King, God established the monarchy in Israel and made an unconditional covenant with David, promising that his heir would restore God's kingdom reign over His people as Messiah forever.
- WE BELIEVE that in the fullness of time, God honored His covenant with Israel and His prophetic promises of salvation by sending His only Son Jesus into the world. Conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, as fully God and fully man in one person. He is humanity as God intended us to be. Jesus was annointed as God's Messiah, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, inaugurating God's kingdom reign on earth, overpowering the reign of Satan by resisting temptation, preaching the good news of salvation, healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead. Gathering His disciples, He reconstituted God's people as His Church to be the instrument of His kingdom. After dying for the sins of the world, Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, fulfilling the covenant of blessing given to Abraham. In His sinless, perfect life Jesus met the demands of the law and in His atoning death on the cross He took God's judgement for sin which we deserve as law-breakers. By His death on the cross He also disarmed the demonic powers. The covenant with David was fulfilled in Jesus' birth from David's house, His Messianic ministry, His glorious resurrection from the dead, His ascent into heaven and His present rule at the right hand of the Father. As God's Son and David's heir, He is the eternal Messiah-King, advancing God's reign throughout every generation and throughout the whole earth today.
- WE BELIEVE that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ and that He is our abiding Helper, Teacher, and Guide. We believe in the filling or empowering of the Holy Spirit, often a conscious experience, for ministry today. We believe in the present ministry of the Spirit and in the exercise of all the biblical gifts of the Spirit. We practice the laying on of hands for the empowering of the Spirit, for healing, and for recognition and empowering of those whom God has ordained to lead and serve the Church.
- WE BELIEVE that the Holy Spirit inspired the human authors of Holy Scripture so that the Bible is without error in the original manuscripts. We receive the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments as our final and absolute authority, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
- WE BELIEVE the whole world is under the domination of Satan and that all people are sinners by nature and choice. All people therefore are under God's just judgement. Through the preaching of the Good News of Jesus and the Kingdom of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, God regenerates, justifies, adopts, and sanctifies through Jesus by the Spirit all who repent of their sins, and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. By this they are released from Satan's domain and enter into God's kingdom reign.
- WE BELIEVE in the one, holy, universal Church. All who repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and form the living Body of Christ, of which He is the head and of which we are all members.
- WE BELIEVE that Jesus Christ committed two ordinances to the Church: water baptism and the Lord's Supper. Both are available to all believers.
- WE BELIEVE that God's kingdom has come in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, that it continues to come in the ministry of the Spirit through the Church, and that it will be consummated in the glorious, visible and triumphant appearing of Christ - His return to the earth as King. After Christ returns to reign, He will bring about final defeat of Satan and all of his minions and works, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgement and the eternal blessing of the righteous and eternal conscious punishment of the wicked. Finally, God will be all in all and His kingdom, His rule and reign, will be fulfilled in the new heavens and the new earth, recreated by His mighty power, in which righteousness dwells and in which He will be forever worshipped.
Well-Known Songs from the Vineyard Church
- Come, Now Is the Time Worship (1998)
- Hungry (1999)
- Surrender (2000)
- I love Your Presence (2001)
- You and You Alone (2002)
- Lord reign in Me (2003)
- Unfailing Love (2006)