The Supremacy of Christ
Without ‘demoting’ the rest of the New Testament, the Vineyard has historically emphasized the life, ministry, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus’ life is seen as an explicit model for ours, and not solely (as some traditions explicitly teach, and others implicitly model) as an atoning sacrifice: 1) Jesus’ statements, His actions, and most powerfully His crucifixion, model a life of selflessness, a willingness to embrace difficulty, and a voluntary poverty; all of which are required tools for labor at the margins. 2) Jesus models a ministry of presence to the marginalized and the impoverished.
The Effective Rule of God
The central motif of Vineyard theology is that of Jesus’ proclamation and demonstration of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom being defined as the actualization of God’s will.1 The Vineyard has continued that ministry of teaching people about God’s Kingdom, followed by a demonstration of His enacted rule and reign. This orientation has tremendous implications for work in impoverished communities: 1) The Kingdom of God provides a unifying framework to understand and implement: ‘super-natural’ ministry, justice ministry, and personal holiness. All of which are vital to address the realities of urban poverty. 2) The false dichotomy between ‘social gospel’ and ‘gospel’ simply evaporates within the theological paradigm of the Kingdom. The myriad problems that exist in impoverished communities are thorny, massively complicated, and interrelated; due to its Kingdom paradigm the Vineyard is uniquely positioned to solve holistic problems with holistic resources, and work toward holistic solutions.