Spiritual Warfare and Prophetic Vision
The Vineyard contrasts the Kingdom of God with ‘principalities and powers’ and sees life and ministry as a conflict between these forces. ‘Natural’ forces are acknowledged, but often times ‘supernatural’ forces stand behind them. This acknowledges the interrelatedness of spiritual, physical, mental, relational forces that arise from, and impinge upon, human life. Any ministry situation requires sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and other spiritual forces, as well as sensitivity to the people involved: 1) On its surface poverty has to do with income, housing, employment, education, health-care, transportation, etc. but the root issues of poverty are impotence and apathy, despair and shame, and the cycle of violence, addiction, and family disintegration that arise from and contribute to poverty. The Vineyard paradigm is uniquely able to perceive, diagnose, and address such a problem. 2) On its surface poverty looks like a problem that is directly caused by the poor themselves; ie irresponsible decisions, devaluing of education and employment, pursuing addictive behaviors. While this should be acknowledged as part of the problem, significant factors include ‘systemic injustices’ fueled by the daily decisions of the rest of society. Suburbanization and ‘white-flight;’ practices of ‘toxic charity’ at the level of individuals, churches, and governments; white privilege; redlining; police corruption; disproportionate education; etc. These are problems that have roots in the middle class idols of consumerism, individualism, and materialism. The Vineyard paradigm is uniquely able to perceive, diagnose, and address such a problem.