Beginning with inaugurated eschatology, in which the coming of God in his royal power is the central hope, makes living in the presence of God the central and integrating motif of Vineyard soteriology. Moreover, it renders salvation a dynamic, “already-not yet” or past-present-future reality in the experience of Christians. These underlying soteriological structures significantly shape Vineyard praxis. Two examples of how this works out can be found in the ways Vineyard churches practice worship and in the ways Vineyard churches have approached discipleship and evangelism. In regard to the former, worship in the Vineyard functions sacramentally, as a space in which one can enter the presence of God and experience his blessings and grace in a unique and powerful way, and is consciously understood and practiced as a means of communion with God that anticipates the eschatological communion that is the goal of salvation. In regard to the latter, the underlying rationale for the various approaches to discipleship and evangelism used in the Vineyard—and especially in those developed indigenously by the Vineyard—centres on the idea of encountering and growing in God’s presence and emphasizes an eschatologically oriented faith journey towards Christ.
This paper was presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Society of Vineyard Scholars.
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