The In-Breaking of the Kingdom?


What is Going on Here? The Cultural Challenge of the Vineyard…

When needy men and women can find something in other churches that yours does not offer, when that is something good, and when it has biblical support, a great deal of honesty and open-mindedness is called for.[1]

C Peter Wagner

Secularism has been called by many the defining religious force of the twentieth century. Defined by Robin Perrin and Armand Mauss, secularism states that more enlightened or modern forms of religion (more naturalistic religions) will grow at the expense of conservative religions (those which accept supernatural aspects of religion). This was supposed to be a gradual erosion of the place of the supernatural in modern life.[2] Yet listen to the words of a professor of missions at Fuller Theological:

“It was a Monday evening in January 1982. I was sitting in on a class entitled Signs, Wonders, and Church Growth… We had invited John Wimber- a man we knew and trusted- to teach the course. We were aware that up until 1976 John had been at least as skeptical as we were about ‘faith-healers.’ Yet clearly something had changed for him since he was now pastoring a church with a healing ministry… what I saw there was different from what usually happened either in the classes or the churches I attended…”[3]

Something is going on, and Kraft is not the only person to have asked this question. In the preface to his book on Pentecostalism, Harvey Cox tells about a phone call from a reporter asking for comments on an article about the unfulfilled assertions that God is dead. Cox writes that “religion- or at least some religions- seems to have gained a new lease on life. Today it is secularity, not spirituality, which may be headed for extinction.”[4] From this mindset it is not surprising then that when Cox looked into the Pentecostal movement within the world, he saw the Pentecostal movement in terms of a return, rather than that of restoration, or reduction. He writes that “in an age that has found exclusively secular explanations of life wanting, but is also wary of dogmas and institutions, the unforeseen eruption of lava reminds us that somewhere deep within us we all carry a homo religious. Pentecostalism is not an aberration. It is a part of the larger and longer history of human religiousness.”[5] In his book he states that Pentecostals and Charismatics represent a return to primal speech, piety, and hope.[6]

In the case of John Wimber, a former skeptic and a teacher of church growth started a church based on the premise that God still works miracles and heals His people. In 1995 Wimber addressed a National Conference of churches that had risen out of his vision (his last national conference). In his report on the health of the Vineyard, Wimber announced that there were 524 churches in 29 nations (160 of these outside the U.S.).[7] The next few years were tough for the Vineyard with the ongoing issues raised by the renewal movement occurring in the Toronto Airport Vineyard, and with Wimber’s death to cancer. Many stated that the movement would then die but five years later Wimber’s movement was still flourishing. In a similar address to the Southeast Region of Churches in 2004, Vineyard President Bert Waggoner announced that churches in the Southeast region of the U.S. had doubled (from around 200 to around 500), and that statistics from other regions in the U.S. were the same. Today the Vineyard Community claims to have almost 1500 churches worldwide.[8]

Many of the critics to the Vineyard claim that the growth seen in the Vineyard is nothing more than transfers from other churches. In his critique of the Vineyard, John Schmidt discusses these charges and then quotes from a “Vineyard leader” to this effect: “people are not really ‘stolen’; they go where they are nourished, developed, and can grow… most churches grow primarily by transfer.”[9] Some statistics seem to back up this assertion. In his review of Donald Miller’s book on Calvary Chapel and the Vineyard, Stephen Warner states that studies done on these movements show that 65 percent of the members of Vineyard churches grew up in another church tradition, and that 36 percent had an evangelical background.[10]

In another study Robin Perrin and Armand Mauss surveyed almost 2,000 participants in 14 congregations from California, and Washington. Their study found that 79 percent of the respondents claimed they had come from another conservative church (classified as traditional and independent churches) with 15 percent claiming previous involvement in a Mainline Protestant tradition, and six percent claiming a transfer from the Roman Catholic Church.[11] Looking at these results Perrin and Mauss claim that these statistics do not tell the whole story. Asking about previous affiliations overlooks the emerging idea of the spiritual seeker in America. They write, “these are people who, dissatisfied with the religions in which they were reared, continue ‘seeking’ until (presumably) they find religious ‘homes’ that prove satisfactory.”[12] In order to further understand these phenomena, Perrin and Mauss also asked the respondents to state what tradition they were rose. Their findings can be seen in Table 1.

Table 1

Original and Immediately Prior Affiliations of VCF Recruits

(With national averages for reference)[13]

Affiliation Original Immediately Prior National Sample*

Conservative (traditional) 30% 32% 34%

Independent (non-denom.) 2% 46%

Liberal (mainline) 39% 15% 35%

Roman Catholic 29% 6% 32%

**N (100%) = 837 934 1399

* This national sample consists of the 1987 NORC General Spring Social Survey (Smith 1990)

**VCF respondents from other original and prior affiliations (or from none) have been deleted.

When looking at these statistics, it can be seen that there is some movement occurring. First, comparing the recruits against the national averages shows that the Vineyard is recruiting from a predominantly conservative base, but is not recruiting on an unequally in comparison to the religious make-up of the larger nation. Second, comparing the recruits against their backgrounds shows that this is not a case of the Vineyard lifting recruits from a circular group of people that have always been conservative and always will be conservative. These recruits do not belong to a group that seems to be circling the same waters jumping from one boat at whim. Perrin and Mauss write, “the majority of VCF recruits have come from outside the evangelical community, as well as from the “unchurched.” That they may have been ‘shopping’ for awhile in the conservative or evangelical segment of the ‘religious market’ does not alter the fact that they have been won over to conservative ‘brands’ from their original brands…. The VCF recruits… are largely ‘shoppers’ for a more fulfilling religious experience of a generally more conservative kind.”[14]

The Vineyard leadership would answer that they are providing a form of religious experience that is lacking in today’s world, and they are doing so in forms both evangelical and charismatic. This is not a simple case of sheep-stealing, they would argue. This is a case of providing better care for the sheep. Sociologist David Martin saw Pentecostalism as not only a return, but also as a creative synthesis of that primal religion with the concerns of modern religion and life. “Pentecostalism… brings together the most ancient and the most modern, and unites the modernizing thrust to the deep structure of spiritual ‘animation.’ ”[15] This writer believes that the Vineyard movement and the third wave theology it often represents has a very pentecostal and very important ability to unite the ‘deep spiritual animation’ of Christianity with many of the modern tenets of life. Perhaps because of this synthesis as Wimber and the Vineyard movement have advanced, it created tremendous turbulence within a modern evangelical community that is increasingly at odds with both its heritage as an existential religion and its place in a modern world. In his discussion and critique of the Vineyard movement, Schmidt gives several reasons for the growth and attraction of evangelicals to the Vineyard:

1) Dissatisfaction with a lack of power in one’s Christian experience and life

2) Greater freedom in worship

3) Greater feeling of love and acceptance within the communal life of the church

4) Use of functional ministries rather than traditional predetermined organizational structures (a commitment to do what works rather than what has always done)

5) The setting and fulfillment of clearly articulated goals

6) Greater sense of church meeting the felt needs of the community and congregation[16]

A look at the rosters of the Vineyard show believers from both camps, and the movement has presented a challenge to both parties. To the conservative, evangelical, the Vineyard claims to offer the opportunity to experience the glorious power of God, and to the charismatic, the Vineyard claims to offer a call to return to a love of orthodox doctrine, and good teaching. Whatever reasons one produces, one cannot help but to come back to the self-description of the Vineyard Movement as one of Empowered Evangelicalism. This duality of purpose is found no where other than the “fat man trying to get to heaven”[17] who changed the course of his life and the lives of many others when he was able to bring together the conservative teaching he received as a member of Calvary Chapel with the idea of power religion he found in the writing and life of his friend and partner at Fuller, C. Peter Wagner. This growth found expression in his course taught at Fuller from 1982 to 1985. An examination of the history leading up to this course, and the criticism that both it and the ensuing seminars invoked should unearth many answers to the question we have asked. These questions, depending on how answering, may just present a dynamic challenge to the vision of secularism; as well as the particular tenors of evangelicalism and Pentecostalism / charismaticism that have captured the fancy of many in the American church.

A Narrative Discussion of the Vineyard Movement

We were not a group of young triumphant Christians. We were a bunch of burnt-out, broken people who felt we had missed something

Carol Wimber[18]

As the Vineyard Movement led by John Wimber has become a ‘Community of Churches’ led by a national board of regional overseers (most of tem trained and mentored by Wimber), there has been much discussion about what values, beliefs, and practices form the core of the Vineyard. Much has been written and discussed about what ideas and practices should be taught. Yet, there is an even more interesting and timely story that has not been told, or if it is mentioned, it has not been told well. It is this story that holds an important piece to unlocking the Vineyard movement, as well as possibly enlarging and elaborating the Vineyard movement’s place within both its place in American Christianity and that of the larger world. Twenty years before Phillip Jenkins was writing books about the place of Christianity in the Global South. Ten years before Harvey Cox and many of other mainline scholars were waking up to the fact that Christian life in the Global South is vastly different from its Western “fathers.” John Wimber and a group of evangelical leaders and teachers were scratching their heads and wondering just what the religion of the two-thirds world could say to the ‘older’ religion of the West. As Wimber began to converse with this world and wonder about his own, a new movement was born.

John Wimber[19] was a rock musician who created and managed The Righteous Brothers. He was wealthy and successful, yet his marriage was disintegrating in a sea of drugs and alcohol. After calling out to God in desperation, John and his wife Carol joined a bible study led by a Quaker named Gunner Payne. John was a natural leader and found himself more and more involved in the establishment of a Quaker congregation. He soon graduated from Azusa Pacific and was ordained by the California Yearly Meeting of Friends. However, the more he did, the more he felt unsatisfied with his church and life. In 1974, John met a young man from his church in the hallways before a service. The young man was disillusioned and dealing with several major issues in his life. John’s response was that the young man ought to come to church more often, and be a better man. As he walked away, Wimber claims to have heard the voice of the Lord ask him, “Would you go to this church, if you were not paid?” The only truthful answer a thunderstruck Wimber could come was “no, no he wouldn’t.”[20] Over time John decided that he needed to get out of ministry and clear his head. As he was stepping down, a new job was opening up; one that was offered to him; one that would change Wimber forever. It was a position at the Fuller School of World Missions under the much respected Donald McGavran.

At Fuller Theological Wimber would soon be working with other professors and teachers such as C. Peter Wagner and Charles Kraft. He would also be bumping into the theological considerations of such Fuller teachers and alumni such as Peter Hiebert, Allen Trippet, and George Eldon Ladd. Rich Nathan, a Vineyard pastor, writes that Fuller at this time was full of Western evangelical missionaries fresh from the field. Many of these reported less than the desired impact on the field. At the same time they were noticing tremendous growth in many of the same areas they had just left. In his classes, Dr Trippert would often remark that “power encounters are common in countries where Christian missionaries confront animistic religions.”[21] The big difference seemed to be that these Christians were “addressing disease and demonic oppression in the power of the Spirit…” and cannot help but begin to ask if “the gospel spread more effectively when it was accompanied by biblical signs and wonders.”[22]

These questions dogged Wimber. He would later quote glowingly from an article by Paul Hiebert calling for “missionaries to deal with questions of ancestors, spirits, healing, food, guidance, and other existential questions.”[23] It was not that he had not experiencing inklings of what the charismatic ‘crazies’ were up to. He had actually had an experience with speaking in tongues early on in his Christian life, as well as with the miracle of healing when he had prayed for his son after Sean Wimber had been attacked by a swarm of bees and was going into anaphylatic shock. Wimber, however, had been dissuaded from believing in the reality of these experiences by the teachings of his Quaker friends, and the adamant stance by Carol that the charismata were not for today. These questions were also dogging Peter Wagner who had denounced the working of several native faith-healers from his podium in a Divinity School in Bolivia. Likewise Fuller Professor Charles Kraft describes his time as a missionary in Nigeria by stating that “we were totally unprepared to deal with the one area the Nigerians considered most important- their relationship with the spirit world.”[24] Kraft describes his frustration in the mission field with a story. One night there was a knock on the door. One of his parishioners was deathly ill, and he was asked to come. He hurried to the man’s house and was rapidly trying to get the man into his car for a visit to a hospital when he was asked if they could not pray for the man. Kraft reports giving it a quick, limp-wristed effort before finishing getting the man into the car and leaving for the hospital. In retrospect Kraft was left with his feeling that in that experience that he had not “really honored God.”[25]This inability did not go unobserved by the locals. In discussing how the Pentecostals were succeeding so much in her country of Nigeria, Kathryn Hauwa Hoomkwap told the Roman Catholic Synod that “these movements or sects are winning our Catholic women over because they seem to be responding to their real needs… the African Christian is fearful: fear of the environment, fear of neighbors, fear of sorcerers. Only Jesus Christian free him.”[26] In the lives of these men one can imagine the similarities of feelings between them and in that of John Wesley freshly back from his failed mission to the Indians of Georgia and the Carolinas.

Wimber writes about his experience this way, “at Fuller’s School of Missions… their courses and reports of signs and wonders from the third world softened my heart toward the Holy Spirit and divine healing… not only was there numerical growth, there was vitality and integrity.” Paul Hiebert does a good job of tracing some of these formative influences. From G.E. Ladd, Wimber “gained an understanding and emphasis on the Kingdom of God.” [27] For Ladd the kingdom of the World equaled that of Satan, and it was a world “afflicted with natural castratrophes, bondage to sin, sickness, demons, and death.”[28] Into this world Jesus “came proclaiming the Kingdom of God, rebuking storms, healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead.” Upon reading and interacting with Ladd’s theology Wimber would begin to wonder if “Jesus’ followers are to follow in his footsteps.”[29] Even as Wimber was becoming fascinated with these power encounters in the mission field, he was becoming more and more frustrated with the “gimmicks and mechanical processes” that were being sought by many churches with which he was consulting.[30] Carol Wimber has remarked that both of them were disillusioned and ready for a change. Both of them felt that while their life was good, it was not great. It was disappointing. Carol stated that they were through their theology and practice they were living case of “religion for winners.” There was no place for weakness; no place for the poor (be it spirit or otherwise).[31] The Wimbers were ready for a change. Unknown to either John or Carol, the break with the church mechanical that they was looking for would be coming from an unexpected source- Carol, the more out-spoken, charismatic basher of the two.

Years before Carol had forced John back into the fold after a couple of “charismatic” experiences; likewise she had (by her own account) berated or chastised almost 30 people from their circles of friends for their dabbling with various charismata.[32] Now it was Carol’s turn to ‘experience the spirit.’ It started with a dream. Carol saw herself giving a sermon on why tongues are not for today. As she launched into her last point, she awoke speaking in tongues, herself. Shaken by the experience, Carol found herself crying out to God, and repenting to God for her past blindness to the power of the Spirit. Her next step was to visit all the people that she had hurt and ask for forgiveness. [33] As Carol was still working out her feelings on the issue of the Spirit’s work, she had another incident. One night she decided to put her new experiences to a little test. Her shoulder had been hurting for several days, and she remembered the earlier incidence with her son Sean, so as he was sleeping she put John’s hand on her shoulder and said, “OK Lord, now do it!” Suddenly her shoulder felt like it was burning. John woke and asked her why his hand was warm, and she said nothing. He went back to sleep, as she began to realize that the pain in her shoulder was gone.[34] From these experiences and from those people with whom Carol was reacquainted, a new bible study and prayer group was born that would soon become the basis for the Vineyard. The seeds from Fuller, from the influence of the third world theologies, and from personal experiences had been lodged and were ready to spring up.

“I’m not the best, but I am the Papa…”

John Wimber

In January 1977 John and Carol Wimber joined with a group of leaders from the local Quaker groups that met to discuss the Bible, encourage one another, and discuss the doctrines of the ongoing charismatic movement. By May the group was running 150 people and was established as the Yorba Linda Calvary Chapel. In 1978 John Wimber would be announced as the full-time pastor of the group. As John began to prepare for leading a new church, he would focus in on the words that God had spoken to him as he prayed in his hotel in Detroit after another boring conference, “John, I’ve seen your ministry and now I’m going to show you mine.”[35] He began preaching through the book of Luke, and what might have been the longest ten months of his life began. For 10 months they prayed for the sick, and prayed for the sick, and prayed for the sick. Nothing happened. Then one morning a woman from the group called John and asked him to come over and pray for her. She was a mother of several kids; she was so sick she could not get out of bed; and her husband desperately needed to go to work (or be fired). Feeling weighed down by the pressure, and really not expecting anything to happen other than a peeved husband when he wife was still not healed after John’s visit, John came. Then it happened. The woman was healed, got up from bed, cooked him and the family breakfast, and a very relieved husband left for work. John, himself, left. As he walked to his car, the reality of what had happened struck him. Looking up at the sky he declared, “We got one.”[36] More would follow.

On Mother’s Day 1981, a young member of the now 700 person congregation (average age was 19) should to preach. He invited all those young like him to the front for a time of prayer. Then it seemed as if Pentecost had come again. All around people were shaking, falling down, and speaking in tongues. Neither John nor Carol was thrilled about this development. They had never really appreciated the controlled chaos of much of the charismatic movement. John was up all night praying and asking for direction in dealing with this nuisance. Some time in the morning, a friend called and told John he had ‘word from the Lord’ for him. It was 3 words long, and he was not sure what it meant. He told John, I think God wants to tell you, “It was me.”[37] These were exciting times. Carol tells a story from this time about John. They came home after one meeting, and were getting a snack from the fridge. With a glass of milk in his hand, John explained to Carol his basic philosophy of his meetings, “I tell the story of Jesus, and then I ask him to come.” As he uttered these words, his entire hand shook, splashing milk everywhere. A chagrined John looked up at Carol, then at the mess and said with a characteristic chuckle, “I think we’re on to something here.”[38] When asked about the events of those days, Carol would say, “The healings were not the focus. They were just happening because God was there.” However, not everyone was pleased about the happenings of this and several other groups associated with Calvary Chapel led by a pastor named Kenn Gullickson (which was going by the Vineyard).

In April of 1982, John was invited to attend a meeting of leaders in the Calvary Chapel Churches. The leadership as a whole[39] articulated some concerns and frustrations with the prominence given to prayer, healing, and other of the charismata occurring within the main services of these groups. It had always been the practice of Chuck Smith (he claimed to be taken from the model of Foursquare founder Amy Semple McPherson) to keep any of these ‘spirit events’ separate from his main meetings, lest they detract from the focus on evangelism in the meeting. John, himself, felt betrayed and hurt, and in May he and Kenn would join their churches together to form a fellowship going under Gullikson’s name, the Vineyard. So with six churches (the Valley, Lancaster, San Luis Obispo, Manchester (Mass.), Santa Monica, and Yorba Linda) coming together, the Vineyard had been established.

“John Wimber became a credible witness”—Charles Kraft

Just as Fuller Theological was there when John left the Friends church, they would be there as John was transitioning from Calvary Chapel to becoming the Vineyard. In 1981 Peter Wagner approached Wimber to have him teach a class titled “Signs, Wonders and Church Growth” for the School of Missions. The class started in January 1982 and Jackson in his history of the Vineyard states that the class may have marked the end of Wimber’s time with Calvary Chapel. Not only was John going against the accepted process of placing “back room stuff “ front and center; he was attracting a lot of attention in doing it. Both Wagner and Professor Charles Kraft would join John in the classroom. John had an unusual teaching style. He would lecture for some time, and then he would have ‘clinic time.’ Here he modeled, and encouraged the students to pray for one another. On the first night of the class Peter Wagner came up for prayer for his high blood pressure. Wagner wrote about his experience that night stating, “He starts praying for me. The more he prayed for me, the more I am coming under the power of the Spirit… Here I am sitting in a chair, and I almost fell out of the chair two times, and I kept saying, ‘I am the professor of record.’ ”[40] Wagner states in his book that his blood pressure was checked by his doctor, and he was taken off his medicine for a couple of years. The experience was powerful for Wagner, but was even more important for Charles Kraft. Seeing two friends experiencing the healings that he had previously denounced during his time as a Nigerian missionary provided the final pieces of the puzzle for Charles Kraft. They became what Kraft called a “credible witness” to this working of God in today’s world.[41] For many other students Wimber was just such a witness. Every account of the class always remarks that the class stands as the most popular course in the history of the school. Regardless of popularity or maybe because of it, the class was soon causing a disruption within the school as the theology and sociology departments objected to the teachings of the class. Paul Hiebert, for one, did not like what Wimber had done with his theology. There were also questions about the biblical basis of the teaching. In addition, classes were raised about the appropriateness of allowing a man without ‘proper academic credentials’ teach a class;[42] as well as, performing functions that were meant for the ‘church’ in a classroom. Fuller cancelled the class in 1985, and put it under review.[43] This was just as well for John Wimber who had already been mulling the opportunities to take his class on the road. This action just cleared his schedule. Soon Wimber would be taking his teaching and clinics around the world. Yet even as he took his teaching out the classroom and back into the world, he began receiving feedback similar to that which he had received from Fuller.

Assessing the Quality of the Wine: The Vineyard and It’s Critics

“We’ve got our critics, and we need to be realistic about them to maintain our creditability.”

John Wimber

As John Wimber took his message to the rest of the nation, and then to England, Australia, and other parts of the world, he stirred up a lot of controversy (just as he had at Fuller). Initially Wimber refused to respond. He claims that an early prophecy given to him required him to stay silent. But then his critics began to criticize him for not responding to them.[44] So Wimber decided it was time to respond:

I still believe that brothers and sisters who attack me are “not my enemies,” and that when I am personally attacked my first response should be to turn the other cheek. Over the years I have been learning the self-control and discipline that are needed to respond in a firm but loving manner… But I now sense the Lord is saying that defending and clarifying my message in a loving and respectful way against unjust criticism is important for the well being of people who are confused by the attacks and who sincerely need answers to questions about my teaching. The frequency and intensity of the attacks have greatly increased in recent years, which has added to peoples’ confusion and increased the need for responding… My reluctance to respond was also motivated by my commitment to personal pacifism; a theological value that I had embraced during my years in the Society of Friends (Quaker) Church. I now believe, however, that I confused personal passivity with the broader issue of the defense of: the gospel. As a result, I ignored clear passages of the Bible that taught leaders should defend the gospel against attack. For example, Paul wrote, “When we [Paul and Apollos] are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly[45]

One of the first and most standard criticisms of the Vineyard have dwelt with the reality of miracles and the miraculous. On the one extreme there are those that teach the classical dispensationist or cessionist position of whom John MacArthur is one of the most well-known and vocal critics of the Vineyard from this perspective. MacArthur is not deny that God has worked miracles in past, and has the ability to continue to work miracles today. He simply believes that God chooses not to do so (in most cases). MacArthur articulates a position which holds that there have only been three eras in which miracles have been a prolonged experience within the Christian faith (Moses, Elijah and Elisha, Jesus and the Apostles). Each of these eras preceded and authenticated a move of God’s revelatory majesty. These miracles introduced a new age within the life of the God follower and acted as an authenticator to the new message being produced.[46]

MacArthur and the dispensationist position are hard to hold with any finesse or an overly objective view of reality. For one thing the dispensationist finds himself or herself arguing against the history of Christianity. Even within some of the most critical commentaries on the Vineyard one can find the mention of the miraculous surviving throughout Christian history. For example in the book Signs, Wonders and Evangelicals which pulls no punches and has no love lost for Wimber, one can find John Reid’s illuminating article titled “Historical Perspective.” The eleven page article is filled with stories of healing and other gifting as they operated throughout the last two centuries. The chapter is an odd inclusion in otherwise acidic polemic against the idea of signs and wonders. Early on in the criticism of the Vineyard, when faced with evidence that healing and the miraculous has survived down through history, albeit as a minor chapter in the story of Christianity in each age, critics would accuse the Vineyard of reporting unsubstantiated claims designed either to excite the masses, or in an Elmer Gantry type of subterfuge validate their teaching through nefarious means. MacArthur states that” the only ‘instant’ miracles [reported by the Vineyard] are healing that seem to involve forms of psychosomatic diseases.”[47]

This type of criticism led Dr David Lewis to examine the Vineyard Movement very carefully. He sent a questionnaire to each of the 2,470 people who registered for Wimber’s Harrogate (England) Healing Conference. He received 1,890 surveys back, and from those surveys he found 827 cases of prayer for physical healing involving 621 people. From this group 32 percent reported a receiving a great deal or complete healing, 26 percent reported a fair amount of healing, and last 42 percent reported receiving little or no healing. This means that of the respondents more than 50 percent reported benefits occurring post-prayer.[48] Additionally, there were 748 people who reported receiving prayer for the much-more subjective issue of prayer for healing of emotional, mental, psychological, or spiritual hurts. From this group 50.5 percent reported receiving a high amount of healing, and 28 percent reported a moderate amount of healing.[49] That means that almost 80 percent of those seeking healing for a subjective healing reported some benefits. It might be argued that some sort of placebo effect or mass manipulation occurred. Various subjective issues may skew the numbers, yet Dr Lewis feels that his numbers are statistically significant enough to withstand this type of criticism. This criticism is alleviated further by the fact that Dr Lewis contacted at random 35 people who had claimed to have been healed for follow-up interviews including review of medical records in several cases that were conducted a year after the conference. At least 20 of these respondents (57 percent) reported that their healing had continued throughout the past 10 to 12 months.[50] If the math were to hold (and the author would not be dogmatic on this point), there are probably some 200 people that could then claim to have experienced a moderate to high level of improvement in their life due to this conference.

That leaves MacArthur and others to quickly fall back onto a last position, namely discounting the reality of the miracles that do occur. MacArthur states that modern miracles “are nearly always partial, gradual, or temporary.”[51] In his critique of the Wimber that the “signs and wonders movement shifts from the sublime to the ridiculous. It cheapens and overshadows the gospel. It cheapens it because it reduces its promises to shrinking goiters, straightening back, and lengthening legs… those alleged wonders are next to nothing in comparison to the message of God’s redeeming work in Jesus Christ.”[52]

One can only hope that quotes like these are mere hyperbole meant for a rhetorical flourish. These quotes and others like them demean not just the Vineyard Movement, but those thousands who have received prayer from Vineyard leaders over the years. First of all no one in the Vineyard is on record as saying that we can forget Christ’s work of redemption. All of the Vineyard would be on board with Boice in his assertion that the most important miracle of all time was the redeeming death and resurrection of Christ. Likewise one would be hard pressed to find someone within the movement that would ever disagree with the comment that the most important (far and away) in our lives and the lives of those in our congregations is not the moment of regeneration in which the Spirit of God worked a new birth in our lives. In his talk to the members of the Midwest Region, Vineyard leader Don Williams reminded the pastors that the work of Christ involves three acts: the defeat of Satan and the overthrow of his kingdom; judgment and justice; and the resurrection and transformation of the new creation. To truly know Christ is to know Him in all His offices (as John Wesley was fond of saying). We must know Him as prophet, priest, and king. Over the past hundred years evangelicals have seen him as a priest, charismatics as a prophet and Vineyard leaders as a king. Maybe its time for all three sides to come together and see Him in all His glory.

Second, these quotes show a rabid misunderstanding of the Vineyard’s teaching. Wimber often stated that the interpretive key to understanding the Vineyard is to understand the concept of the ‘already and the not yet.’[53] Or the concept that Don Williams calls inaugurated eschatology and enacted eschatology. The Vineyard’s eschatology is inaugurated in that Wimber (influenced by Ladd) and others have come to believe that in coming to earth in the incarnation Chris inaugurated the kingdom of God. That is he brought the beginning of the Kingdom to pass. It is also enacted because the Vineyard believes that the interplay of the Kingdom of the God with the defeated but still existing Kingdom of this World plays itself out in this lifetime. Williams states that “we are not waiting for the end to come; we are living in the end.” The coming of the end means that Jesus deals with the darkness of Satan’s kingdom. It means that His death on the cross has brought atonement to the lives of those who believe in Him. It means that God is already acting to transform the brokenness and hurt of this world now. This does not mean that a complete victory has been won; the battle rages on, but it does mean that there are victories to be won; as well as, setbacks to endure. South African Vineyard pastor Derek Morphew writes, “God’s rule is eternal and universal that is to say he was and he always will be the supreme ruler of all things…. Yet we do not necessarily experience his rule in our lives. The coming of the kingdom involves God’s intervention in the course of human history. His power breaks into the affairs of men, confronting the forces that withstand him and imprison people, interrupting the normal course of society.”[54] The job of the Christian is to bring the brokenness, and despair of their lives to the cross of Christ, and ask humbly, but boldly for God to do with it as He will, knowing full well that his or her abba father will lovingly act in accordance with his sovereign will. If God in his compassion should decide to heal aching backs, goiters, and shortened legs; who are his people to complain that this is not good enough? Who is any of us to put down and mock the little bits of relief that provide moments of assurance that God is real, and is concerned about His people? It would be a cheap God, albeit totally within his sovereign justice, that he would require his servants to give him their all without providing any comfort in return. It would be a cheap gospel that would preach that would do nothing to improve the pace and position of one’s life in the here and the now. No, healing goiters, backs, and legs is not sexy or cool. It is not the most amazing event or events of anyone’s life, but when it’s your goiter, your back or your leg that has caused you pain, shame, and embarrassment, and that is now being healed, you would not say it was good for nothing. One must pay attention and not cheapen their congregation in an attempt to maintain their high view of the gospel.

Conclusion: The Vineyard Anomaly

“If pain is what rouses, divine healing is often what directs us to the cross of Jesus Christ, where we are released from the source of sickness: sin. Like sickness, healing can be a source of sanctification, for through it we may experience God’s compassion and mercy.”—John Wimber[55]

After reviewing the criticism and responses from the Vineyard, it is important to say a little about these dialogues. First, many of the ensuing dialogues seem to be talking over one another. It is amazing how neither side truly understands the other, and therefore is not really responding to the issues at large as much as trying to make points that may or may not be accurate. An example of this tendency can be seen in the discussion of a particular story told and criticized by D.A. Carson in his article for the book Power Religion. Carson tells the story of a gentleman at the Grudem residence who complained of headaches, and was asked if he had had his eyes checked. The man had not, and agreed to do so. The doctors found a problem which was corrected with glasses. Here is how Carson discusses the story,

“in mainstream evangelicalism, this development would be construed , at the lowest level, as ‘common sense’; the more reflective would say that this community wisdom is also under the sovereign sway of God… but because of the Vineyard connection, the couple felt compelled to analyze what happened as divine intervention… and display it as evidence… for their theological outlook. But this represents not only the triumph of triteness; it reflects a profoundly secular worldview… that is sad; it may also be dangerous.”[56]

Needless to say Wayne Grudem remarks about the Carson’s use of this story in his response published by Vineyard. Grudem reports that while praying with friends, the complaint was mentioned. Later while praying he saw a picture of a pair of glasses in his mind. Many in the Vineyard believe such mental pictures while praying to be valid messages from the Lord which are provided to aid and illustrate their prayers, so Grudem told the gentleman about the picture. At this point the man agreed to go to the doctor, and the rest is history. Here is how Grudem relays the story:

“I brought up the story in faculty meeting because someone asked if I thought God only healed miraculously. I said that I believed that God uses both ‘natural’ and ‘supernatural’ means… God can use both the unusual means (the mental picture that came to my mind) and the more ordinary means (the glasses) to bring healing… but the article has twisted my story to make it mean the opposite of what I said on both counts. The unusual picture is minimized as ‘common sense,’ and the eye exam… is taken as evidence of a ‘strong tendency to view God as not operating in the ‘ordinary’… I believe God works in miraculous ways today. But that does not mean I think God only works in miraculous ways.”[57]

It seems to this author that both sides in this ‘dispute’ are really pressing the same point. God is sovereign and can work in a combination of ways be they works of the miraculous, or the mundane. The issues of does God work and if he does how then shall we operate remain on the table, but such subtly seems to be missed. Which is a shame because in a true discussion of this both sides could learn from the other?

A second statement to be made about the criticisms of the Vineyard is one that almost any insider to the movement[58] would inevitably make. Many of the criticisms seem based on inaccurate information, and / or limited experience with the movement. For instance most commentators remark on the lack of teaching on Christ in the Vineyard. It is easy to see where they can get this impression. If one were to read Wimber’s books on power Christianity, it might be possible to say that Wimber does not appreciate Christ in all his offices. This author does not see it that way, but can understand those who do. Likewise if one were only to attend one of the healing conferences, one might reach similar conclusions. These books are designed for a purpose, and therefore have going through an editing process designed to ensure maximum focus on the topic at hand. Judging the entire Vineyard’s teaching by experiencing one conference that they give would be like judging the Catholic Church after experiencing just the act of confession. After any sizeable amount of time spent in the Vineyard, more moderated and broader views of the Vineyard teaching emerge. This can be proved in two different ways. First, one could look at Grudem’s analysis of six years worth of the Vineyard journal, Equipping the Saints. He tabulated the issues dwelt with in each issue of the magazine (each issue of the magazine has several articles around one common theme). Table 2 shows a listing of his results.

Table 2[59]

Themes of 25 Issues in the Last 6 Years

Issues Rate Themes

Church Life 6 worship, fellowship, training of leaders, fallen leaders, revival, youth

Sanctification 5 prayer, holiness, 90s spirituality, intercession, money

Doctrine 4 suffering, the cross, the Bible, the New Age

Missions 3

Social Justice 2

Family Life 2

Miraculous 2 gift of prophecy

Healing 1 personal brokenness

Total 25

A brief look at the themes of the magazine reveal that while some of the emphases are distinctly Vineyard, the occurrence of themes are really not so different from any other evangelical publication. One might argue that a breakdown of Christianity Today might not come out so different.

Secondly one could prove this author’s assertion by looking at the lives and feeling of those involved in the Vineyard. In their survey of the Vineyard Movement, Perrin and Mauss asked the participants to rate their previous congregations on the basis of Dean Kelley’s dimensions of seriousness. These questions came at the beginning of the survey, and at the end of the survey they asked the participants to rate the Vineyard along these same lines of thought. This was meant to keep the questions from contaminating each other by setting up a comparison in the minds of the participants. The results can be tabulated as such in Table 3.

Table 3[60]

Differences in “Seriousness” Perceived by Vineyard Recruits between VCF Members and Members of Previous Denominations (broken down into Liberal / Conservative / Catholic categories used in their first chart)*

Kelleys Dimensions** Liberal Prev. Catholic Prev. Conservative Prev.

VCF Prev VCF Prev VCF Prev

Commitment 1.9 3.2 1.9 3.6 1.9 2.4

Discipline 2.1 2.8 2.1 2.0+ 2.1 2.1+

Missionary Zeal 2.0 3.5 1.6 4.0 2.0 2.3

* Ns for the figures in the table vary between 879 and 901 depending on attrition of non-response. All differences between 2 columns are statistically significant at .01 probability or lower.

** Each of the three dimensions measured by a likert-scaled item with the following extremes (respectively)

(a) 1= willing to sacrifice everything

5= reluctant to make sacrifices

b) 1= do not question leaders

5= reluctant to follow leaders

c) 1= driven by a desire to win others

5= reluctant to share beliefs

+ VCF and Prev Church differences not statistically significant. All other differences are significant at or below .01 levels.

It is interesting to note that on the whole the Vineyard is rated better across the board. As could be expected the numbers are closer within those who came from more traditional courts. It is also to be expected that with the Vineyard’s emphasis on being real, and relevant, the scores on discipline are the closest of the three. Not surprising the Vineyard scores its best marks in the category of ‘zeal.’ Obliviously such a subjective measure is not intended to be an absolute yardstick of the orthodoxy and orthopraxy of the Vineyard movement, and should be taken with some hesitation. However, the finding do support that the recruits to the Vineyard perceive the Vineyard as being on firmer footing than their previous churches (particularly those coming from liberal, mainline churches). This survey while far from alleviating any concerns about the orthodoxy of the Vineyard would seem to say that in its attempts to be both biblical and experiential the Vineyard is succeeding; otherwise its ‘customers’ would not be happy.

In a recent sociological experiment, several people are shown a deck of cards and asked to identify the cards (number, suit, color) as they are shown. Throughout the deck cards with the wrong colors were mixed in (for instance a spade might be colored red). At the outset of the experiment the participants did not miss a beat when shown the wrong-colored cards stating that the spade was black and so on. The authors of the report stated that the participants responded “without any awareness of trouble, it was immediately fitted to one of the conceptual categories prepared by prior experience.”[61] As more exposure to the cards was given, more hesitation was given upon seeing the wrong colors. Eventually and in most cases suddenly, the participants would go back to their rote recitation of the cards, but this time they would be able to get the anomalous cards correct. Some, however, were never able to process the new information correctly and only became more and more increasingly agitated. One of these subjects was recorded saying, “I couldn’t make the suit out…It didn’t even look like a card at the time. I don’t know what color it is or whether it is a spade or a heart. I am not even sure what a spade looks like.”[62] Several Vineyard leaders comment on this experiment in their writings, and this leads to something that everyone mentions in this discussion- the idea of worldview. We are all captives to our set worldviews. We see the world through glasses colored by our experiences, our training, and our preset beliefs. In his article in Power Religion, Kim Riddlebarger makes the following statement when discussing some of the eschatological developments of Pentecostalism, “we are not sure which dimension our enemy occupies… we do not know if the real enemy is Satan… the secular humanists who do the devil’s bidding; the key players in the current geopolitical scene who are setting the scene for the antichrist.”[63]

Vineyard leaders and their critics often point to the worldviews of deism, secularism, and health and wealthism to describe the particular struggles with the Vineyard. Vineyard leaders are attempting in their own ways to escape from the baggage that comes from their evangelical and charismatic backgrounds, and find a truer and better representation of both worlds. To the evangelical the Vineyard would say “illness is the result of original sin… illness is abnormal, not of God, and something Christ came to eradicate. It will have no place in the age to come. … this does not mean that every sick person who is prayed for will be healed in this life; but it does mean that forgiveness of sins is available to all, and for many there will be physical healing.”[64] To the charismatic the Vineyard would say that God’s “sovereignty, lordship, and kingdom are what bring healing. Our part is to pray ‘thy kingdom come,’ and trust him for whatever healing comes from his gracious hand, and if it does not come, then we have assurance from the atonement that it will come in the age to come.”[65]

The Japanese have a statement, issan saki wa yami, loosely translated “an inch in the front of my head, darkness.” One might argue that this is one of the better renderings of what life in the Vineyard feels like. Vineyard leaders do not know what God is going to do, but they do know God. The church can and should be able to ask Him for help, for comfort, and for healing. That does not mean that the church should seek to control or manipulate him. It just means that He is our Father, and His children should not be afraid to seek his face, and His hand. Derek Morphew reminded a gathering of pastors in Europe that “the bittersweet reality of being a Christian is that you live as a victorious failure, and you always will be so until the Kingdom comes. You live in ecstatic sadness.”[66] This author can appreciate the honesty and humility for our leaders to say we do not know what to do or say. We are not sure how this will all work, but we are going to take time to listen: listen to each other, listen to our own hearts, and listen for the promptings of our Father. This is perhaps one of the more frustrating aspects of both Vineyard teaching as well as much of the Pentecostal teaching that precedes it. Harvey Cox makes the same complaint in his book Fire from Heaven. Time spent around the spirit encounters of the Vineyard movement can be thrilling, but they can also be taxing. Wimber, himself has remarked that these power encounters have not made his life easier, but much more difficult. Successfully navigating these uneven and rough waters found in the power encounters is always difficult. With practice and hard work they do become easier to understand and predict, but they never become less messy, or less frustrating. One is often reminded of C.S. Lewis’ statement that was is good and just may always be harder and more taxing in the immediate sense of the word, but are always better in the long run.

This fusion of third world concerns and modern realities of life pervades the Vineyard experience. Cox attempted to describe the Pentecostal movement in similar terms, stating:

“Pentecostals must be understood as people who have become what they are because they wanted something badly enough they allowed themselves to be changed in a fundamental way, and they were willing to embrace the elemental terror that sort of change requires. However vaguely or incoherently, they yearned for something- healing, fellowship, salvation, empowerment, dignity, meaning, and serenity, ecstasy- they saw in other people, and decided to claim it for themselves; then having done so, they became glad-bearers of its message. I am not sure my scholarly compatriots got this point.”[67]

While this author is not as sanguine about the importance and place of experience in religion as is Cox, he must concur with Cox’s understanding of the larger Pentecostal movement, and remark that it explains a lot of the concern over the Vineyard movement. Wimber, Wagner, and Kraft were good men that felt they were missing something important in their lives. They began hearing reports from their third- world compatriots. They began seeing analomies occurring within the Christian life and faith. Before too long they too were experiencing the anomaly themselves, and it was good. Thus convinced they went out into the world enthusiastic about the importance of this not-so-new experience. For this author, the Vineyard presents a fascinating case study in religious enthusiasm, but is even more so because of the repeated attempts by Vineyard leaders to ground their experiences in the heart of the scriptures, and the ‘plain and main’ of orthodox Christianity. It is this author’s belief that this tension between being both charismatic and the evangelical that gives the Vineyard its distinctive flavor and appeal. To quote Vineyard critic John Schmidt, “scores of people are being won to Christ. The rate of growth… is phenomenal. Many people are being healed of physical, emotional, and spiritual ailments. The gifts of the spirit are functioning… The Vineyard is impacting many people… We cannot deny its existence as a genuine work of the Spirit, and so said not discredit it.”[68] One can also agree with Vineyard leader Don Williams when he urged the participants of the 2006 Midwest Pastors Conference held at Wheaton College to continue to stand firm in their faith which was centered and focused on the work of Christ in his eschatological incarnation.[69] In his urging the pastors to experience the full life of the Spirit anchored on the realities of Christ, one could argue that Williams, like Cox, is not so much calling for anything to be restored to the Church, but for the Church to return to its heritage. Williams argues that the “secret of the evangelical awakening… was the power of the Holy Spirit falling on the people.”[70] One could argue like Robert Webber in his many books on the Ancient-Future Christianity that what is needed is a return to its primal power and authority. Williams and other leaders of the Vineyard would argue that without maintaining both the heritage of evangelicalism, and the emphasis of the charismatic renewal on the power of the Spirit, the church is not fully the church. In this way and only this way will the Church continue to have something to say to the secularists, the deists, and the ecstatic. It is only when the Church follows Christ in all His offices that the excesses of experience are tamped down, and the cheapening of the Gospel is overcome. To Wimber’s and other Vineyard leaders’ urgings to follow the Christ that brings the end in and upon His church today, this author cannot help but say amen. Even so Lord Jesus come quickly.


Bibliography

Back to Our Roots: Stories of the Vineyard as told by Carol Wimber. Doing the Stuff Ministries: Vineyard Music Group, 2007

Barnett, Paul. “Paul, the Miraculous, and Ministry.” Signs and Wonders and Evangelicals: A Response to the Teaching of John Wimber. Ed. Robert Doyle. Homebush West, Australia: Lancer, 1987.

Blue, Ken. Authority to Heal. Downers Grove, IL.: Intervarsity Press, 1987.

Boice, James. “A Better Way: Word and Spirit.” Power Religion. The Selling Out of the Evangelical Church. Micheal Scott Horton,ed. Moody Press: Chicago, 1992.

Bruner, J.S. and Leo Postman. “Experiments.” The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago UP: 1970

Carson, D.A. “The Purpose of Signs and Wonders in the New Testament.” Power Religion: The Selling Out of the Evangelical Church. Moody Press: Chicago, 1992.

Cox, Harvey. Fire from heaven : the rise of Pentecostal spirituality and the reshaping of religion in the twenty- first century. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Pub., 1995), 83

Grudem, Wayne. Power and Truth: A Response to Critiques of Vineyard Teaching by D.A. Carson, James Montgomery Boice, and John H. Armstrong in Power Religion. Vineyard Position Paper 4. posted on http://www.vineyardusa.org/publications/positionpapers.aspx

Hiebert, Paul. “The Man, the Message, and the Movement.” Wonders and the Word: An Examination of the Issues Raised by John Wimber and the Vineyard Movement. Ed James R Coggins and Paul G. Hiebert. Hillsboro, Kansas: Kindred Press, 1989.

———. “Healing and the Kingdom.” Wonders and the Word: An Examination of the Issues Raised by John Wimber and the Vineyard Movement. Ed James R Coggins and Paul G. Hiebert. Hillsboro, Kansas: Kindred Press, 1989.

Jackson, Bill. The Quest for the Radical Middle. Cape Town, South Africa: Vineyard International Publishing.

——– . “Early Days in the Vineyard.” Extract from The Quest for the Radical Middle by Bill Jackson. Published on http://www.avc.org.za/

Jenkins Philip. The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South. Oxford UP, 2006.

Kraft, Charles H. Christianity with Power: Your Worldview and Your Experience of the Supernatural. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Vine Books, 1989.

 

Kirsten, Samuel. “Sacrificed to Jesus.” http://www.avc.org.za/

Lewis, David. Healing: Fiction, Fantasy, or Fact? A comprehensive analysis of healings and associated phenomena at John Wimber’s Harrogate Conference. Hodder and Straughton: Great Britian, 1989.

MacArthur, James. Charismatic Chaos. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, Mich., 1992.

Martin, David. Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish. Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishing, 2002.

McGee, G.B. and B.A. Pavia. “C. Peter Wagner.” Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Ed. Stanley Burgess. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2002.

 

Morphew, Derek. Breakthough: Discovering the Kingdom. Cape Town, South Africa: Vineyard International Publishing, 2006.

——. Message given at the 1995 European Vineyard Pastors Conference. Posted on

www.nextreformation. com.

Nathan, Rich. “A Response to Charismatic Chaos.” Vineyard Position Paper. Posted on

http://www.vineyardusa.org /publications/positionpapers.aspx

Nathan, Rich and Ken Wilson. Empowered Evangelicals: Bringing Together the Best of the Charismatic and Evangelical Worlds. Ann Arbor, Mich : Servant Publications, 1993.

“Our History”. Posted on http://www.vineyardusa.org

Perrin, Robin, and Armand Mauss. “Saints and Seekers: Sources of Recruitment in the Vineyard Christian Fellowship.” Review of Religious Research. 33 (2).

————-. “Strictly Speaking…..: Kelley’s Quandry and the Vineyard Christian.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 32(2).

Reid, John. “A Historical Perspective.” Signs and Wonders and Evangelicals: A Response to the Teaching of John Wimber. Ed. Robert Doyle. Homebush West, Australia: Lancer, 1987.

Riddlebarger, Kim. “This Present Paranoia.” Power Religion: The Selling Out of the Evangelical Church. Chicago: Moody Press, 1992.

Schmidt, John. “New Wine from the Vineyard.” Wonders and the Word: An Examination of the Issues Raised by John Wimber and the Vineyard Movement. Ed James R Coggins and Paul G. Hiebert. Hillsboro, Kansas: Kindred Press, 1989.

Shepherd, David. A Critical Analysis of Power Evangelism as an Evangelistic Methodology of the Signs and Wonders Movement. Dissertation for Mid-America Baptist Seminary. UMI: Ann Arbor, MI; 1991

Stafford, Tim. “Testing the Wine from John Wimber’s Vineyard.” Christianity Today.

Venter, Alexander. Doing Reconciliation: Racism, Reconciliation and Transformation in the Church and World. Cape Town, South Africa: Vineyard International Publishing, 2004.

Wagner, C. Peter. Look Out the Pentecostals Are Coming! Carol Steam, Il.: Creation House, 1973.

——–. “John Wimber.” Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Ed. Stanley Burgess. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2002.

———. “Third Wave.” Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Ed. Stanley Burgess. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2002.

———. “Vineyard.” Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Ed. Stanley Burgess. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2002.

Warner, Stephen. “New Paradigm Churches: Lessons from California.” Christian Century 114 (November).

Williams, Don. “Session 2.” 2006 Vineyard Midwest Regional Conference. Wheaton, IL.

Wimber, John. “The State of the Vineyard.” 1995 International Pastor’s Conference.

———-. “Why I Respond to Criticism.” Vineyard Position Paper 1 posted on

http://www.vineyardusa.org /publications/positionpapers.aspx

Wimber, John and Kevin Springer. Power Healing. San Francisco: Harper, 1987.

Woodhouse, John. “Signs, Wonders and Evangelical Ministry.” Signs and Wonders and Evangelicals: A Response to the Teaching of John Wimber. Ed. Robert Doyle. Homebush West, Australia: Lancer, 1987.


[1] Wagner, C Peter. Look Out the Pentecostals Are Coming! (Creation House: Carol Stream, IL; 124.

[2] Perrin, Robin, and Armand Mauss. “Saints and Seekers: Sources of Recruitment in the Vineyard Christian Fellowship.” Review of Religious Research. 33 (2); 98.

[3] Kraft, Charles H. Christianity with Power: Your Worldview and Your Experience of the Supernatural. Vine Books: Ann Arbor, Mich; 1.

[4] Cox, Harvey. Fire from Heaven. The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-First Century. Da Capo Press: US; xv.

[5] Ibid, 83

[6] Ibid, 82.

[7] Wimber, John. “The State of the Vineyard.” 1995 International Pastor’s Conference.

[8] VineyardUSA.Org website “Our History”.

[9] Schmidt, John. “New Wine from the Vineyard.” Wonders and the Word: An Examination of the Issues Raised by John Wimber and the Vineyard Movement. Ed James R Coggins and Paul G. Hiebert. Kindred Press: Hillsboro, Kansas; 82.

[10] Warner, Stephen. “New Paradigm Churches: Lessons from California.” Christian Century 114 (November).

[11] Perrin, Robin D. and Armand Mauss. “Saints and Seekers: Sources of Recruitment to the Vineyard Christian Fellowship.” Review of Religious Research. 33 (2), 102.

[12] Ibid, 102.

[13] Table compiled from 2 charts (tables 1 and 2) in Perrin and Mauss, 102-103.

[14] Ibid, 103.

[15] Martin, David. Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish. Blackwell Publishing: Malden, Mass.; 2002, 5.

[16] List taken from Schmidt, John. “New Wine from the Vineyard.” Wonders and the Word: An Examination of the Issues Raised by John Wimber and the Vineyard Movement. Ed James R Coggins and Paul G. Hiebert. Kindred Press: Hillsboro, Kansas; pp 78-80.

[17] This is John Wimber’s own quote about himself.

[18] Back to Our Roots: Stories of the Vineyard as told by Carol Wimber. Doing the Stuff Ministries: Vineyard Music Group, 2007.

[19] There are several good sources for biographical information on John Wimber. Carol Wimber, John’s wife, has written a memoir entitled The Way We Were which claims to give Wimber’s understanding of his life. Bill Jackson, a Vineyard pastor, has written a book entitled The Quest for the Radical Middle which attempts to tell the story of the Vineyard (from an insider’s perspective). For an outsider’s perspective of Wimber’s life, David Shepherd provides great biographical detail in his Phd dissertation titled A Critical Analysis of Power Evangelism as an Evangelistic Methodology of the Signs and Wonders Movement. The stories told in this section come from these books.

[20] Jackson, Bill. The Quest for the Radical Middle. Vineyard International Publishing: Cape Town, South Africa; 52.

[21] Hiebert, Paul. “The Man, the Message, and the Movement.” Wonders and the Word: An Examination of the Issues Raised by John Wimber and the Vineyard Movement. Ed James R Coggins and Paul G. Hiebert. Kindred Press: Hillsboro, Kansas; 16.

[22] Nathan, Rich and Ken Wilson. Empowered Evangelicals: Bringing Together the Best of the Charismatic and Evangelical Worlds. Servant Publications: Ann Arbor, Mich.; 47.

[23] Hiebert, Paul. “The Man, the Message, and the Movement.” Wonders and the Word: An Examination of the Issues Raised by John Wimber and the Vineyard Movement. Ed James R Coggins and Paul G. Hiebert. Kindred Press: Hillsboro, Kansas; 16.

[24] Kraft, Charles H. Christianity with Power: Your Worldview and Your Experience of the Supernatural. Vine Books: Ann Arbor, Mich; 1989, 3.

[25] Kraft, Charles H. Christianity with Power: Your Worldview and Your Experience of the Supernatural. Vine Books: Ann Arbor, Mich; 1989, 6.

[26] Jenkins Philip. The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South. Oxford UP; 2006, 111.

[27] Hiebert, Paul. “The Man, the Message, and the Movement.” Wonders and the Word: An Examination of the Issues Raised by John Wimber and the Vineyard Movement. Ed James R Coggins and Paul G. Hiebert. Kindred Press: Hillsboro, Kansas; 16.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid, 18.

[31] Back to Our Roots: Stories of the Vineyard as told by Carol Wimber. Doing the Stuff Ministries: Vineyard Music Group, 2007.

[32] Wimber, John and Kevin Springer. Power Healing. Harper: San Francisco; 1987, 31.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid, 32.

[35] Ibid, 34.

[36] Jackson, Bill. The Quest for the Radical Middle. Vineyard International Publishing: Cape Town, South Africa; 70.

[37] Hiebert, Paul. “The Man, the Message, and the Movement.” Wonders and the Word: An Examination of the Issues Raised by John Wimber and the Vineyard Movement. Ed James R Coggins and Paul G. Hiebert. Kindred Press: Hillsboro, Kansas; 19.

[38] Back to Our Roots: Stories of the Vineyard as told by Carol Wimber. Doing the Stuff Ministries: Vineyard Music Group, 2007.

[39] It is hard to say where Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith actually stood on this day. His statements on the Vineyard have been at times contradictory. I have read statements both positive and negative from Smith. It is also interesting that Smith officially blessed the Vineyard upon its establishment. Another issue is that statements from John Wimber, and statements collected by Bill Jackson for his book differ as well.

[40] Shepherd, David. A Critical Analysis of Power Evangelism as an Evangelistic Methodology of the Signs and Wonders Movement. Dissertation for Mid-America Baptist Seminary. UMI: Ann Arbor, MI; 1991, 69.

[41] Kraft, Charles H. Christianity with Power: Your Worldview and Your Experience of the Supernatural. Vine Books: Ann Arbor, Mich; 1989, 2.

[42] Interestingly these same professors had not complained when Wimber was barnstorming the country representing Fuller at Church Growth conferences, and bringing in money to the university coffers by consulting with churches (in the name of Fuller).

[43] Even more interesting, the class would eventually find its place back on the schedule taught by Wagner and Kraft. The class maintains the same look and feel. Wagner teaches, and then the students pray for each other. Which would led this author to believe that the main issues were not the message, but the messenger. Something that seemed destined to repeat itself in the criticisms of Wimber by evangelicals. In his charisma, enthusiasm, and lack of decorum, Wimber seems to have presented a very large target for critics. For his congregations and disciples these same characteristics were much loved.

[44] For example of this trend, read the section “Responses to critics of power evangelism” in David Shepherd’s Critical Analysis of Power Evangelism…” pp. 200-203.

[45] Wimber, John. Why I Respond to Criticism. Vineyard Position Paper 1. http://www.vineyardusa.org /publications/positionpapers.aspx

[46] MacArthur, James. Charismatic Chaos. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, Mich., 106-116

[47] Ibid, 110.

[48] Lewis, David. Healing: Fiction, Fantasy, or Fact? A comprehensive analysis of healings and associated phenomena at John Wimber’s Harrogate Conference. Hodder and Straughton: Great Britian, 22.

[49] Ibid, 80.

[50] Ibid, 30.

[51] MacArthur, 100.

[52] Boice, James. “A Better Way: Word and Spirit.” Power Religion. The Selling Out of the Evangelical Church. Micheal Scott Horton,ed. Moody Press: Chicago,129.

[53] Wimber, John. Power Healing, 157.

[54] Morphew, Derek. Breakthough: Discovering the Kingdom. Cape Town, South Africa: Vineyard International Publishing, 2006, 9.

[55] Wimber, John. Power Healing, 13.

[56] Carson, D.A. “The Purpose of Signs and Wonders in the New Testament.” Power Religion: The Selling Out of the Evangelical Church. Moody Press: Chicago, 115

[57] Grudem, Wayne. Power and Truth: A Response to Critiques of Vineyard Teaching by D.A. Carson, James Montgomery Boice, and John H. Armstrong in Power Religion. Vineyard Position Paper 4. http://www.vineyardusa.org /publications/positionpapers.aspx, 3-4.

[58] As this author is. I have almost 12 years experience with the Vineyard. First as an outsider drawn in by the renewal movement; second as a parishioner; and last as a both a lay leader, and staff member involved in three different Vineyards in three different states.

[59] Grudem, Wayne. Power and Truth: A Response to Critiques of Vineyard Teaching by D.A. Carson, James Montgomery Boice, and John H. Armstrong in Power Religion. Vineyard Position Paper 4. Wimber, John. Why I Respond to Criticism. Vineyard Position Paper 1. http://www.vineyardusa.org /publications/positionpapers.aspx, 11.

[60] Table compiled from 2 charts (tables 3 and 4) in Perrin and Mauss. “Saints and Seekers: Sources of Recruitment in the Vineyard Christian Fellowship.” 105-106.

[61] Bruner, J.S. and Leo Postman. “Experiments.” The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago UP; 1970, 63.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Riddlebarger, Kim. “This Present Paranoia.” Power Religion: The Selling Out of the Evangelical Church. Moody Press: Chicago, 268.

[64] Wimber, Power Healing, 15-16.

[65] Ibid, 157.

[66] Morphew, Derek. From a transcript of a Message given at the 1995 European Vineyard Pastors Conference. Posted on http://www.nextreformation. com.

[67] Cox, Harvey. Fire from Heaven. The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-First Century. Da Capo Press: US; 182.

[68] Schmidt, John. “New Wine from the Vineyard.” Wonders and the Word: An Examination of the Issues Raised by John Wimber and the Vineyard Movement. Ed James R Coggins and Paul G. Hiebert. Kindred Press: Hillsboro, Kansas; 78-79.

[69] Williams, Don. Session 2. 2006 Vineyard Midwest Regional Pastors Conference. Wheaton College: Wheaton, IL.

[70] Ibid.

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Historical Papers

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