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Experience and the Vineyard

Experience and the Vineyard

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Published by James Smith
A description of my experience with the Vineyard Church
A description of my experience with the Vineyard Church

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Published by: James Smith on Dec 13, 2011
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12/13/2011

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Experience and the Vineyard:
A Personal Account of My Views on Vineyard Evangelicalism byJames Smith
Layperson
Camarillo, CaliforniaFall 2011
 
Introduction
Men cannot make Scripture conform to their lifestyle; they must make their lifestyle conform to Scripture.
Edwin Louis Cole.Raised in the church I knew the Lord from a child, fell away as a teen and two years later wasreunited on a mountain in Alaska. In 1980 I began a tumultuous journey of the spirit. Beginning from onedenomination, then to another and yet another the task of owning this belief in God became verycomplicated right from the start and then got worse and more intense from there. I joined the Vineyardin 1995 after a terrible divorce. The loving caring group gave all the emotions and support I needed tocarry on and the message was strong that we can cast our cares upon God because He cares for us. Here began the next part of my journey and experience this time with the Vineyard church.CRI, the Christian Research Institute states “after several months of extensive research anddialogue, (we found) that the Vineyard is a dynamic and fruitful church which preached the historicgospel of Christ and contributes invaluably to the body of Christ in many ways.” A very favorabledescription yet they go on to describe some matters of concern. “In conclusion, while The Vineyard is avibrant, sound Christian church, our concern is that Bible teaching and doctrine are de -emphasized,while experience plays too large a role in determining their understanding of God's Word. At present,we do not regard them as aberrational, nor do we expect them to become such; however, given their emphasis on experience and their"experimental" nature, the potential for drifting away from sounddoctrine is there. Our prayer is that God will continue to bless their ministry at the same time leadingthem to greater faithfulness in the teaching of sound Bible doctrine”.When we choose a place of worship, taken into consideration first and most importantly aretheology and doctrine. Secondly it could be said that tradition and culture are very important and thirdlywould be other criteria including things like the the distance from home, the personality of the Pastor and Sunday school. A problem could arise with making a decision based on how we “like” a church or if it makes us “feel comfortable” because these are not necessary requirements that are primary whenchoosing a group of people to serve God with. I know truly wonderful people who are believers and yetwhen I found out what they believed I have to say it made my hair stand on end. So it can be said thattheology and doctrine go before how we feel about a house of worship. The observation by CRI helpedto describe what I myself have seen in the Vineyard and so in this treatise I will try to describe my ownobservations.
 
A Critique
Doctrine
a. Doctrinal minimalists. Very shallow biblical teachings and a desire not to preach what they believe inorder to be acceptable to everyone and tolerant. This could lead to relativism and a rejection of absolutetruths. b. Distrust of scripture mediated through the church but very attentive to individual direct experience.c. Changes in culture necessarily means changes in the way doctrine is understood, explained andrelated to the culture. Leaders are seen to need to adjust to adapt to these changes.d. Good works and social activism are encouraged more than learning doctrine. How to live is over whatthey believe.
Education
a. There is no official statement or declaration of the desire for all congregation members to becomemore educated in the scriptures. b. There is no church effort to establish through consultation the spiritual condition and education of amember for their further education and welfare.c. There is in place no structure or curriculum or Catechism to further the members Biblical education.d. This is not in compliance with the first portion of the Great Commission of Mat 28:19 “Go thereforeand make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the HolySpirit.”e. There is no direction for those who wish to have further education. They are neither directed as towhere to go for further education nor are they taught which view the organization maintains andsupports, or the fact that there are differing views.f. Members are left to self learn.g. Most if not all have ever read the Vineyard Statement of Faith to understand its meaning as comparedto others.
The Gospel
a. Is not preached very often and when it is it is not complete. b. The Gospel is not preached in the manner of the scriptures. Whereas the scriptures tell it in this way, 1Corinthians 15:3,4, “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried andthat He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” This method is a historic objective factand is God centered.The manner in which the Gospel of Christ is preached is more like “God loves you, has a plan for your life, if you will accept Him into your life, He will accept you and help you with right methods andinstruction which will bring you success in your life.” (paraphrased). This is humanistic, man centeredand not based on any objective fact. This has been deemed as Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism.
The Communion Sacrament
a. In similar manner to above, the manner in which communion is observed, by having groups of peoplegather together to pray for one another takes away from the focus of Christ and puts it towards man andthe solving of his problems. This is in direct conflict with 1 Corinthians 11:23-32.
From the Pulpit
a. There is an overemphasis of some subjects of the Bible and the omission of many other subjects of theBible. b. All sermons seem to lead as a priority to the teachings of manifestations of the Spirit, healing andmiracles.c. Man is glorified more than he should and Christ is not reverenced with proper respect due to a lack of teaching on mans sin nature.d. It seems as though proper study has not been done before a sermon is spoken.e. Serious errors in bible teaching leading to an unbalanced view of Gods love for man which ignores the

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