The Radical Middle
In 1953, a bishop and missionary named Lesslie Newbigin, published a book entitled, "The Household of God: Lectures on the Nature of the Church." In this book he outlined the idea of the universal church as one river, made up of three streams: Protestant (or Evangelical), Catholic (or Liturgical) and Pentecostal (or Charismatic). Newbigin held the idea that these streams were much broader than traditions or denominations, but that they represented the flow of historic Christianity. The Biblical principles he outlined have been developed and debated over time and today we believe God is leading His Church to what we view as a full expression of the Christian faith.
A value within the Vineyard movement is to love the whole Church and to take the best from all the various traditions (that have Biblical foundations) and bring them together in one place... this is consistent with our quest for the "radical middle" or our "both-and" orientation. At Christ The King Vineyard Church, we see the three streams of Liturgical, Evangelical and Chairsmatic faith as three legs to a stool that can not stand if one is missing. It is a whole expression of the Christian faith instead of a polarized, "either-or" approach.
We see the roots of these three streams in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Jesus would travel to the Temple in Jerusalem for worship during the Feasts -- with all its traditions and rituals. It is unclear to what extent He participated in each of those rituals, but He certainly honored them and at times tried to give greater spiritual understanding to them. Jesus also spent time teaching from the Scriptures in the Synagogues. Finally, Jesus engaged the people in the streets through ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is our conviction that all three streams were present in the Church from the very beginning. Thus, we refer to this as an ancient faith.
The following chart may bring some understanding as to how the three streams come together for a whole expression of our faith:
So what does this look like in our church?
We embrace the Biblically based liturgical elements that have been a consistent presence throughout history in the Christian church -- bringing continuity to the people of God at all times and in all places. This includes the ancient worship form of Word and Table (which means our worship will be centered around the Bible and the Communion Table). We are devoted to the public reading of the Scriptures, corporate prayers, and weekly communion. Liturgy in its simplest form means the "work of the people." It gives us a framework whereby all of us can be participants in the worship of God and not mere observers.
We hold to the Scriptures as our ultimate authority and are devoted to the Apostles' teaching. The Evangelical emphasis on personal salvation by grace alone through faith alone and the "priesthood of the believer" are central to our faith. We will continue in our missional and evangelistic effort to advance the kingdom of God and transform our families and communities with the love and truth of Jesus Christ.
We emphasize the necessity of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit and expect that His gifts and fruit (as outlined in the Scriptures) will be evident in our lives and the life of our church. The power and presence of God will be active in our midst through the work of the Holy Spirit and the people will know and experience God through word and deed.
As Bishop Newbigin states, "What is the manner of our engrafting into Christ? ...I think that there are three main answers to these questions. The first answer is, briefly, that we are incorporated into Christ by hearing and believing the Gospel. The second is that we are incorporated by sacramental participation in the life of the historically continuous Church. The third is that we are incorporated by receiving and abiding in the Holy Spirit."
We long to be a church that is thoroughly Biblical, fully charismatic and faithfully sacramental. A place where people from all traditions and church backgrounds can worship and minister together as faithful followers of Jesus Christ -- who gathers us together to make Himself known in our community.