This year’s Society of Vineyard Scholars annual meeting was at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. Featuring a number of well-known scholars (e.g., Howard Snyder, Craig Keener, Eleanor Mumford), Vineyard thinkers and friends of the Vineyard gathered together to share and hear and pray and reflect and hang out together. 

In addition to having a fun and engaging time presenting my paper on quadrilateraling, the best time is always spending time with some very good friends discussing a wide range of topics. Seeing Thomas Lyons, Thomas Creedy, Lyn and Steve Burnhope, and Frank Emanuel is always a huge blessing in my life and this year I got to include a few other old and new friends, while also missing a few who were unable to make it.

I personally enjoyed this year’s conference and I think the main reason why is because so much of what was shared actually has application in local churches! It was great hearing scholars articulate why their ideas mattered and I found myself struck by a number of really powerful insights. Lots of talks were enjoyable and I really enjoyed Eleanor Mumford’s encouragement for SVS folks to be good stewards of their academic work and think better about serving the Vineyard movement and churches. I couldn’t agree more. And I really want to start some discussion about the implications of Snyder’s thoughts concerning covenant and kingdom because I’ve done a fair amount of reading on that and think some of the biblical theology coming out of those advocating New Covenant Theology could be helpful.

But something else struck me as being the most fascinating part of #SVS2018…

Suffering leads to the Spirit’s Coming

In 2014, Craig Keener spoke to SVS and shared a powerful story of suffering, and then the Holy Spirit came in a very powerful way. Lots of prayer and ministry time and lots of healing. Interestingly, at this year’s SVS conference, there was again a powerful time of ministry around the idea of “wounding” and “suffering,” themes that came up alongside the life of academia.

In other words, and I am going to do some studying, thinking, and writing on this, when the invitation for those who are suffering and wounded is given, the Holy Spirit seems quite keen on showing up to do work in people’s hearts. And my observation about the “scholarly academic” world is that a lot of suffering and wounding and depressing goes on. Might it be worth SVS to think a bit more about the connection between suffering and the coming of the Spirit? I’m not sure that a “routinization” of ministry around suffering needs to take place, but maybe it does? Given that it appears to be such a common “felt-need”?

I have a lot of thoughts and observations about this connection, but in a few minutes I’m jumping on a plane to head home…


GCF, the local Vineyard church that hosted this year’s SVS gathering did a fantastic job. Their pastor, Jason Duncan, was such an amazing host and the people who actually did the hospitality stuff couldn’t have been any friendlier! And whoever did the SVS organizational stuff did a great job. Well done, ladies and gents and whoever else helped.

Anyway, lots of late nights and lots of discussions leads to one exhausted person. Check out Thomas Creedy’s thoughts on SVS here, here, and soon to be here (I’m sure he’s writing it as I type).

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