While speaking out against the status quo of his day, Jesus referred to himself, his message, and its recipients as new wine poured out into new wineskins: Jesus was scandalous and intoxicating.
No one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out, and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. –Luke 5:37-38
Jesus is still scandalous and intoxicating. The problem is that we, who claim to follow him—no matter our status or stage in life—are so prone to pour the new wine of his life and word into the old rotten carcasses of “Churchianity” that cannot contain the wine, ruining it in the process.
Jesus is the answer. But what was the question?
The Gospel is good news. But what is so good about it? It is so much easier to place bumper sticker answers on one’s car than it is to bump up against these questions. Jesus came to reconcile humanity to God, people to one another, and humanity to the cosmos. The Bible teaches that he came to break down walls of division as to race, class, and gender (Galatians 3:28). He did so, knowing full well that he would be broken in the process. But we find it so much easier to avoid the pain and brokenness, petrifying the Gospel from our zones of comfort rather than facing life head-on. So we remove ourselves from the world, demonstrating that we are all the more of it. We so desensitize ourselves, saran-wrap Jesus, and sanitize his message that we have lost our voice to speak in culture.
Jesus will only connect in an age when he remains radically different in our daily lives, breaking us out of our complacency, comfort, and self-imposed “normalcy.” Much has been made of the factual “evidence that demands a verdict” that Jesus is Lord. But today, “Jesus is Lord” is a verdict that demands evidence in our lives that he is Lord. Otherwise, our faith is fiction. A fragmented culture requires holistic engagement. We at New Wine, New Wineskins wish to journey with Jesus, to listen, to live the question, to feel pain once again, and so find healing, to become more authentic and holistic—pouring out the fresh wine of Jesus Christ into fresh wineskins in contemporary culture for Christ’s sake.
Bearing witness to Christ in Contemporary Culture
We at New Wine, New Wineskins seek to partner with the church to live incarnationally in the communities in which we are placed and beyond. We wrestle with rethinking how to communicate the eternal Word of Christ in an ever-changing culture in a holistic manner. This requires keeping one finger on the pulse of the Bible and another on the bold print of the daily news. New Wine provides forums for educating the community to speak meaningfully to the current concerns of Christ in the church and broader culture. New Wine is geared toward life transformation—bringing the Word to life. Drawing from the Master’s metaphor in Luke 5:27-39, our desire is to see the new wine— the truth of the ancient Gospel story—poured into the new wineskins of the lives of people in contemporary culture.
We embrace a theology of cultural engagement.
New Wine imparts a vision for holistic education for the whole person in the global village. New Wine makes known. It heightens the awareness of people and the communities they serve to the pressing concerns facing contemporary culture. New Wine motivates. It goes beyond merely informing and invites people to respond, inspiring them to sense the need and take ownership in meeting the need. Lastly, New Wine mobilizes. It offers inroads into resolving problems and engaging issues by way of internship, conferences, panel discussions, workshops, crosscultural sojourns, the New Wine blog, and its journal, Cultural Encounters: A Journal for the Theology of Culture.