Healing Line

Healing Line

From Francis

by Francis MacNutt
May 1990

Recently a friend shared with me the exciting account of a Social exorcism — the first description of such an event that I have ever read! It comes from a rather unlikely source: the Methodist Federation for Social Action. It's director, Rev. George McClain had been continually frustrated by the refusal of the National Methodist pension board to get rid of its investments in South Africa, even though the United Methodist Church had called for divestment, to protest apartheid. In fact, George had been arrested, with 36 of his colleagues, for blocking the pension board's offices in Evanston.

Then something happened: George sat in on several exorcisms that his wife, Tilda, conducted (she, too, is a minister). George found all of his rationalistic ideas about evil ("the absence of good") were "blown to pieces" as he came to realize that exorcism was a real need, not just an "embarrassing aspect of the New Testament's witness."

He began to sense that the pension board was held captive by evil powers, even though its members were good, dedicated Christians. George's next move was to gather 7 friends to pray for the board's exorcism (at a distance, of course). In prayer they discerned the names of the oppressing spirits — fear and intimidation being the principal ones. Next they held a communion service and, following that, performed the exorcism:

"Spirit of fear and intimidation, in the name of Jesus Christ, we order you to depart from the Board of Pensions and go to Jesus"...

And so it went for several hours until they felt their prayer mission had been accomplished. At the end they felt exhausted.

Several weeks later came the first big surprise: the general secretary of the board, their strongest opposition, unexpectedly resigned. Three months later when the pension board met at the historic Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, George noticed a great change in their attitude, when they once again met with him to hear his position on South Africa. While the board was meeting, George and 25 others held still another exorcism service outside the hotel where the November wind chilled them.

Then came the announcement: a new, open–minded secretary had been elected; and the board voted to pull their investments out of South Africa. Not only that, but a change of attitude took place in the Social Action group, too!Instead of seeing the board as a faceless bureaucracy, they began to love — even like — them. George realized the he, too, had been caught up in a spirit of fear and arrogance.

Since then several more social exorcism services have been held when their were church conflicts filled with "spiritual poison." Each time positive changes took place — with some remarkable surprises.

So here we have a new discovery: the possibility of group exorcism being used — not to further our own desires — but only after true discernment — whenever a group is held captive by the forces of evil.


Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. May 1990 Issue