Healing Line

Healing Line

From Francis

by Francis MacNutt
Aug 1990

Dear Friends,

We have returned from Solano Beach, Ca., where we gave a conference for the Coast Vineyard where our friend, Don Williams, is pastor. (The Vineyards are those churches connected with John Wimber's Anaheim Vineyard.) There was a time, 20 years ago, when I had difficulty appreciating non–denominational churches and those Christians (especially Catholics) who had broken off from established churches to form their own little church — the New Testament Church, free from all the errors which they believed had infiltrated Christianity. They now had a group that would follow the Spirit and not be trapped by "dead traditions."

Yet you couldn't help but notice some of their own mistakes, what seemed to be their shallowness and , sometimes, their internal power struggles. Usually the new church would explosively, but then a few yeas down the line, it too would split into two more churches, each convinced that it was closer to the truth. It always seemed that, whatever faults the Catholic church had — and everyone in the church admitted there were many — it still held to that one great virtue: unity. You just didn't go off and start your own little church of Lost Nation, Iowa; that was the height of pride (even if the pride was unconscious).

But now, maybe I've changed. Or maybe the situation has changed. Anyway, I'm no longer so sure. While I still wish that people would remain faithful to their mainline churches and work from within for renewal, I am now able to see a special purpose in these new churches. Groups such as the Vineyard are able to experiment to make mistakes to discover new things (by the light of the Spirits guidance) and try them.They can bring the baptism of the Spirit, healing, prophecy and deliverance into the everyday life of the church. Truly they don't have to sort out which traditions are simply the "traditions of men" that need to be dropped. As John Wimber said, in the days when he was a consultant to established churches, the actual priority of most churches (in spite of their stated policies and priorities) was to maintain the status–quo.

I believe that God is showing us that we need new wine skins for today's new wine of the Spirit. I believe that these new churches are providing the new models that the established churches need to help move them off of dead center. Perhaps many of them will fall by the wayside, but I believe that some will make it. Perhaps in some ideal world we wouldn't need these churches, but in the real world I think we need both the wisdom and experience of the established churches (which have the basic weakness of think they already posses all the important elements of christian wisdom — and don't believe they need any outside help) and the freedom of new groups ready to move with the Spirit at a moments notice. (Don William's Vineyard rents a warehouse for a church and has no committees!) One is the church of the Settlers, the other is the church of the Pioneers.

They need each other but they don't know it yet!

Francis & Judith
Rachel & David

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