Healing Line

Healing Line

Back to Our Roots

by Francis MacNutt
Mar/Apr 2002

By the time you read this we will have held a long anticipated one–day retreat with CHM's Board of Directors (February 2) that will go back to our roots in charismatic renewal — centering on the "Baptism of the Spirit" — which is the power underlying the entire ministry of Christian healing. We are doing this because many friends understand something about the healing ministry, but really don't know much about the Baptism of the Spirit, even though it is central to praying for healing. (Perhaps this is a reason some people seem to have more success in praying for healing!) It's a little like Paul asking a new group of Christians in Ephesus, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?" (Acts 19:2). When they answered, "No," Paul laid hands on them and the Holy Spirit came down on them "and they began to speak with tongues and to prophesy" (Acts 19:6).

So many Christians don't know much about our need for the empowering of the Spirit, even though it is a central theme of the Gospels. I imagine that most of you who read this Newsletter do know about the Baptism of the Spirit and have experienced it, but because there are some of you who may not know much about it, I think it is really important to bring it up, even though in a limited space we cannot do justice to this key subject.

I remember back in the 1960's when I first met people who actually prayed with sick people for their healing, they were the ones who told me that it all went back to when they were baptized in the Spirit. To me, this made sense because of my study of the Gospels (especially the sending out of the twelve in Matthew 10, which was central to St. Dominic's founding the Dominican Order). I also knew that there was something missing in our ministry to emotionally wounded and hurting people. There had to be something more!

I knew that John the Baptist's main prophecy about Jesus was that he was the one who would baptize us in the Holy Spirit. This is in all four Gospels (see, for example, Matthew 3:11–12) and two Gospels also add, "and with fire." Then Jesus himself received the empowering of the Spirit when he began his own public ministry (Matthew 3: 16–17); immediate I y afterwards the "Spirit drove him" into the wilderness to confront Satan and the power of evil.

After I became convinced that I needed to pray for the Baptism of the Spirit ( although I had already been blessed by Baptism, Confirmation and Ordination), I decided to attend a conference in Maryville, Tennessee, in August 1967. There I met the speakers, Rev. Tommy Tyson, Agnes Sanford and Derek Prince. When I was prayed for to receive a further empowerment of the Spirit (the "release of the gifts that were already there" in Baptism and Confirmation), Mrs. Sanford prophesied that God would use me to help restore the fullness of the healing ministry to the Roman Catholic Church.

Following that experience I began sharing at conferences about our need to understand and pray for the Baptism of the Spirit, and that gave me the wonderful opportunity of praying for thousands of people — including hundreds of priests and ministers — to receive the Baptism of the Spirit. The 1970's then became days of increasing, joyous hope that entire churches (denominations) would rediscover the empowerment of the Spirit, and in some measure that came true. In almost every denomination strong renewal organizations and even entire communities were started. In the Episcopal Church, the Rev. Dennis Bennett started renewal in his Seattle church; in the Presbyterian church, it was Brick Bradford and Bob Whitacre; among Methodists, there was Tommy Tyson and Ross Whetstone. And so many others, past counting.

In the Roman Catholic Church, too, charismatic renewal grew in an extraordinary way, in spite of dire prophecies by some (like David Wilkerson) that it would be stopped dead by the authorities. And yet in 1973 I was among a dozen leaders invited to a private audience with Pope Paul VI where he gave the unofficial go–ahead for charismatic renewal. (This, of course, was largely accomplished through the initiative of Cardinal Suenens, who was like a shepherd and protector of charismatic renewal among Catholics.)

Those were heady, exciting days when it seemed as if the entire Christian world would join the Pentecostal churches in rediscovering the essential value of the Baptism of the Spirit in renewing not only individual lives but in renewing the entire body of Christ.

In many ways, that has happened. But then, in the 1980's, the renewal seemed to stop growing in the main denominations for a variety of reasons. There still remained fine renewal organizations (like Acts 29 in the Episcopal Church), but most of the major leaders in these churches — and most of their members — were largely unaffected. Even groups that held healing services in their churches did not always learn about the source of it all: the Baptism of the Spirit.

As a result of this vacuum, many searching Christians, no longer as loyal to their church as their ancestors had been, left their church of origin and joined independent evangelical–charismatic churches, such as the Vineyard movement, which have grown at an extraordinary rate.1 As Dr. Roof, Professor of Religion at the University of California stated: 42 percent of the 76 million baby boomers (one–third of the U.S. population) are dropouts from their church. But then, 25 percent are returnees who have left their church of origin but returned to some form of religion they felt was more spiritual. This statistic should speak loudly to the main established churches about a deep need for change.

Going back to the need for us to be baptized in the Spirit, we should note that Jesus, in his "State of the Union" talk (which you can read in Luke 4: 16–22) says explicitly that he has been anointed by the Holy Spirit which empowers his mission of preaching Good News to the poor and healing the sick. Later, after his Resurrection, he told his disciples they still weren't ready (even after their being with him for three years) to go out and evangelize until the Holy Spirit had descended upon them in a new way. They had to wait. At last, with a rush of flame and winds, they were finally endued with God's power at Pentecost. Not until then were they fully ready to minister.

That is our model. We, too, need our individual Pentecost! Has what happened at Pentecost to Peter, happened to you?

Francis and Judith
with Rachel and David

1 See Harvey Cox's Fire from Heaven: the Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty–First Century (Addison–Wesley Publishing Co., Reading, Mass., J 995).
(A New York Times "Notable Book of the Year")

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Mar/Apr 2002 Issue

Healing News

by Francis MacNutt
Mar/Apr 2002

The months of December and January were extraordinary for us at CHM in many ways — not so much because of what we planned but because of the people that God sent here to bless us and give us direction. For example, on just one day we had lunch with a couple in the leadership of "Focus on the Family" (from Colorado), and then had a two hour meeting with the administrator of a large Catholic hospital here in Jacksonville that is brainstorming on building a spiritual center for staff and patients as part of their expansion plans.

What seems clearest is that God is pushing us to work with an amazing variety of Christian groups. For example, in January (7–10), I was part of the annual meeting of the Charismatic Concerns Committee (CCC). This group of about 40 has been quietly meeting since 1971 when Dennis Bennett invited a group of diverse leaders (including myself) from the newly begun charismatic renewal to help these national leaders get to know each other. Among those leaders (for those of you who remember back that far) were David DuPlessis, the "Fort Lauderdale Five" (such as Derek Prince, Don Basham, Bob Mumford, and Charles Simpson). The group was small enough that we really got to know and esteem each other. Also, the talks were not recorded, so everyone could be really honest about the difficulties we aired about one another's ministries. The meeting was also meant to sort out the disagreements between these strong leaders who came from differing religious backgrounds.

For example, we held a discussion on baptism: were people who had only undergone infant baptism by sprinkling (rather than by immersion) really saved? Some controversies actually resulted in modifications in how various ministries were exercised; for instance, Lutherans, Episcopalians and Catholics had major problems with independent Pentecostals who took everybody who had only been baptized as an infant down to the hotel swimming pool to re–baptize them. Many of these difficulties were worked out and the relationships that were built up in those days lasted. More important, we learned from each other. For example, I learned a great amount about the deliverance ministry from the experiences of Don Basham and Derek Prince.

Out of this group developed another larger group, NARSC (North American Renewal Service Committee) representing all the major denominations that had charismatic renewal growing in their churches. In turn, NARSC sponsored the famous gathering of 40,000 in Arrowhead Football Stadium in Kansas City in 1977 — which was the high–water mark in charismatic renewal in the U.S. That Kansas City conference was followed by half–a–dozen other large conferences, the last one being in St. Louis in June 2001.

Well, at this year's annual CCC meeting, January 7–10, I was elected chairman, with Rev. Scott Kelso, a United Methodist pastor from Columbus, Ohio, being elected administrator.

The significance of this for CHM is simply that I was elected largely because we at CHM have been involved with such a wide variety of Christian groups involved in renewal. The ministry of CHM is more than just a ministry of physical and inner healing; increasingly, we — with many others — are being used to heal the divisions among the various churches and denominations — a ministry of reconciliation and healing the broken body of Christ.

Then, out of this January meeting of the CCC came an invitation to attend the first meeting of "Together 2002," gathering a group of prominent Pentecostal leaders, to be held April 29–May 2, 2002, in Washington, D. C. This meeting will be much like the CCC meeting, except that it will be for "Classical Pentecostal" leaders who typically have been separate from the so–called "Charismatics." These are all people that "charismatics" seldom have a chance to meet.

For those of you who don't know much about the history of Pentecostalism, the "Pentecostals" are those who belong to churches founded in the early 1900's, like the Assemblies of God and the black Pentecostal church, the Church of God in Christ. These churches all emphasize the Baptism of the Spirit and originated in revivals, such as Cane Ridge, Kentucky, and Azusa Street. Typically, they were forced to leave their Protestant churches and felt that Protestant churches were filled with lost people; their prejudice against the Catholic Church, the "Whore of Babylon," was stronger yet.

Then, when members of the mainline churches experienced the Baptism of the Spirit, the so–called classical Pentecostals didn't trust this second wave, the "Charismatic Renewal." These charismatics featured leaders in all the main churches, such as Dennis Bennett (Episcopalian), Tommy Tyson (Methodist), Brick Bradford and Bob Whiteacre (Presbyterian), and Kevin Ranaghan, Ralph Martin and Steve Clark (Roman Catholic). The Pentecostals, by and large, stayed away from us and those who crossed the line, such as David DuPlessis, were ostracized.

So the CCC is composed mainly of "Charismatics," who have been meeting for 30 years, while this new group, "Together 2002," are mainly Pentecostal, which includes people like Rev. Jack Hayford (Foursquare Gospel Church), Ken and Gloria Copeland, and Rev. Torn Trask (head of the Assemblies of God).

I give you this brief explanation because it is one of the many important and emotional Christian divisions that most people don't know about, but the effects touch millions of lives.

The good news to share with you is that God seems to be breaking down this major division among Christians and we rejoice to be a small part of it all.

The convenor of "Together 2002," Dr. Robert Fisher, in his invitation writes that these leaders "believe this time together could well be a moment of unity–building for the Pentecostal/charismatic movement. A problem with relationships is that most leaders know one another by name, position and gifting, but not on a personal basis. . .. Without doubt this will be a historic gathering. It will be the first time that such a diverse group of the highest–level leaders have come together on an intentional basis with no other agenda than to spend time getting to know one another better. . .. "

Judith and I feel honored to be invited to this small inaugural meeting. Putting this invitation together with the CCC, plus our invitation to take part in the November meeting in Rome convoked by the Vatican, we see a new quickening, in which the Holy Spirit seems to be bringing Christians together in a very real way — bringing those together who have been separated for decades ("Pentecostals" and "charismatics") and for centuries (Catholics and Protestants). We are excited to be a small part in all of this!

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Mar/Apr 2002 Issue

The Physician's View

by Dr. Grant Mullen
Mar/Apr 2002

Part 2 of a Series on Emotional Disorders

Blurred Vision and Blurred Thinking

Medical research in recent years has provided physicians with very effective tools to treat most mental health disorders. These treatments however, are not reaching the people who need them because of the lack of awareness and misunderstanding of the general public. The Christian community is particularly uninformed and as a result, untreated.The current situation is similar to the era when eye glasses were first introduced. They were a very effective treatment for blurred vision but they were not well received by the public since people had no idea that they themselves had blurred vision and could be helped with glasses. Most had learned to live with their poor vision and ridiculed those who did wear glasses. I'm sure that there were those who said that "if God wanted me to see better he would have made me that way, there's no need to wear those ugly things on my face." In those days one could function quite well with poor vision since transportation was with horses and the animals always knew the way home even if the driver didn't. Those who tried the glasses couldn't believe the improvement and wished that they had started wearing them years before. Their vision became normal but they had to live with the stigma attached to wearing glasses. The people around them didn't realize how much better the person's vision had become since blurred vision was an invisible handicap. It was easy and popular to criticize the ugly glasses.Now we are dealing with problems of "blurred" thinking, which are invisible to an observer. Even the sufferer doesn't know that he is not thinking as clearly as he should be. The victim is so accustomed to this disability that he doesn't know that he has a problem. He is then resistant to the suggestion that he could be helped and even ridicules those who do go for help. The church has been very guilty of criticizing and shaming those who go for psychiatric help since it has not understood the biological origin of "blurred thinking."

Why would Christians need to understand brain chemistry?

Blurred thinking ,and blurred vision are equally important handicaps and both should be treated. There should be no stigma to either condition._ Disorders of thought should not be over spiritualized any more than vision problems. For those of you who need glasses to read, how well does the Bible speak to you if you try to read it without your glasses? The Bible is silent if you can't see the words. Is this because you are spiritually dead? Has the Bible lost its power in this circumstance? Are you under spiritual attack if you can't see the page of scripture? Not at all. Do you need prophetic revelation or deliverance to get the Bible to speak to you again? No, you just have to put your glasses back on. To us it's just common sense.I want you to think of chemical imbalances in the same way, except in this case the "glasses" need to be swallowed to restore proper brain chemistry. If the thinking disability is left untreated it will be hard to read, worship, pray or have proper relationships. The disability will be personal, vocational and spiritual, but the treatment will initially be medical. I hope that after reading these articles you will realize that it's just "common sense" to recognize and treat blurred thinking. There should be no stigma at all to getting treated for these conditions. To ignore this problem is no different than refusing to wear your reading glasses and then not being able to read a Bible.Satan loves mood disorders since he can so easily condemn Christians who suffer from them. When the condition is treated successfully, he loses his foothold on your thoughts. To ignore or refuse treatment for this condition is just like refusing to wear your glasses and voluntarily living with the consequences of poor vision. I hope that through these articles the stigma to medical treatment will disappear and that these conditions will become as socially acceptable as vision disorders.In the next article we will find out how common these problems are.

Dr. Grant Mullen is a mental health physician in Grimsby, Ontario, Canada. He is the author of Why do I feel so down when my faith should lift me up? Mar/Apr 2002 Issue

The Owl: a True Story

by The Rev. Nigel Mumford
Mar/Apr 2002

At 6:30 A.M., Dec. 13, 2001, it was dark as I was driving to the Oratory (Gaylordsville, CT). I saw an owl, fluttering in the middle of the road, obviously hit by a car. Its left wing was twisted around and upturned.

I stopped my car in the middle of the road to stop any traffic, and got out with my flash light. The little owl's large yellow and black eyes were staring at me, without fear. I stroked it, and it seemed surprisingly peaceful. As I was wondering how to get it to the vet, I said a prayer for this wonderful creature of God. A pickup pulled up behind me. "This owl has been hit. Do you have a box I can put it in?" "Yes," the driver replied. When I picked up the owl, the right wing folded naturally, but the left wing remained outstretched, upturned. Broken? Into the box he went. I thought I would leave it in the back of my car until 9:00 A.M. when the vet's office would be open. For the next two hours I worked on a talk that I had been asked to give, an advent talk based on the third verse of Hark the Herald Angels Sing: "Risen with healing in his wings." Lost in my thoughts, I found Malachi 4:2–"But as for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings." Is it the sun with healing in its wings or the Son with healing in his wings?. What does it mean? How can he have healing in his wings?

I wrote my talk and I believe I answered that question. Then the bell rang for morning prayer in the chapel. At the prayers of the people I suddenly remembered the owl, and we prayed for it. After the service five of us went out to the car. I gingerly picked up the box, placed it on the ground and decided to let the owl out to see the extent of the injury in order to take it to the vet. The owl was swaying backwards and forwards with its eyes shut in the bright light. I tipped the box gently. The owl hesitated for just a moment and then, much to my surprise, stepped forward, stretched both wings, and with power and healing in its wings, took off to a tree about fifty feet away. We all burst into tears. "Risen with healing in its wings." Thank you, God, for the witness of healing a little owl this Christmas.

Nigel Mumford The Rev. Nigel Mumford is a member of CHM’s National Advisory Board and serves as director of The Oratory of Christ the Healer, Christ the King Spiritual Life Center in Greenwich, New York. Mar/Apr 2002 Issue