Reflections on Our Visit to Germany

by Francis MacNutt
Nov/Dec 2002

We were truly honored by a remarkable invitation from the Baptists of Germany to speak at their annual conference, held this year in Essen at a church of the newer type that reminded us of the Vineyards in the U.S. - that is, no superfluous, soaring arches, but a very simple, functional building with large spaces suited for their many services ( such as a program for addicts) that the people need. (We found that these evangelicals had been strongly influenced by the well-known Willow Creek Church in Michigan.)

The conference itself, held on the weekend of September 20-22 was remarkable in that one-third of the 400 people in attendance were clergy, while another one-third were medical professionals. This group was truly a vibrant group in a Germany where, now, the state-supported churches (Lutheran and Catholic) are suffering from lack of attendance - and the small congregations that are left are mostly older people. The dying out of Christianity in Germany is typical of what is happening all over Europe. Judith and I were glad to be part of what is going on among evangelicals to try to restore a vibrant, Spirit-empowered Christianity to what was once the heart of Christianity. As Hillaire Belloc once wrote in the 1930's: "Europe is the Faith." But no longer.

Our reception on the part of the Baptist leaders (and other leaders, because Lutherans and Catholics were also invited) could not have been warmer, and we were privileged to share· the platform with two other wonderful speakers: Dr. Jerry Mungadze, originally from Zimbabwe, but now from Dallas, where he runs a center which helps people who have DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder, which used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder). Many of his patients are victims of Satanic Ritual Abuse. Since we have been ministering to more and more of these survivors ourselves, and trying to find more counselors and clergy who understand this problem, it was a providential time to meet someone like Dr. Mungadze - in Germany of all places. He also told us that there are now five centers in the U.S., like his, that work with DID patients -usually for three weeks at a time. (Altogether, treatment usually takes years). Like us, he is working to inform deliverance ministers, usually well-meaning but not well-trained, that it is a disastrous mistake to try to cast out all these multiple "alters," as if they are all evil spirits. You can damage people by trying to cast out real parts of their human personality; moreover, this kind of simplistic deliverance ministry can damage the reputation of Christian deliverance ministries in the eyes of psychiatrists and counselors.

The other speaker was a delightful Austrian woman, Marian Prean, who spoke powerfully about God's love. She, of course, was the only speaker who didn't need an interpreter, but fortunately we had excellent translators.

The organizer of the conference, Dr. Heinrich Rust, is a leader among the Evangelical-Freechurches and some 21 different organizations sponsored the conference, whose theme was "Healing and Deliverance." Among the sponsors was the Vineyard in Germany and the group for which I spoke in 1997, "Christen in Gesundheitswesen" (try pronouncing it!). Our deepest desire was, of course, that our teaching might help bring an ever-stronger healing ministry into the churches of Germany. One of our board members, Taylor Smith, traveled with us at his own expense and was a tremendous support to us in many ways, as we struggled with jet lag and giving five talks in three days. The wonderful thing we have discovered about Jesus' healing ministry is that it is able to reach out across what used to be impassable cultural and denominational divides. The greatest healing of all is that the Lord is bringing all of us together in a wonderful unity and love.

-Francis MacNutt

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