Healing Line

Healing Line

Is Charismatic Renewal Dying?

by Francis MacNutt
Jul/Aug 2006

Even while our CHM conferences continue to grow and we see peoples’ lives transformed, truly transformed, we also learn of places where once vibrant groups or centers have diminished in numbers or disappeared completely. Then I keep reading that the charismatic renewal has “peaked.” Just yesterday I was reading in the esteemed evangelical journal, Christianity Today, and found a disturbing statement: “Today, many scholars and participants agree that the charismatic movement as a distinct phenomenon has fizzled out, and survives in niches of broader movements.”1

Now, I don’t dispute the fact that, at least in the United States, the charismatic renewal has waned in influence. What worries me is the casual tone in which the news is announced, as if it were just one more fad that has run its course — “fizzled,” like an old, open bottle of Coke!

Charismatic renewal, at its heart, was not just a fad; it was a rediscovery of the absolute need for the power of the Holy Spirit to change people’s lives at the very center of our Christianity. What it led to, over and over again, was ordinary people being touched in such a way that they knew God — they met God in very real ways and experienced his love. This happened to thousands at the first Pentecost, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Jeremiah (31:34): “There will be no further need for neighbor to try to teach neighbor, brother to say to brother, ‘Learn to know the Lord.’ No, they will all know me, the least no less than the greatest …”

St. Thomas Aquinas taught that this promise was the greatest, the most important, in the entire Old Testament concerning the New Covenant, the New Testament. This is what the charismatic renewal is really all about, our coming into the true meaning of the New Testament — entering into what Jesus came to give us. As John the Baptist taught, the purpose of Jesus’ coming was to baptize us in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11; also found in Mark, Luke and John).

Accompanying this baptism in the Spirit are the charismatic ministries that enable us to be freed of the deadly evils that are beyond what we can overcome by ourselves (I Cor. 12:4-11): the blindness in our minds, the weakness in our wills (addiction), the chaos in our emotions, the demonic influence in our lives and the sickness in our bodies. These are the areas where we poor, weak human beings really suffer. For the most part, these wounded areas in people who sit in their pews are not really touched in our churches by what we do on Sunday morning.

But over and over again, as in our recent healing conference, we have seen people truly transformed — not through education (good as that is) but by the power of the Spirit. To say that what we have seen and what we, ourselves, have experienced was just a fad, is, in my mind, a blasphemy, a denial of what God is trying to do — and has been trying to do for 2000 years.

So what went wrong?

What went right was that church authorities in general saw that people were being blessed, and gave charismatic renewal their approval. This was a great step forward, since some prophets of doom had predicted that church authorities would "pull the rug out from under" any leaders who promoted charismatic renewal. That never happened; that’s the good news.

The bad news is that something else never happened; that is, simply, that most church leaders never got the point that the charismatic renewal was centered on the essentials of the Gospel. It wasn’t just a nice "extra" for those who enjoyed a certain kind of emotional spirituality. It was central, not a fad. It was not merely an option, but most churches have treated it as an option.

What was needed was for church leaders in all denominations to recognize that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the charismatic gifts were central to the church’s life. They gradually lost their importance in the 4th century (for all the reasons mentioned in my book The Nearly Perfect Crime2). Good things took their place, but some of the essentials were downplayed and superceded.

To take one important example: how many mainline church leaders ask whether their people have received the baptism of the Spirit (as Paul did in Ephesus)?

And how many seek out laypeople who may be prophets or who may have healing gifts or the gift of discerning spirits?

There is no place in most regular church services set aside to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and, after people have received the baptism in the Spirit at an optional meeting, no program to help it grow in community. It’s optional. Ordinary church goers, therefore, don’t consider the baptism of the Spirit as very important. For example, compared with the number of approximately 1200 priests who came to the same conference in the mid-1970s, I understand that the annual charismatic Roman Catholic priests’ conference at Steubenville University, this summer, is expected to draw approximately 150 priests.

If it is true that charismatic renewal has seen its day in the sun, and if an excellent Christian magazine can refer to it as a “fad,” I think this is tragic. The blossom has not been watered and the flower has withered on the stalk. You can see the result when you look out at the faces of the apathetic, burdened people who sit out there in the pews on Sunday morning. Good people, but they are waiting for something to happen — waiting, somehow, for their leaders to bring them the Good News that will transform their lives and help them become the New Creation that Christ calls them to be.

How can we help break through this glass ceiling that somehow prevents good Christians from experiencing the Gospel? That’s the question: “To be or not to be,” in the deepest sense.

(Footnotes)
1 “Charismatic and Mainline,” by John Dart. March 7, 2006,  p. 23.
2 The Nearly Perfect Crime, ordering info. on page 13.


Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Jul/Aug 2006 Issue


Appeal for Intercessors

by Anne Early
Jul/Aug 2006

Behind every function of Christian Healing Ministries (CHM) stands (perhaps “kneels” would more accurately describe) a virtual army of prayer warriors, CHM’s faithful band of intercessors.  These dedicated saints intercede with Jesus Christ, the divine intercessor of every Christian, on behalf of each individual named on their prayer sheets.  They also intercede for the presence, power, and guidance of the Holy Spirit in the teaching and practice of healing prayer at CHM and all the work, planning and prayers of staff and board members that give birth to classes, conferences, and prayer times.  We need not ask who is “standing in the gap” for the presence of the Lord in all factors that contribute to and support the blest anointing of healing through CHM; we know.  As David stood against the giant Philistine, they stand in faith against the ravages of disease and misfortune that plague the lives of the thousands of individuals who come to our attention through prayer requests.

Because of a large increase in the number and urgency of prayer requests received (the “gap” is growing!), we are praying that the Holy Spirit will move many more devout Christians to take on this wonderful responsibility and opportunity of intercession.  If you feel inclined to join this great band of prayer warriors, or know of someone who feels called to pray, please call or write and let us pray with you for guidance of the Holy Spirit.  I would be happy to describe how we work as a team.  Please call (904-765-3332, ext. 221), email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or write (Christian Healing Ministries, Inc., P.O. Box 9520, Jacksonville, FL 32208, Attn. Anne Early, Intercessory Prayer Coordinator).  Thank you, and may God bless you.

Every month we receive 100+ testimonies of healings that apparently, at least in part, are the result of the prayers of CHM intercessors.  The following few will give you an example and, we hope, inspire you to join our band of prayer warriors:  (1) From India:  “Jesus has performed the biggest miracle in my life, healing my son from blood cancer through your prayers.”  (2) “Thank you for praying for my friend M.  She has been miraculously delivered from fourth stage cancer.” (3) A woman for whom CHM intercessors prayed had been given a prognosis of 2 months to live.  She went for medical tests as she was preparing to enter hospice.  Her doctor’s message to her after the tests:  “You have NO cancer.  There is zero medical understanding for these results.  Either you are a very godly person or you have had a whole lot of people praying for you, because, my dear woman, you have experienced a class ‘A’ flashy miracle!” (4) “Three children for whom you have prayed – Matthew, Sean and Kirsty – have had severe, life-threatening illnesses.  Curses have been broken and inner and physical healings have been received, including healing of palsy, kidney disease, and emotions.  Praise the Lord and thank you for your ministry.” (5) Thank you for praying for Diane. She has totally recovered from the pancreas infection and the shutting down of her kidneys.  She is doing really well.” (6) “You prayed for our friend Jan who suffered from the flesh-eating bacteria and was not expected to live.  He lives!  Thank you for your prayers." (7) “The relationship between father and son has been restored.  Thank you, oh Father, for those who have borne this for us.”  (8) “Seeing my family walking closer to Jesus!” (9)From the Slovak Republic, having asked for prayers for salvation:  “My father prayed the prayer of salvation today, and he received Jesus as Savior!” (10 )“Praise God!  Depression lifted.  Working now.  Relationship with my sister healed.  Marriage is better.  Thank you for praying.”

  “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. (Romans 8:26-27)”  

Jul/Aug 2006 Issue


Praise the Lord and Give Thanks

Compiled by Anne Early
Jul/Aug 2006

From clients who received healing through Intensive Prayer Ministry and individual prayer sessions at CHM:

•    From Addie, as she is preparing to enter college:  For the past two years I have suffered with interstitial cystitis (IC). This is a disease that affects the bladder.  It is not fatal, but it is constant and worsens every year.  It can become quite serious.  Even at this early stage it has been causing many problems in my life.  For a long time we did not know what was wrong; only during the last week, through medical appointments and research, did I learn what my problem was and the methods to cure it.  First, I was told by my urologist it was not always curable but that it was possible to reduce the symptoms.  Since she was not 100% sure I had IC, she wanted to run a potassium test to see if my bladder would react to it.  If it did react, confirming that I have IC, I would have to go under anesthesia for some more tests, then have several unpleasant treatments.  The idea of going to Christian Healing Ministries for help was on my mind after the doctor’s appointment. And after talking with my parents, it was decided that I would go for healing prayer.  After my healing session with the prayer ministers, I felt at peace and was very optimistic about the next day’s appointment.  As we actually went for the test, however, I was nervous.    When my doctor came in, I told her I had gone to CHM for healing prayer so that she would know the variables as she performed the test.  She nodded a bit nonchalantly and asked me how the last day had gone.  It had been about a day and a half since I had seen her.  My chart read that I was getting up to use the bathroom 6-10 times every night and, during the day, usually using the restroom every 15 to 30 minutes.  After the healing session, I had used the restroom only two or three times that day and had gotten up only two times at night.  She looked absolutely shocked, but I could tell she still didn’t quite believe me.  She even told me, sardonically, that I shouldn’t have gone to that healing session because it could impact the results of the test.  The test took a total of about fifteen minutes, and my bladder never reacted to the potassium any more than a normal bladder would.  She was completely amazed.  She did not say much at first, just “wow!” and that I had passed with flying colors.  However, as we were walking out, I could hear her talking to the nurse.  She was saying things like “I believe in miracles, but this is a first!” and “I can’t believe that!” She was truly amazed, and I think she believed a little more in the power of healing prayer after that appointment.  I owe a very large thanks to Christian Healing Ministries and, of course, to God, for this blessing in my life. Thank you very much!!

From Attendees of Emerging Leaders in Healing Conferences:

•    From Whitney:  “I recently attended the Emerging Leaders in Healing Conference in Jacksonville, Florida, May 8-12.  I came with five other ministry interns from the University of Georgia Wesley Foundation. We each had received a scholarship through your ministry. I was extremely blessed and would like to share with you what God did in my life.

“A couple of years ago, through my praying for a dear friend’s mother who had cancer, God began to teach me about healing.  I prayed continually for her for eight months.  She died, but God did so much in my heart. Soon after, I got Francis’ book Healing and continued to grow in understanding healing. Ever since that time, I have desired to visit Christian Healing Ministries and receive more teaching on healing. However, as a ministry intern at the University of Georgia, living on support, I knew it would be difficult, financially, to be able to attend a conference.

“The Lord wanted me to grow in healing and, this last April, opened a door for me to attend the conference in May on scholarship. I was so excited and honored to be able to sit under the teaching of so many who have studied, prayed, and practiced healing for many years. It isn’t very often that I am able to hear teaching on the different areas of healing, especially spiritual deliverance. While at the conference, God continued to grow the principles that He had taught me through Francis’ book and other experiences in my personal life. It was good to hear testimonies and to learn practical applications of Biblical principles in prayer.

“Overall, God taught me the importance of listening to Him in praying for people. There is such a simplicity in allowing Jesus to come and heal, knowing that I have no power, apart from Him, to heal. He affirmed my confidence in Him and the authority I have as a Christian. God also encouraged me through Judith’s and Francis’ marriage relationship, for I hope to do ministry with my husband as we see God move in the Methodist church. God also grew my heart for women and seeing inner healing in their lives.

“I hope to continue my learning as I pray for people. I have just received Francis’ book on deliverance and will begin reading it soon. It was great to have an opportunity to visit Jacksonville and grow in healing prayer. Thank you for investing in me and what the Lord is doing in my life."

From students who attended School of Healing Prayer Level II in June:

•    “This school taught me that it is critical to have a deep, personal prayer life with God.”

•    “I feel more equipped to minister to individuals with deep wounds.  This is a wonderfully practical, theologically sound training and committed to wholeness for all involved.  What a blessing!  Through several prayer sessions the Lord moved deeply.  I am so grateful to have pieces of me that were long missing restored.”

•    “I was finally able to grieve over five miscarriages and see those children in the presence of Jesus.  That released a gift of tears.  I had not been able to cry since the first miscarriage, 29 years ago.”

•    “I feel good — great — fabulously renewed!  I learned how to pray to the Holy Spirit.”

•    “I had ringing in my ears.  They were healed even without my asking for prayer in that regard.”

•    “The work of the Holy Spirit was so awesome, and worked for the healing of those present who needed it.”

•    “I experienced healing with the generational blessing from Francis and Judith.  Thank you.”

•    “I experienced relationship healing with my father.  I also learned the importance of praying God’s power over daily spiritual battles — a very important lesson for my work with the Father.”

•    “I have experienced cleansing and healing of effects of spiritual abuse, and trust that God will use this haeling to minister to others through me.”

•    “I was in a minor car accident Tuesday night, and was in pain when arriving Wednesday morning.  I received ministry from prayer ministers and within an hour was feeling much better.”

•    “I received healing of a deep wound from childhood that had affected my ability to work effectively in my career, at church, and in the healing ministry.”

•    “I experienced more inner healing and in the conception-to-birth prayer, deliverance from anxiety and guilt.”

From our Mail, Email, and Telephone Messages:

•    “I’m so happy to tell you that during Level I, Feb. 20th, my wife was healed of asthma.  She asked the Lord to heal her when Francis sang over the group in tongues, and we think it was at that point the Lord took her asthma away.  She has had asthma for many years, crackling and wheezing as she lay down to sleep at night.  It’s all gone.  God bless you.  I really appreciate and admire your work.”

    “Two years ago, when I was a student in Level I, Francis and Judith prayed over me.  I was filled with the Holy Spirit and healed of hatred, soul ties and more, and began to speak in tongues.  I’ve not been the same since.  Thank you.”

“Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again, Rejoice!  By prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7).”

 

(The Praise Reports have been edited for readability.)


Jul/Aug 2006 Issue