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A Conversation with Francis and Judith MacNutt, Interview by David Kyle Foster

Years later, the Lord led me to Clearwater, Florida, to work with The Spirit of God Community, (a large charismatic Catholic group), where I prayed and counseled people, and where I met Francis again.

 

David: What was a Baptist doing working for a charismatic Catholic community?

Judith: I felt drawn to the sacraments and liturgy. The Baptist church was closed to the charismatic renewal and I didn’t feel that I could have my prayers for people really blessed there. So I was received into the Catholic church.

 

David: How did you work through the fear that many Baptists and other Protestants have that Catholics aren’t really saved?

Judith: God gave me a beautiful exposure to the Roman Catholic church through the renewal. The community was 500 strong there, they really knew Jesus, they knew the Holy Spirit, and they prayed for healing. So any fears that I might have had about it being “the whore of Babylon,” as I had been taught growing up, were quickly overcome. I still love the Southern Baptist church, but it needs to have a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit to blow through it. So does the Catholic church, for that matter.

So, there I was, fellowshipping in the Catholic community, praying with their people, ministering to them, and unaware that the very people that I was staying with were friends with Francis. He would come there between trips to work on one of his books. Well, after quite a long time we both realized that we were falling in love. After several days of praying with the leaders, we felt like God was calling us to marry, and so we did, in 1980.

Francis: The leaders were mostly against it, by the way. I was 54 and she was 32.

 

David: Francis, how did you work through renouncing your vows of celibacy as a priest in order to marry?

Francis: It was very difficult because everyone was saying, “You can’t do this! You’ve made a vow! This will destroy the great ministry that God has given you.” I remember one Catholic leader just cried. So, it wasn’t always anger, but sadness, too.

 

David: Many of them probably believed that you would lose your salvation if you left the church.

Francis: Yes. In those days there was an automatic excommunication attached to a priest leaving to marry. You were out of the church. So that was hard. Also, upon marrying, I wouldn’t be able to receive the sacraments. So there was a lot going against our decision.

I didn’t make a decision to leave the church, however. The decision was to marry. It wasn’t like I wanted to leave the church, that wasn’t the point, but it was the inevitable consequence at the time.

 

David: What did you think about the Catholic church’s teaching that your excommunication would result in the loss of your salvation?

Francis: Only God can say who is saved and who is lost.

 

David: What happened in the years between your 1980 marriage and your 1987 move to Jacksonville, Florida?

Francis: I wrote The Prayer That Heals and Praying for Your Unborn Child. We also received various speaking invitations from Protestant groups, and Judith continued with her counseling practice. Then the Episcopal bishop in Jacksonville asked if we would like to move there. They wanted a healing center. And so, we started Christian Healing Ministries.

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Category: Pneuma Review, Spirit, Summer 2007

About the Author: David Kyle Foster, M.Div. (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School), D.Min. (Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry), David is the author of Sexual Healing: A Biblical Guide to Finding Freedom from Sexual Sin and Brokenness, Transformed Into His Image, and Love Hunger: A Harrowing Journey from Sexual Addiction to True Fulfillment (Chosen, 2014). He has served as adjunct professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, The Bible Institute of Hawaii, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry and Logos Christian College & Graduate School, and is on the faculty of the Wagner Leadership Institute. His articles have appeared in New Man, Charisma, Touchstone, and Rev magazines and he has appeared on programs ranging from The 700 Club, The Dr. Phil Show, and The Coral Ridge Hour to Janet Parshall's America. David is the founder and director of Mastering Life Ministries and producer of the “Pure Passion” TV program. He makes his home in the Nashville, TN area.

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