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

There’s a deliverance ministry that recently made news, led by a woman who apparently has no understanding of inner healing. So what’s happening to those people that are being prayed for? My guess is she sees the same people over and over again, because the demons of pornography, rejection, self-hatred or whatever that she casts out are going to wander around and come right back to the same people. So the great need in the church is to understand that all of the Spirit-given ministries work together to bring wholeness to a person.

 

David: Let’s move on to the charismatic renewal. It seems to have ebbed and flowed in the last 40 years. Why do you think that has been, and what do you think the future holds for the charismatic renewal?

Francis: That’s a really great question. In the United States it has certainly ebbed in the mainline denominations. A lot of that, as I see it, is their inability to incorporate it into the Sunday worship where people are free to prophesy or pray or whatever. At best they have a little group of two or three people standing by the side alter to pray with people. That’s an improvement over 50 years ago, but for in-depth things, it is woefully inadequate. I’ve yet to hear of a mainline leader saying from the pulpit, for example, “If you’re smoking, (which is one of the top health problems in the country), come to us and we’ll pray for you and ask God to free you from your smoking addiction.” Too many times, there is no understanding of the charisms and the power of the Spirit among the leadership.

 

David: Why do you think the charismatic renewal got suppressed in this nation?

Francis: It wasn’t suppressed; it’s been controlled. In Asia, Africa, and Latin America the charismatic renewal is exploding, while in Europe and the United States, except in groups like the Vineyard or the Charismatic Episcopal Church, it’s stalled. In this country, by and large, it has been domesticated. But in other parts of the world it’s growing so explosively that the largest group of Christians next to Roman Catholics are Pentecostal Evangelical Christians! Most mainline Protestants in this country don’t realize that they are outnumbered. They still see charismatics and pentecostals as fringe groups. They don’t realize that the main centers of Christianity 25 years from now will not be Rome, Geneva and New York, but New Delhi, Lagos and other exotic centers. Already, there are 10 times as many Anglicans in Africa as there are in England!

 

David: Is that the inscrutable choice of God to pour out His Spirit in one place and not another or is there something about Americans and Europeans that quenches the Spirit?

Francis: I think there is a movement to quench the Spirit. It’s very human. One writer identified the problem as a spirit of phariseeism which keeps returning. God usually starts things with relatively poor people, like He did with the illiterate laymen, Peter and John. And it usually happens in distant places where there is no establishment control. For example, in Cane Ridge, Kentucky in 1801, there was an extraordinary revival out on the frontier where the theologians in Boston couldn’t control it.

 

David: The problem with Westerners then is an over-intellectualization and institutionalization of what needs to be free in the Spirit.

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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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