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

Francis: In all the great religious movements, from the birth of the religious orders in the Catholic church to “The Great Awakenings” in America, the first 20 years were the glory years, but after that there were too many people and someone decided to organize it.

 

David: Judith, where do you think the Holy Spirit is leading us?

Judith: I wish I knew. My prayer would be that more people would learn to hear God, to spend time listening to Him. The Spirit comes to us in waves, again and again, but we don’t listen. We don’t follow up. We are not faithful with what He asks of us. And we tend to push Him into boxes.

I believe the reason He is visiting other countries right now is because those people have a very childlike spirit of openness. When I was in Africa, I found that if you say God will do this, they will respond, “Let’s do it.” But in this country people will say, “God doesn’t do that.” We spend an enormous amount of time and energy trying to convince people that this is what God wants to do. Yet there is fear of the unknown. People are afraid of what God will ask of them. They want to know, “Will it take more than an hour, or a week?” And I say to them, “It will take your whole life,” and they go, “No, thanks.”

As far as the future of the renewal: I had an image several years ago, where I saw God tearing apart the denominations, and He said, “Some I will have to reduce to ashes, but out of the ashes I will build My church.” It frightened me when I first saw it, but where I see some of the denominations going now, I realize God’s going to have to do that. They’re not going to listen any other way. The church is going to have to reach a point where church as we know it no longer works, and out of desperation turn and cry, “Help us!”

 

David: What can you say to pastors about how to change their churches so that they become responsive to the Holy Spirit?

Judith: I was listening to a testimony of one pastor who lost most of his people after bringing back the renewal from the “Toronto Blessing,” and at first he said, “God, what are you doing? All of the people are leaving.” But God has since restored 10 times over with new members who are really hungry for God and the things of the Spirit, what he initially lost. So it’s not always a wonderful experience when we go with the Holy Spirit, because people will leave—especially people who give large amounts of money. If you start breaking out with things of the Spirit, many of those people will leave and take their money with them. But eventually God restores it. That’s the whole story of Job. Whatever God has to take away, He always restores.

 

David: Francis, your next book will attempt to show how man-made theologies have put a damper on the work of the Holy Spirit during certain historical periods. Give us a preview.

Francis: The reason why many believers today don’t pray for healing is that their theological forbears, such as John Calvin, didn’t believe in it. He believed that God shut it down after the apostles, which simply isn’t true. In fact, for the first 300 years of church history prayer for healing was generally accepted. One Yale scholar claims that the main methods used for evangelizing Rome were healing and casting out of evil spirits. It’s a historic question, not a question of theology.

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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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