Kingdom and Creation: Fusing the ‘John’ Force (Wimber and Pope St. JP II)
Two prophetic pastors, one American, one Polish. Both changed the face of Christendom in the last half of the 21st century.
One declared an empowered Gospel for healing wounded people, with signs and wonders following. The other etched an ace biblical map for rediscovering the heart of our sexual humanity amid a revolutionary overthrow of that humanity.
John Wimber was a master practitioner who took on the gap between Jesus’ actions and the words we recite about Jesus; de-escalating Pentecostal hijinks, John normalized the ministry of the Holy Spirit for all Christians. Wimber invited the global Church to welcome Kingdom power (beginning in our own ‘temples’). St. John Paul ll probed deeply the heart of a modern humanity intent on liberating sex while becoming its slave. His philosophical, incisively Christian mind opened us to the real freedom at the core of our sexual humanity; his robust spirituality declares ‘Jesus’ throughout every page of Theology of the Body, thus inviting every sexually disintegrated soul (yours, mine, ours) to reclaim paradise lost.
John Wimber and Pope St. John Paul II fathered me well. Still do. Time only enhances their contribution to the whole Church. Never have we needed an empowered Church that can redeem the treasure from the travesty we’ve made of our sexual humanity.
I had the privilege of serving under John Wimber before his death in ’97. After DSM’s departure from our Vineyard church due to an unrepentant senior pastor (sexing up congregants), John saw our wandering; he valued our offering to the burgeoning Vineyard movement enough to bring us on to ‘Mother Church’ to impart our essence. We gained a ‘Come Holy Spirit’ invite after every declaration of how Jesus can restore our wounded humanity, including its sexual divides.
To this day, we are inclined to charge the altar after every church service for a Holy Spirit response to rousing messages: kerygma, plus signs and wonders following! And we never fail to see every church member we meet, of whatever stripe, as an equally valuable participant in bringing His-Kingdom-Come to others. That grassroots yet measured, always invitational ‘open-heaven’ approach to life and ministry is pure Wimber—pure Vineyard—and foundational to DSM/LW.
The contribution of St. John Paul ll cannot be limited to TOB; the scope of his contribution is beyond me. Not beyond me gratefully is his vision of sexual love, rooted in creation, and nuanced in TOB with biblical depth, poignance, and hope. Never far from the divided soul, he divinizes the most fractured by reconciling us to what our bodies are, what they point to, and what Jesus can help us realize in the realm of human love, for our happiness, this side of heaven! He distills and deepens the best of Christian anthropology and redeems it via a profoundly personal spirituality.
Continual probing of TOB integrates me; it guides me when I pray ‘Come Holy Spirit, redeem what You have created in me.’ Or you.
I want to invite you all into the convergence of these two masters. We at DSM will host a 40-day prayer/fast/meditation on these two Johns and their convergence in our lives as persons and as a ministry. Calendar Wed. Oct. 12th-Sunday Nov. 20th. Let’s fan into flame the force of these two Johns, the Kingdom and Creation!