John Wimber, whom I’ve written a lot about now, is perhaps mostly known for proving that it is possible to be charismatic without being fanatic. At the end of his life, he told his fellow Vineyard pastors: “Ruthlessly assert the Vineyard value of ‘no hype’ in all communications. Avoid pumping people up for the ‘new thing’ God is doing. Demystify new emphasis even as the Vineyard has attempted to demystify spiritual gifts. Understatement is a key Vineyard value that I pray will flourish for many years.”
Jake Kail writes on his blog:
Recently I watched some old videos of the late John Wimber preaching and ministering. One of the things that was so refreshing to me was his authenticity. Rather than pushing people so that they would fall to the floor, he would encourage people to stay standing as much as possible. He would tell people that if they did not feel any positive change after prayer for healing, to simply be honest about it instead of trying to make the one praying feel good by claiming to be healed. He gave words of knowledge in a very simple and natural way. The overall feel he gave was “you can do this stuff too” not “I am a great man of God.”
I believe that there is a great need to recover authenticity in ministry today. If we are going to walk in the true power of God, we need to get real. The Bible indicates very clearly that a “love of the truth” is a safeguard against deception (see 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11). Part of loving the truth is being authentic.
The Vineyard pastor Aaron McCarter agrees:
Healing ministries tend to be hype machines. It’s just true. Sometimes it’s hard to watch. But Wimber came along and pointed out that just because that was a traditional pairing, they didn’t actually have to go together. It was a myth. You actually could have one without the other. And from that insistence one of the more powerful healing ministries in history emerged. It featured rather stale and uninspiring calls to ministry-time, sermons preached in normal speaking voices, hype-free prayers, and incredible manifestations of the power of God.
As Wimber himself put it in his book Power Healing (p. 187):
“During the time of prayer for healing I encourage people to ‘dial down’, that is, to relax and resist becoming emotionally worked up. Stirred up emotions rarely aid the healing process, and usually impede learning about how to pray for the sick. So I try to create an atmosphere that is clinical and rational… while at the same time it is powerful and spiritually sensitive. Of course, emotional expression is a natural by-product of divine healing and not a bad response. My point is that artificially creating an emotionally charged atmosphere militates against divine healing and especially undermines training others to pray for the sick.”