Christy Wimber: I am worried because the charismatic church has no theology of suffering

Christian Today

Christy Wimber is in a reflective mood.

As the daughter-in-law of the charismatic preacher and Vineyard movement founder John Wimber, she has lived much of her life travelling and speaking at conferences, churches and Christian festivals.

All of which means she has become acutely aware of the evangelical church's weaknesses.

Speaking to Christian Today at Spring Harvest she is quite open about her concerns.

'The illusion of the church that when you are on the stage everything is good,' she says.

'Wanting to be famous is quite common,' she goes on. 'We are really good at miracles and loads of wonderful things but we are less good at watching our own discipleship.'

Her new book, Transformed, is upfront about the need for a deeper level of teaching in the Church and admits her criticisms come out of her own self-analysis.

'I had been in a really difficult season,' she says of the time writing the book. 'I think I was quite harsh towards myself.

'I have always lived a very public life,' she admits, adding: 'I had to get intersected. In that I had people who held up a mirror at me, who loved me more than what I do.'

Coming out of the evangelical church's most celebrated traditions, she says she is now concerned at its direction. Charismatics have got carried away with their charisma, she says.

Why is she so worried?

Wimber.orgChristy Wimber is a guest speaker at Spring Harvest in Minehead this year.

'Because this is not heaven. If you go into ministry thinking you have to bring heaven into the world,' that is an enormous pressure.

Many leaders in the church lack 'simple theology', she says.

'If this is heaven we have no theology of suffering.

'My concern for the charismatic church is there is no door for the mentally ill to come in.

'There is no theology of suffering. Saying everyone will get healed is really damaging.'

She goes on: 'I know many people who said yes to God because it felt great. So what happens when people you love die?

'I actually think everything we got through is an opportunity to be made more like Jesus,' she says, expounding on her concern at the lack of depth in the church.

'I am a lot of these events [like Spring Harvest]. I have been doing this a long time. I am not opposed to these things but we have created a culture.

'[It makes me think] am I helping or hurting the church? It just produces a bigger but not a deeper church.

'Bigger is not always better.'

Christian TodayNearly 4,000 Christians have gathered on the Somerset for the evangelical conference.