In 1994 Randy was an average Vineyard pastor in St. Louis when the Lord used him to spark a revival in Toronto that spread throughout the world. Yes, Randy was the guys who preached the first sermon on January 20, 1994 of what would later become known as the “Toronto Blessing.” (Note that both Randy and the folks in Toronto are no associated with the Vineyard movement having gone a different direction.)
Having mixed feelings about the revival and its effect within the Vineyard and throughout Pentecostal/Charismatic circles in general, I was cautiously excited when I saw one of his books inside a box of giveaway item destined for our church’s food pantry/clothing closet. My feelings were even more mixed when I noticed that the book was focused primarily on impartations – i.e. the laying on hands by one person with the purpose of transferring a spiritual anointing to another person.
It should be noted my mixed feeling with such a topic comes having grown up within Pentecostal/Charismatic circles and having heard many a sermon preached about impartations and “mantles” (a reference to Elijah and Elisha in 2 Kings 2). Accordingly, I know that there is a biblical and historical precedent for such an impartation, it is just that over the years I have seen people chase after such impartations – going from one revival to another, one pastor superstar to another, chasing a spiritual ‘superpower’ that would allow them to bypass the mundane life on this planet and become a spiritual ‘giant’…..
Yeah, you know the abuse…
So there I was – face to face with a book by a controversial pastor on a controversial topic. And being me, I choose it as a traveling companion on the long ocean flight to the Philippines this past November. 🙂
By now you are wondering what book I am talking about…well the book in question is “There Is More: Reclaiming The Power Of Impartation” published in 2006.
The book itself is split into three main sections looking first at the biblical and historical precedent for impartations before moving into an experiential look at the fruit or outcome of the “Toronto Blessing” and/or other revivals in which Randy prayed over someone to receive an anointing. The third part of the book is about the purpose or goal of such an impartation, which is to spread the word of God throughout the world for the glory of God.
It is within this last section that Randy really shines as he drives home both the purpose and the cost involved in receiving the anointing of the Lord
“It is not enough to simply have someone pray for you or prophesy over you. The word from the Lord must be met with faith, taken a hold of and walked in. God had a destiny for the children of Isreal when He led them out of Egypt. Yet, unbelief kept that generation from ever reaching the land of God’s promise. Rolland [Baker], Heidi [Baker], Leif [Hetland], and others like them are walking in God’s promised destiny for their lives, but not simply because of a single act of impartation or prophecy. It is because they have chosen to receive by faith what God has promised, whatever the cost, and have determined to lay everything else down in reckless live for Jesus, in total submission to His every leading.”
God wants to use His people to reach the nations for His glory. He wants sons and daughters with a heart for the broken, the poor, the diseased and the demonized. And being a good God, He wants to equip His children with the power and ability to DO something about these injustices.
Receiving an anointing has nothing to do with the person being anointed in that it does not make that person any more or any less of a child of God. The purpose of such an anointing is to reach the nations for God – it is power with a purpose.
Unfortunately while the last part of the book shined, I was really disappointed in the first section as Randy only spent nine pages out of the 242 pages in the book discussing the biblical foundation for impartations. Basically he simply did NOT seriously engage the Bible in his discussion of impartations – instead the book was mainly a series of stories outlining the personal experiences of Randy and those to whom he has prayed over and anointed.
As you can imagine, this was a HUGE disappointment as I was hoping for a good solid biblical look at impartations and anointing. There is so much depth and life to the Bible I know that Randy could have easily spent 100 or so pages diving into the Scriptures. Yet, for whatever reason, Randy chose to bypass biblical scholarship and stay within the experiential realm.
Note that I’m not against direct personal experience – far from it!! The majority of the Bible is actually written history of personal experiences detailing the work of God among His people. Furthermore Revelation 12:11 tells us that followers of Jesus triumphed over the evil one by the “blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”
No, I’m not against personal stories or experiential knowledge. I just think that we need to maintain a balance in which we have BOTH biblical scholarship and experiential knowledge.
Unfortunately in focusing on the experiential side of things, Randy inadvertently reinforces the ‘superhero’ aspect of anointing that he is trying to dismiss. This also happens through Randy’s retelling of the impartations he has received from others. And while the lure of “counting” anointings can be strong (over the years I have felt the allure of wanting to be ordained in an apostolic succession church), I feel that it takes away from the true anointing of the Holy Spirit by Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, while I think that Randy Clark’s book “There Is More” is alright I also think the topic could have been approached differently with a stronger emphasis on the biblical view of impartations.