As was reported in the last Discerning the Times, I suffered a terrible fall when I fell down the stone steps at the Community of the Cross. By the grace of God, I only broke my collarbone. Thank you for your prayers and concern. I am recovering slowly; the pain is less, but I am still working with just one hand. Before my fall, I had written the following report on
Here I want to provide reflections on the Rome Trip and some clear directions of how to pray for follow up. The Israel Team will be reporting to you shortly in another Discerning the Times.
This picture of the team representing PRMI and the Dunamis Fellowship International was taken after celebrating the Ash Wednesday Service conducted by Pope Francis in the 4thCentury church of Santa Sabina.
Father Gregory was our main contact and the person who arranged this pioneering bridge-building trip for PRMI. For over two decades Father Greg has been friends with Chris Haynes, who is a member of the DFI and has been involved in our Dunamis mission outreaches in the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Belarus.
“A First Date” for Building Bridges
We are in the process of assessing what God was doing on this amazing trip. Father Greg described this as a “first date” in which we were doing a lot of listening and building bridges of friendship, as the first steps to what the Lord may have in mind.
We made a number of important connections within the Roman Catholic leadership centred in Rome. These connections will need to be nurtured. Two connections stand out as especially significant because they are consistent with PRMI/DFI’s core vision and mission.
- Reconnections with the Catholic charismatic renewal movement
- Connections with those involved in deliverance and exorcism.
What about our historical differences?
These relationships hold significant potential for helping to heal divisions in the Body of Christ stemming from the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counterreformation so that together we can share in advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We seek to do this not by ignoring our differences, but building on our common faith in the one true God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), salvation by God’s grace alone, our belief in the penal substitutionary atonement of Christ and salvation in Him alone, commitment to traditional biblical views of marriage & sexuality as well as the sanctity of human life.
We have significant differences on many other issues, but with these foundational essential beliefs intact, we believe the Spirit is calling us to move forward, work together where we can, and most importantly love each other and pray for each other.
Five hundred years of
Reconnecting with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement.
There is every potential that the doors may be opening for the restoration and advancement of our relationship beyond the earlier era (1960’s to about 1995). During this season PRMI had a decisive leadership role in the Charismatic renewal uniting Catholics, Protestants and Pentecostals in the common mission of advancing the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We met with the Director of the
There seem to be a very real possibilities of connecting together somehow with the teaching and equipping on cooperating with the Holy Spirit that is embodied in the PRMI Dunamis Project. This is core for our calling of creating venues for Jesus Christ to continue to fulfill Acts 1:4-8, of people receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit and having the Holy Spirit “coming upon” us to be witnesses to Jesus Christ. It was obvious that we share together this common commitment to fulfilling Acts 1:4-8 as the key to fulfilling the Great Commission.
At this point I cannot go into any details, but I ask you to pray for these relationships to form as bridges where we share with the Roman Catholic Church in this urgent work of the message of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, so that we may cooperate with the Holy Spirit together in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Connecting in the area of Deliverance and Exorcism
We had amazing meetings with Roman Catholic priests involved in offering instruction on deliverance and exorcism as well as those engaged in exorcism. I learned a lot from them as they described their theology, their process of exorcism, and shared some of their personal experiences. From them, I gleaned some important principles that will need to be discerned and then added to our Dunamis equipping on spiritual warfare and deliverance ministry.
I was struck by their deep humility and centeredness in Jesus Christ as the one who does the exorcism and is their spiritual authority. As we talked through the process of exorcism, we were making comparisons seeing how what we had experienced compared, and it was obvious that there were lots of similarities.
As the top exorcist in Rome and the leaders of the Catholic Church’s International Association of Exorcists (AIE), it was made clear that they were dealing with the most extreme cases in which there were clear unmistakable supernatural manifestations of evil, such as the possessed levitating, objects flying around the room and other manifestations.
It was obvious to me that these two men were humble servants of Christ, possibly because they did not think we would believe them and might try to
The head exorcist said, “Oh yes!” “Such as?” I probed. “Not long ago a woman was spitting out nails out of her mouth, and one shot right by my ear and
Toward the end of the conversation, I raised the question of dealing with demonic strongholds where there is the need for a type of corporate exorcism of evil spirits, as in the cases that I had experienced in the battle with ISIS. This launched us into another fascinating conversation and soon we were out of time. They had generously given us over an hour and a half.
As we talked together, I experienced there was a kindred connection as “brothers in arms” in the same war against the Devil. I believe the whole team experienced a sense of koinonia with these dear brothers. They told us that there is a desperate need for those anointed for this kind of ministry. We are experiencing this need as well.
This conversation was mostly conducted in Italian with Father Greg simultaneously translating for us. So, I think at times we may have missed some of the nuance as it was at times hard to hear. Father Greg was very excited about how well we were received and the way that they engaged us in the conversation. He is very hopeful that there may be some points of convergence and cooperation.
Once again, it is premature to project any specific outcomes. These meetings were, after all, only a ‘first date,’ a getting to know one another. Still, it was a very good beginning toward bridge building. I think that the meeting went better than we could have ever imagined as these were among Rome’s top exorcists who were willing to meet our team of evangelical leaders. While feeling us out and cautious at first, by the end of our nearly two-hour meeting there was genuine warmth between us.
I ask you to join us in praying for the Holy Spirit to nurture the links He intends for the glory of Jesus Christ in this area.
Lord, What are you doing?
I kept asking myself throughout this packed trip, “Lord, what are you doing?” Jesus’ prayer for unity of His body kept coming into my mind,
“I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, (21) that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be inJohn 17:20-23 NET
us,so that the world will believe that you sent me. (22) The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one — (23) I in them and you in me — that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.
In ways that I do not fully grasp, I believe that Jesus not only opened the doors for this trip but has set PRMI/DFI on a journey that will link us with the Roman Catholic “ligament” of His Body. He has sent us on a similar journey linking to the Messianic Jewish “ligament”.
PRMI/DFI by God’s grace seems to be being called to a strategic “nexus” role in the body of Christ/Messiah. In both of these journeys, which are interconnected and hold the potential of healing profound divisions within the body of Christ, we are committed to the end Jesus prayed for, that in the power of the Holy Spirit the world may know Jesus Christ as “the Way the Truth and the Life and the only way to God the Father.”
These journeys with two different but interconnected ligaments of the body of Christ/Messiah are filled with perils, opportunities and obstacles, so we really need your prayers for guidance, protection, provision, and above all fortitude to remain true to the nature of unity revealed in the Bible, the Word of God.
Join in this Work of Prayer
We are called to move forward, but we seek to follow the Spirit as we cross the minefield. We desire to be faithful to Christ and His truth as we understand it in our Reformed faith while allowing ourselves to be challenged and open to what the Spirit is doing.
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Accommodations in Historic Rome
Our guest house was a lovely villa that had once been an Armenian school but has since been converted into a hotel. We were located up the street from the site of the home of Priscilla and Aquila. The name of the street was, in fact, Via Priscilla, and the believed location of their house church stood only blocks away. It was exciting to think that we may well have been walking where St. Paul walked to visit this ministry couple.
If we kept walking down the hill, we would arrive at the Circus Maximus which could seat over 250,000 for chariot races. Just beyond the Circus were the ruins of the Roman imperial palaces, and just a little further on the Roman Forum & the Coliseum – almost 3000 years of history!
We were just a three-minute walk from Sant’ Anselmo, the Benedictine Monastery and university. This is an amazing place on the Aventine Hill, the highest of the seven hills of Rome with a commanding view of the Eternal City dominated by St. Peter’s Basilica.
We were able to just walk up the hill to attend their evening vespers, which were beautifully chanted in the lovely chapel. I have heard Gregorian chants before, but never in the setting of a vast Roman-style sanctuary and the endless halls of the monastery.
The echoing sound was extraordinary, chanted by the faithful who have kept the Benedictine hours for hundreds of years, and joined by the angelic choirs of heaven. One of the marks of the Benedictine Order is the welcoming of all guests as one would welcome Christ. We certainly experienced this and were blessed by their, and our host Father Greg’s, hospitality.
A Packed Itinerary
Each day was absolutely packed and quite overwhelming in intensity. It felt like we were moving from one divine appointment to the next! Just to give you a flavor of the level of meetings we were having, we were given thirty minutes with Father Gregory Polan, O.S.B., the Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation worldwide.
We were deeply impressed by this man’s deep humility, graciousness, spiritual authority, and learning (he has a Ph.D. in New Testament). He shepherds hundreds of communities of monks and nuns worldwide who follow the Rule of St. Benedict
After this meeting with the Abbot Primate, we joined the other monks in the refectory for lunch. Father Greg masterfully set up our seating arrangements at the table so we could get a
Laura and Hilary were placed near a sister from one of the Benedictine convents for women. She was from Germany, and we were soon engaged in a fascinating conversation of what our parents had been through in World War II. This led to an animated discussion about the role of the church in healing war-ravaged Germany and Europe. It was simply amazing!!
Father Greg delighted in taking us on tours through the buildings of Sant’ Anselmo from the top floors looking out over the city of Rome with an excellent view of St. Peter’s in the distance, to the basement where their building project had been stalled by the discovery of the ruins of a first-century Roman villa.
As we passed by the high-tech class rooms, Father Gregory made an off-hand comment, “now just imagine Dunamis teaching on the Holy Spirit taking place in there.”
During a prayer time together, Laura mentioned that Greg had made this comment. I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Pray into this!” I am envisioning that possibility and invite you to join me in praying into it!
This is the way God has always expanded the work of PRMI/DFI and connected us with different movements of the Holy Spirit within the Body of Christ.
It was an amazing trip, with the Lord connecting and reconnecting PRMI with Spirit-filled and empowered believers within the Catholic Church. Please continue to join us in praying for direction for the next steps and discerning how the Lord is calling us to walk alongside each other to see the Kingdom of God expanded.
Wow! This is exciting. So glad you are connecting to the historic and current waves of the Holy Spirit. The ebb and flow of God’s work throughout time thrills my heart. We have been connected as the Lonesome protestants with a Catholic group of sisters and brothers for many years. Nice to know this is happening at the “top of the ecclesiastical chain.” O LORD, continue the connections and broaden the love between the denominations. (And continue to heal Brad). Amen.
I love to see all the connections that are being formed! The Holy Spirit is calling forth the unity of the Body, the beautiful Bride of Christ!
Thank you so very much for this report. As I read it I felt such an excitement in my heart and felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to continue with this exciting moment. Before you even mentioned uniting I felt that it was the coming together of the church as it was meant to be. Once more a body of Christ taking the Word of God around the globe in ways the enemy has not seen in a long time. A uniting of God’s people that will PUSH them back so hard, (PUSH, Pray Until Something Happens). Well I feel something is happening now and I am still excited as I write this reply and the Holy Spirit is here to keep the excitement moving as we have to keep moving with and in the Spirit. The enemy will retaliate but we must be ready and have a team ready and beginning to pray now to hold back the wrath he will release.