RANDY CLARK RESIGNS FROM VINEYARD
Randy Clark, the man who was pivotal within the Vineyard Christian Fellowship during the past decade, has resigned from the movement. For most Christians, Clark is an unfamiliar name and face. Yet, despite his lack of fame, his direct influence upon the movement placed an indelible impression which is known to many familiar with modern day revivals and impartation services.
In the summer of 1993, Clark was pastor of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in south St. Louis. He claims to have been emotionally, spiritually, and physically on the brink of burnout, but was invigorated after speaking to a colleague who had just returned from a conference led by self proclaimed "Holy Ghost bartender" Rodney Howard Browne.
Clark then personally attended a Howard Browne meeting in Tulsa, Okla., at Kenneth Hagin, Jr.'s Rhema Bible Church. He went in spite of his theological differences with Hagin because Clark claims, "The Lord spoke to me immediately, and said, 'You have a denominational spirit. How badly do you want to be touched afresh?'"
At a Vineyard regional meeting in Lake Geneva, Wis., Clark told of the Tulsa meeting. This forum allowed news of the phenomenon to reach a large and influential constituency within the movement. A short time later, John Arnott, pastor of the Airport Vineyard in Toronto, invited Clark to Toronto to transplant the new message. And, as they say, the rest is history.
Clark's sudden and unexpected resignation from the Vineyard came by way of an August 4 letter directed to his fellow Vineyard pastors. In the letter, Clark wrote, "It is what God has been doing and is continuing to do in my life that has brought about this process and decision to leave the Vineyard." He further said that he "was feeling a growing discomfort fitting in the Vineyard." Clark denied that his resignation was the result of past actions by Vineyard leaders which caused him grief. "My hurt occurred nearly five years ago. No, I am not leaving over the past," he stated.
Clark did acknowledge that some of his theological views caused estrangement from fellow movement members.
"I was told that my Arminian leanings were alienating me from about 70% of the Vineyards. ... More particularly my open view of God was alienating me from many Vineyards," he wrote in his letter. Clark revealed his association with open theist Greg Boyd, stating that he had invited Boyd to speak with him at two of his conferences over the past few years. But, Clark maintains, it has only been recently that he read Boyd's volume on the subject, so "I guess I was a case of guilt by association."
In his letter, Clark continued to stress experience over doctrine. In addressing the theological issues that were causing alienation, he wrote, "I thought those types of things were not big in the Vineyard, that what really mattered was whether or not we were ministering to the sick, the poor, the lost, the demonized, in the power of the Spirit and with the love of God; and that we were committed to planting churches; churches, which moved naturally in the supernatural without hype and/or manipulation."
Clark wrote his resignation was effective September 2001 and says his departure from the Vineyard has "been clearly called by God." He will be moving his recently established ministry, Global Awakening Apostolic Missions Network, to Harrisburg, Pa., where he plans to team up to form an Apostolic Center with Pastor Charles Stock. "There are supernatural reasons for going to Harrisburg. Suffice to say that there were many words to leave St. Louis and go to Harrisburg," Clark contends. These prophetic words are said to have come "through [his] own two oldest children" and "from other prophetic people," one of whom "had a divine visitation."
Clark first became a part of the Vineyard in September 1984. The movement grew under the direction and leadership of the late "power evangelism" guru John Wimber.
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