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Greater Things: the story of New Wine so far – Edited by Paul Harcourt and Ralph Turner

SPCK / 173 pages / Price £9.99 / ISBN 678 0 281 08155 4

This fast-moving account of a hugely influential movement, hardly pauses for breath, writes John Woods.

It relates the story of a cluster of events and relationships which shaped the New Wine Family of events that has spawned companion gathering Soul Survivor, and shaped leaders like John Coles, J John, Mike Pilavachi, Matt Redman and Tim Hughes.

The book relates how the crucial relationship at the beginning was between David and Mary Pytches and John Wimber; it laid a foundation for the uniquely focused, yet laidback house style that has characterises New Wine ever since.

Wimber brought to the UK a new wave of openness to the Spirit and a generosity of heart that was willing to freely share this blessing. This season was not without its fierce critics, yet the influence of this movement can be seen in lives touched, people raised up to serve, creative initiatives, and in if its early regular attendees becoming the present Archbishop of Canterbury.

Indeed, Justin Welby provides a generous foreword to this book. Yet the foreword hints at the main weakness of a book like this; a lack of self-criticism: “New Wine has known its share of difficulties and failures ...”. He adds that this is not the point of this book, which is primary a “celebration”.  

All readers will have some cause to celebrate the movement showcased in this book, and will welcome the comments in the last chapter about re-evaluation and adjustments needed in the future. 

John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle in West Sussex

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