Loren Cunningham, YWAM and False Prophesy
I have scoured what few records that are left of our time in the Philippines and also in New Zealand, and have found the date that I was called to Manila to meet Loren Cunningham. I will copy here the entries in my log from the Philippines, but the period of time during which I received the telegram from Lausanne and my trip to Wellington and subsequent occurrences will have to rely on memory.
"Sat. 25th [March 1972] put new fiberglass over damaged areas on keel & above port screw. Also patch more places on guard 2015 [time, 8:15 P.M.], Receive wire from E. Wood [Vice Pres. of the Mission we were with] 'Come immediately next plane important development. (sig.) Ernie Wood.' Will try to get on tomorrow's flight."
"Sun. 26th .... Fly to Manila on "Air Manila" & go to Wood's house where introduced to Loren Cunningham of Y.W.A.M.-- He told of their plan to have a ship capable of accommodating 100-150 people to be used as a mobile school of evangelism & E. Wood told him I was just the man to have as skipper ..... we discussed the need and cost, etc. and I told him that I would pray about it & let him know, but that I would not want to get involved unless sure it was God." ...
I do not have the date, but believe it was sometime after the beginning of February 1973 that I received a telegram from Loren Cunningham that originated in Lausanne, Switzerland. It told of the prophecy that had been received about the "Maori" and asked if I would go to Wellington and survey the ship for YWAM. I went down to Wellington and was allowed full access to the ship by the UnionSteamship Co. and spoke to the Chief Engineer and others who had knowledge of the "Maori."
My survey of the ship showed that she was in very good condition, but that for the purposes envisioned by YWAM as a far ranging vessel, there were several things that made her unsuitable.
Number one, was that she had a very small fuel capacity. She only ran between Wellington and Christchurch, New Zealand, and had no need of large tankage for that purpose. The cost of increasing the tankage so that she would be suitable for the proposed ministry would be prohibitive.
Another thing, was that the ship had virtually no freezer capacity, nor was the galley equipped with either the necessary cooking facilities nor the room to build such. As a day ferry, they did the cooking for passengers on shore, and just had warming capability.
I made my survey report listing all of the above, and sent it to Lausanne, with the recommendation that they look for another vessel. I have yet to get a response from YWAM.
In subsequent days, we heard that God had indeed confirmed that the "Maori" was the ship for YWAM. People began to arrive in N.Z. from overseas and some local folks also sold homes, left jobs or other ministries to join in this project. They asked for permission to go aboard the ship prior to the final payment, and the owners did allow them aboard, but with the stipulation that they were only to clean up, and that no changes were to be made structurally.
The allotted time for the final payment came and went, without provision of the funds. An extension was requested, and the owners graciously allowed it. Sometime during this time frame, it was common knowledge in the church community that YWAM had decided the money had been withheld because there was "sin in the camp." They settled on a pastor and his wife who had left their church to join the group, and they departed broken-hearted.
Of course the time extension also ran out, and YWAM lost the ship. Of course the people who had joined the group in N.Z. and had worked aboard the ship expecting to be part of the ministry, were devastated. As mentioned earlier, some had left jobs, sold homes, etc. And because the "prophecies" that had been given in England, the U.S.A. etc. were so definite that the "Maori" was God's ship for YWAM, when the ship was finally sent to the wrecking yard in Asia for scrap, not only were the Christians involved severely hurt, but the non-believers in N.Z. laughed those who had been deceived to scorn. The credibility of the Christian church in general was hurt severely among the unbelievers as well as many in the church.
In the evaluation of Cunningham and Rogers' Is That Really You, God? Hearing The Voice Of God by Rev. Greg Robertson, a quote from page 107 of that work appears on page 29 of Robertson's paper.......... "Page 107 'It was a simple story, really. Yes, God had told us to get a ship, and repeatedly He had confirmed His guidance using all the ways we had learned for hearing His voice. He used the Wise Men Principle; He used Scriptures which He seemed to lift off the pages for us; He used provision of money and people, and that inner conviction -- but we had failed in the way (emphasis in original) we had carried out His guidance. We had subtly turned from the Giver to the gift.' Apparently the one Loren Cunningham had asked to do the survey was not considered one of the 'Wise Men' in the said 'Principle'."
Of course all of the above is ... anecdotal; but it is also as accurate as I can make it.
There is one further thing that I have no first hand knowledge of, but which came to me as the truth, and that is that YWAM is supposed to have been offered a hospital ship for the sum of one dollar per year, with the stipulation that if war broke out that the ship would revert to the gov't., and that it must be returned in as good condition as it was received. If true, that ship would have been ideal for the proposed ministry. Perhaps someone else might have some knowledge of the truth or falsity of this.
Sandy, you may do as you wish with the above..... edit it as you see fit, as long as the gist is kept.
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