The February 2009 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.orgNew Online Articles from THE PNEUMA REVIEWNew Links and Content Worth Noticing
- The Pneuma Foundation is pleased to add content to our website as a resource to our members and friends around the world. We also add links to content that we are not able to republish ourselves, but may be of interest. Here are some examples of links added recently to "Links to Articles & Books" www.pneumafoundation.org/links_articles.jsp and from "Links to Study Resources" www.pneumafoundation.org/links_study.jsp
- The largest list of Pentecostal/charismatic Bible Schools available online anywhere. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links_schools.jsp
Add your school: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links.jsp#link
- Christian Leadership: Matthew G. Hirschy, "The Threat Within" Don't let your ministry be an easy target for embezzlement (MinistryToday). http://www.ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-leadership/53-finance/18104-the-threat-within
- Phil Cooke, "The 'Open Media' Revolution" How everything about reaching this generation must change (MinistryToday). http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-facilities/multimedia/18211-the-open-media-revolution
- Christian History In Depth: Elesha Coffman, "Oil, Coal, and Conservative Religion: Is there a connection? Historians press--perhaps too hard--for answers" A report from the American Historical Association/American Society of Church History conference, held in New York City the first week of January 2009. http://www.christianitytodayblogs.com/history/2009/01/oil_coal_and_conservative_reli.html
- Christian History: Sarah E. Johnson, "Good News for the 20th Century: Through Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Summer Institute of Linguistics, and the American Bible Society, Cameron Townsend and Eugene Nida changed the landscape of Bible translation" (ChristianHistoryBlog). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/byperiod/modern/goodnewsforthe20thcentury.html
- John Piper, "Signs and Wonders: Then and Now" Suggested by TS. http://members.cox.net/theokratos/Signs%20and%20Wonders_Then%20and%20Now_John%20Piper.pdf
- Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, Jesus Is Not a Brand: Why it is dangerous to make evangelism another form of marketing (Christianity Today, January 2009). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/january/10.20.html
- Christian History: Keith J. White, "Jesus Was Her Guru: If you don't know the inner strength of an Indian woman with a divine call, you haven't met Pandita Ramabai" (Christian History, 87). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/2005/issue87/5.12.html
Bible Software Review: BibleWorks 8
BibleWorks version 8.00 has been released, representing a significant advance on previous versions (see Evangelical Review of Theology April 2004 (28:2), 178-181 for a review of v 6.00), increasing its already strong claim to being the best such package. However, at US $350 it is priced well beyond the reach of many, making a "Lite" version (providing basic Bible searching and translations in the major biblical and other languages for students and others on a budget) a good idea for the producers to consider. It installs easily from DVD or multiple CDs, the user interface is simple and more intuitive, there are extensive help modules, and the program is highly configurable. It features almost 200 Bible translations (including many which are obscure) in nearly 40 languages and numerous original Biblical language texts and reference works. However, it is still weak on other reference works with long out-of-date dictionaries (which are actually likely to be misleading) and only Tischendorf's NT critical apparatus.
It includes a number of standard lexicons and grammars but BDAG and Blass-DeBrunner (and a number of others) must be purchased, either as extras to be unlocked by payment of a fee or as optional modules, at prices ranging up to $200. Some of the useful new features include improved analysis tools and text export, additional Bibles, reference works and text diagramming, a facility to manage external resources, and text-to-speech.
There are several features to make the Bible easily accessible at the popular level, such as readings from Daily Light, and other non-academic resources of only limited importance in a package of this kind, but its speed and flexibility of searching in the Biblical languages, with ease of access to lexical information and ability to compare and contrast other sections of the Bible and many other translations makes BibleWorks ideal for the student, professor and preacher. For more information, www.bibleworks.com
Source: Verbum: WEA Theological News On-Line Jan 2009. Used with permission.
Reports from Around the World
Belarus: Charismatic church's fight pushed back to square one
Members of Minsk's charismatic New Life Church have vowed to fight on to retain their building after the Higher Economic Court threw out their appeal against moves to seize it. The state argues that the building is a cowshed and is not being used for its legal purpose, despite church attempts to have its usage changed. As the court decision comes into force immediately, the Minsk authorities have the right to demand the building "at any moment", church member and lawyer Sergei Lukanin pointed out to Forum 18 News Service. He said the church has been "deceived" as it only went to court after it was advised to do so by a senior Presidential Administration official. Another official there, Lyudmila Vorovka, refused to discuss the court decision. "The court decides this [issue], not us," she told Forum 18. Meanwhile, a Baptist leader Aleksandr Yermalitsky was fined on 8 January for hosting "a religious event at which the Bible was read" at his home, while other Baptists running street libraries have had literature confiscated and received court warnings for "singing songs of a Christian nature without permission". Catholics told Forum 18 there has been no progress in having the recent bar on seven Polish priests and nuns overturned.
Global immigration opens doors for outreach
A wave of immigration from North Africa and the Middle East is coming to North America and Europe. The International Organization for Migration said there are more than 200 million migrants around the world. This provides tremendous opportunities to share the story of Jesus with many families, millions of whom came from nations where evangelism is restricted or even illegal.
Source: Mission Network News. Adapted from http://www.mnnonline.org/article/12314
Good News and Bad News
Bad news and bailouts seem to be the order of the day. If the news media is reporting accurately, the economic future looks bleak, at least humanly speaking. As we all know, people have lost their jobs, and there is evidence that giving to missions may be down in some cases.
Want some good news?
Her name is Maricel V., a young lady now in her mid twenties, who lives in a town in our part of the Philippines. One day a few years ago, we came to her city for a GoodNews Rally, which was held outdoors at a location near her home. When Maricel's mother heard the meeting going on, she and her three children, including Maricel, decided to attend.
At the Rally, they heard about a Savior who changes people's lives, setting them free from the tyranny of sin, and giving them a peace, joy, and purpose in life that they had never known before. When they expressed an interest in following Jesus, they were given literature provided by Light-for-the-Lost, and the pastor of the local Assembly of God church, Reverend Palermo M., came to their home for follow up Bible Studies and invited them to church. Somewhere in the process, Jesus changed their lives.
About the same time Maricel became the chairperson of a local community youth organization. When people found out that she had become a born-again Christian and had left Roman Catholicism, they began to persecute her for not participating in the local Catholic traditions that were informally expected of someone in her position. But Maricel was determined to fulfill the non-religious obligations of her position and remain true to her new found faith. She cried out to the Lord for strength, and he heard her cry. Pastor M. also gave her godly counsel and support.
By God's grace, Maricel stood firm in Christ and, in time, won the respect of the community. Today, she is married and has a fine son. She is an active member of Pastor M.'s church and is a faithful witness for Christ in the local government office where she is currently employed. Through your prayers and financial support, the seed of God's good news was sown in her heart through our evangelistic ministry. It was watered by a faithful, local Assemblies of God pastor, and God brought the increase. All glory to God!
Now that's good news!
Source: Dave and Debbie Johnson, missionaries to the Philippines, December 2008 newsletter. Used with permission.
US: Despite economic downturn, giving is better than expected
A study by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability found that 72 percent of surveyed ministries met, exceeded or came near their fourth-quarter contribution goals.
Vietnam: A Land of Contradiction and Contrast
News and Headlines
Christian Aid received the following praise report from a ministry leader in Vietnam:
"As you may remember, the Vietnamese government has been consistently ranked as one of the harshest persecutors of Christians in the world. During the past year, the government made a sudden change to its policy in certain areas. In most areas, tribal house churches are now allowed. But in order to become legal, they must register with the government. A listing of the names of all church members must also be registered. And the churches have to get prior approval from the government for specific activities. This allows the government to closely monitor the
Nevertheless, the ministry used this time of "freedom" for traveling into remote areas. "One of my most gratifying experiences was the ability to speak in areas previously prohibited from worshipping God at all," he told us.
Read the full story: http://www.christianaid.org/Missionaries/MIR/mir20090226.aspx
Source: Missions Insider "Vietnam: A Land of Contradiction and Contrast"
for Current News and Links
- Editorial: "Prophecies for 2009 sound familiar by Steve and Marilyn Hill (harvest-now.org). http://www.harvest-now.org/harvest-news/n/archive/2009/january/04/article/a-prophetic-word-for-2009/
- Obituary: Dr. Ogbu Kalu, global Pentecostal leader, died at age 66 on January 7. http://www.mccormick.edu/content/view/674/1/
- Kyrgyzstan: President signs restrictive religion law Despite the condemnation by human rights advocates and persecution watch groups, a new religion law has been enacted in the former Soviet state (Forum18). http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1240
- Editorial: J. Lee Grady, "What Barack Obama Must Learn from Barak of the Bible" http://fireinmybones.com/index.php?col=01-21-09~What%20Barack%20Obama%20Must%20Learn%20from%20Barak%20of%20the%20Bible
- Iraq: Christian Businessman Killed The execution-style murder in Mosul has renewed concern about violence against the religious minority ahead of provincial elections on Jan. 31 (CharismaNews). http://charismamag.com/cms/news/archives/012009.php
- South Korea: "'Torture Master' becomes Pastor" "A notorious former police officer, whose job during Korea's military regime was to torture dissidents, has become a Christian pastor" (The Korea Times). http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2008/11/113_33705.html
- President Obama releases tax money that will permit overseas abortions (CharismaNews). http://charismamag.com/index.php/news/686-featured-news/18235-obama-to-help-finance-overseas-abortions
- Saudi Arabia: Saudi authorities imprison blogger Because of his embrace of Christianity, his life is at risk (Arabic Network for Human Rights Information). http://anhri.net/en/reports/2009/pr0114.shtml | Earlier: Saudi man kills daughter for converting to Christianity (Gulnews.com, Aug 2008). http://www.gulfnews.com/News/Gulf/saudi_arabia/10236558.html
- Obituary: Habitat for Humanity Founder, Millard Fuller, died Tuesday, February 3 (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2009/02/habitat_for_hum.html | Also see coverage from CharismaNews. http://charismamag.com/index.php/news/686-featured-news/18393-habitat-founder-dies
- Vanguard U. Risks Losing Accreditation The Assemblies of God school is $42 million in debt, lacks permanent leadership (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2009/02/vanguard_u_risk.html
- Pentecostal to lead American Bible Society R. Lamar Vest, former general overseer of the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.), will lead one of the largest Bible missions groups in the U.S. (CharismaNews). http://charismamag.com/index.php/news/686-featured-news/18382-bible-giant-taps-pentecostal
- College Loses President, but Receives $10 Million Gift Just after Southeastern University's president was elected by Oral Roberts University, an ORU trustee member gives the Florida school $10 million (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2009/02/college_loses_p.html | Also: SEU names Tommy Barnett as the school's "transitional chancellor" (CharismaNews). http://charismamag.com/index.php/news/686-featured-news/18390-seu-calls-on-dream-pastor
- Jesus Weeps in Madagascar Remote, violence-torn island looks to church leaders to help restore calm (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2009/01/jesus_weeps_in.html
- Kenya: Healing, One Year After the Violence Since the horrendous post-election violence in Kenya, which destroyed families and devastated towns and villages, many Christians have worked diligently to help those left in the wake of the destruction, including this ministry highlighted by Christian Aid. http://www.christianaid.org/Missionaries/MIR/mir20090119.aspx
- Myanmar: Authorities order churches in the Burmese capital of Yangon to stop meeting (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/march/3.13.html
- God in Gaza: Reconciliation work goes on despite worst violence since 1967 (Christianity Today, March 2009). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/march/1.13.html
- USA: Rural churches face a continuing dilema The anchors of the small communities are disappearing (MinistryToday News). http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-news/65-news-main/18269--from-small-to-smaller-to-gone
- Oral Roberts Praises ORU Leaders (CharismaNews). http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/news/18971-oral-roberts-praises-oru-leaders
- Maldives: Hope for the religious freedom reform decays into fear of increased persecution (Forum18). http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1257
- USA: Pro-life Pastor Faces Jail Pro-life pastor Walter B. Hoye faces up to two years in prison and $4,000 in fines at sentencing today for offering sidewalk counseling outside a California abortion clinic (CharismaNews). http://charismamag.com/index.php/news/18958-pro-life-pastor-faces-jail | Update http://charismamag.com/index.php/news/18982-pastors-jail-term-in-limbo
- USC to establish Pentecostal and charismatic research center Los Angeles-based university awarded $6.9 million grant to establish a Pentecostal and charismatic research center in the birthplace city of American Pentecostalism (CharismaNews). http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/news/19018-holy-spirits-reach-studied
- India: Hindu extremists spread fear and murder in Orissa, but the Church continues to grow (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/12343
See other news to pray and praise God about in the Prayer Requests department below.
Report the News
We are looking for stories about what God is doing in the world, reports about the persecution of Christians, and information about significant trends and ministry opportunities. If you have a news item to report, please send an email to the PNEUMA INFORMER. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp
Resources You Can Use
26 April is an International Web Focus Day for Churches
"I recently discovered that over 500,000 of the population of my home town use the networking website Facebook," says a surprised computer user. Remarkably, 1.5 billion people now access the Web for a wide range of activities. A new internet service called 'Twitter' recently enabled eye-witnesses to pass on to thousands of other people their firsthand accounts (with pictures) of the jet that ditched in the Hudson River, well before TV and radio could tell the story. The digital world seems to change every time we blink!
How can Christians use this bewildering mix of technologies to share the good news? One place to find answers is Internet Evangelism Day's website. It provides detailed resources, ideas and strategies to help Christians use what many leaders have called a 'God-given medium'. These include a self-assessment tool for church websites, enabling them to better reach out into their communities: www.InternetEvangelismDay.com/design
Internet Evangelism Day - as the name suggests - is also an annual web-awareness focus day. Churches and other Christian groups can build a short focus spot into their meetings on 26 April, to explain to their members more about the potential for online evangelism, and how anyone can be involved in this rewarding ministry. A customized presentation (anything from 5 minutes to 50) can be easily created using free downloads from IE Day's website: video clips, PowerPoint, handouts, music and drama.
One surprising fact is that online evangelism is for anyone, not just the technically gifted. "There are many ways to share your faith online, without any technical knowledge at all," says IE Day Coordinator Tony Whittaker.
Church leaders who have already used these materials are excited. "This is a huge help for small churches such as ours," writes a minister from California. "I am glad to commend Internet Evangelism Day," says elder statesman Rev John Stott.
IE Day's website: www.InternetEvangelismDay.com
Source: Web Evangelism Bulletin Feb 09
Church Growth by Google
Tyler Charles, "Church Growth by Google: Churches are discovering that advertising on Google can be effective and inexpensive" (LeadershipJournal.net).
Excerpts from THE PNEUMA REVIEW
THE PNEUMA REVIEW is a quarterly printed journal of ministry resources and theology for Pentecostal and charismatic ministries and leaders. For more information about THE PNEUMA REVIEW, and to learn how to subscribe, please visit: Introducing THE PNEUMA REVIEW. www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp
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Book Review: The Fire Spreads
From the Winter 2009 issue
Randall J. Stephens, The Fire Spreads: Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South (Cambridge: Harvard University, 2008), 393 pages, ISBN 9780674026728.
Read the entire review at PneumaReview.com: Randall Stephens: The Fire Spreads
Wolfgang Vondey, Ph.D. (Marquette University), is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at the Regent University School of Divinity and an ordained minister with the Church of God (Cleveland, TN). His studies and writings focus on a contemporary theology of the Church and Holy Spirit, Pentecostal identity, and on ecumenical dialogue.
Read the rest of this review and many other articles in the Winter 2009 issue of THE PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp
The Future of Evangelical Theology in Francophone Africa
A conference on "The future of Evangelical Theology in Francophone Africa" will be held at Bangui Evangelical School of Theology, Central African Republic 18-21 May, 2009 featuring as key speakers Dr Tite Tienou, Dr Henri Blocher, Dr Solomon Andria, Dr Isaac Zokoue and Dr Kamana.
Congress on Holy Spirit Empowerment in the 21st Century
April 2010 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
In 100 years, the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement has grown from a handful of individuals and organizations to a global force of more than 600 million people. A series of meetings has begun to discuss the future of this movement and how to introduce Spirit-empowered living to a new generation. These conversations will culminate in the Congress on Holy Spirit Empowerment in the 21st Century on April 8-10, 2010 at Oral Roberts University (ORU) in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
For more information on the Commission on Holy Spirit Empowerment in the 21st Century, go to www.spiritempowered.org.
- Central Africa: Pray for an end to the demonic LRA. At midnight on 17 January, LRA soldiers raided a crowded church in north-east Congo where believers were praying for an end to LRA terror. The militants hacked and burnt to death reportedly some hundreds of believers. On 20 January members of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in Western Equatorial State, South Sudan, found the bodies of 16 South Sudan civilians who had been abducted by the LRA. The LRA earlier brutally murdered two church parishioners who had attempted to intervene on behalf of two abducted children. On 22 January the UN reported that the recent LRA violence in north-east Congo had so far left "900 people dead and uprooted 130,000 others, with more than 8,000 Congolese taking refuge in Southern Sudan."
With the support of forces from Congo, Central African Republic and the SPLA in Operation Lightning Thunder, the Ugandan Popular Defense Force (UPDF) hopes to cripple the LRA. The UPDF's already extended time in DRC is due to expire on 6 February. According to one general, to cripple the LRA the UPDF must destroy the LRA's "centre of gravity," which he believes is "the person of Joseph Kony . . . [who] is the central fulcrum around which the functioning of the LRA rotates; you kill him and LRA would collapse." Many strategists are concerned that this operation in DRC's vast Garamba National Park is doomed. There the UPDF must maintain long, vulnerable supply lines and work without local intelligence against Kony, a spirit-medium who has evaded the UPDF for more than 20 years. He abducts, rapes, maims and kills whilst maintaining that his prophetic revelations are from the Holy Spirit. Pray that the Lord, who is supreme over all powers in heaven and earth, will intervene and end LRA terror for all time.
Source: WEA Religious Liberty Commission - RLP 514 | January 09 Update
- Pray for Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan's Constitutional Council has announced that a restrictive draft law severely restricting freedom of religion or belief is unconstitutional. Human rights defenders, religious communities, Kazakh and international human rights experts ? including the OSCE/ODIHR Advisory Council on Freedom of Religion or Belief - are strongly critical of the draft law's many restrictions on fundamental human rights (see F18News 4 February 2009 http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1249). Pray that this draft law and the restrictive current Religion Law will be overturned and freedom of religion will open again in Kazakhstan.
Source: F18News 12 February 2009. http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1255
- China: Persecution to Escalate in 2009. Most religious liberty monitors believe persecution of the Church will escalate in China during 2009 as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tackles growing dissent and anger over repression, injustice and increasing economic hardship. Last week the UN Human Rights Council (which is dominated by un-free states) commended China's human rights record. But persecution is escalating. Amongst those recently arrested are house-church Christian Yuan Shenlun (70), who has already spent 14 years in prison for his faith, and Christian lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who was severely tortured in 2007. Sources report that the CCP has ramped up efforts both to identify Christians and to portray Christianity as a subversive foreign force. This is a very dangerous development. Please pray for the Church in China.
Source: WEA Religious Liberty Commission - RLP 517 | China: Persecution to Escalate in 2009
- Northern Nigeria: Muslim-instigated religious violence flares. On Friday 20 February in Bauchi, northern Nigeria, poor communication resulted in two rival Muslim sects arriving at the same time to worship in the mosque they share. A clash ensued and the mosque was set ablaze. Meanwhile the church opposite was torched when it refused to let the overflow of Muslims use its car park. A rumour that Christians had torched the mosque ignited religious violence that spread like wildfire. The violence left at least 11 dead and dozens wounded, with 14 churches, eight vicarages, one mosque and numerous Christian homes razed. Some 1500 -- mostly Christians -- were displaced, with many fleeing into neighbouring Jos. Violence is continuing despite the military presence and city-wide curfew. Nigeria's northern states are under Sharia Law, in violation of the constitution. That heightens Islamic zeal and belligerence, religious tension and persecution of the Church. Please pray for the Church in northern Nigeria.
See also update from MNN: http://www.mnnonline.org/article/12352 "Uneasy calm hangs over Nigeria"
Source: WEA Religious Liberty Commission - RLP 518 | February 09 Update
- Please join with the volunteer staff of the Pneuma Foundation, praying that God will enable us to continue to carry out the mission He has entrusted us with. We currently are in need of financial resources, volunteers for website projects, appropriate articles for The Pneuma Review, and most of all your prayers that God will allow us to help equip others for effective ministry.