The April 2007 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.orgNew Online Articles
New Links and Content Worth Noticing
- Numerous articles are available on the Online Articles index. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/web_article_archive.jsp
- Christian History: "Your Bible - The Holy Spirit's Amazing 'Work of Art'" by Charles Carrin. Reasons to be confident that the Bible you read is God's Word, preserved for Christians today as God creatively intended. Added March 29, 2007. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0077.xml
- Guest Book Review: Randy Frazee, The Connecting Church Murray Hohns reviews Randy Frazee, The Connecting Church (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001). Added April 4, 2007 to the Guest Articles department. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0078.xml
- Guest study: Remember the Basics: A Thinking Man's Guide
By Rev. Don Allen, Jr. | This study workbook provides a reminder about the importance of the spiritual discipline of prayer and Bible study, having a biblical attitude, and our commitments. 147 KB http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/articles/DAllen-RememberTheBasics.pdf
- 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
- Sister Aimee PBS program American Experience featured Aimee Semple McPherson, aired on April 2, 2007. Full transcript of the program is available. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/sister/index.html
Reports from Around the World
Colombia: Christian radio is having an impact on guerrillas
(MNN) - Colombia is a country plagued with kidnappings, drug trafficking, and civil unrest. Guerrillas are responsible for much of it. However, Christian radio appears to be having an impact. Trans World Radio's Jim Munger says they received a letter from a guerrilla who has come to Christ while listening to them in the jungle. Munger isn't surprised. "There aren't a lot of radio stations that can be heard there, so they're almost like a captive audience. When we produce programs we realize that there are people of all walks of life, including guerrillas that are listening and are becoming Christians." The guerrilla indicates others are also listening. While this man's given his heart to Jesus, Munger says he's trapped. "They are threatened with death if they abandon the forces. The Colombian army is seeking them. Over a period of time he's done horrible things and has seen horrible things. As a Christian now, he doesn't agree with this, but he's afraid to leave." Pray for this man's safety and that more will turn to Christ.
Source: Mission Network News, January 22, 2007. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/9512
Africa: The Choice before the Church
One hundred years ago Africa contained less than one million Christians. Today there are approximately 329,882,000 - or more than 1/3 of the Continent's total population. Another shocking statistic is this: 6,000,000 African Muslims convert to Christ every year. That equals 667 per hour or 16,000 every day. As a result of this "Book of Acts" growth there are some 1,500,000 churches now in Africa. This is not an exaggerated statistic compiled by over-zealous Christians. Instead, these figures were recently supplied by the Muslims themselves on an Islamic T.V. interview* with Imam Ahmad Al Katani and his host Maher Abdallah. I urge you to see the telecast for yourself on the website below. The Muslims - like most Christians - cannot understand such spiritual power. Africa has a New Testament generation of Holy Spirit-empowered preachers. Hallelujah!
*To see the Muslim interview go to:
Source: Charles Carrin Ministries February 2007 Newsletter Gentle Conquest. Used with permission. Visit his ministry website: www.charlescarrinministries.com
Iran's Political Volatility Not Hindering Spiritual Growth
(MNN) - Christianity is growing today in Iran, despite political instability and Muslim oppression. Carl Moeller of Open Doors says, "I would like to suggest that the light is coming from the fact that God's spirit is moving in the underground believers, the secret believers in Iran, and the church is growing there at a rate, well some describe it as truly phenomenal- like a revival." Iran's nuclear enrichment program is causing alarm at home and abroad. Iranians are concerned about how the world sees them. There's uncertainty. According to Moeller, if the western church can look past the politics and help provide urgently needed resources, like Bibles, thousands could come to Christ. Open Doors is committed to helping, but they can't do it alone. "I can tell you this, that flood of Bibles, as the Iranian Muslim leadership is calling it, is not going to stop and is not going to go away. We're just asking Americans to get involved." You can help send one Bible to Iran for only four dollars. Please pray that Iranian Christians would continue to grow as they wait for more resources.
Source: Mission Network News, 23 February, 2007. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/9626
Iraq: Church started in ancient city of Nineveh
A Christian Aid-supported ministry in Iraq started a church in the city of Nineveh, a particularly difficult region for believers to spread the gospel. Three pastors were killed there in 2006. Church meetings will be held secretly until the situation improves. The first meeting was announced to a select group of people on New Year's Eve.
The ministry has been the victim of persecution in other regions of Iraq, as well. The pastor of their church in Baghdad received a death threat, and has fled to Damascus to serve the Lord there until the situation becomes safer for him.
But despite the dangers, ministry workers continue their outreach. With help from Christian Aid, the ministry purchased 20,000 copies of the New Testament to distribute in towns and villages throughout the country.
"Our biggest concern was to get through each military checkpoint," writes the ministry leader, "because the guards had the authority to let us in or out of the city or village to which we were going. But the Lord heard our prayers. Surprisingly, the checkpoints were the places where we distributed the most Bibles! Every time we went through a checkpoint, the people there asked for Bibles for themselves and their friends and family. We thank the Lord that we were not searched or held for any reason, but were able to get through without difficulty."
The leader reported that villagers surrounded their vehicle, eager to receive a free copy of the New Testament. In one village, a Catholic bishop threatened to kick his parishioners out of the community if they touched one of the free Bibles. Nevertheless, he was ignored, as many came to receive a copy of the Word of God. The gospel workers also made contact with many people who have started churches in their homes.
Source: Missions Insider (February 28, 2007) www.christianaid.org
Egypt: Pastoral training takes place in the "brain of Islam."
(MNN) - E3 Partners' Tom Doyle says while Saudi Arabia is the heart of Islam, Egypt is the brains. Islamic clerics are trained in the country, so it only makes sense to hold their own strategic training. "We were blessed to have about 140 pastors and leaders in Egypt at a training where they learned how to share the Gospel in a new, creative way with the Evangecube, and then, how to plant churches. These young pastors went out and started to share the Gospel, and about 90 to 100 people came to Christ in the villages. As a result of that, seven new churches are going to be started." There is danger involved with ministry in this region. Please pray for safety for new believers and evangelists. "They're going to have pressure to stay where they are. When they start to worship, it doesn't take too long before word gets out. So the biggest matter at hand is safety for these believers, because we all know that to leave Islam there is someone that's going to want to kill them."
Source: Mission Network News, 28 February, 2007. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/9643
Pakistan: Ambassadors of Reconciliation
Special Report from Richard Twiss of Wiconi International
I am constantly amazed by the providence of our Heavenly Father as I become friends and work with truly remarkable people along the trail. The day before we left to Olympia (after attending the Washington State Governors Prayer Breakfast), Pastor Anwar Younas, visited our Vancouver office sharing with our staff about the great things God was doing in his city of Sialkot, Pakistan. Here is just one report. Just two months ago he was instrumental in helping convene a "Unity Conference" between Christian and Muslim leaders in his city. He showed pictures of the meeting as these Muslim clerics, government leaders and pastors shared a meal together, and then spoke of their mutual love and desire for peace for their country. It was a beautiful picture of our biblical calling to be ambassadors of reconciliation. It was such a success the governor of the state now wants to convene identical gatherings in all the major cities of his state. We are praying this will spill over into a national movement.
As a result of Anwar's visit, I have rearranged my schedule to join him this December in this great pursuit of biblical peace, reconciliation and leadership training among the people of Pakistan. I will be the main speaker at their next unity conference in Sialkot. He wrote to me afterward, "Yes! I am understand that your heart is for Leadership and we will arrange a huge Leadership Explosion conference. All Churches as well you will be given an opportunity to speak to the Muslim Mullahs (Mosque preachers) and official leaders of the city." He has assured me that more than a 1000 pastors, evangelists and church leaders will now join us in December for this time of discipleship training.
To read the report of Richard's trip to Sialkot, Pakistan in 2006, go here: http://www.wiconi.com/?cid=705
Source: Smoke Signals March 9, 2007 www.wiconi.org
JESUS most watched film ever and still attracting more
News and Headlines
(MNN) -- Meanwhile, if you haven't heard of the JESUS Film, you're one of only a handful of people in the world that hasn't seen the story of the life of Christ. According to the most recent statistics, the JESUS Film Project is just 26 languages away from the 1,000 mark. With 216 translations of the film in process, the ministry is close to hitting that milestone. Coupled with the audio version, more than 201-million people indicated decisions for Christ. An animated version is currently in development.
Source: Mission Network News. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/9685
for Current News and Links
- Gaza church released (MNN) http://www.mnnonline.org/article/9593
Earlier: Gaza Church seized in Palestinian civil war (MNN) http://www.mnnonline.org/article/9569
- Mexico: Persecution of Christians Accelerates (Compass Direct) http://www.crosswalk.com/11529446
- India: Persecution update (Compass Direct). http://www.crosswalk.com/11530108
- Film on Anti-Slavery Pioneer Triggers New Campaign Major motion picture, Amazing Grace, celebrates the 200th anniversary of the end of the British slave trade and encourages a new campaign against the slavery epidemic that exists today (CNSNews.com). http://www.crosswalk.com/11530120
Christianity Today Movies calls Amazing Grace "one of the best films depicting Christian faith in years." http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/reviews/2007/amazinggrace.html
Read more about William Wilberforce from Christian History & Biography online. http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/special/131christians/wilberforce.html
- Sri Lanka: Churches Increasingly Targeted in Civil War (Compass Direct). http://www.crosswalk.com/11530232
- Russia: Pentecostal teacher "forced to resign" after raid on house church (Forum18). http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=915
- Tropical storm wreaks havoc on an already devastated Mozambique (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/9635
- Worldwide: "Unthinkable Injustice" by Rob Moll. Slavery not only still exists but is greater than ever. Fortunately, Christians continue to fight the wicked trade (Christian News & Research). http://ctlibrary.com/41311
- Romania: New law sidelines minority faiths Will the world ignore the suppression of "small" religious groups now that Romania is NATO and part of the EU? (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/march/23.20.html
- Latest anti-history hoax: Scholars dismiss filmmakers' assertions that Jesus and his family were buried in Jerusalem (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/februaryweb-only/109-33.0.html
- Uzbekistan: More evidence of systematic opperssion of Christians (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/9679
- Iran: Imam Receives Christ via Satellite TV, Escapes from Iran At least four other Imams are underground believers (ASSIST News Service). http://www.crosswalk.com/11531079
- North America: Many Muslims turning to Christ "While the world is focused on the war on terrorism, the crisis in Iraq and Afghanistan and instability in Iran, God is doing a miraculous work in the heats of Arabs" (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/9684
- Israel: Shas Faction proposes outlawing evangelism (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/9738
- Editorial: The Case for Teaching The Bible by David Van Biema (Time). http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1601845,00.html
- Bad News: Islamic leader (whom Newsweek describes as "an ambassador for Islam in the West, preaching tolerance and understanding") says right-wing Christians are anti-Semitic at Harvard-sponsored event (Boston Globe). How tolerant or peace-making is to say, "Right-wing Christians are very risky allies for American Jews ... they do not like Jews" (even if she were correct)?
Newsweek: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16242486/site/newsweek | Boston Globe: http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/03/14/islamic_leader_urges_jews_be_wary_of_fundamentalists
- Zimbabwe: Protest and crackdown are religious Police beat Morgan Tsvangirai so severely that they apparently fractured his skull and caused brain damage, an attack that came during a prayer meeting (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/marchweb-only/111-41.0.html#zimbabwe | Also reported: "a number of church leaders have also been detained and beaten for participating in public prayer meetings." http://www.citizen.co.za/index/article.aspx?pDesc=34169,1,22
- Middle East: Lebanon's Mufti says radical Islam is the enemy, not Christians. Evangelist Chawki Boulos says, "My journeys throughout the Middle East over the last seven years have convinced me that a great change in attitude has taken place in respect to Christians. ... Conditions are dramatically different from what Americans hear and see on their news media" (ASSIST News Service). http://www.crosswalk.com/11532438
- "Race for the Cure" supports abortion Pro-lifer challenges Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation connection to Planned Parenthood (OneNewsNow.com). http://www.onenewsnow.com/2007/03/pro-lifer_challenges_race_for_.php
- Persecution: India: 500 Church women attacked; pastors jailed (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/9758 | Vietnam: Repressive crackdown on Christian advocates (WEA Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin). http://ea.org.au/default.aspx?id=76a7f126-6d3f-4432-9b35-2c0d5802d5a8 | Ethiopia: Evangelist Beaten to Death (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/9761 | Nigeria: Muslims kidnap, convert Christian children (Compass Direct). http://compassdirect.org/en/display.php?page=news&lang=en&length=long&idelement=4800 | Christians face increasing oppression in Kazakhstan (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/9695 | Laos: Christians persecuted (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/9733 | Eritrea: Persecution intensifies and widens (WEA Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin). http://ea.org.au/default.aspx?id=8fcb5bd1-91f4-4201-a259-9f3d763ad89c
- War and Instability: Congo tense as UN deadline nears (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/9756 | Humanitarian crisis unravelling in Zimbabwe (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/9764 | Christians caught in Sri Lanka's violence (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/9727
- Natural disasters and Relief: Bolivia floods (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/9760 | Solomon Islands: April 2 quake and tsunami "Up to 20 villages have been completely washed away" (MNN) http://www.mnnonline.org/article/9766 | See also: 2007 Solomon Islands earthquake. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Solomon_Islands_earthquake
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
PNEUMA REVIEW Sponsorship Program
Have you been looking for a strategic way of building the kingdom of God around the world by helping teach and educate future Christian leaders?
Thank you to the anonymous donors who have been sponsoring subscriptions to the Pneuma Review for those who cannot otherwise afford it.
Here is a recent note from Member Services to a family that began a subscription sponsorship:
Your recent subscription sponsorship is helping to send the Pneuma Review to this long-time friend of the ministry:
* Pastor in Sri Lanka who is training evangelists to go to very difficult areas of that nation. Reference Number: 90006470
Thank you again for contributing in this way.
- Member Services Representative
And their response:
Thanks so much for the update on where the sponsorship is going. It helps us direct our prayers. Thanks for your efforts in this wonderful ministry.
For more information about the Pneuma Review subscription sponsorship program, visit http://www.pneumafoundation.org/sponsor_program.jsp
Tongues and Brain Activity
Read this report on the PneumaReview.com website: tongues-and-brain-activity
International Forum for Pentecostal Studies
Where: Surabaya, Indonesia
When: July 15 -17, 2007
The Asian Pentecostal Society, Society for Pentecostal Studies, EPCRA and others have worked together to have a conference called "International Forum for Pentecostal Studies." The theme of the conference is "Pentecostal Studies: Current Status and Future Agenda." Presenters from different continents will be participating in this conference.
The conference will be held on the 15th - 17th of July 2007, just before the Pentecostal World Conference held in Surabaya, Indonesia. For more information, contact Lim Yeu Chuen or write to Pneuma Foundation Member Services for contact information. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp
Resources You Can Use
Evangelical Training Database
The Evangelical Training Database is a free searchable online database at www.trainforChrist.org with information on evangelical pastoral, theological and missionary training courses world-wide. The goal is that people everywhere can more easily find the training they need to serve the Lord. Now available in English, Spanish and Portuguese, the interface is also being translated into other languages. The aim is that there be one database with information on all evangelical courses world-wide which can be accessed through many interfaces in different languages. Any evangelical association can have its own free search-page in which members of that association are pre-selected in the search criteria. Searches can be carried out by subject category, keyword, academic level, country and region, and evangelical association.
Source: From the press release from MissionaryTraining.org and the World Evangelical Alliance (which has integrated the ETD into the WEA home page at www.worldevangelical.org).
Articles and Reviews from the Spring 2007 issue of 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
Buy the PNEUMA REVIEW online at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000D8CY9
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From "The Purpose of Signs and Wonders in the New Testament: What Terms for Miraculous Power Denote and Their Relationship to the Gospel" by Gary S. Greig
Part 2 of 2. From the series, The Power of the Cross: The Biblical Place of Healing and Gift-Based Ministry in Proclaiming the Gospel
III. SIGNS, WONDERS, AND MIRACLES ARE INTENDED TO ENCOURAGE BELIEF AND DEEPEN FAITH IN CHRIST
It is true that "signs do not in themselves create faith in the hearts of observers and can even harden hearts," as in the case of the Pharisees. F. F. Bruce noted this as well:
What about the signs he [Jesus] actually performed? Why were they not sufficient to convince his questioners? ... If the restoration of bodily and mental health could be dismissed as a work of Satan, no number of healing acts would have established the divine authority by which they were performed...While the healing miracles did serve as signs of the kingdom of God to those who had eyes to see, they did not compel belief in those who were prejudiced in the opposite direction.
But Scripture also shows that one function of signs, wonders, and miracles in the ministry of Jesus and the Early Church was to awaken and encourage faith in the gospel being preached. Why else would the Early Church have prayed prayers like the following, asking God for signs and wonders of healing to accompany its evangelism?
Acts 4:29-30 - "Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."
God obviously granted such requests in the Early Church (e.g., Acts 5:12-16; 6:8; 8:4-8, 12-13, 26-39; 9:17-18, 32-42; etc.).
Jesus more than once challenged his listeners to believe His word on the basis of His miraculous works:
John 10:37-38 - "Do not believe me unless I do the miraculous works (ta erga) of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the miraculous works (tois ergois), that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father."
John 14:11 - "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miraculous works themselves (dia ta erga auta)."
Mark 2:10 - "'But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...' He said to the paralytic, 'I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.'"
In his Gospel, John calls all of Jesus' works of miraculous healing "signs" (semeia; Jn. 4:54; 6:2; 9:16: 12:17-18) - e.g., Jn. 6:2, "They saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick." The miraculous healings of Jesus are also called "works" (erga) in John's Gospel. Jesus provided abundant "signs" of miraculous healing to those who were open and seeking God, as every one of the Gospel accounts show. John then said of the signs, "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" (Jn. 20:31.)
In His condemnation of Korazin and Bethsaida's lack of repentance and faith, Jesus indicates that His miraculous works were intended to produce repentance and faith in Him (Mat. 11:21 and Lk. 10:13:
Matthew 11:21 - "Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes."
Paul expected to proclaim the gospel "in the power of signs and wonders through the power of the Spirit" (Rom. 15:18-19; I Cor. 1:6-7; 2:4-5; II Cor. 12:12; I Thes. 1:5), and he expected God to continue to distribute spiritual gifts and work miracles among the churches to confirm the gospel and build up and encourage the church (Rom. 12:6-8; I Cor. 1:7; 12:1-14:40; Gal. 3:5; Eph. 4:7-13; I Thes. 5:19-22; I Tim. 4:14; II Tim. 1:6-7). Paul says that the gift of prophecy is a sign "for believers" (I Cor. 14:22). As a sign it encourages and builds up the church in its faith (I Cor. 14:1-5). Through it God gives supernatural insight into the secrets of people's hearts ("the secrets of his heart will be laid bare" I Cor. 14:25), and thus it demonstrates that "God is really among you!" (I Cor. 14:24-25).
New Testament scholars have pointed to such evidence showing signs, wonders, and miracles worked by God awakening and deepening faith in Christ:
The Old Testament repeatedly states that the Israelites were moved to believe or were strengthened in their belief by miraculous deeds (Ex. 4:30, 31; 14:31; Nu. 14:11; I Ki. 17:24; 18:39; 2 Ki. 5:15). We encounter the same idea in the New Testament. Jesus reproached those cities "wherein most of his mighty works were done" with not having "repented" (Mat. 11:20-24; cf. Mk. 5:19, 20; 10:52; Lk. 5:8-11; 17:15, 16; 18:43; Mt. 20:34). The Gospel of John in particular stresses the miraculous sign as a means of arousing faith (Jn. 2:11; 4:53; 6:14; 7:31; 9:30-39; 11:15, 42, 45; 12:11, 17-19; 20:30-31). Paul emphasizes the relation between the proclamation of the word and the might of signs and wonders (Rom. 15:18, 19).
Overwhelmed by the deeds of Jesus, many came to believe: Mt. 14:33 (after the stilling of the storm); Jn. 7:31; 11:45, 48 (the fear of the Jewish council that through Jesus' many miracles "all men" will believe in Him!); 12:11. Cf. also 20:30, 31.
... that purpose [of miracles] being forcibly to startle men from the dull dream of sense-bound existence, and, however it may not be itself an appeal to the spiritual man, yet to act as a summons to him that he now open his eyes to the spiritual appeal which is now about to be addrest to him (Acts 14:8-18).
Jesus looks for a faith that allows itself to be carried further by the sign. His opponents did not have this openness. To them the miracles were not signs. They wanted proofs. Therefore, Jesus said, "no sign shall be given to this generation" (Mk. 8:12).
In the close relationship, always emphasized in this text, which exists between God's Word and God's miraculous deed, it must be assumed from the start that also the miraculous deed will have its chief purpose in awakening faith, establishing and strengthening faith.
. . .
Gary S. Greig (as of 1993) is Senior Editor of Gospel Light Publications, Ventura, California, and is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Hebrew, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, USA. He received a B.A. (Archaeology and Egyptology, 1983) from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, did graduate study in the School of Theology at Fuller Seminary (1982-1983), Pasadena, California, and received an M.A. and Ph.D. (Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, 1990) from the University of Chicago, Oriental Institute. He has published articles in scholarly publications and journals. He is an elder in Community Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Ventura, California.
Endnotes appear in the full issue. Read the rest of this article in the Spring 2007 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jspBook Review: Turning around the Mainline
Thomas C. Oden, Turning around the Mainline: How Renewal Movements are Changing the Church (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006), 270 pages.
Read this review on the PneumaReview.com website:
Gary Loy lives in Kernersville, North Carolina and is a Ph.D. student in church history at Regent University Divinity School (Virginia Beach, VA). He received his B.A. (magna cum laude) in history and religion from High Point University (High Point, NC, 1998) and his M.A. in Christian doctrine and history from Regent University Divinity School (2003). He is a student member of the American Society of Church History and a Certified Lay Speaker in the Winston-Salem District, Western North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Book Review: The Promised Power
Roc Bottomly, The Promised Power: Experiencing The Union Of Word and Spirit (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2005), 205 pages.
Read this review on the PneumaReview.com website:
John Lathrop, M.A. (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary), is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies (formerly the Christian Church of North America). John currently serves as a pastor at the Christian Pentecostal Church of Newton, Massachusetts.
Responses from Readers
May the Lord bless your foundation and the people who serve it!
In the Lord,
From one of our Web Assistant volunteers:
It is nice to be appreciated, but remember this... it is also a wonderful feeling to be able to help you help others In His Service. Thanks so much for the opportunity.
Dear in Christ,
Greetings from India.
I just went through the list of colleges/seminaries mentioned under Asia and truly wondered and surprised to see Union Biblical Seminary is included there, which is originally an Evangelical, not Pentecostal. Whereas, there are number of Pentecostal theological seminaries in India, which are no way given any attention or highlighted on the site.
One of the leading Pentecostal Seminary, as per my broad knowledge, is Faith Theological Seminary, Manakala, Kerala affiliated to Serampore University offering both Bachelor and Master level programes and hundreds of graduates already came out planted churches in India and around the globe. You may kindly look into this matter, if possible.
Looking for your reply,
In His service,
Rev. Biju M.
Thank you for writing and helping us make our resources better.
The links that we have included over the years in our list of Pentecostal/charismatic Bible schools have been suggested by members and friends. We have endeavored to look at a school's statement of faith, or even write to them with questions regarding their position on the contemporary ministry of the Holy Spirit. Certainly, this informal process done by our volunteers has been inaccurate at times.
Thank you for writing and offering your first-hand knowledge of schools in the great nation of India. We will be correcting these as soon as possible. Are you aware of internet links to any of the schools you mention? We would love to include those or at least some contact information, if available.
Although the list of Pentecostal/charismatic Bible Schools at http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links_schools.jsp may not be that easy to use or find the school you are looking for, one of the schools you mentioned is already included there:
* Faith Theological Seminary | Affiliated with Sharon Fellowship Church in Kerala, India. Recommended by Roji J.; added Aug 14, 2006. http://www.ftseminary.com
While Serampore University was founded by William Carey, I do not believe it is a Pentecostal/charismatic school. If you could suggest seminaries and Bible schools that are, we would be most grateful.
In the love of the Father,
Pneuma Foundation Executive Director
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- Another Christian dies in Eritrean jail. (MNN) - The story of Magos Solomon Semere (MAH-gohs solomon se-MEH-ray) is at an end. Four-and-a-half years after the Eritrean regime jailed him for worshiping in a banned Protestant church, Voice of the Martyrs Canada's Bernie Daniel confirms his death while still in jail. "He was a young Eritrean Christian, aged 30, and died in a military jail in the southern part of Assab. He was sick with pneumonia, and I can assure you that he was being brutally treated by the military authorities in that southern most part of Eritrea." More than 2,000 Eritrean citizens have been jailed solely for practicing their faith. Semere is the third known Christian to die for his faith in Eritrea since last October. "I would be cautious to put it as escalation because it came kind of in a time frame distance, but still, it just shows the brutal treatment of Christians still being perpetuated by local officials in the military jails. We have to still continue to pray for the body of Christ in Eritrea."
Source: Mission Network News for 26 February, 2007. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/9633
- The Pneuma Foundation was recently asked to return a donation that was sent to us in error. Please join the volunteer staff to pray that we will be able to return these funds quickly without halting our normal operations. Several individuals have expressed their desire to help financially and a few have sent contributions. God has been faithful. This situation has even provided a means of reviewing our financial commitments and regular expenditures as well as reminding our members that we have financial needs to be able to continue to operate and expand our outreach.
- Crisis in Papua, Indonesia: The Indonesian military is using the suspicious deaths of two soldiers on 8 December 2006 as the pretext for a massive military assault against the mostly Christian Papuan villagers of the Puncak Jaya highland region. (There is good evidence the initial incident was set up by the military itself.) As a result an estimated 5000 villagers have been driven from their homes, gardens and livestock.
The military has since occupied some 20 vacated highland villages.
It is the wet season and terrorized families are now walking through the inhospitable mountain jungle without food, shelter or medical care. Some are reported to have died. Indonesia invaded Papua in 1961. Ever since Papua was annexed in 1969 Jakarta has worked to colonize, Islamize and exploit the land. The covert genocide of a largely Christian people is happening. Please pray.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 417 | Papua, Indonesia: Crisis in Puncak Jaya
- Aim4Faith Ministries in Pakistan asks for prayer that would be able to continue to reach out by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ through their short-wave radio programs. They have also asked for prayer regarding their Bible For All project. "The purpose of this project is to give free Bibles among those we are reaching out to, people who do not have the Bibles to read or those who are unable to buy their Bibles. We have distributed the Bibles in Chak No Batala Gojra among children and students who do not have the Word of God to read. Please keep us in your prayers, That God may send more Bibles to the people of Pakistan."
- Bible College attacked by Hindu mob in India. (MNN) - About 500 anti-Christian radicals attacked a Gospel for Asia Bible college in the State of Orissa Wednesday night. GFA leaders say the mob systematically attacked the 300 students and staff members present on campus. Five students and the women's dorm director were seriously injured. All have been hospitalized. One student is in critical condition. The rest of the student body and staff remain inside the dormitories. Even though police are present, the situation remains tense. GFA's founder K. P. Yohannan says this is the most severe situation they've ever dealt with. Members of the nationalist Hindu group called the Bajrang Dal are demanding that GFA close the school and discontinue all other work in the state -- a state they've been working in since 1993. Yohannan is asking Christians worldwide to pray this tragedy will provide opportunities to share Jesus with those persecuting them.
Source: Mission Network News 2 March, 2007. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/9654
- Pastor on trial as repression mounts in Uzbekistan. Persecution has so escalated in Uzbekistan that in November 2006 the US State Department added Uzbekistan to its list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) for its ongoing violations of religious freedom. Christians are not only persecuted by radicalized local Muslims, but by the repressive government of President Islam Karimov which views Islamic militants and Protestants equally as a serious threat to social harmony and national security. Dmitry Shestakov (37), pastor of a registered Full Gospel church in Andijan, refused to give the police a list of church members when they raided his home in June 2006. He was arrested on 21 January 2007 and stands accused of stirring up inter-religious hatred and distributing religious extremist literature. His trial is imminent and he could face up to 20 years in prison.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 416 | " Uzbekistan: Pastor on trial amidst mounting repression"
- Pastor Emeka Chukwuka in Nigeria has written to ask for prayer for his church. The building they have been meeting in collapsed on the 12th of January, injuring some in attendance. Please pray that the congregation will be able to rebuild their house that is dedicated to God.
- Children Kidnapped, Converted by Muslims. (MNN) - Christian children in Nigeria are being kidnapped by Muslims. Once they are kidnapped many are forced into converting to Islam. A 13-year-old boy was recently found after being kidnapped 6 months ago. However, he was taken again while his mother attempted to rescue him. There is no sign that the government is helping and Christians fear this trend will worsen. Please pray for peace for those who are missing their children.
Source: Mission Network News | Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/9704
- Pastor Murray Hohns writes: "Pray for me that I will get through an IRS audit which has been in progress since November  with minimum hurt. I have had all sorts of anxiety attacks with this and with continuing disappointment in a business I have financed for a younger man in the church." Murray Hohns is a regular contributor to the PNEUMA INFORMER newsletter and PNEUMA REVIEW journal.
- Church in Benin destroyed by Muslim extremists. In January 2007, Islamic extremists destroyed a church established by Christ's Power Ministries, an indigenous ministry in Benin, just three days after it was built. The church was established among the Ayizo tribe by a native missionary working with CPM.
Four months earlier, Muslims destroyed CPM's center of discipleship, which was started in 2000 and trained more than 1,500 disciples and 650 children's ministry workers.
Muslims, who have subjugated North African countries under Islamic law, are rapidly moving southward in their quest to convert the entire African continent. Ministry leader, Claude Sossa, has experienced the devastating effect of the Islamic infiltration of his country, as 30 percent of Benin's population is now Muslim. Two of Claude's schools of missions have been ransacked and destroyed by Islamic extremists.
But despite these events, Claude continues his outreach to the very people who intend to harm his ministry, the Muslims. The son of a voodoo priest, Claude Sossa had a life-changing encounter with the Lord in 1985. He then established Christ's Power Ministries. His work among an unreached tribe led to a program to train future native missionaries.
Today Claude oversees 130 church congregations, five schools of missions and one school of discipleship. Hundreds of missionaries are now working in 45 mission fields, targeting 32 of the 62 tribes living in Benin with the gospel of Christ.
Claude also rescues orphaned and abandoned children. More than 300 children live in one of CPM's three orphanages. Claude has also provided financial assistance to more than 200 families who have adopted an abandoned child, and nearly 300 children are receiving a free education at one of CPM's five Christian schools.
As the center gained recognition for its effectiveness, members of neighboring Christian communities interested in starting similar centers, visited to observe training methods and activities.
Ministry leader, Claude Sossa, writes, "We have lost our center after many years of work. But we continue to love those who destroyed it, because Jesus died for them and I believe that many of them will come to the Lord. The struggle continues."
Source: Christian Aid Mission Prayer Alert http://www.christianaid.org
- Uzbekistan: Pastor isolated to "re-educate" him. Protestant pastor Dmitry Shestakov has appealed against the four-year sentence in one of Uzbekistan's open work camps imposed by for his religious activity, Protestant sources have told Forum 18 News Service. The verdict stated that Pastor Shestakov had to be deprived of his freedom "given the absence of the possibility of re-educating him without isolation from society." No date has yet been set for an appeal hearing and Shestakov remains in Prison No. 1 in Andijan until the hearing. He has been banned from kneeling to pray and had his copy of the New Testament confiscated. He has been offered the Koran to read instead, Forum 18 has learnt. Although the state Religious Affairs Committee has frequently in state-run mass media attacked Pastor Shestakov and Protestants generally, Begzot Kadyrov of the Committee claimed to Forum 18 that "I have no information about the case." The verdict also claims it is "necessary" for 12 videotapes, seven CDs, two audiotapes and one copy of an Uzbek-language translation of a book "Jesus: More than a Prophet" to be destroyed. Two Protestants continue to await trial in north-west Uzbekistan.
Source: Forum 18 News Service, 23 March 2007. http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=935
- Pastor K.C.D. of Sheaf and Grace Ministries in Andhra Pradesh, India writes: "One of our pastors died on March 23. We buried the pastor's body on Saturday [March 24]. Kindly pray for his family. He has three unmarried daughters and the wife has little education. We are all planning to help the family with in our limits. Kindly pray for the family."
- Persecution in Eritrea intensifies and widens. The Eritrean government's repression and persecution of the Church is severe, intensifying and expanding. Over 2000 Christians are presently incarcerated in appalling conditions for their faith.
Torture is routine, causing three Christians to die in custody since October 2006. Recently 35 teenage army conscripts were beaten and tortured ('punished') for having Bibles. Whilst the repression and persecution had previously targeted Protestant churches, it now extends to the Orthodox Church and Christian aid agencies - all Christians are in danger. In 2001 the government imprisoned all its opposition and closed all private media. Information is leaked out of Eritrea at extreme risk. Please pray for God to intervene in the political situation as Eritrea seeks European assistance, and to protect and preserve his Church.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 419 | " Eritrea: Persecution Intensifies and Widens"
- Pastor Abraham Emmanuel, in Sri Lanka, writes that a new building has been dedicated for outreach and worship: "Thank you for your mail and prayers. Although I do not have a permanent place of worship, it is a great joy for me to inform you that I have dedicated and opened new building of our branch church at Mount Vernon Upper Division on 3rd March 2007 at 10. 30 a.m.. The Lord blessed the dedication service in a wonderful way. More then 350 people attended for the service. The chief guests were Dr. Davabalasingham (chairman of 'Ceylon Every Home Crusade') and the Mount Vernon Estate manager. End of the service we had a fellowship lunch. In this web address you can view the pictures of the service:" http://asia.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/mount_lkvernon/my_photos
- Condolences to the friends and family of Church of God in Christ Presiding Bishop Gilbert E. Patterson who passed away on March 20, 2007. Please remember to pray for the Patterson family, his congregation and the Church of God in Christ.
- Congratulations to John and Sandi Datema on the birth of their latest child. John Wesley Datema was born on February 12, 2007, weighing in at 6 lbs 1oz. Rev. John Datema has been a contributor to the publications of the Pneuma Foundation since 2005.
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