The February and March 2005 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.orgNew Articles, Links, and other FeaturesNew Article from the PNEUMA REVIEW
New Download Resources
- "Review Essay: The Healing Promise - A Charismatic Response" by Graham Old - Pastor Graham Old reviews the book The Healing Promise by cessationist Richard Mayhue. From the Winter 2005 (Vol 8 No 1) issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=HealingPromise-CharismaticResponse-GOld.xml
New In Depth Resources: Articles by Pentecostal/charismatic Scholars
- Download Resources Index: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/downloads.jsp
To save space and make downloading easier, most download resources are compressed into ZIP files. Latest versions of Mac and Windows operating systems have built-in unzipping tools, and older OS users can still download free utilities to do this (links are provided on the download resources page).
- Craig Keener's Bible Interpretation Course is now available in PDF. This is a full course on how to read and interpret the Scriptures by Professor Craig S. Keener. Professor Keener grants you permission to use this course to teach others and distribute his syllabus without cost. 784KB file. This resource is also available in a French translation prepared by Craig's wife.
Also, be sure to check out the "What's New" section on the Pneuma Foundation homepage. New articles and other features are being added regularly.
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Reports from Around the World
Ukraine: Newfound Unity and Influence for Christians
Christians in Ukraine are pressing forward for a national transformation in the former Soviet republic, which has been under mafia control for more than a decade.
In unison believers recently backed pro-Western candidate Viktor Yushchenko and the freedoms he promised during his runoff presidential election victory over pro-Moscow candidate Viktor Yanukovych.
"What is happening here is an answer to prayer," says Sunday Adelaja, pastor of the 25,000-member Embassy of God Church in Kiev. "It is unbelievable. The Christians are in unity. The Baptists are standing beside the Orthodox people - which is amazing because the Orthodox hated us before," he added.
Religious tension has been high in Ukraine since the nation gained independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. Then there were only 250,000 evangelical Christians in a country dominated by nominal Orthodox Church adherents. Today there are 3 million evangelicals.
"That is 1,000 percent growth in a decade," noted Pentecostal theologian Gary Kellner, who helped found a seminary in Kiev in 2001. "What God is doing in Ukraine is unprecedented." Kellner said Yushchenko's victory shows that evangelical churches have become a powerful force in Ukraine.
Adelaja's church, which meets in 34 locations in Kiev on Sundays, is considered Europe's largest. What is unique is the pastor's story: He is a Nigerian who studied at a communist university in the former Soviet Union.
Old-regime politicians in Ukraine - many of them under the influence of the underground mafia, or bratva - do not appreciate Adelaja's influence and have tried several times to deport him. "They claim that I use 'black magic' to win converts," Adelaja said. "They say it is a disgrace that a black man is teaching Ukrainians."
Because of the size of Adelaja's congregation, and because of his race, he has endured considerable resistance from government forces. KGB surveillance officers have stalked him, and he was forbidden to travel out of the country from 1997 to 2000. He has been told he does not have the right to preach and that his members have become "zombies."
"They tell me it is impossible to see a drug addict delivered. So I invite them to come to see 1,000 people who are free from drugs," said Adelaja, who is not the only African leading a church in this predominantly white nation.
Henry Madava, a Pentecostal from Zimbabwe, pastors the second-largest congregation in Kiev, 8,000-member Victory Church. Madava said he saw the direct intervention of God in the presidential election. "God is totally removing the corruption that has ruled this country for 13 years," he said. "God is bringing an awareness in the people of their freedom."
Adelaja agreed. "It used to be that Christians here were passive and intimidated. No more," the pastor said. "Every Christian leader has been in the streets. Now Christians know they have authority."
Source: Adapted from CharismaNOW report, Feb. 3, 2005. Used with permission.
Iran: Underground Awakening
"Not only Iranians in western exile, but also Muslims in Iran are coming to faith in Christ in their thousands," reports the aid organization Open Doors in their February newsletter. "In the 1980's, we rejoiced over two or three new believers each month. In the 1990's, we were impressed when we heard about a group of new believers. Today, we are just somewhat surprised to discover an entire new underground church," says an Iranian pastor.
Islamic Revolution left a spiritual vacuum
The Islamic Revolution took place in 1979; the Shah was deposed, and Ayatollah Khomeini ruled the nation with an iron grip. Almost all Iranians were at least nominal Muslims. There was a minority of around 250,000 Armenian and Assyrian Christians who were allowed to practice their faith, but not in Farsi, the national language, and were forbidden to evangelize, of course. That caused an exodus of Iranians; half of the Christians emigrated. But after 25 years of the Islamic Revolution and its propaganda promising answers to all life's questions, people are disappointed in Islam and its broken promises.
60% of all Iranians know the Gospel
So the nation set off on the quest for alternative answers, also looking at the repressed Gospel. People are coming to faith in Christ as never before: an Iranian who emigrated to Scandinavia for economic reasons found Christ there.
On his first visit to Iran, he was itching to tell his relatives of his new faith. Within one month, 50 of his relatives came to faith. By the time he returned again one year later, the church had grown to over 250 believers. "60% of all Iranians have heard the Gospel. We find these people everywhere!" said one member of the Iranian security services. Children of ministers and Mullahs are also coming to faith. Every day, 50 Iranian youths secretly join a Christian church, according to Shiite leader Hassan Mohammadi of the Iranian Ministry of Education, speaking to a group of students in Tehran. "By saying that, Mohammadi inadvertently admitted that the Iranian Republic has failed as a theocratic regime," the father of one student commented to the Iranian press agency IPS.
The weeping Mullah
One example of the openness to the Gospel: an Iranian Bible courier was on a long bus journey. The bus was very modern, with air conditioning and a video player. The Bible courier went to the driver and gave him a video of the Jesus Film, asking him to play it. The courier was then shocked to discover a Mullah a few seats behind him. How would the Mullah react to the Jesus Film? The man could not keep his eyes off the video, and soon jumped up, shouting with a shaking voice "Please be quiet! This is a film about a holy man, the Prophet Jesus. His life deserves our full attention!" Immediately, the noisy bus fell silent, and the passengers concentrated on the video. At the end of the film, which ends with an evangelistic call, the Mullah sat in his seat, weeping.
Far more than a quarter of a million Christians
These developments are a catastrophe for the Islamic authorities. They have lost control of the church. In September 2004, they arrested 86 Assemblies of God pastors, "an act of desperation," according to Open Doors. Pastor Hamid Pourmand, who is still in prison, could face the death sentence, because he is an ex-Muslim. The other pastors have since been released. Christians meet in independent groups which are springing up like mushrooms - with the exception that they are invisible. In contrast to most Islamic nations, new believers are not immediately expelled from their families. Quite the contrary - the relatives often follow the new believers in their change of faith. There are now far more than a quarter of a million believers in Iran, according to the Iranian authorities - in a naturally conservative estimate.
Source: FridayFax 2005 Issue 6. Used with permission.
India: 'Untouchables' Experience Spiritual Awakening
A spiritual awakening is occurring among the Dalits, or "untouchables" - considered to be as insignificant as an insect according to the Hindu caste system.
The Dalits make up about 15 percent of India's population, or some 160 million people. Only one in every 10 of them will ever rise above these deplorable conditions. The other 90 percent will remain poor and deprived, living and dying under a system of sanctioned social injustice.
"It's nothing but religious fascism," says Joseph D'Souza, president of All India Christian Council (AICC). "Political solutions won't help - or our constitution would have been enough. Dalits need a socio-spiritual alternative that will eventually evolve into a different political solution. Christianity has the potential to do that."
Conversion is a touchy topic in India these days. For Dalits, conversion is not a topic to be argued over tea but a means of saving themselves for generations to come.
"All they want is a better life," said Moses Pramar, leader of AICC in northern India. "They are facing a spiritual vacuum created by upper-caste Hindus. Dalits are not allowed in the temple."
Mass conversions, which have occurred in the north, are in effect a declaration of unity, transformation and rebellion against the caste. It is an Indian way of breaking chains, Christian leaders believe. An increasing number of charismatic and Pentecostal missionaries are devoting their time and energy to the spiritual needs of the Dalits.
According to AICC leaders, Dalits are coming to Christ throughout the villages of Punjab, a northern state. Truckloads of people are turning up at public meetings, where preachers are seeing miracles taking place.
"The pastors I sent tell me that people asked them to pray, and they prayed and miracles happened - mostly healings," D'Souza said. "It's amazing. Even patients given up by doctors get healed."
Such meetings go on until 11 o'clock at night. Sikh and Hindu villagers also attend and arrive in big numbers at public meeting grounds in regions such as Firozpur, close to Pakistan. Villagers attend prayer services that last up to four hours. Many are baptized.
When the Punjab state legislature took a stance against the issue of Christian conversions recently, a New Delhi TV team went to the northern villages to interview residents. Many reported that praying to Jesus fulfilled their needs. "My mother was sick," one said. "Jesus did something and she was healed. Now I'm a believer."
Dalits are yearning for a social change that will do away with their status as society's evil refuse.
"The Great Commission is about real transformation, not about numbers," D'Souza said. "Jesus never said, 'Go and make more numbers of disciples.' There are mission groups that say, 'Oh, we've got a hundred-thousand converted.' But have their social, economic and spiritual lives been transformed?"
Source: Adapted from CharismaNOW report, Jan. 11, 2005. Used with permission. http://www.charismanow.com/a.php?ArticleID=10402
Pakistan: evangelization and church-planting are possible
"In September 2004, Bernd Goldbach, an evangelist with Reach the Unreached (RTU), held an outreach in Pakistan. The result was a sensational breakthrough," reports Friedhelm Holthuis, member of the leadership of the German Bund Freier Pfingstgemeinden (Union of Free Pentecostal Churches) and pastor of the Christ Church in Weener. The Secretary of the oldest Pakistani Pentecostal movement reported that 14 new churches were planted. "Almost all of the 45 churches which took part in the outreach doubled their membership. People from 35 villages who attended the outreach are still hungry for the Gospel. The Lord confirmed His Word through dramatic healings." Up to 10,000 people attended the evangelistic meetings, which were held directly in front of a mosque and had to be guarded because of threats of suicide bombing by Al Quaida.
Source: Friedhelm Holthuis by way of FridayFax 2005 Issue 6. Used with permission.
Helping with Reports
Other News and Headlines
The PNEUMA INFORMER editor is looking for volunteers that could help gather and format reports for publication in this email newsletter. If you would be interested in helping with this, or if you have a one-time suggestion of an encouraging story or report of what God is doing in the world, please write to the INFORMER editor by using the email address found on the Contact Us page.
for Current News and Links
- Reports of Persecution: Iran former army colonel sentenced to prison (CharismaNOW) http://www.charismanow.com/a.php?ArticleID=10675
Nigeria militant Muslims have harassed, attacked families, and murdered Christian students (CharismaNOW) http://www.charismanow.com/a.php?ArticleID=10618
Iraq Ancient minority flees terrorist atrocities: officials estimate that as many as 15,000 Iraqi Christians have left the country since August (Associated Press) http://nsnlb.us.publicus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050207/NEWS03/102070069/-1/news
Pakistan A Christian family abducted and beaten by Muslims (CharismaNOW). http://www.charismanow.com/a.php?ArticleID=10538
- USA: Study: TV preachers don't talk about money all that much Televangelists devote less time to fundraising than commercial television does airing commercials (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/003/14.21.html
- Obituary: Judson Cornwall Pentecostal Bible teacher died February 8, at age 80 after battle with cancer (CharismaNOW). http://www.charismanow.com/a.php?ArticleID=10631
- Biblical archaeology: Paul's Tomb Reportedly Discovered Vatican archaeologist says Paul really is buried where the church said he is (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/107/54.0.html
- USA: "Beyond black and white: the new face of evangelicalism" Scholars say Hispanics might be the fastest-growing group of evangelicals in the country (Chicago Sun-Times) http://www.suntimes.com/output/religion/cst-nws-evangside14.html
- Florida preacher dies during sermon His final words were "And when I go to heaven" (Associated Press) http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050111/ap_on_re_us/brf_preacher_collapses
- Israel: Riots sparked by teen spreading false rumor Dozens of Christian businesses were burned to the ground and many Christian families fled the village of Maghar in the Galilee during riots that began the evening of February 10 after a rumor spread that Christian youths had placed pornographic pictures of Druze girls on the internet (Haaretz, Tel Aviv). http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/540104.html
- Biblical archaeology: "The Mystery of Antiquities" James ossuary owner charged with forgery (ChristianityTodayOnline) http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/003/11.24.html
- USA: Doctors often operate on faith A national survey of nearly 1,100 physicians reveals doctors' views on faith, prayer and miracles (Paul Prather, The Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.) http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/living/religion/10872453.htm
- New Studies Say Teens May Be Hardwired for Religion "A search for spiritual relationship with the Creator may be an inherent developmental process in adolescence." (AgapePress) - Thanks to Pastor John D. for sending this story. http://www.crosswalk.com/news/religiontoday/1309881.html
- Wycliffe's audacious Bible translation project There are nearly 7000 languages in the world, but over 4,000 of them do not have even a single book of the Bible translated into them. Find out what one organization is doing about this (ChristianityTodayOnline) http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/002/28.74.html
- Editorial: "Free Bibles, free speech" by Terry Mattingly. International Bible Society has clashed with the secular worldview twice recently. Rolling Stone magazine refused an advert for a new youth Bible. And a distribution of a special NT as an insert within a Colorado Springs newspaper also caused offense. - Thanks to Web Evangelism Bulletin for recommending this article. http://tmatt.gospelcom.net/column/2005/01/26/
- Miracle healing of rabies The first known case of survival from rabies infection without anti-rabies injections involved both worldwide internet-mediated prayer, and experimental medical treatment (The Reporter). http://www.wisinfo.com/thereporter/news/archive/local_18925972.shtml
- Archeologist unearths biblical controversy Artifacts from Iron Age fortress confirm Old Testament dates of Edomite kingdom (The Globe and Mail, Toronto) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20050125/ARCHEOLOGY25/International/Idx
- Editorial: "Now Choose Life" by David C. Stolinsky, M.D. The inconsistency of commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz while still pushing a culture of death. http://www.stolinsky.com/news/news/news_item.asp?NewsID=131
- Germany: "If you don't take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits" Now that prostitution in Germany is "no longer immoral," brothels can pressure women into fornication-for-hire (Telegraph, UK). - Thanks to Joe J. for the alert for this story. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/01/30/wgerm30.xml
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
Mike Dies and Raul Mock, both editors for the Pneuma Review, will be attending the 34th annual conference of the Society for Pentecostal Studies March 10-12. Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia is hosting this year's convention. Many of the writers whose work has been published in the Pneuma Review and on the Pneuma Foundation web-site will also be present. Those attending SPS 2005 are encouraged to find the Pneuma Foundation display table and help themselves to the latest issue of the Pneuma Review that will be offered to conference attendees without cost or obligation.
Registration information: http://www.sps-usa.org/meetings/2005.html
Responses from Readers
Good to come across your informative site.
Source: Bishop M.I
Know of a church or denomination that should be added to our list of Pentecostal/charismatic denominations and fellowships? Send us the link http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links.jsp#link
Greetings in Jesus' name!
I just came across your site, and with great interest will be exploring it! Actually, our church is a member of a Church fellowship group that would fit, I'm sure, in your listing of groups committed to a Spirit-filled approach to the kingdom of God.
Bless you there!
I do appreciate what God is using you people to do all over the world. God bless you all.
Source: Rev EU
Find "Tongues-The Controversial Gift" online here:
I just finished reading "Tongues-The Controversial Gift" by John Lathrop and thank him for starting the conversation that has been needed for a while. However, I disagree with him in one thing. Tongues in congregational use can be used in worship without interpretation. In fact, singing in tongues is a wonderful way congregations can worship Jesus. It is marvelous to hear the individual voices unite in the song of the Spirit and to feel our hearts and minds lifted up to God. I often think this aspect of tongues is overlooked in our need for designating purpose to the various gifts of the Spirit. Can it be purpose enough to hear the beauty of the Spirit's song and be overcome with the delight of Him? I miss this in the church today.
Source: Mary, in Glendale, AZ
Writing Opportunity: Responding to a Misunderstanding
Respond to a misunderstanding that appeared in a review titled: "The Earth: an introduction for aliens"
Found here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2004/09/29/bamcq29.xml&sSheet=/arts/2004/09/29/ixartright.html
This is a review of an art exhibit by Steve McQueen at South London Gallery "Once Upon a Time"
At the time of this writing, information about the exhibit was found online: http://www.southlondongallery.org/docs/exh/exhibition.jsp?id=102&view=future
The multi-media art exhibit features recordings of glossolalia which the reviewer describes as: "As we watch, we hear recordings of people 'speaking in tongues' or glossolalia. The phenomenon is primarily associated with evangelical Christians who babble incomprehensibly in the belief that God is speaking directly through them, though it is not exclusively religious and occurs all over the world. ... Glossolalia is a kind of pre-language - a language of spontaneous, unstructured sound that communicates nothing."
You are invited by the editorial committee to write a response about this explanation of glossolalia and offer a biblical corrective. If your response is appropriate, it will be published in the Foundation's online resource center. You may write to the editor for more information, go to our Contact Us page at: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp
Resources You Can Use
Using Cybercafes for Outreach in little-reached areas
People in poorer countries are desperate to learn computing skills, get online, and communicate by email. Where the ownership of a personal computer is out of the question, cybercafes are strategic. These articles share strategies for implementing a cybercafe ministry:
One pastor is Chad (Africa) has started an outreach through an unconventional teaching outreach. He prepares a handwritten talk, then offers to pay a cybercafe visitor to transcribe it onto disk. While they are typing it, they get interested and ask questions, and maybe ask for a copy to take home.
Source: Web Evangelism Bulletin, January 2005 (both editions)
Resources for International Christian Workers
www.strategicnetwork.org There are numerous resources available from The Network for Strategic Missions, which describes itself as "A global movement of grass-roots leaders ministering to those without access to the gospel." These online resources include a growing open-source style encyclopedia and knowledge base, blogs and online community, courses for Christian workers, and prayer requests from network members.
Also hosted on the www.strategicnetwork.org site is the International Christian Book Database http://www.strategicnetwork.org/index.php?loc=bk
This booklist is a consolidation of Christian books, from numerous publishers, being distributed in languages other than English. The database may be searched by language, title, or author. It is a partnership between The Network for Strategic Missions (www.strategicnetwork.org) and the Global Publishers Alliance.
Learning and Teaching English
There is a vast hunger for English learning around the world, yet few Christian websites are attempting to meet this need. Here is a secular site which uses family-safe movie trailers as a basis for learning better English: www.english-trailers.com
Friends Abroad is a linkup system for English learning. Christians with a desire to genuinely help with English learning, and sensitively share their faith when appropriate, could well try signing up: www.friendsabroad.com
Source: Web Evangelism Bulletin, February (i) 2005
Invitation for Papers
The Pneuma Foundation invites you to submit articles new or previously published for consideration to be published on their web site at www.pneumafoundation.org. Currently available on the site: full length books, academic papers and theses, book reviews, sermons, devotional articles, and Bible studies. The website is made available without cost or obligation around the world. Authors retain full rights to published materials. Please contact write to the editor for more information.
Some of the great content already on www.pneumafoundation.org
- Guest articles http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/guest_articles.jsp
- Featured Online Articles http://www.pneumafoundation.org/web_article_archive.jsp
- In Depth Resources http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/in_depth.jsp
- Articles from the Pneuma Review http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article_archive.jsp
Thoughts to Ponder
"Circumstance and coincidence may cause us to be in the right place at the right time to do God's work in a specific way."
Source: Suzanne Farnham
"Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world."
Source: Antonin Scalia
"It is a long way between the death of an animal whose skin covered nakedness, and the death of the Son of God whose righteousness covers sin. Yet these are like the beginning and the end of the same journey."
Source: Johann Christian Konrad von Hofmann (1810-1877)
"Let us relieve the poverty of those that beg of us and let us not be over-exact about it."
Source: John Chrysostom
"The glory of God is a human being fully alive."
Excerpts from the Spring 2005 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
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From the article "John the Baptist and the Prophetic Spirit of Pentecost" by James D. Hernando
Read the full article at PneumaReview.com: PneumaReview.com/john-the-baptist-and-the-prophetic-spirit-of-pentecost
James D. Hernando, Ph.D., is professor of New Testament at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri. www.agts.edu/faculty/hernando.html
Read the rest of this article in the Spring 2005 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp Endnotes appear with the full article.
Guest Editorial: "Difference Can Make Us Mo' Betta" by Richard Twiss
Read this article at PneumaReview.com: Difference Can Make Us Mo' Betta
Richard Twiss is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Lakota/Sioux Tribe and serves as President of Wiconi International. He is a gifted communicator and author of One Church Many Tribes. www.wiconi.com
Read other great articles and reviews in the Spring 2005 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp
- Pray for those affected by the December 26 earthquake and tidal waves. Let us continue to pray for the relief efforts of countless thousands of people serving the millions affected by the disaster.
- Pray for effective evangelism in France: France has been shaken by a internet-mediated suicide pact between two girls (age 14 and 15). Teen suicide figures in France are rocketing. In the last 10 years, the percentage of 12-13 age girls attempting suicide at least once has gone from 4% to 8%. For the group age 14-15, it has moved from 8% to 11%. And for 16-17, from 9% to 14%. These figures underline the need for web-pages to offer hope to suicidal teens.
Pray for believers to find these troubled teens and show them the one way that they may have hope.
Source: Web Evangelism Bulletin, Jan. 2005, 2nd edition.