The June-July 2008 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.org
Power outage affects uptime
New Online Articles
Thank you for your patience. The webserver was down from the evening of July 2 till July 4 due to a regional power outage caused by an electrical storm.
New Links and Content Worth Noticing
- Read Part 2 of J. Rodman Williams' chapter Eight, "Effects from The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today. From The Pneuma Review Summer 2004. Added June 16, 2008. http://www.PneumaFoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/JRWilliams-GiftHolySpirit8A.xml
- Book Review: Vinson Synan, Voices of Pentecost Reviewed by H. Murray Hohns. Added June 18, 2008. http://www.PneumaFoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/HMHohns-VSynan-VoicesofPentecost.xml
- Guest article: "The Meaning of Life" by Mike J. Knowles. Added June 18, 2008. http://www.PneumaFoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/MKnowles-Guest-MeaningOfLife.xml
- Book Review: Kenneth Cain Kinghorn, The New Testament Gifts of the Holy Spirit Reviewed by Bradford McCall. Added June 18, 2008. http://www.PneumaFoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/KKinghorn-NTGiftsHolySpirit-BMcCall.xml
- From the Power of the Cross series: The Empowered Christian Life" by J. I. Packer. From The Pneuma Review Winter 2008. Added June 18, 2008. http://www.PneumaFoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/JIPacker-EmpoweredChristianLife.xml
- 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
- Higher Life Ministries from Dr. Paul L. King, includes online articles and bookstore as well as itinerary and how you may contact him about bible institute consultation. http://www.higherlifeministries.com
- Visit J. Rodman Williams new site: Charismatic Pentecostal Theology. http://www.jrodmanwilliams.net
Read chapters from his book, The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today, on The Pneuma Review articles index.
Reports from Around the World
Iran: Exponential growth brings harsh crackdown
The underground evangelical church is growing exponentially in Iran, and authorities appear to be taking action against it. President of Open Doors USA Carl Moeller says 12 Muslim-background believers were arrested the week of May 11. A week later, four were still jailed. Moeller says, "Iranian authorities are recognizing that there's a mushrooming house church movement going on in Iran. (It's) doubling in size of the indigenous house church movement there in Iran every six months. So the rate of growth is actually stunning." The arrests began the week of May 11 with arrests in airports and homes. Christian radio and television have been embraced by Iranians, says Moeller, because of disillusionment. "This disillusionment with these conservative clerics, and this harsh political hatred creates a tremendous opportunity for the love of Jesus Christ to make inroads into people's lives. People are searching for real spiritual answers, and they are finding it in Jesus Christ." Funding is needed for the demand in Christian resources.
[Reported June 19] Recently, authorities have been rounding up church leaders. 44-year old Mohsen Namvar was among those arrested. "There has been, over the last 60 days, about a dozen Christians arrested. Most of them have been interrogated and held for a little while, and then released after paying a heavy bail. As far as we know, at this time, Mr. Namvar is still being held."
According to a report from Compass Direct, Namvar believed a Christian had implicated him during an earlier sweep. He had anticipated the arrest after being warned that authorities were watching him. It is the second time that he has faced arrest. He was previously held and tortured for baptizing Muslim converts to Christianity in the spring of 2007.
Why the focus on believers? Voice of the Martyrs' Todd Nettleton says, "The church is growing at an absolutely phenomenal rate in Iran. Muslims are coming to know Christ; they're getting involved with these house church groups. That is what has caused the concern of the government. That's why these arrests are happening."
Source: Adapted from Mission Network News, 23 May, 2008. Full story: http://www.mnnonline.org/article/11266 | See also: http://www.mnnonline.org/article/11350
Algeria: Persecution Spurs Debate
The Algerian government has been appeasing Islamists since early
2008 by implementing its 2006 'Presidential Order Concerning Religion' and repressing Christian worship and practice. Habiba Kouider (35) was charged with 'practising non-Muslim religious rites without a licence' after police found Bibles in her handbag on 29 March. Her case is so controversial that on 27 May the court postponed its verdict. On 1 June police harangued Habiba in the street for two hours. Then on 3 June, four Algerian Christians got suspended jail sentences and fines for 'attempting to shake the faith of Muslims'. The government asserts that religious liberty is part of a foreign conspiracy to colonise Algeria. But many Algerians are not buying that and voices for liberty and justice are being raised in Algeria. Please pray for Algeria and its Church in this time of trial and debate.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 483 | Algeria: Persecution Spurs Debate
China: Prayer Opens Bible Distribution
"There was a rumor around that the Chinese government was not going to allow any Bibles at all during the Olympics. Of course, Christians around the world prayed, and the Chinese government quickly retracted that statement. And to complete the circle, they issued an Olympic rings edition of the Bible."
Prayer is still needed for the oppression of Christians during the Olympic crackdown.
Read the full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/11411
Source: Adapted from Mission Network News, June 7, 2008.
Togo: Missionaries prevent tribal war
"The Janjangou people and the Tontodi people were preparing to go to war with each other when our workers came to share the gospel with them. These people had never heard the name of Christ before.
"While visiting the Tontodi people, missionary Abraham and his wife showed them the Jesus film, expecting the same type of reaction that we usually get from other tribes. Typically, people are compelled to weep when they watch Jesus being nailed to the cross. But surprisingly, the Tontodi people started laughing!
"Finally, the couple showed them a film on witchcraft and they became somber. During the invitation to receive Christ as Savior, everyone present (more than 500 people) including the chief, responded. By God's grace, we will return to them in September for disciple training."
Source: Missions Insider 9:6 (June 30, 2008). Full story: http://www.christianaid.org/Missionaries/MIR/mir20080630b.aspx
Kenya: Betrayed Pastor forgives enemies
News and Headlines
Kenyans displaced by post-election violence, about 100,000 of them, have returned home. One of those people was Pastor Steve Munyambu. Munyambu is a youth minister at the Africa Inland Church, and he has moved back to the Kibera slums of Nairobi where people he knew torched his previous home just minutes after the announcement of the disputed election results on December 27.
"We knew each other by name. These were young people I had worked with in rehab programs. These were young people I had worked with in tutorial classes. These were young people I had mentored for a long time," he said. "I didn't see it coming, so I was hurt."
The neighbors helped him put out the fire resulting from the first petrol bomb, but three more petrol bombs followed, Munyambu said. "After the fourth one, we had to say, 'Lord, You've seen our struggle. There is nothing more we can do.'"
Although he has struggled with emotions of bitterness and revenge, Munyambu is committed to forgiving the arsonists. He has seen them and talked to them many times since he volunteered for the Red Cross and they came to his food distribution line.
"God has His own way of programming," he says. "Instead of them going to the different line, God brought them to my line. Again and again, we saw each other--face to face."
Pastor Munyambu is not running away from the people who hurt him. He is deliberately moving back to the same neighborhood. "How can we forgive these people if we don't see them face to face?" he asks. "For me, it's easy to say I've forgiven you, because I don't see you. But immediately, when I see you, something grips within my spirit--bitterness, rage and revenge come back."
Three weeks after his house was burned, Pastor Munyambu preached at a service attended by people from different tribes. At the end of the service, he offered to wash their feet - no matter what tribe they were from.
Source: Adapted from Mission Network News, 2 June, 2008. http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/11286
for Current News and Links
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
"It Takes a Steady Hand to Hold a Full Cup" by Charles Carrin
Read this article on PneumaReview.com: pneumareview.com/it-takes-a-steady-hand-to-hold-a-full-cup
Charles Carrin has served the body of Christ for over 50 years. Today his ministry centers upon the visible demonstration of the Spirit and imparting of His gifts. Read his biography at http://www.charlescarrinministries.com/biography.html.
From Charles Carrin Ministries monthly newsletter, Gentle Conquest (May 2008). Used with permission.
Thanks to Bill for recommending this article.
Resources You Can Use
Social networking to transform cities
"UrbanMinistry.org is like a combination of MySpace, FaceBook, YouTube and Wikipedia to develop a social networking community for those interested in urban ministry, global issues or serving under-resourced communities. The site currently has thousands of users, organizations and volunteer opportunities all with a focus of changing the world." Suggested by BBS in Kenya. www.UrbanMinistry.org
Hear two Pentecostal scholars discuss tongues as initial evidence
"For years, speaking in tongues has been debated mainly between those who believe it ceased in the days of the apostles and those who believe it should still be evident in the modern church. Now, another debate about glossolalia is quietly playing out in the Pentecostal-charismatic world. Is tongues the initial evidence of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Listen as Ric Walston, Ph.D., president of Columbia Evangelical Seminary and Edgar Lee, senior professor of Spiritual Formation and Pastoral Theology at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary discuss this issue."
Elsewhere, find this brief article: Jack Hayford, "Tongues 101: The church needs to look at tongues as a gift, not as a cause for endless theological debate" Ministry Today (March/April 2007), page 38. http://www.ministrytodaymag.com/display.php?id=14738
30 Days of Prayer for Muslims
There are more than a billion Muslims around the world who will never hear about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Youth with a Mission wants to change that with the 30 Days Prayer Focus on Muslims which will be held September 1st - 30th. YWAM's Paul Filidis is coordinating the 17th printing of the "30 Days Muslim Prayer Guide" in North America. "We have 30 pages that introduce some aspect of Islam or the Islamic community around the world to try to bring a focus and try to educate the reader about some part of the Islamic world. Then it ends up in several prayer points that are related to that day's subject." Filidis says some of the stories of Muslims coming to Christ must be prayer-related. "We constantly hear about Muslims becoming Christians or showing interest through dreams and visions when they run into Christians, saying they want a Bible: 'We want to know more about it.' So, going by some of these stories and feedback, we trust that prayer does make a difference."
http://www.30daysprayer.com/muslim/ [North American site]
Source: Mission Network News For 3 July, 2008. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/11414
Fiction for Formation
Brandon O'Brien, assistant editor for Leadership Journal, suggests that church leaders make time this summer to read a novel for both ministry rejuvenation and preparation. "Good fiction can help a minister better understand the people to whom he or she is ministering - people struggling with doubt, addictions, or questions about calling and vocation." Read his full post at the Building Church Leaders blog, Off the Agenda. http://blog.buildingchurchleaders.com/2008/06/fiction_for_formation.html
Source: Leadership Weekly July 08, 2008
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
Buy THE PNEUMA REVIEW online at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000D8CY9
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For a full index of the contents of all Pneuma Review issues, visit: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/pr_archive.jsp.
Book Review: Evil and the Justice of God
From the Spring 2008 issue
Read this review on PneumaReview.com: pneumareview.com/n-t-wright-evil-and-the-justice-of-god
Fitzroy Willis is currently a Ph.D. student in Renewal Biblical Studies at Regent University where he also earned an M.A. in Biblical Studies. Additionally, he has earned a M.S. and B.S. from SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn and SUNY Stony Brook respectively.
Read more reviews and articles from the Spring 2008 issue of THE PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jspFrom "Proclaiming the Gospel with Miraculous Gifts in the Postbiblical Early Church" by Stanley M. Burgess
From the Summer 2008 issue
Read the full article at PneumaReview.com: Proclaiming the Gospel with Miraculous Gifts in the Postbiblical Early Church
Stanley M. Burgess, Ph.D. (University of Missouri, Columbia) is a professor of religious studies at Southwest Missouri State University, and a specialist in the history of Christian thought. He has been published widely in the history of pneumatology and in Pentecostal/charismatic studies.
Endnotes appear with the full article. Read the rest of this article in the Summer 2008 issue of THE PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jspReview Essay: "Will the Real Paul Please Stand Up?" by Tony Richie
This chapter is from Gary S. Greig and Kevin N. Springer, eds., The Kingdom and the Power: Are Healing and the Spiritual Gifts Used by Jesus and the Early Church Meant for the Church Today? A Biblical Look at How to Bring the Gospel to the World with Power (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1993). Used with permission.
From the Summer 2008 issue
Simon Gathercole, "What Did Paul Really Mean?: 'New perspective' scholars argue that we need, well, a new perspective on justification by faith" Christianity Today (August 2007), pages 22-28.
Read this review on PneumaReview.com: pneumareview.com/will-the-real-paul-please-stand-up
Reviewed by Tony Richie
At the time of printing, the full article was available online: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/august/13.22.html
 Don Garlington, In Defense of the New Perspective on Paul: Essays and Reviews (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2005), viii + 245 pages. Read the full review by Amos Yong, as it appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of The Pneuma Review on the Pneuma Foundation website at: http://pneumareview.com/in-defense-of-the-new-perspective-on-paul-essays-and-review.
Tony Richie, D.Min, D.Th. (candidate), a bishop in the Church of God (Cleveland, TN), is pastor of New Harvest in Knoxville, TN and does adjunct teaching at Church of God Theological Seminary (Cleveland, TN) and Church of God South American Seminary (Quito, Ecuador). He also serves the Society for Pentecostal Studies as liaison to the Interfaith Relations Committee of the National Council of Churches. His articles that have appeared in numerous Christian academic journals.
Responses from Readers
Hey! I'm working on developing a comprehensive site that allows people to link to websites related to Arminianism. I got to your website (which is absolutely great, by the way) through a pentecostal group, so I thought that your site might have an Arminian basis. Some of your links, of course, don't follow that pattern, and I was just wondering what kind of criteria you have for what websites you link to. Any help you can provide would be great! Thank you so much!
- Micah M
Thank you for writing and for your interest in the Pneuma Foundation. We appreciate your encouragement.
While no organization or publication could hope to represent all Pentecostal/charismatics worldwide, the Pneuma Foundation does desire to offer perspectives from all thoughtful and biblical believers found within the vast movement. The viewpoints of our writers and editors vary widely on numerous subjects from the role of women in ministry to what we believe about the end times. Through 11 years of publishing our quarterly journal we have dialogued about some of these differences. One of the discussions featured in The Pneuma Review asked the question, "How Much Does God Control?" In that discussion we heard from a charismatic Calvinist as well as an open-view theist and also a classical Arminian.
Allow me to point you to some online resources that say more about our desire to not take positions that exclude believers with differing views.
Our statement of vision and purpose, including principles of teaching and dialogue: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/statement_of_vision.jsp
A note about doctrinal perspectives: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=doctrinal_perspective.xml
Full index of our quarterly printed journal: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/pr_archive.jsp. In The Pneuma Review you will find a wide selection of subjects and topics that have been discussed and responded to. Currently, we are accepting submissions regarding "how should the church respond to postmodernism".
You may also find interesting this discussion about why "normal initial evidence" is mentioned in our statement of faith: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=article_0066.xml
Regarding criteria for links: we do link to a variety of websites, particularly appreciating sites that have resources to offer our growing worldwide public. Feel free to use our link suggestion form on this page: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links.jsp#link
Thank you again for writing and for your encouragement.
In the love of the Father,
I have studied your web site, and I found it the most wonderful site to get right to the True Word of God. I found that all your material is full of knowledge concerning development of religious faith.
- Fahim Q. in Pakistan
About the drama performance video mentioned in the May (2008) Informer:
This is a good one ... someone suggested adapting it for our church drama team last year. Thanks for sharing it, I had forgotten about it.
Reading Reports from Around the World:
Thank you for the information that I have just read about the progress of the Gospel reaching the unsaved world. Keep up the good works. God will reward those are diligent in spreading his word for the salvation of all the people on earth. May God bless you in all your efforts.
Have a comment for us? Contact Us http://www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp
- One Pneuma Foundation member writes: "Remember me in your prayers. My orphans I am caring for are lacking food, clothes, medical care. Please pray for me so that I can get resources to do everything for them." Reference Number: 90032519.
- Eritrea: Intensive Persecution Fuels a Refugee Crisis . Eritrea, one of the world's worst abusers of religious liberty, has been listed by the US Commission of International Religious Freedom
(USCIRF) as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) since 2004 -- and the situation is worsening. Some 2000 mostly Protestant Christians are imprisoned for their faith in appalling conditions, and the regime of dictator-president Isaias Afwerki has taken control of the influential Eritrean Orthodox Church. The regime's gross human rights violations have created a refugee crisis in the region. But in June, Egypt forcibly returned some 1000 refugees to Eritrea. Libya too is said to be about to mass-deport Eritrean refugees. A number of refugees returned to Eritrea have reportedly been incarcerated, tortured or shot dead. Please pray for the Church in Eritrea, for Eritrean refugees, and for freedom for Eritrea.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 485 | Eritrea: Intensive Persecution Fuels a Refugee Crisis
- Pakistan: Violence strikes Islamic nation. Christians in Pakistan need your help as violence has hit the Islamic nation. A suicide bomber attacked policemen at the Red Mosque in Islamabad on Sunday, July 6, killing 18 people. The attack targeted Pakistan's government, which is trying to stabilize the country and control Islamic extremism, says Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs. "What this explosion shows is the continued influence and the continued power of radical Muslim groups within Pakistan." Nettleton urges prayer for Pakistani believers, who are witnessing boldly for the Gospel even though Muslim radicals often target them. Pray "that they will have boldness to witness for Christ, and to really live an example for the people around them who are watching them, who maybe identify it as a Western religion, but to really see Christians live for Christ can really have an impact in that country."
Source: Mission Network News For 8 July, 2008. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/11419
- "This is Pastor Abraham E. from Sri Lanka. My ministry is progressing in the midst of so many impediments. In April, I extended my church lease for another two years because the landlady compelled me to do it. If I had not done that she would have been given the building to some one else. So with God's grace I extended it.
"Please pray for a vehicle for my ministry because I have to spent a lot of money on hiring vehicles for long trips. Sometimes I have to postpone my ministry trips due to vehicle problems. As I have so many branches, if I have a vehicle I can do more frequent visits and encourage them from time to time. Please pray for these great needs. I used to distribute Bibles free of charge to the poor people in the remote areas, so pray for this ministry to purchase more Bibles to be able to do this."
For pictures from Pastor Abraham's recent visit to Kadiyalena, planting a church in Hatton, and baptism under a beautiful Sri Lankan waterfall, visit here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21590279@N08/sets/72157605176213366
- Dave Johnson, Assemblies of God missionary to the Philippines and contributor to Pneuma Foundation publications, writes, "appealing for help for those affected by typhoon Frank, which hit the Philippines on June 21. I am writing to you from Kalibo, Aklan, one of the hardest hit areas by the typhoon. I have seen the devastation ... and have spent the weekend with Rev. Vic Gallos, the district superintendent of the A/G churches in the area, touring the wreckage and discussing plans for rehabilitation. The need is real." Please pray.
- Kazakhstan considers oppressive religion law. Kazakhstan's parliament is beginning consideration of a law that would restrict religious freedom. The law would sharply limit Christians' ability to share their faith, the Slavic Gospel Association reports. If passed, the law will also make it harder for churches to buy property and register with the government. If churches fail the new requirements for registration, they will lose all of their buildings and materials. Pray that Kazakh believers will continue to be strong for the Gospel.
Source: Mission Network News, 17 June, 2008. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/11338
- Pastor Vincent in Kenya shares these requests for a Bible School that is about to open: "Please pray for the following: For God to draw students from the North, South, East and West. For Finances - due to poor economy that we have undergone due to post election violence that rocked this country. For leadership of the school. For the students to have a genuine burden and call.
"Thanks for understanding and your time to stand on the gap.
"Blessings, Pst Vincent O." Reference Number: 90032414