"Helping You Equip Others"
  Contact us

Donate to the Pneuma Foundation through JustGive–recommended for international contributors

   Pneuma Foundation Informer

The November-December 2005 PNEUMA INFORMER

In this issue

Changes coming to the PNEUMA INFORMER
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.org
New Articles, Links, and other Features
New Featured Online Articles
Highlighting Some Great Content
New Links and Content Worth Noticing
Interruption in service
Reports from Around the World
Thailand: new churches in Khao Lak after the tsunami
China: how 12-year-old Li rescued 3,000 miners
Helping with Reports
Other News and Headlines
Report the News
Special Opportunity: Volunteer for Online Discipleship
Resources You Can Use
Books from Jon Ruthven
Important Safety Issue: Sound System and Water
Excellent Study Resource
Conversation about Doctrine
Excerpts from the Fall 2005 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW
"The Colossian Heresy Revisited: Has the Prophetic Stream Lost Its Focus?"
From "Rightly Understanding God's Word: Context of Genre Continued"
Book Review: Cornelius Plantinga, Engaging God's World
Prayer Requests
Condolences
Support the Pneuma Foundation

Changes coming to the PNEUMA INFORMER

Have you enjoyed receiving this newsletter of the Pneuma Foundation?
In the coming months, the editorial committee is planning to change how this newsletter is being distributed. The committee is contemplating using Google Groups to distribute this newsletter, with the goal of alleviating some of the administrative duties that our volunteer staff is currently wrestling with.
We would deeply appreciate your thoughts on such a transition. If you could take a few moments to write us, it would mean a great deal to our volunteers.
Here are the questions we need to answer before we change the newsletter:
1. Since all of our current subscribers have opted-in to the mailing list, are many going to object to being added to the GoogleGroups mailing list? Would you rather be added (no action required on your part) or invited again (you would have to accept the invitation)?
2. Should a contents summary or "In This Issue" brief still be sent to INFORMER subscribers? Still sending the summary would mean more work for our volunteer staff. Do you find it helpful?
3. What departments in the INFORMER do you find most helpful or informative? What would you miss if a feature no longer appeared?
4. Would you be willing to volunteer to help prepare the PNEUMA INFORMER if you could? We need help finding and formatting news items, resources for ministry, and mini-articles to appear in the newsletter.
Thank you for your encouragement and support of this ministry!
- Raul Mock, Editor

top

What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.org

New Articles, Links, and other FeaturesNew Featured Online Articles
  • Numerous articles are available on the Online Articles index. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/web_article_archive.jsp
  • Christian Leadership: "The Power of the First Move" new guest article by Dan Reiland. There is a powerful dynamic set in motion when someone takes the first move. Added November 7, 2005. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_guest0013.xml
  • Practical Ministry: "Praying For the Sick" Dave Butts offers biblical principles and practical advice about how we can pray for the sick. Added November 14, 2005. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0032.xml
  • Prayer: "Partnering With God in Prayer" by Dave Butts. Becoming part of what God is doing in the earth today. Added November 14, 2005. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0036.xml
  • Prayer: "Becoming a Prayer Missionary" by Kim Butts. What is a prayer missionary? Added November 14, 2005. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0035.xml
  • Prayer: "Prayer Evangelism" by Bret Hammond. Praying for others should happen in more places than in secret. Added November 14, 2005. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0034.xml
  • Prayer: "The Prayer of Forgiveness" Kim Butts explains the joy of letting go of unforgiveness and the freedom that act brings. Added November 14, 2005. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0033.xml
  • Book Review: John Rea, Charisma's Bible Handbook on the Holy Spirit (Creation House, 1998). Reviewed by James M. Dettmann in the Spring 2002 issue of the Pneuma Review. Online article added November 17, 2005. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0037.xml
  • For more great content: Articles from the Pneuma Review http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article_archive.jsp
Highlighting Some Great ContentNew Links and Content Worth Noticing
  • The Pneuma Foundation is pleased to be constantly adding content to our website as a resource to our international members and friends. 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
  • Answers to Questions: "Was Slavery God's Will?" answer by Ronald C. Potter (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/006/29.80.html
  • Answers to Questions: "Which Miracles Are Real? Read the answer by J. Rodman Williams, professor of theology at Regent University. How can we tell which miracles, signs, and wonders are of God? (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.ctlibrary.com/7896
  • Answers to Questions: "Should We All Speak in Tongues? Read the answer by J. Rodman Williams, professor of theology at Regent University. How can we tell which miracles, signs, and wonders are of God? (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/003/32.84.html

Interruption in service
The pneumafoundation.org server was unavailable for about 10 hours on Sunday, November 27, due to an extended power failure. If you have not heard back regarding an email communication or anything you were expecting, please contact Member Services and let us know about the problem you experienced.

Website Development
The webteam is asking for prayer. Please see the prayer requests department for more details.

top

Reports from Around the World

Thailand: new churches in Khao Lak after the tsunami
The 30-mile coast between Thaimuang and Takuapa was devastated by the tsunami at the end of December 2004. Khao Lak, which everyone heard of in the weeks following the catastrophe, is in this region. Hundreds of volunteers assisted the locals and the Thai army with reconstruction. Many of these volunteers who invested their time and money were Christians, and their living witness caused many to think about Jesus; over 20 new churches have started in this area since the flood, mostly small house churches led by nationals who take good care of the people's needs. "Christians have never been so involved in any region in Thailand," commented one pastor. Of course, many people come to the churches because of their physical needs, but they are also brooding about the basic questions of life. There is hardly anyone who did not lose family, friends and neighbours to the tsunami. In one of the churches, a 27-year-old woman who lost her husband and both children how the book of Romans comforted her, enabling her to sleep again. In that church, 19 people have been baptised in the past month.
Source: FridayFax 2005/41. Used with permission.

China: how 12-year-old Li rescued 3,000 miners
China is one of the nations in which God most often gives his followers the privilege of experiencing suffering and persecution - but also absolutely breathtaking miracles and demonstrations of His presence. Although Western Christianity has spent a lot of energy to prove that you can have the one without the other, it is generally the combination of cross AND resurrection, suffering AND God's triumph which have the longest-lasting effect on a nation. Asia Harvest's Paul and Joy Hattaway report about another of these experiences:
As another wave of persecution swept through China in the 1950's, pastor Li was arrested in the southern province Guangdong. He was convicted of "counter-revolutionary activities" and sentenced to work in an iron ore mine in farthest north-eastern China. Li's wife and five children, including a new-born baby, had no other means of support; they decided to join pastor Li on his 2,000-mile journey to Heilongjiang, where they would perhaps be able to visit him occasionally, and would be close by should he be miraculously released. They sold everything they owned and bought tickets for the week-long rail journey. When they arrived, they used old boards and a tarpaulin to build a rickety hut on the road to the labour camp. Pastor Li worked as a slave for 14 hours every day, with miserable food, in temperatures well below freezing. He died after three months. When the family heard the news, they were desperate and deeply depressed. His wife saw no future, and wanted to die. She neglected the children terribly. Finally, she told the children that she would have to look for a job. The eldest daughter said "No, mother, you cannot go to work. The baby needs you. He cries for you the whole day long. I will go to work." The 12-year-old girl went to the Director of the labour camp, and told him "My father was sent to this God-forsaken place because of his love for Jesus Christ. That was his only crime. He was a good man, who loved people and helped them. Now he is dead, and we have no food, no money and no place to live. We can't even return to the south. I would like to know whether there is some work I could do in the camp." The Director remembered pastor Li, and recognised the girl as his daughter. He gave in to the tiny glimmer of compassion in his heart, and said "I have a job for you, but it is boring, and pays badly." She took the job immediately.
The Director took her to the place where 3,000 prisoners worked in the iron ore mine. He asked her "Do you see that red button? Your job is to stand next to the button all day, and if someone tells you to press it, you must do so immediately. That is the alarm button, which sets off a siren deep underground. When they hear the siren, the miners get out as fast as they can. You must never press the button by accident, but only when one of us tell you to." So little Sister Li stood next to the button day for day, week for week. She and her family were overjoyed when she was paid for the first time, although it was only a few dollars. One afternoon, she suddenly heard a voice saying "Press the button!" She turned around, trying to find out who had spoken, but there was nobody there. She heard the same voice again a few moments later, saying "Quickly! Press the button, now!" There was still nobody to be seen, and she started to think she was losing her mind. She should only press the button in an emergency, and everything looked normal. Seconds later, she heard the voice again, saying "Sister Li, press the button, now!" with great urgency. Only then did she realise that it was her Lord speaking to her. She did not understand why she should press the button, but she knew she had to obey. The siren sounded, and 3,000 men came up to the surface as fast as they could, confused and curious to find out what had happened. The Director came running out of his office, demanding to know why she had pressed the button. Only a few moments after the last prisoner had left the mine, the area was shaken by a large earthquake. The whole mine collapsed, and nobody has been able to return to it to this day. An eerie silence spread when the earthquake was over, everyone looking at the fragile figure who had pressed the red button. Finally, the Director managed to ask "Comrade Li, how... how did you know that you had to press the red button?" Li answered as loud as she could, saying "The Lord Jesus Christ told me to press the red button. He told me three times before I did it. Jesus Christ is the only way you can come to know the true and living God. He loves you, and has just demonstrated his love by saving your lives. You must turn from your sins and give your lives to him!" All 3,000 prisoners and the director knelt and prayed that Jesus would forgive them and come to live in their hearts.
Source: Asia Harvest Newsletter #80, www.asiaharvest.org, Adapted from FridayFax 2005/43. Used with permission.

Helping with Reports
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.

Other News and Headlines
Visit links.jsp for Current News and Links
  • Editorial: "Stem Selling: Korea to Traffic in Human Remains" by Nigel M. de S. Cameron. They may end up in a laboratory near you (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/144/33.0.html
  • Indonesia: Christian teens beheaded Attacks only the latest in effort to "exterminate the Christian community" in the Poso area (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/144/23.0.html
  • Editorial: "Ashamed and Outraged in Atlanta" by J. Lee Grady. Upset by a lawsuit filed against Bishop Earl Paulk Jr., pastors in the Atlanta area are calling for higher standards of morality in church leadership (CharismaOnline). http://www.charismanow.com/11-04-05
  • Shopping with Jesus: Countering Consumerized Christianity by Jim Miller (Youthworker Journal). Suggested by Pastor John D. http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/pastors/1364629.html
  • Biblical Archaeology: "Three Big Digs" by Gordon Govier. Discoveries bolster understanding of early church, biblical account of David's kingdom (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/001/1.17.html

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

top

Special Opportunity: Volunteer for Online Discipleship

Antioch International Bible Institute (formerly Asian Internet Bible Institute) is a vital discipleship resources for the non-Western world. This ministry needs volunteers, including:

1. Coordinators of online courses in Russian and Thai languages, must also be able to communicate in English and spare 4-6 hours per week. Will help pastors set-up church-based Bible colleges using AIBI curriculum.

2. PHP/MySQL programmers familiar with Linux environment, to help with AIBI forms, databases and CRM systems - 4-6 hours plus per week. Would be good if they understood Moodle or other online educational software packages.

3. Missions-minded, pastors, Bible college graduates to act as online facilitators for particular subjects in the Diploma in Global Ministry.

4. Graphic artists, web designers to help with the look of the AIBI website.

5. Content developers to develop course subjects suitable for pastors in the developing world. Subjects on hermeneutics, homiletics, eschatology and on worship are urgently needed.

6. Computer security guru to help design systems suitable for educating pastors in creative access countries.

7. Full-time ministry, for appropriate qualified people who can raise their own support, is also possible.

http://aibi.gospelcom.net/articles/volunteer.htm
Thanks to Web Evangelism Bulletin for recommending this opportunity.

Editors note:
The Pneuma Foundation has a deep appreciation for the ministry of Antioch International Bible Institute. AIBI offers biblically balanced teaching from a Pentecostal/charismatic perspective, and is filling a huge need for online education.

top

Resources You Can Use

Books from Jon Ruthven

Professor Ruthven wrote to the Pneuma Foundation recently to tell us about two full books that are now available on the web. Be sure to see his internet page for other articles. http://home.regent.edu/ruthven/ruthhome.html
My book, On the Cessation of the Charismata: The Protestant Polemic on Post-Biblical Miracles (Sheffield, UK: University of Sheffield Academic Press, 1993) is out of print, but is now available at: "http://home.regent.edu/ruthven/On the Cessation of the Charismata (full book text).doc". [Editor's Note: this is a direct link to the 1.6MB file] Note that the Greek text is supported by SGreek.ttf, downloadable (without cost) from Silver Mountain Software. A lot of people have been asking for it (well, a few people) so if you want to announce it, you're welcome.
Also, my other book, The Prophecy that Is Shaping History: New Research on Ezekiel's Vision of the End is available at: www.ProphecyShapingHistory.org
God bless you!
Jon Mark Ruthven, PhD
Professor Emeritus, Regent University


Important Safety Issue: Sound System and Water
Never, ever, use a wired microphone while you are in a baptismal pool. A recent tragic case in Texas is only the latest of a long series of tragedies where church leaders were electrocuted in pools. Even a normally harmless leakage of stray volts into the microphone is lethal when the body is immersed in water.
http://www.abpnews.com/news/news_detail.cfm?NEWS_ID=1014
Make it your church policy that there is no mains-wired electrical equipment of any sort within arm's reach of a baptism pool, and that a permanent printed warning is displayed on your PA equipment about this.
This includes not only microphones, but lighting, camcorders, tape-recorders, and power sockets. Do not think that an earth leakage trip-switch gives sufficient safety - it cannot. Stick a permanent warning message on your sound mixer or amplifer today.
'Behind the Mixer' site offers a free warning ready to download and print, as well as explaining this issue in more detail.
http://www.behindthemixer.com/article-waterproof-microphone.php
Source: Web Evangelism Bulletin. www.web-evangelism.com Used with permission.

Excellent Study Resource
ChristianCourses.com Without-cost online learning from excellent Evangelical Bible teachers. Not accredited, teaching does not reflect a Pentecostal/charismatic perspective.

top

Conversation about Doctrine

Executive Director Raul Mock responds to a question about the doctrinal perspective of the Pneuma Foundation.
___________________

Greetings from the Pneuma Foundation.

I wanted to write briefly to respond to your question.

You wrote:

dear sir, in reading your statement of beliefs i came across a few contradictions i read that you believe the bible solely the bible yet at the same time believe God exists eternally in three persons , the father son & holy spirit i have but one question where does the bible say that?
First, I would like to clarify that our statement of faith says: "We believe the whole Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. The Bible is our sole rule of faith and practice. Whatever authority tradition, prophetic revelation, or experience have, they are secondary to and only valuable in as much as they are in agreement with Scripture." Perhaps others that make up the Foundation would not put it this way, but I personally see a difference between saying "I believe the Bible solely" and saying "The Bible is my sole rule of faith and practice." The first seems to imply that every believer can have a near-infallible interpretation of the Bible without the influence of the community of fellow Jesus-followers. The Foundation directors that drafted this statement of faith recognize that culture, tradition, contemporary prophetic revelation, and experience have an influence and should influence how we approach the scriptures as our "sole rule of faith and practice." However, that influence should never be permitted to contradict the clear teaching (perspicuity) of God's Word.

For further reading that you may find on the Pneuma Foundation website, please see: "Isn't the Holy Spirit All I Need to Understand the Bible?" http://www.pneumafoundation.org/studyinc/vol1_8.jsp

Secondly, I suspect that you do not question where the Bible says that God exists eternally. If that assumption is incorrect, please let me know and I will try to answer more fully.

Third, as to the belief that God is a triune being, I do not think a brief answer will satisfy you. Therefore, allow me to say that others have written on this more fully and I will gladly refer you to some greater thinkers and Bible teachers than I. The drafters of the Foundation's statement agree that the tri-unity of God is strongly implied in the Hebrew Scriptures and taught in the New Testament. Numerous passages could be listed, but here is a small sample:

  • ". . . baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19)
  • "Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead . . ." (Hebrews 13:20). Clear distinction here between the Father and the Son.
  • ". . . for the works which the Father has given Me to finish - the very works that I do - bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me" (John 5:36).
  • "if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." Romans 8:11
  • ". . . Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, 'You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased'" (John 1:9-11). (These passages are quoted from the New King James version.)

For further reading on the Pneuma Foundation website, please see "Unify The Name" by Kevin Williams. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/intro_unify_the_name.jsp This study introduces briefly the understanding of the tri-unity of the Godhead from an ancient Jewish perspective.

Although the Pneuma Foundation is not directly affiliated with any of the following, here are statements of faith from Pentecostal/charismatic ministries or denominations that express this belief in an eternal trinity:

Thanks again for writing. I hope that my brief answer has been something you find encouraging and helpful.

In the love of the Father,

Raul Mock, Executive Director
The Pneuma Foundation

"Once and forever He paid the price, Once and forever He gave His life.
Now and forever, we have been cleansed, And we rest in work He has finished."

Pneuma Foundation
PO Box 9072
Wyoming, MI 49509-0072

top

Excerpts from the Fall 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

Buy the PNEUMA REVIEW online at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000D8CY9
Write a review online for the PNEUMA REVIEW!



"The Colossian Heresy Revisited: Has the Prophetic Stream Lost Its Focus?" by Eddie L. Hyatt

In this guest editorial, Eddie Hyatt points us to Jesus as antidote to wayward spirituality.

Read this article at: PneumaReview.com/the-colossian-heresy-revisited-has-the-prophetic-stream-lost-its-focus.

__________

Eddie Hyatt, DMin, is the founder and president of Hyatt Int'l Ministries in Dallas, TX. He is the author of 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity which traces Pentecostal/charismatic movements and phenomena from the Day of Pentecost to the present time. His website is www.revivalandreformation.org


top

From "Rightly Understanding God's Word: Context of Genre Continued" by Craig S. Keener

For an introduction to the Context of Genre, see the Spring 2005 (8:2) edition of the Pneuma Review.

Jesus' Teachings

Jesus' teachings are not a broad genre like poetry or narrative; in fact, they mix together elements of different kinds of genres. Jesus was, among other things, a Jewish sage, so he often uses the teaching style used by Jewish teachers in his day: for example, rhetorical overstatements, wisdom proverbs (see previous section), and parables. At the same time, Jesus was a prophet, and sometimes gave oracles like prophets did ("Woe to you, Capernaum!") Of course, as the Messiah, Jesus was more than a prophet or a sage, and he often spoke with greater authority than either prophets or sages did. Yet he also used many teaching techniques that were familiar to his people in his day.

For our example, we will take Jesus' teaching on divorce. Many people assume that what Jesus said on a particular occasion covers every situation, but while that is often the case, sometimes Jesus himself provided different perspectives for different kinds of situations. Thus we recognize that while Jesus wants us to love him more than our parents, we "hate" them only by comparison with our love for him (Lk 14:26); elsewhere he instructs us to provide for them in their old age (Mk 7:10-13).

Some people quote only Jesus' saying that remarriage is adultery (Mk 10:11-12; Lk 16:18), but what kind of saying is this? When Jesus says that one who lusts should pluck out his eye to avoid hell (Matt 5:28-30), should we take more literally his saying about remarriage that occurs immediately afterward (Matt 5:31-32)? The only way to test this is to examine it in the context of all of Jesus' teachings on the subject.

First we should examine the "why" of Jesus' teaching, as best as possible. In Jesus' day the Pharisees debated among themselves as to the grounds for a husband to divorce his wife; the stricter school said a man could divorce his wife if she were unfaithful to him, but the more lenient school said he could divorce his wife if she burned his bread. In Jewish Palestine (as opposed to Roman laws), husbands could divorce their wives for almost any reason; wives could not divorce their husbands or prevent themselves from being divorced. Jesus was at least in part defending an innocent party from being wronged: the husband who divorces his wife and remarries commits adultery "against her"--against his wife (Mk 10:11). This was a sin not only against God, but also against another person innocent of the divorce (cf. also Mal 2:14).

Second we should examine what this saying literally claims. "Adultery" in the literal sense is being unfaithful to one's marriage partner; for remarriage to be adultery against a former spouse means that, in God's sight, one is still married to one's former spouse. If we take this literally, this means that marriage cannot be dissolved, and that Christians should break up all second and third marriages. (Interestingly, despite the scandal this would have caused in ancient society, we have no record of anyone breaking up later marriages in the New Testament.) But is this a literal statement, or one of Jesus' deliberate overstatements meant to grab people's attention--like plucking out the eye, a camel passing through a needle's eye, or a mustard seed of faith? We can easily answer this question by examining Jesus' other sayings on the same subject.

In the same context as Mark 10:11, Jesus also says, "What God joined together, let no one separate" (Mk 10:9). In 10:11, marriage cannot be broken; in 10:9, it should not be and must not be, but it is breakable. The difference in meaning here is this: one says that one is always married to one's first spouse; the other says that one should remain married to one's first spouse. The one is a statement; the other is a demand. Yet marriage cannot be both unbreakable and breakable; so it is possible that 10:11 is a deliberate overstatement (hyperbole) whereas 10:9 communicates its real intention: to keep us from divorcing, not to break up new marriages.

Other sayings of Jesus help us further. For instance, Jesus himself did not take Mk 10:11 literally: he regarded the Samaritan woman as married five times, not as married once and committing only adultery thereafter (Jn 4:18). Further, Jesus himself allows an exception in two of the four passages where he addresses divorce. A follower of Christ must not break up their marriage, but if their spouse breaks it up by sexual unfaithfulness, Jesus does not punish the innocent person (Matt 5:32; 19:9). In that case, the marriage may be broken, but only one person is guilty of breaking it. (Because both Jewish and Roman law required divorce for adultery, Mark and Luke could assume this exception without having to state it explicitly.) When Paul quotes Jesus' prohibition of divorce, he tells Christians not to divorce their spouses, whether or not the spouses are Christian (1 Cor 7:10-14). But if the spouse leaves, the Christian is not held responsible for the spouse's behavior (1 Cor 7:15). His wording, "not under bondage," "not bound" (7:15), is the very language used in ancient Jewish divorce contracts for freedom to remarry. Paul therefore applies Jesus' teaching as a demand for faithfulness to marriage, not a statement about breaking up marriages: Christians must never break up their own marriages, but if the marriage is broken against their will, we must not punish them, either. Jesus spoke to defend an innocent spouse, not to make their condition more difficult!

Even though Jesus is not really calling Christians to break up remarriages, this does not mean we should not take seriously what he is saying. The point of a deliberate overstatement is not to let us say, "Oh, that is just overstatement; we may ignore it." The point of overstatement is to grab our attention, to force us to consider how serious is Jesus' demand. Genuine repentance (expressed in restitution) cancels past sins, but one cannot premeditate sin and expect one's repentance to be genuine. Christians are not held responsible for marriages broken against their wills, but they are responsible before God to do everything genuinely in their power to make their marriages work. In this example, we have tried to show how we need to listen carefully to why Jesus speaks certain ways, and to examine all of his teachings to discern when he speaks literally and when he overstates his point parabolically. But overstatements are not meant to be ignored; they are meant to grip our attention all the more! We should also add two words of caution: Jesus himself uses principles like "compassion rather than sacrifice" (Matt 9:13; 12:7) and looking for the heart of the message (Matt 5:21-22; 23:23-24). But also we should be honest in grappling with what he says: proper fear of God will give us integrity in searching for truth—rather than trying to justify how we want to live (cf. Prov 1:7).

. . .

__________

Craig S. Keener, Ph.D., is professor of New Testament at Eastern Seminary. He is the author of ten books, including Gift & Giver: The Holy Spirit for Today (Baker Academic, 2001), and is married to Dr. Medine Moussounga Keener.


top

Book Review: Cornelius Plantinga, Engaging God's World

Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Engaging God's World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002), 145 pages.

Read this review on PneumaReview.com: pneumareview.com/cornelius-plantinga-engaging-gods-world

Reviewed by H. Murray Hohns

__________

H. Murray Hohns is a retired civil engineer and technical writer. He is an ordained Foursquare minister, an instructor at Pacific Rim Bible College in Hawaii, serves on his denomination's national financial council, and is a regular contributor to the PNEUMA REVIEW and PNEUMA INFORMER.


top

Prayer Requests

  • Felix D. of Ghana would like to find a "good Christian friend that believes in prayer and fasting for us to be overseas prayer partners." Reference number: 90021044
  • Pray for believers in Pakistan: The earthquakes in early October caused widespread devastation where hundreds of villages are reported as destroyed and the loss of life is tens of thousands. One pastor has said that in "this area there was not any church [and] there was no Christian. I am worried that all [of these] people died without Jesus Christ." Please pray that relief efforts will not wane and that Christians will be able to demonstrate the love of Jesus in these most difficult of times and in the midst of urgent needs.
  • Please pray for the Pneuma Foundation webteam as they chart the future of the pneumafoundation.org site. There is a need to re-evaluate how future upgrades and development will take place due to the availability of our volunteer webteam. Please pray that God will direct our new course, effectively communicating the story of Jesus and offering an interactive resource that builds the worldwide Pentecostal/charismatic community.
top

Condolences

  • Condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Robert Fisher, who passed away on September 28, 2005. At the time of his death, Fisher was executive officer of both the Azusa Street Centennial and director of the Center for Spiritual Renewal.
top

Support the Pneuma Foundation

  • The Pneuma Foundation is supported by the generous gifts of its members and friends. If you would be interested learning more about how you can support the Foundation, please visit: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/supporting.jsp.