The May 2006 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
Changes coming to the PNEUMA INFORMER: June 2006
Distribution of the Pneuma Informer changes next month (June 2006).
As previously announced, the editorial committee will be changing how this newsletter is being sent to all opt-in subscribers. The committee has decided to begin using GoogleGroups to distribute this newsletter, with the goal of alleviating some of the administrative duties that our volunteer staff is currently spending considerable time on.
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What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.org
Interruption in service
The Pneuma Foundation web site experienced an extended downtime from sometime on May 5 until May 6, and again from Thursday, May 11 until May 18. If you sent an email to anyone at a pneumafoundation.org email address and have not yet received a response, please send your message again.
New Articles, Links, and other FeaturesNew Featured 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
- "It's Easter Morning and the Lord has risen " by H. Murray Hohns. Pastor Mur shares his story of encountering the reality of the risen Christ. Online article added May 9, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0059.xml
- From the In Depth Resources index: "The Baptism of Tears: The Two Baptisms of St. Symeon the New Theologian" by Gene Mills. Added May 9, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0056.xml
- Have you ever heard of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral as a way of describing an approach to theology?
From the In Depth Resources index: "A Pentecostal Appropriation of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral" by Winfield H. Bevins. Added May 9, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0060.xml
- Book Review: Kevin Adams, A Diary of Revival: The Outbreak of the 1904 Welsh Revival (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2004), reviewed by H. Murray Hohns. Pastor Mur briefly reviews this centennial chronicle of the Welsh Revival. Online article added May 9, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0057.xml
- Web Exclusive Book Review from the In Depth Resources index: Christopher Partridge, General Editor, Introduction to World Religions. Reviewed by Tony Richie. Added May 11, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0061.xml
- Guest Book Review: Kingdom Works reviewed by H. Murray Hohns. Bart Campolo, Kingdom Works (Servant Publications, 2001). Added May 9, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0058.xml
Read more articles and reviews from the Guest Articles index: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/guest_articles.jsp
- The Pneuma Foundation is pleased to be constantly adding 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
- Pentecostal/charismatic movement today: "Grading the Movement" a Christianity Today interview with Derrick Hutchins, J. Lee Grady, and Russell Spittler. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/004/10.38.html
- Our Anti-Intellectual Heritage" by Rick M. Nanez. The history and beliefs of the Pentecostal movement, often shared by evangelicals, hold the seeds of a bias against the life of the mind. An excerpt from Full Gospel, Fractured Minds (Zondervan, 2005) as appearing in ChristianityTodayOnline. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/113/43.0.html
See also: "Full Gospel's Fractured Thinking" The problems with shunning the life of the mind. Rob Moll interviews Rick M. Nanez. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/113/43.0.html
- In Defense of the Faith: "The Jesus and Judas Papers: A Look at Recent Claims about Jesus" by Darrell Bock. Questions about history may be sincere, but make no mistake: There is an agenda at work (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/115/43.0.html
- Christian History: "Turning Point: The Crowning of Charlemagne" by Patrick Henry Reardon http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/2006/001/13.46.html
- "Pentecostals: The Sequel" by Grant McClung. What will it take for this world phenomenon to stay vibrant for another 100 years? (Christianity Today cover story, April 2006) http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/004/7.30.html
- Jewish Encyclopedia contains the complete 12-volume Jewish Encyclopedia, which was originally published between 1901-1906, now in the public domain. Suggested by Kevin W. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com
Reports from Around the World
Africa: a series of divinely planned events
Think of the divine planning that went into this escapade:
Ten years ago, a notorious, Norwegian biker comes to Christ and so becomes a sort of "Nicky Cruz" conversion poster-boy for Norway's Christian community. Last year, he finally tires of telling about his past and decides God has a future for his ministry. So he ties back his braids, covers most of his all-body tattoos and moves to a Muslim country where he is amazed that foreign missionaries are divided in their subtle evangelism approaches. So, he asks a churchplanting trainer from Malta to give seminars, where the missionaries do finally come together to pray for the few new Christians. But with the new training, several of the missionaries start arriving late for classes because people are coming to Christ and want immediate discipling. One of the missionaries tells of a Muslim woman coming to Christ and telling all her friends about Him. So, her staunchly Islamic husband imposes a "house arrest" on her. But she has a telephone, and calls all her relatives to complain that her husband has ordered her to stay in the house and so... from various cities around the country, the woman's furious relatives travel to her house and move in with her, asking what all this is about. So she tells them about Jesus. But, up north, her 20-something son, riding his motorcycle south to rescue his mother, is hit by a car and lay near-death in a hospital. So... the woman calls her missionary, and the missionary and the Norwegian biker drive up to the hospital and pray, and... the son is instantly, miraculously healed in the name of Jesus Christ. So he... instead of going to see his mother, goes back up north to tell his friends what's happened, and... The Norwegian biker gets a call from the young man that 12 of his friends are now ready to receive Christ and how does that happen?
Does God know how to orchestrate His Great Commission strategies or what !?
Source: adapted from http://www.billandamystearns.info/images/GlobalReportFeb2006.pdf
Early in the new millennium Angola was officially named by the Global IDP Project the worst place in the world for children to grow up. During a quarter century of war millions of people were forced to flee and hundreds of thousands were killed. In the past three years, however, following a peace treaty between government and rebel forces, several million people have returned home, including 900,000 people in 2004 alone.
Bolivia: Healing the wounds of the past
Special report from Richard Twiss of Wiconi International
Potosi, Bolivia once rivaled London and Paris in size and prominence fueled by the largest silver mine in the history of the world. Spain financed and built its global empire from the wealth derived from Potosi's Cerro Rico mine. The immeasurable wealth was, however, paid for with the blood of the indigenous Quechua and Aymara peoples of the region and later with the blood of slaves stolen from African tribes to work the mine. Over several hundred years, more than four million people were enslaved and literally worked to death in that "hell hole" that gave rise to some of the most horrific and inhumane treatment ever experienced by human beings at the hands of their fellow man. The most appalling aspect of this reality is the fact that the Spanish leaders of the Roman Catholic Church "blessed" and oversaw the work of the mine, seeing it as the extension of "God's Holy Empire." This was the people's introduction to the good news of the gospel and Christianity.
Last month, a team of eight of us entered into this reality when we traveled to Potosi for a national reconciliation gathering. Billy Joe Speaks Thunder and I were the First Nations members who did most of the sharing at the various events. Tom Fitzgerald, a friend and brother from Vancouver, helped initiate this gathering several years ago, while meeting with local leaders in Potosi. Once the Holy Spirit confirmed it in the hearts of local and national Bolivian leaders, they ran with it and God blessed and used it to launch a hunger for unity, reconciliation and spiritual regeneration in the land that was truly historic.
Because we were stepping into centuries of horrific injustice, bloodshed and ongoing oppression, the spiritual climate was thick and the warfare heavy. Potosi is situated at 14,000 elevation, making it pretty tough acclimating to the lack of oxygen as well as the oppression of the land. Potosi sits at the base of the mountain, which, in a Goliath-like way spews out fear, hatred and rulership into the hearts and living memory of the people in the city.
Those of us who were invited to participate in the main reconciliation gathering in the Plaza del came from very diverse backgrounds to collectively address the injustices of the past and move towards resolving the colonial oppression, assumed privilege of the dominant culture and the resulting bitterness of the Native people. Several hundred people sat in one of the oldest structures in the Americas, many dressed in their beautiful Quechua and Aymara traditional clothing; all were filled with anticipation of this historic event.
A large crowd came to witness this event from across Bolivia and South America as they wanted to see what God would do, with hopes that something like this could occur in their city and country. Surrounded by the media, they watched as representatives of these different groups came together to enact a ceremony with a view of healing the painful wounds of the past.
I felt a remarkable weight of privilege to be invited by tribal leaders to share in their journey by bringing words of healing. As I began to speak, I brought greetings from their relatives, the indigenous peoples of North America. I told them that we too, have suffered as Europeans assumed they could take our land and use it for their purposes. We were once many millions of people in the United States and Canada, and now we are only a few million.
I said reconciliation is a step for healing our land so that it can become a place of peace for its entire people. Because of so much injustice, religious oppression, and the curse of innocent blood that had been poured out in the area, it must be cleansed from these dark and evil things. I addressed my Quechua relatives saying I knew they could understand these things knowing their pain and anger. I shared how reconciliation is, in part, recognizing the sins in our history and with the Spaniards. And then from the offending to the offended it is asking genuine forgiveness for the past wrongs committed. I was keeping in mind that a Catholic priest and mine official were sitting there.
I reflected briefly on the legacy of the great South American liberator, Simon Bolivar, mentioning how, as a great visionary, he had stirred the hearts of the people to rise up and fight for liberty in the pursuit of a free and better Bolivia and South America against the rule of Spain. Then I compared the new Bolivian President, Juan Evo Morales Ayma, the first elected Indigenous president in the 450-year history of Bolivia. I commented how he is also a great leader of similar vision for a better Bolivia for all its citizens. I challenged them, saying that as a Native man from the Aymara tribe, President Ayma needed the support and prayers of the people to succeed in his historic quest.
With only a few minutes to speak because my words were translated first in Spanish, then Quechua, I concluded by saying that Billy Joe and I came to tell them that we have forgiven the white man who came and took our lands, because we know that we have been forgiven by the Creator through Jesus Christ, for the wrong things and sin that we carried in our hearts. It is because we have been forgiven that we can forgive. I then sang a song in Lakota that says, "someone up above is sacred, therefore we pray." Then I said how Billy Joe and I know He is Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
A Quechua leader spoke from the platform to cheers from the audience that the Spanish must recognize the anger of Quechua people about the killings of the past. An Aymara leader told the Spanish representatives that his people were "tortured and killed—treated as animals and beats. We feel very hurt," he said. "If we talk about reconciliation, Spain and our authorities have to engage in restoration of our culture and world view."
A representative of the African-Bolivian community told about her ancestors surviving physical abuse and exploitation. "They were slaves of persons who acted without conscience, and their children and grandchildren still hold resentment," she said. "On behalf of my people and ancestors who were slaves at one time, I give you our sincere forgiveness at this time."
Speaking on behalf of Spain, Juan Diego Ruiz Cumplido, a representative from the Embassy of Spain, stressed "an attitude of going forward" and announced its commitment to continued cooperation with Bolivia, including several development projects. Though I felt he was playing the part of the consummate politician, the fact he was there, for the Bolivian people, was huge.
At the conclusion, gifts were exchanged and Quechuas, Blacks, Spaniards, and Bolivians embraced and afterwards sat down to enjoy a banquet together. It was a remarkable moment!
Not all the wounds have been healed nor have all the issues been resolved. But this was a major step towards closing a long, painful chapter of history. It dealt a "blow to the deadly grip of bitterness upon the Native peoples of Bolivia," said Jurgen Schulz, a local pastor originally from British Columbia. Jurgen expressed the heart of all the committee, saying, "It was remarkable! A major secular event built upon the values of God's Kingdom had taken place," Schulz continued. "A handful of Christian leaders had brought about a meeting of two countries! This was obviously God's doing!"
Jurgen commented later that day that on several occasions it looked like the event wasn't going to come together. "We ran into obstacles of every description. We faced criticism and discouragement from pastors. There were misunderstandings among tribal leaders. "
One example came during the actual ceremony, when the mayor of Potosi failed to show up and the delegates from the Spanish embassy were insulted by this and walked out. "Intercessors inside and outside the courtyard cried out to God," said Schulz. "Others were praying on a nearby mountain. It was obvious that the enemy was going to do everything in his power to sabotage the event."
An hour later, the mayor made his appearance and the Spanish delegates joined him. We could all feel the tension in the air as we sat, waiting the plaza. There was a huge sigh of relief as they arrived. Jurgen said, "God gave us a promise that He had opened a door that no one would shut, and He proved again His Word to be true."
Afterward, Jurgen said, "We rejoice in all that God has done and look expectantly to what He continues to do. We believe that as the dust settles many further results of this event will become apparent."
Source: adapted from Smoke Signals April 28, 2006. http://www.wiconi.com
US: Growth of Pentecostal adventure-based mentoring program
Royal Rangers International held an historic conference in Florida, USA in February. In Spanish, the conference was called Seminario de Actualizacion Latinoamericano (SAL, which means salt). The purpose was to introduce new evangelistic program resources to the national Royal Rangers leaders in the Spanish-speaking world. Royal Rangers is one of the world’s largest and foremost Christian adventure-based mentoring programs. More than one hundred leaders from Spain, Italy, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean attended. Reciting the first part of the Royal Rangers pledge, "With God's help I will do my best to serve God," the national leaders committed themselves "to an unprecedented effort of Ranger-evangelism." As a group they set a goal to grow the ministry in Latin America and the Caribbean from forty-five thousand people to over 250,000 people within the next ten years.
Source: Assemblies of God News and Information by way of http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/newsbriefs/05-2006
Arabian Peninsula: downloaded Bibles
Over the past three years more than 200,000 entire Bibles have been downloaded from the Internet via computers in the Arabian Peninsula.
Source: http://www.pray-ap.info by way of http://www.billandamystearns.info/images/GlobalReportFeb2006.pdf
Revival in Sierra Leone
Wesleyan Church National Superintendent J.Y. Konteh reported news of a revival breaking out in the Kavala District where The Wesleyan Church has been partnering with the Great Commission Movement and the JESUS Film Project. Thousands are turning to Christ and many new churches have been started. This partnership is handing over several new church plants to the Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone.
Source: Wesleyan Information Network http://www.wesleyan.org by way of http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/newsbriefs/05-2006
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.
Report the News
We are looking for stories about what God is doing in the world, reports about the persecution of Christians, and information about significant trends and ministry opportunities. If you have a news item to report, please send an email to the PNEUMA INFORMER. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp
Resources You Can Use
Online Greek Study Aide
Wiktionary, the free open-content online dictionary, has a special page dedicated to Greek words: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Special:Allpages/%CE%86. If found in the New Testament, the definitions are given Strong's Concordance reference numbers and linked to other online lexicons.
"Wiktionary is a multiple-language (multilingual) free dictionary with thesaurus" in the open-content format of wiki. If you have never heard of wiki, you may be missing out on a huge resource already available on the Internet. "A wiki is a type of website that allows anyone visiting the site to add, remove, or otherwise edit all content, very quickly and easily, sometimes without the need for registration." Wikipedia, the online open-encyclopedia, already has over one-million entries in English and is growing constantly. Find this useful encyclopedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
Without Cost Projectors
Equipping the Saints will provide slide and 16MM movie projectors without cost to ministries for the price of shipping (or pick them up from their warehouse). Over 100 of each are available; some may need repair. For more information, and other resources available, visit Equipping the Saints at http://www.etsusa.org.
Source: Brigada Today 2006/03/31
Keep your family and church safe from online dangers
TechMission has developed their SafeFamilies resources with advice for both families and pastors. TechMission has presented this material in a day seminar, and you can also use it to replicate such a seminar in your own church or ministry:
Source: adapted from Web Evangelism Newsletter April 06. web-evangelism.com Used with permission.
International Evangelism Magazine
LAUSANNE WORLD PULSE - This monthly magazine is now available free online, and you can sign up for email notification of new issues. The April issue included a major focus on web evangelism. www.lausanneworldpulse.com
Source: Brigada Today 2006/04/14.
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
Write a review online for the PNEUMA REVIEW!
In order to complete this issue of the INFORMER while it is still May, no excerpts from the journal will be included.
- Pray for situation in Sri Lanka. During 2005, the ongoing Tsunami reconstruction effort, the presidential elections and the subsequent breakdown of peace with the Tamil Tigers ensured Sri Lanka's anti-conversion legislation remained on the back-burner. However, a 19-member panel is currently reviewing the legislation again before it returns to parliament for a final vote. Please pray that the parliament will reject communal politics and uphold religious freedom. Pray also for the persecuted Sri Lankan Church which faces a persistent barrage of protest and violence from Buddhist nationalists, usually led by militant monks.
Source: adapted from World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 378 "Sri Lanka: Violence and Anti-Conversion Threat"
- Pray for Christians in China: While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is opening China up economically to become wealthy and powerful, it enforces control by suppressing everything that could generate political dissatisfaction. Persecution of the Protestant house-church movement has intensified. Pastors, evangelists and house-church believers are harassed and beaten by security police, tortured and imprisoned in jails or in labor camps where they are forced into slave labor producing "Made in China" goods for export. Pastors Gong Shengliang (51) and Zhang Rongliang (55) are long-imprisoned house-church leaders whose failing health is life-threatening.
Zhang's trial is continuing whilst Gong, with a life sentence, is the subject of an appeal to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and an appeal for medical parole. Please pray for justice and reform leading to liberty.
Source: adapted from World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 376 China: "Open to trade but not to liberty"
- Pray for Christians in Uzbekistan: On 30 April, about fifty police raided a banned charismatic church and detained church members during Easter celebrations. Simultaneously, police raided the church's land and broke the caretaker's arm in a bid to force the church to give its land to the state. Following the raids, Forum 18 has learned that the Prosecutor's Office intimidated and threatened children, in a bid to force them to sign statements that they would no longer attend Christian services and that they were renouncing their Christian faith.
Parents were also pressured to write statements that they would not "attract their children to Christianity" and warned that failure to comply could see them deprived of their parental rights. A state religious affairs official told Forum 18 that "the police simply have to stop the church's members from holding illegal religious meetings."
Source: adapted from Forum 18 News Summary, 5 May 2006. Read the full article: http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=774
- Pray for Christians in Turkmenistan : Turkmenistan is one of the world's most severe abusers of religious liberty. The Central Asian former Soviet state is 92 per cent Muslim and is ruled with Soviet-style repressive authoritarianism.
The government exerts a pervasive control over the tiny Protestant minority who face immense obstacles even in just meeting together. Protestants may not share their faith, or print or import Christian literature. They desperately need Bibles. The authorities harass and persecute the churches.
On the 3rd of May, some 15 secret police and security officials raided the Soygi [Love] Church in the capital, Ashgabat. They interrogated and videotaped the believers, and confiscated their belongings. The believers are anxious and have requested prayer. Please pray for the Church in Turkmenistan. Ask God to provide Bibles, and bring liberty.
Source: adapted from World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 377 "Turkmenistan: Believers Repressed and Persecuted"
- Evangelist Robinson Mukhtar from Faisalabad, Pakistan will be in the United States for fifteen days from June 15th until the 30th of June 2006. He will be in Tyler, Texas and is looking forward to meeting other ministers of the gospel during his stay. Please contact Member Services by using an email address on the Contact Us page [www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp] for email address or phone number to reach Brother Mukhtar.
- Yesuntha Das has asked for prayer about his project to open a new Pentecostal Bible College in Visakkhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India. Grace Theological Seminary seeks to forge a new way to train ministers to take the story of Jesus throughout India and the world. See Rev. Das' paper "An Evaluation of the History of Pentecostal Dalits in Kerala" in the Pneuma Foundation online In-Depth Resources index: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/in_depth.jsp. For more information about GTS or how to contact Dr. Das, contact Pneuma Foundation Member Services [www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp].
- Pastor Derek Vreeland Reflects on Spirituality
Pastor and author of articles that have appeared in the Pneuma Review and other Pneuma Foundation publications writes:
"We are beginning '21 Days of the Spirit' at our church, which is a three-week focus on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. I have written a 21 day devotional guide that our church is using. I am going through the daily devotional and blogging on my thoughts and prayers through this experience. If you are interested you can follow my blog at http://derekvreeland.blogspot.com."
Support the Pneuma Foundation
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Mention of a ministry or organization in this publication does not mean that the Pneuma Foundation recommends that organization or its resources to you. Mention of an organization or its news or resources is for informational purposes only. Please exercise appropriate wisdom before utilizing resources or otherwise receiving any assistance from an organization mentioned within this publication.