The June 2006 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
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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 June 16 until June 18 and again from June 23-26. 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 Featured Online ArticlesNew Links and Content Worth Noticing
- 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
- Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center This Assemblies of God archives is one of the largest collections of materials documenting the global Pentecostal movement; website contains free research tools, including over 200,000 digitized pages of periodicals and online catalog with over 50,000 entries. http://www.agheritage.org
- Pentecostal/charismatic history: "From Azusa Street to the Ends of the Earth" by Gary B. McGee. From Christian History (Spring 2006). http://www.christianitytoday.com/magazines/ch/2006/002/2.46.html
- Pentecostal/charismatic history: "Aimee Semple McPherson" From 131 Christians Everyone Should Know by Mark Galli. http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/special/131christians/mcpherson.html
- Pray-Tell Ministries Newsletters Sermonette newsletters from Assemblies of God Pastor Ron Auch. http://www.pray-tell.org/news.html
Responses from Readers
"Conversation about Doctrine" http://pneumafoundation.org/pi.jsp?pi=/2005/pi_1112_2005.xml#N10132
"I like the work on www.pneumafoundation.org. I thought you answered the question about solely relying on the Bible and the Trinity very circumspectly."
"I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to connect with other ministries in the world via the worldwide web. I am grateful. Thank you from Ghana."
Source: Apostle Dr. D.
"Thanks for Pneuma Informer. It is beneficial.
We are praying for you."
Source: Rev. Y. D. (in India)
Reports from Around the WorldNews and Headlines
for Current News and Links
- North Korea: Religious freedom non-existent, but much still unknown (Forum18). http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=752
- Azusa Street Centennial One hundred years of Pentecostal/charismatic renewal. Suggested by Denis E. http://www.azusastreet100.net
- USA: "Testing Darwin's Teachers" About half of all Americans deny that evolution is the explanation of the origin of life. Sometimes disruptive but often sophisticated questioning of evolution by students has educators increasingly on the defensive (LATimes). http://www.latimes.com/features/religion/la-na-evolution31mar31,1,7527802.story?coll=la-news-religion
- Leaders of historic Wesleyan Holiness denominations cooperate to revive their historic emphasis in The Holiness Manifesto. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/113/13.0.html | "Holiness Without the Legalism" David Neff interviews project leader Kevin Mannoia (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/113/12.0.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
- Upheaval in Nigeria: Nigerian Archbishop Demands Justice Peter Akinola affirms warning to government and Muslims, fires back on the Western press (April 20, 2006, ChristianityTodayOnline).
Professor Craig Keener responds http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0055.xml
- Persecution in China: China detains 28 Christians during raid on unauthorized church Chinese authorities detained 28 Christians in a raid on a non-government-authorized church service at a private home, an overseas monitoring group (the Christian persecution-watch group www.ChinaAid.org) said June 9 (Associated Press). http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,198833,00.html
- USA: Americans still hold faith in divine creation Eight out of ten people believe God guided creation (Washington Times). http://washingtontimes.com/national/20060608-111826-4947r.htm
- Vietnam: Montagnards Face Religious, Political Persecution Christians are being threatened with imprisonment and beatings if they speak up to United Nations representatives about their harsh treatment by police and Vietnamese officials (Human Rights Watch/Reuters). http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/HRW/b7ac30c026a71f3ba07cf6ae6bdb72ef.htm
- USA: "House Church Involvement Is Growing" New study from the Barna Group says 9% of Americans attend a house church weekly. Story suggested by Pastor John D. http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdateNarrowPreview&BarnaUpdateID=241
- England: "Crowded Out" Charismatic megachurch in London loses land to Olympics (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/007/6.15.html
- USA: Court Says Government Employees Can't Pray with Clients http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/007/5.18.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
Resources You Can Use
Without-cost MP3 downloads in 3190 Languages
Global Recordings Network (Gospel Recordings) has placed 4326 evangelistic audio programs in 3190 languages and dialects on their web site. These can be downloaded without cost in MP3 format. Audio Cassettes and CD's can also be obtained in many more languages through this site. Go to globalrecordings.net Look for "RESOURCES" on the sidebar and click on "Language List" or "Country List."
Source: Brigada Today 2006/06/02
New Book by Dr. Paul King
Historian and educator, Paul L. King writes: "My new book Genuine Gold: The Cautiously Charismatic Story of the Early Christian and Missionary Alliance has just been released. See the cover on my website at www.higherlifeministries.com. Genuine Gold rediscovers and fully documents the supernatural heritage of The Christian and Missionary Alliance welcoming the supernatural with discernment." The book is currently available from Amazon.com at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0978535200.
Paul L. King, D.Min., Th.D., is an ordained minister, theologian, and historian of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, university professor, and contributor to Pneuma Foundation publications.
Press Release: Asian Pentecostal Society Conference
The Asian Pentecostal Society announces their Azusa Centennial Conference, to be held September 13 - 14, at the Bible College of Malaysia in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
Adapted from the original press release:
Pentecostals' celebration of the Centennial of Azusa marks the etching of a historical milestone in Christian history. Once considered a fringe religious movement, Pentecostalism is now reckoned as a burgeoning global movement. Historically, the origins of the movement is often traced to Azusa Street Mission revival. Today, the representative core of this burgeoning movement consists of the majority people.
For the last century of Pentecostalism, much of the voices, writings and scholarships have come predominantly from the West. The inspirations that brought the impetus for the organizing of this Centennial Conference in Asia were due the significant shift of the growth Pentecostalism among the majority people and the emergent voices of Asian Pentecostals.
The theme of the conference is "A Century Past, A Century Forward." The choice of the conference theme has been carefully chosen. We intend not only to reminisce about past growth and achievements; we need to be self-critical of the state of wellness as a movement. The theme urges us not only to understand and appreciate our history but also to continue to make history for the Glory of God.
Asian Pentecostal Society, Bible College of Malaysia and the African initiatives from Mathew Clark jointly organize this conference to provide emergent Pentecostals to have their voices heard. We have managed to gather some of the best scholars in Pentecostalism to be paper presenters for the conference. The list of confirmed presenters (as of June 4) is Dr. Vincent Leoh, Dr. David Daniels, Bishop Hwa Yung, Dr. Amos Yong, Dr. Wonsuk Ma, Dr, Julie Ma, Dr. Joseph Suico, Dr. Timothy Yeung and others.
This "Azusa Centennial Conference" is jointly organized by the Asian Pentecostal Society, Bible College of Malaysia and the African Initiative by Mathew Clark.
For more information, please write to Pneuma Foundation Member Services, who will be happy to provide contact information that you may learn more about this conference.
Articles from the Summer 2006 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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Book Review: Protecting Your Church Against Sexual Predators
Voyle Glover, Protecting Your Church Against Sexual Predators (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2005), 133 pages.
The author of Protecting Your Church Against Sexual Predators is a lawyer. It is no surprise then, that the book is first and foremost a legal primer - one intended to help pastors and other church leaders. Any pastor or church leader who follows the advice in this book will dramatically lower his personal and corporate liability in the event of a sexual predator's attack. Voyle Glover, Attorney At Law, delivers an excellent work in this light.
Protecting is far more than a legal text. It articulates a clear, comprehensive and robust program for protecting the vulnerable young lives within a church. Mr. Glover is also a church member, and obviously cares about the continuing mission and ministry of a congregation. This text enables churches and church leaders to protect lives. The legal benefits are incidental.
Mr. Glover repeatedly points out that "minimizing the church's liability," and protecting its children and teens, are the same objective. A church that rigorously and consistently follows Protecting recommendations is much less likely to have an incident. No incident, no liability.
The book includes appendices with valuable and immediately useful resources. There are forms and questionnaires that can be adopted and used immediately to screen volunteers. Several websites and services are listed. There are even summaries of the mandatory reporting laws that are now in force in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Despite his expertise, Mr. Glover freely recommends that a congregation engage a lawyer who specializes in church law. Such steps are prudent in a litigious society. Trust that the Enemy will not hesitate to use the courts to hurt or destroy a church.
Prevention Is The Best Medicine
"Create an environment in the church that is decidedly hostile to sexual predators." "Take an aggressive, no-nonsense stance." These two sentences, from the conclusion of Chapter 5, illuminate the approach of the entire book. Attorney Glover insists, over-and-over in the text, that church leaders must adapt a "no prisoners" approach to sexual predators.
Protecting recommends multiple layers of protective mechanisms to discourage predators or eliminate their "hunting" opportunities. Some of Glover's recommendations include screening volunteer workers, eliminating home sleepovers, and strict classroom staffing and supervision policies. Each layer reduces the opportunities for a child to be victimized, and increases the chances of exposing a predator.
The protective mechanisms recommended in the book are direct and clear-cut. These are mostly common sense solutions, with few to none that intrude excessively.
Church Is Still A Place For Grace
Despite its strong language and stiff recommendations, Protecting does not forget that grace and ministry are at the core of a church's activities. Churches will not find ministry loopholes in this book.
After a prison cell interview with a pedophile, Glover confesses, "God showed me that His grace is sufficient, even for men like that." Attorney Glover has even developed recommendations for safe-guarding known pedophiles in a congregation. Our churches need not become armed camps in order to protect the children.
It is a chilling realization that a predator could attack in any church. Rather than fret and worry or do nothing, use the recommendations in Protecting and pray. Eventually, the kids and parents who are safe-guarded will thank you.
Reviewed by Kirk Wesley Hunt
Kirk Wesley Hunt serves as director of men's ministries at Copper Mountain Assembly of God near Tucson, Arizona. He is a contracts manager at an aerospace manufacturer, and author of Soldiers of the Kingdom available from CadreMen Press.
Read other great articles and reviews in the full print version of the Summer 2006 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jspFrom "Agnes Sanford: Apostle of Healing, and First Theologian of the Charismatic Renewal" Part 2 of 2 by William L. De Arteaga
. . .
Mrs. Sanford's later theology was quite insightful and prophetic. She felt many charismatics were immature, and divisive of the unity of the church as a whole. Her book, The Healing Gifts of the Spirit (1966) was written in the early years of the Renewal and there she warned her readers that receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit was "strong medicine." A person who has a weak self-concept, or a poorly disciplined Christian life, may have serious problems handling the energies of the Holy Spirit47 She was particularly leery of the value that the new charismatics placed on the gifts of tongues. Especially destructive, she believed, was their doctrine of "initial evidence," derived from the older Pentecostals. She saw that this belief often produced nothing more than subconscious babble, an opinion often mentioned among charismatic leaders, but rarely written.48
Mrs. Sanford was particularly concerned about the damage caused by imprudent ministries of exorcism. For a period in the 1960s there circulated a teaching that any personality fault or sin was due to a demonic spirit. Thus people were being delivered from "spirits" of smoking, over-eating, criticism, etc. Agnes insisted that exorcism should be the ministry of last recourse. She had witnessed damage done to persons who were put through charismatic exorcism rituals when in fact they needed counseling or inner healing.49 Eventually her suspicions of the Renewal softened. From her home in Monrovia, she learned to appreciate the "Jesus People," those most exuberant, hippie children of the Charismatic Renewal, and her heart went out to them. Her last novel, Route 1 (1975), shows the Jesus People in a positive light.50
Just how much her speaking engagements and writings helped to bring the Charismatic Renewal out of its initial immaturity and theological naivete is one of those things that is impossible to quantify. She personally spoke to thousands in that decade, and touched many more through her books. She was especially influential in the Episcopal and Roman Catholic branches of the renewal. This should not be taken to mean that Mrs. Sanford was the only person of the 1960's who had a mature theology of the Holy Spirit and gifts of the Spirit. In fact, the Renewal was blessed from the very beginning with outstanding leaders who had excellent theological training and insights.
However, by the late 1970s many charismatics were becoming leery of Mrs. Sanford's theology. Some were unconvinced that the ministry of inner healing had any biblical warrant, more believed her theory of the pre-existent spirit was "far out" and cultic. As the Calvin-Nee theory that all psychic activity was inherently demonic became part of charismatic/evangelical consensus theology, Mrs. Sanford's more "Catholic" theology of the levels of spiritual powers was also seen as erroneous. Thus even before the caricature of Mrs. Sanford appeared in Dave Hunt's The Seduction of Christianity many leaders of the Renewal were distancing themselves from her and her theology.
Mrs. Sanford went to be with the Lord on February 21, 1982, Transfiguration Sunday. She was full of vitality and curiosity to the very end. A week before she died she planned to go up in a two-person glider and had been excited about it. To her daughter and to several close friends she said, "You know, I might not come back. I might just keep right on going!"51 There seems no doubt that she knew she would continue to a higher place.
Mrs. Sanford's Place in the Charismatic Renewal
There is little doubt that in spite of the controversies she generated, Mrs. Sanford was indeed the first theologian the charismatic renewal. The Healing Light, issued as a Logos International paperback, became the healing text book of the early charismatic movement.52 She discipled many of the leadership of the charismatic renewal, including a handsome young priest named Francis MacNutt who met her at a CFO camp and eventually passed on the core of her teaching to the charismatic movement with his vastly influential works on healing.53
The tragic rejection of Mrs. Sanford's theology by large sections of Evangelical, and charismatic leaders is a sad case of the persistence of theological conservatism confusing denominational theology and prejudices with true heresy. In every case I have outlined in this paper, Mrs. Sanford took solidly, and literal biblical positions that were declared "heretical" not because they contradicted scripture, but because they were expressed in New Thought vocabulary and would not fit into the mold of cessationist-influenced Evangelical theology. Mrs. Sanford and her work reminds one of the great Third Century theologian, Origen, who pioneered the discipline of Christian theology. He was rejected as a heretic by more-conservative and often ignorant critics and his writings anathematized. It is only in recent decades that Origen's monumental contributions to Christian theology and his fundamental orthodoxy have been appreciated.54 It took over a millennium to begin to clear Origen's name and appreciate his true role in Christian history. Hopefully, Mrs. Sanfords achievements and fundamental orthodoxy will not take that long to be reestablished.
William L. De Arteaga Ph.D., grew up in a devout Catholic home. After drifting away into atheism, he returned to the church, this time to a charismatic Episcopal church. He is now the Hispanic pastor of Light of Christa Anglican Church (Anglican Church in Bolivia) in Marietta, GA. His best know work is Quenching the Spirit (Creation House, 1992,1996) and his most recent major work is, Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord's Supper in Revival (Zondervan 2002).
Endnotes appear in the full issue. Read the rest of this article in the Summer 2006 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jspFrom "Old Testament Foundations: Signs, Wonders and the People" Part of the series, The Power of the Cross: The Biblical Place of Healing and Gift-Based Ministry in Proclaiming the Gospel by Jeffrey Niehaus
. . .
The Old Testament and Deliverance Ministry
One way that God healed people through the ministry of Jesus involved a blatant disruption of the demonic realm. We know that "the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work" (1 Jn. 3:8). Nowhere is such destruction more obvious than in the salvation of a sinner, when the Spirit of Christ brings a person out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God (Acts 26:18; Col. 1:13), and gives that person "authority to become [a child] of God" (Jn. 1:12). But it was also a very obvious, even dramatic thing when Jesus "destroyed the devil's work" by casting out demons.
The Old Testament does not say much directly about the demonic realm, but what it says is intriguing. From it we learn that the power behind pagan religion is demonic. Before Joshua led them into the promised land, Moses spoke in a prophetic poem (Deuteronomy 32) about the sins which future generations of Israelites would commit. His words are a theological commentary on pagan worship:
They sacrificed to demons, which are not God -
gods they had not known,
gods that recently appeared,
gods your fathers did not fear (Deut. 32:17)
Later in the history of Israel, we read the sad fulfillment of Moses' prophecy:
They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to demons.
They shed innocent blood,
the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan (Ps. 106:37-38)
The apostle Paul wrote about the same spiritual dynamic when he warned the church in Corinth, "Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, and I do not want you to be participants with demons" (1 Cor. 10:19-20). The point in both Old and New Testaments is that the power behind idolatry is demonic.3
In addition to a theological analysis of idolatrous worship, the Old Testament gives us an account of an actual deliverance. In this case, the power of God became available to set king Saul free from demonic oppression.
One of the saddest accounts in the history of Israel is the story of Saul's disobedience toward God. The prophet Samuel, who originally anointed Saul king, put the king's rebellion in the strongest terms: "Rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft," and added, "Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king" (1 Sam. 15:23). As part of God's punishment of Saul, "an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him" (1 Sam. 16:14). This statement does not mean that the Lord commands hosts of evil spirits and sends them against hapless mortals. Rather, the Lord sometimes allows evil spirits to have their way with people who have rebelled against God, and that is one form of divine judgment upon them. A good example occurs in 1 Kgs. 22:19-28, where God allows a lying spirit to speak through false prophets, with the result that sinful king Ahab is led astray to campaign against the Aramaeans, and is killed in the battle. In the case of Saul, God allowed the judgment of demonic affliction to be ameliorated at times by his servant David. David would play the harp in Saul's presence when the evil spirit attacked the king, and then "relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him" (1 Sam. 16:23).
This is a case of deliverance (at least temporary deliverance) from demonic oppression, but it is not just deliverance by a shepherd boy. David had already been anointed by Samuel to succeed Saul, and when he was, "from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power" (1 Sam. 16:13). Not only was David anointed by the Spirit; he was also a prophet, as we know from Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:30). It appears, then, that the David who delivered Saul was an anointed, prophetic figure, who of course not only became king of Israel, but also spoke prophetically of Christ on a number of occasions (e.g., Pss. 2, 16, 22, 110).
. . .
Jeffrey Niehaus (as of 1993), Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in S. Hamilton, Massachusetts. He has published numerous articles in scholarly journals and several books including commentaries on Amos (Baker), Obadiah (Baker), and The Sinai Theology (Zondervan, 1993). He is elder at Grace Fellowship, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Danvers, Mass.
Endnotes appear in the full issue. Read the rest of this article in the Summer 2006 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp
Dr David Parker of the World Evangelical Alliance Theological Commission and editor of Evangelical Review of Theology is seeking articles about revival and history of revival.
This is a follow up to a message I put on our TC Forum about a month ago. I am wondering if there is anyone else with an interest in this subject, or who could provide me with leads to others who might be interested. I have some material in hand, but would like to contact other potential writers as well. So I am looking forward to any responses that you might be able to make.
This is what I said previously, but note that the deadline mentioned is variable - in particular I am looking for articles now that are ready for publication immediately.
I am in the process of planning issues for 2007. Next year will be the centenary of the "Great Revival of 1907" in Korea, and this year has been the centenary of the Pentecostalism. Also we have just passed the centenary of the Welsh Revival. So I am wanting to collect some articles reflecting on these and other similar events, both in the past or more recently and with a global perspective and coverage.
So this is an enquiry to ask if any of the participants in this Forum are interested in this topic and have material or are able to write material that I could consider using? The material can be from a theological, historical, or spiritual perspective or any combination.
We are looking for articles of 6000 to 8000 words (Style Guide available on request). We also have a spot for a shorter (3000 word) Bible study article and it would be good to have one on this topic as well.
I am also looking for book reviews and books to review that are related to the same theme.
If you are interested, or know of someone who could be, please contact me as soon as convenient so we can discuss it. The deadline would be about November of this year.
For more information, including how to contact Dr. Parker, visit the WEA Theological Commission web page: http://www.worldevangelicalalliance.com/commissions/theological.htm
The Pneuma Foundation editorial committee would be interested in considering your submission(s) for inclusion on the In Depth Resources index available at: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/in_depth.jsp
- Severe persecution expands in Eritrea. Eritrea's Protestant Church has been severely persecuted since mid-2002 when the government closed all but the 'official' Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran churches. During 2005 the persecution extended to include some Catholic and Orthodox members. In January 2006 the government took control of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, sacking the non-compliant Patriarch Antonois and replacing him with a compliant layman. Compass Direct wrote, "Nearly 1800 Christians, including 28 pastors and priests from both Protestant and Orthodox churches, are now under arrest in police stations, military camps and jails all across Eritrea because of their religious beliefs." Prison conditions are appalling and torture is routine. Several evangelical leaders including Dr Kifle Gebremeski, Chairman of the Eritrean Evangelical Alliance, remain "disappeared." The suffering is immense. Please pray for the Church in Eritrea.
Source: adapted from World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 379 "Eritrea: Severe Persecution is Expanding"
- Pastor Joshua K. of Emmanuel Gospel Ministry, in Lilongwe, Malawi, has asked Pneuma Foundation members to join with his church in praying for these needs: " 1. church building construction. 2. local instruments for Gospel. 3. local building for accommodating orphan children currently under support from the church. 4. local building for short term Bible institute. 5. transportation for evangelisation."
- Praise and prayer: Belarus: case against Minsk church stalled. The court case brought by Belarusian authorities to force the sale of the charismatic New Life church's worship building - a disused cowshed - has been halted, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. Judge Aleksandr Karamyshev "promised to investigate our situation after he saw that the city authorities' arguments just don't stand up," New Life church administrator Vasily Yurevich told Forum 18. "We feel that people's prayers are making a difference - we have reached a turning-point." During the court hearing, Aleksei Vaga of Minsk's Architecture Committee insisted under oath that city religious affairs officials have no influence over his committee. But in a letter which Forum 18 has a copy of, the Architecture Committee withdraws permission for the church to change the designated usage of its building, "taking into account a 24 November 2003 written conclusion from the Religious Affairs Department." In a separate development, New Life is also "very pleased" about the acceptance of their appeal against a refusal to review a decision upholding curtailment of the church's land rights. No date has yet been set for this hearing.
Source: Forum18 News. Read the full article: http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=788
- Pray for Persecuted Christians: Countries where Christians are imprisoned because of their faith are notorious for poor human rights records, such as Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, China, Pakistan, Vietnam, and Laos. These countries have a different worldview from the West's, and run their prison systems with different values. In prison, believers suffer frequent violent abuse at the hands of other prisoners and prison authorities. Their suffering is severe, continual and inescapable.
They are in a horrendous spiritual battle and desperately need our prayers. While Christ seeks to use their witness, the devil seeks to crush their faith. We must pray daily for those in prison on account of Christ, that they will know his presence and love, they will find their strength and healing in God, and their witness and faithfulness will be blessed and used by the Spirit of God.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:10 NIV
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 381: "Imprisoned Believers: Vulnerable and Abused"
- Pastor Prasad in India writes: "Thank you for your prayers. We need encouragement from servants of God like you. Continue to pray for our vision and ministry. I am president of west Hyderabad pastors fellowship. There are many pastors who need much encouragement in the ministry."
- Pray for persecuted Christians in India: Hindu nationalist forces in India are striving to regain lost political ground before the 2009 federal elections. To get political conversions they deceive tribal Indians into believing they are traditionally Hindu, that India is under threat from Muslim and Christian separatists and terrorists, and they must unite as Hindus and fight. In states ruled by Hindu nationalists, Hindu fascist forces violently persecute Christians with impunity.
On Sunday 18 June Pastor David Raj was attacked as he led worship.
Hindu militants tried to kill him by burning and beating. He and his wife have since been arrested and charged with forcible conversions. In Nadia village, two Christian women were raped as punishment for the husband of one of them refusing to renounce Christ, even after a severe beating. Pray for the Church in India, and for God to intervene.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 383 "India: Persecution Soars to New Extremes"
- Pray for Zimbabwe: One year after a tragic injustice against the poor of Zimbabwe, when dictator Robert Mugabe had 300,000 homes demolished, opponents to the regime continue to face pressure and injustice. Pray for pastors to take a stand against the injustices perpetrated against those that cannot speak for themselves. Many have done this despite others succumbing to police pressure to call off peaceful demonstrations and rallies. Pray that justice will be done and that the story of Jesus may be proclaimed without hindrance.
Zimbabwe currently has the highest inflation in the world, at over 1000 percent, and poverty is epidemic. For more information about these events see http://www.evangelicalalliance.org.au/rlc/WEADetail.php?ID=495 and http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/archives/415
- Pray for freedom to come to Bhutan: Historically Bhutan has been an isolated and severely repressive nation where non-Buddhists suffer restriction and persecution. However the King is leading Bhutan's amazing transformation now from Buddhist kingdom to constitutional democracy. The draft Constitution guarantees freedom of opinion, expression, information, peaceful assembly and religion. The King believes the nation must modernize, open up and reform, and is promoting equality, liberty and responsibility. In the midst of this comes the trial of two Christians, Benjamin and John Dai, for showing the Jesus video to non-believers. They have been sentenced to three years' imprisonment, but can appeal. The debate arising from this trial could affect the future of religious liberty in Bhutan.
Please pray for God to intervene and guide Bhutan to liberty.
Source: adapted from World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 382 Bhutan "Christians imprisoned but hope is growing"
- Condolences to the Mike Dies family on the death of his father-in-law. Bob Taylor passed away on June 18, 2006, after being ill for several months. Mike Dies is the reviews editor for the PNEUMA REVIEW.
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