The August 2006 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.orgNew 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
- The full chapter from The Kingdom and the Power now available online: Should Christians Expect Miracles Today? Objections and Answers from the Bible by Wayne Grudem. Reprinted in the Pneuma Review in four parts, starting with Winter 2000. Part 2 from the Spring 2000 issue. Part 3 from the Summer 2000 issue. Part 4 from the Fall 2000 issue.
Part 1: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/WGrudem-Miracles1.xml
Part 2: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/WGrudem-Miracles2.xml
Part 3: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/WGrudem-Miracles3.xml
Part 4: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/WGrudem-Miracles4.xml
- Periodical review: "The Seven Deadly Signs" by John G. Stackhouse, Jr. Christianity Today (June 12, 2000). Reviewed by Raul Mock. From the Winter 2001 issue of the Pneuma Review. Added August 17, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0063.xml
- Periodical review: "Flowing into the Mainstream" by Lauren Winner Publisher's Weekly (Sept. 11, 2000). Reviewed by Raul Mock. From the Spring 2001 issue of the Pneuma Review. Added August 16, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0062.xml
- Bible study: Mighty Men of Valor by Don Allen, Jr. A workbook for "Developing Godly men within our Families and Churches." This guest article added August 8, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/articles/DAllen-MightyMenofValor_DevelopingGodlyMen.doc
- "Confident Belief: What Does it Mean to Know Truth?" by Rick Wade. In this guest article from Probe Ministries, Rick Wade introduces us to modernity and postmodernity and says that neither really offers a way forward to understanding God's truth as revealed in the person of Jesus. Added August 29, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/ConfidentBelief.xml
- Web Exclusive Book Review from In Depth Resources: Perspectives on Spirit Baptism: Five Views. A collection of five scholarly essays that define Spirit Baptism from five traditions: Reformed (Walter C. Kaiser), Pentecostal (Stanley M. Horton), Charismatic (Larry Hart), Wesleyan (H. Ray Dunning), and Catholic (Ralph Del Colle). Reviewed by Robert W. Graves. Added August 21, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0064.xml
- The Pneuma Foundation is pleased to add content to our website as a resource to our members and friends around the world. We also add links to content that we are not able to republish ourselves, but may be of interest. Here are some examples of links added recently to "Links to Articles & Books" www.pneumafoundation.org/links_articles.jsp and from "Links to Study Resources" www.pneumafoundation.org/links_study.jsp
- "Experiencing Life at the Margins: An African bishop tells North American Christians the most helpful gospel-thing they can do." Andy Crouch interviews the Rt. Rev. Dr. David Zac Niringiye (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/007/31.32.html
- Christian History: Two articles by Chris Armstrong (ChristianityTodayOnline): "Do Non-Charismatics 'Do' Holy Spirit Baptism?" Ask D. L. Moody, Charles G. Finney, Jonathan Edwards, or Cotton Mather. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2002/138/54.0.html | "Timeline of the Spirit-gifted" Before Moody, Finney, Edwards, and Mather came a long line of Catholic and Orthodox believers reputed to enjoy "the promise of the Father." http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2002/139/53.0.html
- Preaching: "Telling illustrations more effectively" by Steven James. Suggested by TS. http://www.pastors.com/rwmt/default.asp?id=271&artid=9713&expand=1
- Multimedia: "Spiritual Tidal Wave: The Origins and Impact of Pentecostalism" Speaking of Faith April 27, 2006 program. "The birth of the Pentecostal movement began 100 years ago on Azusa Street in Los Angeles. We'll be taking our show on the road to cover this global gathering and revival that is reshaping Christianity, culture, and politics worldwide." Featuring interviews with Mel Robeck and Arlene Sanchez Walsh. Summarizes where the Pentecostal movement developed from and the historical precedents of speaking in tongues. http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/azusarevival/index.shtml
"Spirit in the World: The Dynamics of Pentecostal Growth and Experience"
October 5-7, 2006, University of Southern California
Conference website: www.usc.edu/pentecostalism
Sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation
"The Spirit in the World symposium will highlight new research, including a major international survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, on the growth and significance of Pentecostalism. In addition, the symposium will cover promising links between research on pentecostalism and important issues in the areas of politics, social transformation, theology, neuroscience and biology. This conference will feature internationally renowned scholars and will be of interest to seminary students, scholars of religion, congregational leaders and member of the general public interested in Pentecostalism and its global impact."
"Explore Pentecostalism with world renowned scholars and practitioners including: Allan Anderson, James Ault, Peter Berger, Anthea Butler, Harold Caballeros, R. Andrew Chesnut, Murray Dempster, Paul Freston, John Green, Ogbu Kalu, Veli-Matti Karkkainen, Luis Lugo, Frank Macchia, David Martin, Jack Miles, Jesse Miranda, Donald Miller, Nancey Murphy, Doug Petersen, Margaret Poloma, Richard Ramos, Arlene Sanchez-Walsh, Jeffrey Schloss, Timothy Shah, and Robert Woodberry."
The Azusa Street Revival and its legacy
- Pentecostalism and politics
- Recent developments in theology
- Pentecostalism and social engagement
- Scientific interpretations of supernatural phenomena
- Pentecostalism and spiritual capital
- Pentecostalism and changes in the global religious economy
- New trends and opportunities for research
- The first public presentation of preliminary findings from a survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and funded in part by the Templeton Foundation
Thanks to Gene Mills for posting this conference information on the Pentecostalism Discussion Network.
Resources You Can Use
There's a new bulletin-board style discussion forum, on all aspects of evangelism: http://www.evangelismforum.com
Source: Web Evangelism Newsletter July l (ii) 06
News from China
Are you interested in current events and news in China? There is a Yahoo Group that is dedicated to bringing you the latest, most relevant and most interesting English-language news items about China, including trends and events that affect the church in China. The purpose of this Yahoo Group is to provide timely information for fellow workers within China as well as Sinophiles around the world.
For more details or to subscribe, check out the China News Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/steves_china_news
Source: Brigada Today 2006/03/17
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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Periodical Review: "Inhabiting the Biblical Narrative"
Tony Jones, "Inhabiting the Biblical Narrative: How I Learned to Stop Doing Bible Studies and Start Loving the Bible Again" Youthworker (May/Jun 2004, Vol 20, No 5), pages 30-34.
In the midst of serving other people and the details of life, it can be easy to forget that there is one large story of humanity. No other book captures the truth and circumstances of humans better than the Bible. It is the history of the world from family to family to family - the story of the One True God who acted within the timeline of humanity to accomplish His purposes. However, it remains all too easy to concentrate on the minutia of scripture and miss the main story that life is all about.
When you look beyond the rigid study of individual words in the Bible, you come to appreciate how God relates to people. Life is about relationships; living is about people. It really helps to read the Bible with this in mind.
Tony tells us that his adventure into the story of the Bible started when the high school students he discipled did not want to study a Christian pop-culture book. They wanted to really get to know the Bible, even though they feared that, as had happened before, they would fail to grasp the relevance of the Bible for their lives. The students knew that they should be reading and understanding the Bible, and felt guiltily for not making the connection.
Yet, the Bible is the only book that can feed the soul. It is the only book that comforts, that loves, that challenges, that raises questions, and answers the question of why we are here. All of these benefits can be lost when we allow the story that God is telling to stop affecting who we are and what we do.
I'd become a scientist in a lab coat. I'd been taught to take a piece of God's story and put it in a Petri dish, then to put it under a microscope and get it down to its smallest part, from selection to sentence to phrase to word to syllable.
When I read this, I realized the same had been true of me. We forget to think about what culture was like when we read scripture. We forget to think about the smells, the armies, the dress code, the food, and everything else that helps us remember the stories of our ancestors as being real and not a dusty fairy tale wearing a religious mask. Being more serious about the overall narrative will hopefully give us real and vivid images of God's movement in history to replace the trinkets and bumper stickers that often trivialize the history of God and man.
What Tony wanted at the end of discipleship is what most of us want:
In the end, I'm convinced that it's more important that my students know the grand, sweeping scheme of this meta-narrative than that they can recite this verse or that one.
This is something that we all need to hear and something we all need to be reminded of. We need the all-encompassing story. It was God's plan from the beginning.
Reviewed by John Datema.
At the time of printing, the full article was available online at: http://www.youthspecialties.com/articles/topics/story/biblical_narrative.php
John Datema, is family pastor at Woodview Christian Church in Wyoming, Michigan. He and his wife Sandi live in the Grand Rapids area with their daughters.
Read more reviews and articles from the Summer 2006 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jspFrom "Old Testament Foundations: Signs, Wonders and the People" by Jeffrey Niehaus
From the series, The Power of the Cross: The Biblical Place of Healing and Gift-Based Ministry in Proclaiming the Gospel
. . .
God's Reasons for Performing Miracles
What was that purpose? Or to put it another way: Why did God do those miracles of healing and provision? There are at least three reasons: God did them to show that he was God; he did them for evangelistic purposes; and he did them out of compassion for his people. More than one of these reasons might be in operation at any given time.
First, God sometimes performed signs and wonders to show his people that he alone was God (e.g., Elijah on Mount Carmel, 1 Kgs. 18:16-39). Whatever else a "sign" or a "wonder" does, it always brings glory to God, who alone could do it.
God also performed healings through his prophets so that non-Israelites could know him as the true God. So the widow of Zarephath, a suburb of pagan Sidon (a Phoenician city on the Mediterranean coast) exclaimed when Elijah raised her son from the dead, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is truth" (1 Kgs. 17:24). Naaman the Syrian was converted to the true God when the Lord healed him by the word of the prophet Elisha: "Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel ... [and I] will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other God but the Lord" (2 Kgs. 5:15.17). These Old Testament examples show that God has always wanted to reach people of all nations and bring them to salvation. Through prophets like Abraham, Elijah and Elisha, he showed this desire by healing those who were not Hebrews and, at least in some cases, turning them to himself. There can be no doubt that such healings were not only acts of mercy, but also acts of evangelism (which is the greatest mercy, Lk. 10:20).
Yet God also did (and does) signs and wonders out of compassion for his own people. God did many miracles through Moses, both to free and to provide for his people. Through Elisha God healed the waters of Jericho so that his people could drink it (2 Kgs. 2:19-22), miraculously reproduced oil for a wife of one of the prophets (2 Kgs. 4:1-7), and made a poisonous stew safe for his people to eat (2 Kgs. 4:38-41).2
God worked miracles of healing and provision through his prophets as part of his care for his own people, but also to show people that he alone was God - so they must turn to him and be saved. Whatever signs or wonders God did he always got glory for his Name, because he alone could do them. All of this foreshadows what God did through Jesus Christ, who showed God's compassion and provision for his own people, but also touched "foreigners" for God (e.g., a Roman, a Samaritan, a Syro-Phoenician), and always displayed his Father's glory and glorified his Father. In addition to being the Son of God, Jesus was also the greatest of all prophets.
. . .
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
- Pastor Caleb has asked for prayer that the following would be provided for the church he leads: public address system, generator, and musical instruments including a keyboard, generator, amplifier, and speakers. "To help us in spreading the word of God in an easier and effective way for God's glory and honour." Reference number: 90024023
- Apostle Joseph in Accra, Ghana (western Africa) needs a laptop computer to better communicate with supporters and international fellowship and for keeping better records of ministry activity. Reference number: 90015212
- Pray for the people of Somalia, Africa: On 20 July Ethiopian troops crossed into Somalia to defend the powerless UN, AU and IGAD-backed Transitional Federal Government based in the provincial town of Baidoa. Since capturing Mogadishu the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) has declared jihad (Islamic holy war) and positioned its militias around Baidoa. Whilst Ethiopia, a mostly Christian country, has a superior fighting force, Eritrea is offering support to the Somali Islamists. Presently in a standoff, Ethiopia and the ICU are on the verge of war. Flames of Islamic zeal and identity will be fanned by this situation, putting Somali Christians at even greater immediate risk. Pray for Christ to work in Somalia for the benefit of his Church (Ephesians 1:22).
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 388 July 06 Update
- Pastor Abraham in Sri Lanka writes: "... [Please pray for funds] to complete these both [church] buildings the total cost will be approximately $9000 - 10,000 US. So far the Lord provided $1280 US.
"So, by faith I laid the foundation stone and am expecting the Lord to provide the rest. I purchased all the building materials only for the foundation. Please pray for a miracle to complete these both buildings at least before Christmas. Although I do not have a permanent place of worship, I thank God He works through me to get a permanent place of worship for my branch Pastors." Reference Number: 90025451
- China: Confrontation, arrests, demolitions - but hope also.
On 29 July Chinese government workers, anti-riot police wielding electric shock batons and military police in military vehicles surrounded an unregistered church building in Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province. Some hundreds of police then forced the several thousand Christians praying in the building to leave. Numerous believers were injured - some severely - and several were arrested. Then the bulldozers moved in and totally demolished the building.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is escalating its persecution of the Church as well as its repression of information and dissent. Meanwhile economic and social trends are pulling the CCP in the direction of political and social reform. There is much to pray about: for the Church to endure and grow and for God to direct China's leaders towards openness and religious liberty (Proverbs 21:1).
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 390
- Terrorism is a form of unconventional warfare using or threatening violence to generate fear, terror and hardship. It aims ultimately to get compliance with specific political, religious, ideological or personal demands. When Islamists know they cannot win concessions or territorial expansion militarily or politically they use terrorism to make governments give in to their Islamist demands. Governments capitulate when, due to terror, resistance to the Islamic demands becomes politically unsustainable. The fallacy in capitulating is it emboldens terrorists who, sensing weakness and tasting victory, then move on to the next item on their agenda.
Islamic terrorism, which seeks the end of religious liberty, could not continue without ideological indoctrination, military training, recruitment, funds and weapons. Pray that God will disrupt terror 'that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more'. Ps 10:18
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 387 "Terrorism Threatens Religious Liberty and Security"
- India: Pastor Eleazer in the Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh reports that floods in mid-August have "created great havoc, destroyed crops and thousands of people have died as well as animals of all sorts. Many have become orphans or have lost their children, and many houses have collapsed. Our co-pastors also faced the situation. We beg you to pray for these destitute and oppressed." Reference number: 90025661
- Iran: Striving towards Islamic Apocalypse: Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is driven by his Shiite ideology. He believes the Mahdi (Islamic messiah) will soon return to Iran to lead the apocalyptic battle between good and evil.
According to the myth, the Mahdi will return during a time of world chaos. Ahmadinejad believes he is called to hasten the Mahdi's coming and prepare Iran to receive him. Accordingly Ahmadinejad has vowed to rid Iran of Christianity and all other offensive non- Islamic influences and practices. Persecution has escalated and another believer, Issa Motamadi, was imprisoned on 24 July. A security official has reportedly advised Issa to renounce his faith. He also intimated that it may take several executions before Iranians appreciate the reality of the religious situation. Please pray for Issa, his wife and young son, and for the Church in Iran.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 389 "Iran: Striving towards Islamic Apocalypse"
- Robert Graves reports that a large, jagged piece of metal was recently kicked up from the road and narrowly missed his daughter while she was driving. Praise God for His protection!
- Congratulations to Vinson Synan on his June 30 retirement as dean of the Regent University School of Divinity. Dr. Synan is a renowned historian and Pentecostal/charismatic scholar and has contributed articles to the Pneuma Review. Thank you for your service to the Church, Brother Synan!
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