The August 2008 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.orgNew Online Articles
New Links and Content Worth Noticing
- Read part 1 of J. Rodman Williams' chapter Four, "Purpose" from The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today. From The Pneuma Review Winter 2003. Part 1 of the fourth chapter of Professor Williams' book about the greatest reality of the twenty-first century. Added July 16, 2008. http://www.PneumaFoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/JRWilliams-GiftHolySpirit4p1.xml
- Featured online article: "Gospel Carriers (Old and New)" by Kirk Hunt. Added August 27, 2008. http://www.PneumaFoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/KHunt-GospelCarriers.xml
Reports from Around the World
Austria opening to the Gospel
The Austrian people have been opening up more to the Gospel, says missionary Joe Ziska of Greater Europe Mission. "It's become more responsive, though, because we've seen people going from being totally apathetic or against spiritual questions to being more open--especially some of the younger people. It's not a revival climate, but certainly we're seeing a lot more response to the Gospel." Since Austrians are naturally shy and reserved, and they think of evangelical Christianity as a cult, Joe's wife Brenda Ziska said that missionaries spend a lot of time building relationships. "The Austrian is a very private person, and so it takes a long time to get to know them. For people to accept Christ, you need to be talking to them personally about the personal things going on in their lives." Although Austrian believers are characteristically zealous for the spread of the Gospel, it is hard for them to overcome their shyness. Pray for the spiritual growth of the Austrian church.
Source: Mission Network News, 21 July, 2008. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/11464
Bible Ministry Joins Forces to Help End Human Trafficking
Slavery continues to be a worldwide problem, with millions of people being trapped in forced labor and sexual servitude.
International Bible Society-Send the Light, sponsors of the NIV, is taking a stand against modern day slavery. IBS-STL has partnered with Bristol Bay Productions and World Changers for Christ to bring needed resources to churches to help combat human trafficking. Together they hope that these aides will ignite a passion within followers of Jesus to fight this oppression. "It took courageous churches and individuals to end slavery in the 1800s, and it still takes courageous individuals and churches to effect change. World Changers resources help churches and individuals fulfill Christ's mandate to break the bonds of the poor and oppressed."
Let us pray that God uses his people to not only to rescue modern day slaves but also to introduce them to Jesus the rescuer.
Malawi: Microenterprise Ministry Changes Lives
A tiny bank in a former butcher shop is serving thousands of Malawians right in their local marketplace. Only four people staff this mini-branch of Opportunity International Bank of Malawi, where over 3,000 people have opened savings accounts. 70 percent of these accounts are owned by women, who no longer have to make long, risky trips just to keep their money in a safe place. Pray that as God provides for them, they will also receive abundant life through Jesus Christ.
Source: Mission Network News, 4 August, 2008. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/11512
Algeria: No churches allowed
Islamic government begins enforcing its worship restrictions and Christian leaders are taking church from buildings into their homes. "They are afraid about what God is doing in Algeria," says an Algerian Christian broadcaster living in France.
Source: "Undue Attention in Algeria" Christianity Today, September, 2008 http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/september/3.16.html
Greece: Missionary acquitted of proselytism
News and Headlines
A missionary in Greece was charged with proselytism, but a judge acquitted him this summer. Patrick Ragan with AMG International said the missionary was arrested at a youth outreach in 2004. "He took ownership when someone made a scene that they were handing out literature that basically was the Gospel of Luke, and they realized that these were evangelicals. An adult accused them of doing proselytism there in Greece, and that's illegal." The evangelical church is encouraged by the result of the case, in which the judge dismissed the charges because the outreach was very open and non-coercive. Greek believers face serious opposition in the task of reaching the Orthodox culture. "Evangelical Christians are in great minority in Greece. Less than two-tenths of a percent are evangelicals, and they are looked down upon by the typical orthodox Greek, who sees them really as a heretic." Pray that God will give the church in Greece boldness to share the Gospel.
Source: Mission Network News, 5 August, 2008. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/11518
for Current News and Links
See other news to pray and praise God about in the Prayer Requests department below.
Report the News
We are looking for stories about what God is doing in the world, reports about the persecution of Christians, and information about significant trends and ministry opportunities. If you have a news item to report, please send an email to the PNEUMA INFORMER. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp
Thoughts to Ponder: Revival
There has never been a true Revival that did not create controversy. Beginning in the Book of Acts and continuing to the present day - every move of God has met resistance. My favorite commentator on this subject is G. Campbell Morgan, long-term pastor at Westminster Chapel, London, who witnessed the 1904 Welsh Revival, and who said:
I want God's next new thing. If a man is praying for an old-fashioned revival, in all probability when God's visitation comes he will not be conscious of it. Men, remembering the marvelous movement under Charles Finney, might have prayed for an old-fashioned revival such as that which accompanied his preaching. It is more likely that when God raised up Dwight L. Moody such men would be out of sympathy with all his methods for a long while, for the two movements were quite different. God fulfills Himself in many ways. We ought to be so living that when God begins His great triumphant march we shall fall in with the first battalion and have part in the first victories.
So be it! - Charles Carrin
"Spirit and Scripture"
A Symposium on Renewal Biblical Hermeneutics
Where: Regent University School of Divinity
When: October 17 & 18, 2008
Pentecostal, Charismatic and renewal movements throughout the world share a common theological experience. However, several seminal questions about renewal biblical and theological studies have not been sufficiently treated for today. For example:
What is the role of the Holy Spirit in biblical hermeneutics?
What are the distinctive presuppositions, methods and goals of renewal biblical hermeneutics?
With the present growth of both renewal scholarship and the movement around the world, we believe that the time has come for a focused and concerted treatment of this topic. You are invited to a gathering of scholars to address this vital subject for biblical and theological studies in the 21st century.
For more information, visit: www.regent.edu/spiritscripture
Resources You Can Use
Open Letter to Bible Colleges about Internet Evangelism
Few colleges yet offer modules relating to web evangelism and ministry. Internet Evangelism Day asks you to forward their Open Letter to any college you are linked with. It suggests the strategic value of developing such modules. They would also like to know of any colleges you know who are offering such modules.
Source: Web Evangelism Newsletter June 07
West Papua Watch
The World Evangelical Alliance now offers a new Religious Liberty weekly news service, to help awaken the conscience of the Church and the world to the plight of the West Papuans. The covert genocide of a Christian people is monitored through diverse sources. Click on http://www.ea.org.au/ReligiousLiberty/WestPapua.aspx
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!
For a full index of the contents of all Pneuma Review issues, visit: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/pr_archive.jsp.
In order to complete this issue of the INFORMER while it is still August, no excerpts from the journal will be included.
Conversations with Readers
This is SY from Pakistan. I have visited your website and found it most encouraging and the site bringing close to the truths of the Word of God.
Great work you are doing, may God by His Spirit empower you to do exceeding abundantly beyond what you can think or ask.
I have long had interest in your website content. As a prophetic minister, I appreciate your forum.
I was raised in a Baptist Church, but was introduced to Charismatic Pentecostalism while in the Navy and stationed in Yokosuka, Japan. I am confused as to whether or not speaking in tongues is required for salvation. This is very confusing and I can't seem to find a definitive answer anywhere. Also, if I never speak in tongues, does that mean I won't make it?
Response from Editor Raul Mock
I wish I could say that I speak for all Pentecostal/charismatics when I say that we do not believe that glossolalia (speaking in tongues) is biblically linked to the salvation experience. Unfortunately, there are some groups that call themselves Pentecostals that say that. The vast majority of Pentecostal/charismatics (including all of the larger trinitarian Pentecostal denominations) believe that glossolalia is a sign or the sign of being baptized in the Holy Spirit and empowered for service. The orthodox view has nothing to do with baptismal regeneration (either in water or in the Spirit as evidenced by tongues).
I would like to refer you to some resources on www.PneumaFoundation.org that discuss this question and some related issues.
One of our web visitors wrote with a concern that we over-emphasized tongues as many Pentecostal/charismatics do. Here are his comments and my response:
I would also like to point you to the full book Praying in the Spirit by Robert Graves that was reprinted in our quarterly journal for church leaders, The Pneuma Review. Brother Graves is a Pentecostal scholar and represents a strong classical Pentecostal perspective that some charismatics disagree with regarding initial evidence (that tongues is the evidence of being baptized in the Spirit) and subsequence (that being baptized in the Spirit can occur after the salvation experience).
You may especially find these chapters of help:
"Focus of the Charismatic Experience: Tongues, the Holy Spirit, or Christ?" http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/articles/rwgraves004.pdf
"Better Than I Was, Not Better Than You Are" http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/articles/rwgraves006.pdf
There are many other resources on www.PneumaFoundation.org that discuss glossolalia, and I am happy to encourage you to browse the site and write again if I may be of further assistance.
In the love of the Father,
Have a comment for us? Contact Us http://www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp
- The Volunteer Prayer Team received this request on July 28: "Greetings from SHEAF AND GRACE MINISTRIES. How are you all in your Church? We are all fine here. I am planning to visit AHAMDABAD where two days back bomb blast took place. I came to know that 20 Christian people were died in that blast. Our All India President visited that place and took part in burial. To day Indian Prime Minister, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and Indian Home Minister visited that place. Kindly pray for the families and for my travel to Ahmadabad. We need prayer support.
"Convey my greetings to all in your Church. Yours in His service."
K.C.D. R., Sheaf and Grace Ministries, India - Reference Number: 90033080
- One of our web visitors writes: "My name is Simon G. I am married with one wife and a two year old son.
"I am an assisting pastor and evangelist in Nairobi working with Gospel Tabernacle churches of Kenya. Early this year, I took a step of faith to join Pan Africa Christian College in Nairobi Kenya for a degree in theology so as to equip myself for the ministry. My church is not strong financially and they pay me money for food and house rent only. I had used the little I had saved to pay my first term fees hoping to get a scholarship as i go along. I have now completed my second semester (end of July 2008) but I have not paid my fees for it. I owe Kenya shillings 33000 equivalent of USD 492 at the current exchange rate. The fees per semester are about USD 537 and we have 3 semesters per year. The course is 4 years. Right now I am not allowed to continue in the September semester before I clear my balances. I fear my hopes for continuing my theology studies may be in jeopardy unless God intervenes.
"I need prayer for God to open a door of provision to allow me continue with my studies as I look forward to serving the Lord more.
"Yours in Christ, Simon G."
- Christians in Yemen arrested. Since October 2007, Islamic sources have been claiming large numbers of Muslims are converting to Christianity in Yemen. The World Muslim League has urged the Yemeni government to curb conversions and al-Qaeda deputy Ayman Al-Zawahiri has called for a 'media jihad' in Yemen against missionaries and apostasy (leaving Islam).
In mid-June 2008 Yemeni authorities arrested what they described as a 'missionary cell' of seven people, charging them with promoting Christianity and distributing the Bible. One member, Hadni Dohni, is also charged with converting to Christianity. The believers are presently being 'investigated'. Religious liberty monitors believe these Christians are at grave risk of beatings, torture and murder.
Please pray for these believers and that their arrests will not be in vain but will arouse interest in the gospel. Pray for the Church in Yemen.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 487 | Yemen: Christians Arrested for Missionary Work and Apostasy
- Pastor Paul in India writes: "Here we are doing well the Lord's work in our surrounding area, with your constant and kind prayers. Here every work is going on well by the grace of God. I [have been] conducting Bible class for the pastors in our local church in our areas. Please Pray for my work glorify to God.
"Here we are praying for the Pneuma Foundation welfare and edification for those who are working in the Pneuma Foundation. Thanking you in Jesus. Please remember our needs in Gospel and pray for family needs. I am unable, but our heavenly father is always able and nothing is impossible to God."
- Terror in Southern Philippines on Basilan Island. Christians on Basilan Island -- which is in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, Southern Philippines -- are being terrorised by Islamic militants, and police are reluctant to intervene. Islamic 'holy warriors' issued an ultimatum on Friday 18 July that all Christians on Basilan must either convert to Islam, submit to Islamic subjugation and pay jizya (tribute / protection money), or face violence. It gives the Christians 15 days before terror is unleashed. Early Sunday morning 20 July, Islamic militants ambushed a passenger jeepney and kidnapped the five Christians (including two children) but left the Muslims. Please pray for the Church in Muslim Southern Philippines, especially for security for the Christians of Basilan.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 488 | Southern Philippines: Terror on Basilan Island
- "Here is our prayer request: the Lord has blessed us with a plot to build and construct a orphan home on that land, so we are praying for the funds to be provided so as to start the project.
"Thanks and we look forward to that, with your prayers and us together, the Lord shall pass our way of blessing us.
"Yours in His name,
"Pastor Jeremiah and Roseline" - Reference Number: 90033032
- Uzbekistan: Continuing attacks, including violence, against religious minorities. Uzbekistan is continuing its nationwide attacks on religious minorities, Forum 18 News Service notes. The trial of Aimurat Khayburahmanov, a Protestant detained since 14 June in the north-west of the country, is in progress. He faces a possible sentence of between five and 15 years' imprisonment, and is being tried for teaching religion without official approval and establishing or participating in a "religious extremist" organisation. In a related case, Jandos Kuandikov, another local Protestant, has been fined for unregistered religious activity. The judge in that case, Bakhtiyor Urumbaev, claimed to Forum 18 that the Immanuel and Full Gospel churches were banned in Uzbekistan. Kuandikov disputes this, pointing out that his church is seeking re-registration.
Source: F18News Summary, August 22, 2008. Full story: http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1176
- Apostasy: Current Issues in Egypt & Iran. In Islam, a person's religion is considered a state matter. Muhammad, the founder of Islam, once decreed that whoever leaves Islam should be killed. This hadith (saying of Muhammad) forms the basis for Islam's apostasy law that deems leaving Islam (apostasy) a capital offence. In Egypt two very courageous converts to Christianity are suing the state for their right to have their Christian status registered on their ID cards. This has sparked considerable debate in Egypt about religious liberty. In Iran, as repression is escalating horrendously, a bill before the parliament would make the death sentence mandatory instead of optional for both apostasy and the promotion of apostasy. Please pray for Muslim converts to Christianity, some of whom have been detained, tortured and even killed by Iranian police in recent months.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 491 | Apostasy: Current Issues in Egypt & Iran
- This message was received from John L. [formerly of Luxembourg], missionary to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Thank you for not removing me from the e-mail list! Despite the months of silence, I still look forward to receiving the PNEUMA INFORMER. ...
Reading the prayer requests in the June-July 2008 Pneuma Informer I came across the request of Pastor Vincent for a Bible School in Kenya. This prompted me to write to ask you to include a prayer request for our school too.
Based in Lubumbashi, the school is government recognised and university level offering both graduate & post graduate courses. But, like the school Pasteur Vincent mentioned, we have many problems: We need more qualified teachers (Hebrew!) finances etc. etc. Unfortunately, the Director of the School died suddenly just over three weeks ago. We managed o finish the academic year and the Graduation was a great success, but we do face major challenges for the future. Your prayers and the prayers of you readers are much appreciated.
Thanks for the great work you do and for the encouragement we receive through it.
- Chad: Missionary released. It took more than nine months, but an American missionary is now free. 49-year-old Stephen Godbold was released by his captors in Chad in late July. Godbold was kidnapped October 10 in Northern Chad while assisting a non-governmental organization with a water project. The Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJT) claimed responsibility. Godbold's release was unconditional, and no ransom was paid and no concessions were made. Godbold is married and has four children.
Source: Mission Network News, 28 July, 2008. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/11486