The July 2003 Pneuma Informer
In this issue:
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.org
New Articles and other Features on the Pneuma Foundation Website:
What is the most popular webpage on the Pneuma Foundation online resource center?
The most visited page is our list of Pentecostal/charismatic Bible schools around the world
There are over 100 schools listed by region: United States, Canada, Americas, Europe, Asia/Pacific, Africa/Middle East, and Internet/Correspondence.
- If you know of a school that belongs on our list, please send us the link by filling out this online form or sending an email to our Member Services.
Come visit soon. Write to Member Services
with any comments or questions you have about the website or the Pneuma Informer
Reports from Around the World
Middle East: seeing good deeds
"When I became a Christian, I worked with three others in one department in the company," writes ex–Muslim Farid [name changed]. "We worked shifts. Each person had their own locker, where he could store his tools and clothes. At the end of the month, I put my wages in my locker. At the end of my shift, I forgot to take the money with me when I went home. The following day, I discovered that someone had broken into my locker and stolen the money. My old self rose to the occasion: I wanted revenge! I suspected that one of my colleagues had stolen the money, so decided to break open their lockers and burn the contents. I grabbed a hammer, and prepared to strike – but suddenly felt as though an invisible hand grabbed my wrist, holding me back. Frightened, I sat down. What was wrong with me?"
Forgiveness, not revenge
"Then I heard a gentle voice, full of sympathy and love: 'Don't avenge yourself. Don't give in to Satan.' I replied 'But Lord, my wages are all that I have. Who will take care of my wife and child?' The Lord answered 'Think of what is written: trust in God, he will care for you'. I replied, saying 'Then please put out the flames of anger. Tell me what to do.' The Lord told me to write the following words on a piece of paper: 'To my brother who opened my locker: I am sorry that I have nothing valuable to give you. If you need something particular, let me know. God will take care of it. I will not repair the broken lock, as proof that I mean what I say. I bless you with the peace of God filling your life, and the grace of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.' I signed it 'The brother who loves you despite what happened.' I went home full of joy to tell my wife about this great victory."
God provides – this time via the balcony
"Despite my relief and my wife's agreement, I couldn't sleep that night, tossing and turning until I finally got up to pray on the balcony. Just as I was about to go back indoors, someone threw a stone onto the balcony. Attached to the stone was a letter from another Christian whom I had not met for months for security reasons. The letter contained the same amount of money as my wages. I was amazed: how faithfully the Lord cares for me!"
A 'questionable' life
"When I arrived in the office the next day, one of my colleagues was waiting for me, a religious Muslim. With a trembling voice, he said 'I was the one who broke your locker open. I found your letter yesterday, and was very moved. I have already spent the money I stole on my sick children. I will repay you as soon as I can.' I told him 'The money is yours. I don't need it any more; God has already replaced my loss.' It was almost impossible for him, but he finally accepted. 'Where did you learn to act like that?' he asked. 'I'll tell you some other time,' I replied, hoping that he would forget. I had no idea how he would react if I told him about my conversion. He didn't let up, though, so I finally gave him a New Testament, which he took with shaking hands. One month later, he was ready to follow Jesus. How true are Jesus' words: 'People will see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven'!"
Source: 'Farid' in Offene Grenzen 6/03, www.offenegrenzen.ch by way of Friday Fax 2003, Issue 26.
United States: Charismatic Southern Baptist movement gains wider acceptance
Southern Baptist affiliates of a charismatic network of churches known as Fresh Oil represent just 1 percent of the denomination's 43,000 congregations. But Fresh Oil's leader says there is a grudging acceptance developing within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
Ron Phillips acknowledges that many Baptists frown on spiritual gifts, and some state conventions remain hostile to charismatics. However, because the denomination supports local church autonomy, many think if a congregation supports mission work that it should be left alone, he explained.
Regardless of where fellow Baptists stand, Fresh Oil members are no longer concerned with debating the issue. "In Tennessee, there is openness and acceptance, not disagreement," said Phillips, pastor of Central Baptist Church in suburban Chattanooga, Tenn. "But we're past rubbing each other's wounds. We're moving on to missions."
Now five years old, the network has cooperated with both the SBC and independent agencies to help build five churches overseas. Attendees at March's annual conference donated $30,000 to overseas missions.
With his services aired weekly on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Phillips' outspoken nature rankles cessationists within the nation's largest Protestant denomination. Yet they can't get upset with his church's annual gifts of nearly $200,000 to regional and national SBC causes.
Central Baptist supports the convention because it agrees with its evangelistic spirit. And despite disapproval of charismatic gifts by the convention's domestic mission agency, the scene is different overseas. "At least half the international mission force operates in the power of the Spirit," Phillips said. "They can't work without it. I've been on the field and seen evidence of it."
Some of the 450 Baptist pastors — an overwhelming majority of the group's 500 affiliated ministries — who identify with Fresh Oil report mixed reactions to their stance.
Dwain Miller of Second Baptist Church in El Dorado, Ark., said no state or regional official has ever complained about his emphasis on the fullness of the Spirit. Nor is his embrace of the movement as controversial as it was five years ago.
"I preach in a lot of fundamental churches, and we agree to disagree," Miller said. "Fresh Oil is a fellowship of hungry and thirsty people who are tired of the same old thing." The annual conference gives laypersons a chance to see what a church looks like where the glory of God is present, he added.
At this year's meeting, a member of his church — who previously had a vision of God's glory flowing into Second Baptist — interceded for Miller. In addition to having a similar vision, he sensed that April 27 represented a key turning point.
The evening of April 27, a traditional Sunday evening service ran for three hours as numerous people confessed and repented of wrong doing, the pastor said. "It's an old–fashioned spiritual awakening and revival," said Miller, who has seen record numbers accept Christ this year. "I see God pouring out His glory."
Regardless of opposition within the SBC, John Kilpatrick senses a mighty move of the Spirit in Fresh Oil. The pastor of Brownsville Assembly of God, home of the world–renowned Pensacola Revival, Kilpatrick was one of several charismatic speakers at the March meetings.
When he spoke, many people hit the floor, crying and asking God for forgiveness. Kilpatrick said whenever he talks about God's presence, the Holy Spirit invariably comes. "I don't know enough about the background of Southern Baptists to gauge the hunger," Kilpatrick said. "I only know when I was there, it felt a lot like Brownsville."
Source: Charisma News Service, 6/4/2003. Used with permission.
Worldwide trend: international insurance company states major natural disasters on rise
In Matthew 24:5–8, Jesus describes wars, famines, plagues and earthquakes signifying the 'beginning of birth pains.' The Munich Re, a major insurance company, recently published a report about the unusual concentration of extreme storms and floods in 2002. Their statistics of natural disasters compares the decade from 1993–2002 with the 1960s; the number of 'major events' around the globe increased to 2.6 times as many (from 27 to 70), and the economic damage – accounting for inflation – to 7.3 times as much, from US$ 75.5 billion to US$ 550.9 billion.
Natural disasters across the decades
Natural disasters are considered 'major' when they significantly exceed the region's ability to cope, requiring inter–regional or international assistance. One of the main reasons is the growing concentration of people and valuables in endangered cities or urban areas, according to the report.
Source: Munich Re, www.munichre.com by way of Friday Fax 2003 Issue 27.
India: "pray for your enemies by name"
"India repeatedly sees persecution. We recently heard how a number of people put pressure on Christians in a certain Indian city," writes Dawn Ministries' Sheryl Wingerd. "How did the Christians react? One of the city's prayer networks made a list of the people who wanted to cause the church difficulties – and prayed for them by name! God intervened, and every one of them experienced something which stopped them persecuting Jesus' followers. One of the group's leaders injured his leg so severely, with a subsequent infection, that the doctors could only recommend amputating the leg. The Christians went to him to pray for his leg. He was healed! He no longer makes trouble for Christians, and the rest of his group had also become conspicuously quiet."
Source: Dawn Newsletter No. 71, fax (+1)–719–548–7460 by way of Friday Fax 2003 Issue 28.
- See other News to praise God about in the Prayer Requests and Praise Reports department below
Resources You Can Use
Suggested Websites from Mark Darter
Mark Darter, a long–time friend of the Pneuma Foundation, offers numerous websites for you to investigate and make use of.
– This site gives basic answers to many various kinds of questions that both believers and non–believers have about the Bible and Christianity. In addition, there are answers to certain questions about how the Bible relates to different issues.
– This is Don Stewart's website. This site not only gives answers to questions regarding the Bible, but also provides a defense of the truth of modern day miracles and the present day operation of Spirit–led gifts.
– If you are interested in getting answers to the cults of Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses, this would be a good site to visit.
Additional comment from Mark Darter: "I feel that Mormonism is the most dangerous cult in America. It is very subtle. One danger I think it poses to our movement is that it claims that there are still prophets and apostles around today. Of course, many Pentecostals and charismatics claim the same thing. The reason this is a threat to the Pentecostal/charismatic movement is that anti–pentecostal and anti–charismatic Christians—especially those who have 'apologetic' ministries (whether good or not–so–good)—often have material refuting cults like Mormonism. Since this cult makes the claim for modern day apostles and prophets, some of these non–miraculous Christian ministries may at times point to Pentecostal/charismatic belief that people can still prophesy today, and say that they are no different than the Mormon belief on this matter. Of course, Mormonism, when it talks about modern day prophets, really refers to the 'prophets' in its own movement. The average seeking Christian, who does not know what Mormonism is referring to by their use of 'prophet,' may think the arguments against Mormon 'prophets' are applicable to Pentecostals and charismatics who are advocating the contemporary exercise of New Testament prophecy. These two kinds of 'prophecy' have nothing in common, and alleged similarities are not real. I hope you see the potential problem, and, therefore, why it is vital that Christians in the Pentecostal/charismatic movement take time to learn what these cults really believe and how much they contrast with real Christianity."
– In my opinion, this site is one of the best sites out there on the creation/evolution issue. When it comes to this matter, they are right on the money Biblically. This ministry upholds Scriptural authority on the question of origins and clearly shows why Christians—if they will think this issue through and let the Bible speak for itself—cannot legitimately believe in evolution or any of the compromise theories regarding Genesis. Non–charismatic believers have often charged Pentecostal/charismatics with being sloppy in their exegesis of Scripture. Unfortunately, some of those in the Pentecostal/charismatic movement have been just that, especially when it comes to Genesis. However, acting as if creation (the foundation of our faith) doesn't matter is a big mistake.
– Another ministry that examines the claims of Mormonism in light of the Bible.
– A great site by Christians discussing the Muslim religion.
From the Editor: Thanks, Mark for sharing these suggestions and your comments.
Have site worth telling others about? Know of a resource that should be featured in this international newsletter? Write to the Pneuma Informer newsletter
with your 'Resources You Can Use' idea.
Thoughts to Ponder: Forgiveness
'In the light of justice and love of God . . . hate recedes and the seed is planted for the miracle of forgiveness. Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one can be in the presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without overcoming this double exclusion — without transposing the enemy from the sphere of monstrous inhumanity into the sphere of shared humanity and herself from the sphere of proud innocence into the sphere of common sinfulness.'
– Miroslav Volf, 'Overcoming the Double Exclusion' The Circuit Rider (Mar/Apr 2003)
Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.'
– Author unknown. From www.ocean.org
"When I was explaining to my daughter that Graham and the boys had been killed, we agreed that we would forgive those who did it. And I can say from my own experience that forgiveness brings healing. I've heard many stories of people who have come to Christ after seeing the way that I have accepted it all."
– Gladys Staines, whose missionary husband and two sons were killed when a group of militant Hindus doused the vehicle they were asleep in with gasoline and set it ablaze. Decision (June 2003, page 15)
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, click here.
There is also subscription information further on in this newsletter.
From 'The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today' Chapter Five: Reception by J. Rodman Williams.
Read the full article from the Summer 2003 issue at PneumaReview.com: Reception.
From 'Rightly Understanding God's Word' Chapter Two: Learning Context. Part 1 of 2 by Craig S. Keener.
Read the full article from the Summer 2003 issue at PneumaReview.com: Learning Context (Part 1).
- Please pray for the Dancing Our Prayers Peruvian National Ministry Outreach of Wiconi International, July 30 through August 18. President Richard Twiss is leading a First Nations team to Lima, Ayachucho, Cuzco, and five tribal regions for evangelism and reconciliation outreach. http://www.wiconi.com
- Pray for believers in Malawi: In what is believe to be the first incident of religious violence in modern times in the country, several churches and offices of an American children's charity were recently attacked by a Muslim mob.
The southern African nation's army was deployed to quell violent riots after demonstrators attacked Save the Children and the congregations June 27 & 28 to protest the removal of five Muslim foreign nationals suspected of working for Osama bin Laden, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
A Muslim, President Bakili Muluzi said he would not allow religious violence to threaten peace in Malawi. Leaders of the Christian community, which comprise 80 percent of the population, urged restraint.
"Pray that the Christians in Malawi will not retaliate against these attacks," The U.K.–based Barnabas Fund (BF) said. "Pray that the normally peaceful co–existence of Christians and Muslims in Malawi will be restored." BF said the attacks caused extensive damage to property and injured three people.
Source: Charisma News Service, 7/2/03. Used with permission.
- Morgan sent a prayer request: 'Our Church has started two Radio stations in Monrovia, Liberia. We have an FM that reaches Monrovia and a shortwave that reaches the Muslim areas of Northern Africa. We have remained on the air during this war. We have been the only ones offering hope to these people but now we need your help. We need your prayers and we need Pastors and bible teachers to do radio programs . . .' Reference number: 90007394.
- Pastor Benjamin in Rwanda asks for prayer for the difficult situation the people of his nation continue to be in. A neighbor of Congo (see the prayer request about Congo in the June 2003 issue of the Pneuma Informer), the Great Lakes countries of central Africa have all seen tremendous suffering and war over the last several years and Rwanda is now infamous for the genocidal slaughter that occurred there in 1994. Please pray that the love and healing that only comes through Jesus would be made to shine through His people in this hurting nation.
- Pray for Ethiopia: Famine threatens. The nightmare of famine has returned to Ethiopia and its neighbor Eritrea in the horn of Africa. One million people died in the famine of 1984–1985, and observers are saying that famine has returned and will be worse. As HIV/AIDS continues to spread throughout the country, political unrest drives refugees to Ethiopia in increasing numbers, and as the world focus is primarily in other places (like Iraq and the Middle East) the growing plight of millions in this eastern Africa region grows dim.
Two of the many relief organizations working in Ethiopia are: www.christianchildrensfund.org and www.projectmercy.org
Source: Christianity Today (May 2003), pages 44–46.
- Tim Beals, a friend of the ministry who served as an editor for Pneuma Foundation publications at one time, has taken a position with World Vision. He will be working to establish a new publishing program that supports the values and mission of World Vision. Congratulations, Tim.
- Read the US Dept. of Treasury letter granting full non–profit status to the Pneuma Foundation: /images/501c3.pdf Contributors to the Pneuma Foundation can be assured that their donations are tax–exempt according to the Internal Revenue Service.
- Pentecostal Groups Unite After 70 Years of 'Awful Schism': The Church of God and the Church of God of Prophecy plan joint evangelistic effort
A joint evangelistic effort by two long–estranged denominations is being welcomed as not only a major step in the healing of one of Pentecostalism's deepest divisions, but also the foretaste of a new level of unity in the wider movement.
An agreement between the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) and the Church of God of Prophecy (COGOP) — which between them claim 7 million members worldwide — was unveiled at the end of April. It sees the two groups linking for a three–year effort of cooperative evangelism, which is viewed as a significant attempt to repair the breach –officially described by COGOP as an "awful schism" – that stems back 70 years.
Though the two churches have their international headquarters on the same street in Cleveland, they have relationally been worlds apart since COGOP was founded in 1923 after A.J. Tomlinson was ousted as leader of the Church of God in a dispute over church government.
In their joint statement, Church of God (COG) general overseer R. Lamar Vest and COGOP general overseer Fred Fisher Sr., described the initiative as "a practical demonstration of the common purposes and spiritual heritage" of their two groups.
"Because of the evangelistic opportunities presented by a global spiritual harvest, [we recognize] the value of a cooperative use of available human and financial resources."
To be launched next month, the new program will be led by a six–member committee. COGOP evangelist William Wilson has been appointed international minister of outreach of the initiative, which will involve joint services and evangelistic meetings both in the United States and abroad.
The seeds of the cooperative effort were sown a year ago at a historic meeting in Washington, D.C., that brought together around 30 leaders of the country's major Pentecostal and charismatic movements for a first–of–its–kind roundtable. The group — including senior figures from Word–Faith, charismatic, and traditional and Oneness Pentecostal streams — met for three days with no agenda other than to get to know one another better and pray together.
Pentecostal historian Vinson Synan, dean of the School of Divinity at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA, called the Together 2002 meeting "truly a first," adding that the recent COG–COGOP announcement was very significant. "It's a step in the right direction for everybody and serves as a concrete example of what can be done, because they were not even on speaking terms for decades," he told "Charisma" magazine for a report on the COG and COGOP partnership. "It doesn't mean a merger, but who knows what it will lead to in the future."
Together 2002 was convened by the Center for Spiritual Renewal in Cleveland, whose director Robert Fisher was "very excited" about the joint agreement. "It is an indicator of what the Lord is doing in general in terms of bringing down denominational walls," he said. "People are willing to admit as they never have before, 'We can do more together than we can separately.'"
Source: Charisma News Service, July 9, 2003. Used with permission.
The volunteer staff of the Pneuma Foundation would like to express our condolences to Pastor C. J. and Sandy Halquist on the passing of Sandy's father into the presence of the Lord. Pastor Carl wrote: 'Sunday afternoon [July 13] at 3:15 P.M. Sandy's dad passed away. Sandy was able to be with him along with two of her sisters and she said that during the afternoon they were singing hymns and choruses and praying. Dad was singing with them and the presence of the Lord was so wonderful. Sandy said that Dad was singing with them almost right up to the last. What a way to go into the presence of the Lord. Sandy said he went so peacefully into the presence of the Lord. He is in the presence of the Lord singing and praising today!' Pastor Halquist is a contributing editor to the Pneuma Review
and is well known to several of the Pneuma Foundation staff.
Please send us your prayer requests and praise reports. We have a great God who always meets our needs.
If you would like more information about how you may help in meeting these needs, please write to Member Services.