The August 2002 Pneuma Informer
In this issue:
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.org
All chapters of the book Praying in the Spirit
by Robert Graves that appeared in the Pneuma Review
are now available on the Pneuma Foundation website. Here are the chapter titles and links:
Index and Introduction
to Praying in the Spirit
"What They're Saying Now: Some Non-Charismatics Reevaluate Tongues"
"Some Marvelous Effects of Praying in the Spirit
"Focus of the Charismatic Experience: Tongues, the Holy Spirit, or Christ?
"Just What is the Nature of the Prayer Language?
"Better Than I Was, Not Better Than You Are
"That Glorious Day When Tongues are not Needed: Until Then...
" Part 1 of 2.
"That Glorious Day When Tongues are not Needed: Until Then...
" Part 2 of 2.
"How the Prayer Language Comes
"Now That You've Spoken in Tongues
"Singing in the Spirit
"Afterword: Beyond the Charismatic Experience
" This conclusion to the Praying in the Spirit series includes the full bibliographical citations from the series.
Also, be sure to check out the "What's New" section on the Pneuma Foundation homepage
. New articles and other features are being added regularly.
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Reports from Around the World
El Salvador: Prayer Changes a City
"For a long time, San Marcos was El Salvador's most dangerous city," writes Amaury Braga, Latin American coordinator for the DAWN Movement. "With a crime rate of 80%, it was a center for drug dealers, witch doctors, kidnappers and alcoholics. All the banks closed because they had been raided so often. Around two years ago, God used a young Christian leader to start a strong prayer movement which mobilized almost all Christians to pray for the city, even though some denominations did not want to take part. Only one year later, the violent crime rate sank from 80% to 10%, and in January 2002, the national police declared San Marcos completely free of violence. As a result, all Christian churches have grown rapidly—even those of denominations which did not join in prayer. Today, all Christians want to work together. The mayor and other city officials became Christians, and two banks have re-opened, even with cash machines. Two witch doctors who had declared war on the pastors and were not prepared to repent have died. Important drug dealers have turned to Christ and bars have closed. Instead of ceasing prayer, the Christians are now motivated to pray on until God's purposes with the city have been fulfilled."
Source: Friday Fax 2002 Issue 19. Used with permission.
African Missionary to the USA
The Assemblies of God (AG) has appointed its first African missionary to the United States. Samuel Asiedu, who oversaw the denomination's significant growth in Nigeria during the 1990s, is coordinating Africa Mission (AM) USA from his base at Family Worship Center in Irving, Texas.
Some 75,000 Africans immigrate to the United States each year. Although many have Pentecostal or AG links, they often stop attending church after arriving. "The majority lose their faith for the simple reason that they do not fit into the new culture of worship," Asiedu told AG News. "Some of them are easily swallowed by the prosperity of the land and forget about God."
During Asiedu's leading of Decade of Harvest from 1990 to 2000, the AG in Nigeria welcomed more than a million new members and added 4,044 churches. As well as establishing new African churches in the United States, AM USA will help start new ministries in African communities here.
Source: Charisma News Service 8/16/02. Used by permission.
Mongolia: 165 churches
"In June 2002, two thousand people from all over Mongolia attended a conference in Ulaan Baatar, the capital," reports Walter Heidenreich, leader of the Freie Christliche Jugendgemeinschaft in L'denscheid, Germany. "After 12 years of Christianity in Mongolia, there are some 165 churches spread across the nation, some 60 of which are in the capital. Christians from many different churches met for the 'History Maker' conference in a circus tent. Every day, we saw people healed and saved, and many signs and wonders."
"One evening, a murmur raced through the crowd as a woman who had only been able to walk with crutches for 20 years suddenly ran down the aisles. Nobody had prayed for her—the Holy Spirit healed her spontaneously," Heidenreich continues. "It was moving to see 28 prisoners, members of a prison church planted by one of our staff, attending the conference every day with two guards, one of whom was saved on the first evening. On the last day, we baptised 60 people in a river. A number of people were healed during the baptisms."
Source: Walter Heidenreich, FCJG, info [at] fcjg.de by way of Friday Fax 2002: 29
Northern India: Religious revolution on the way?
Vishal Mangalwadi, one of the best-known Christian writers in India and TV and radio writer, sees signs of a "religious revolution" in India. Driven by "a spirituality of hate" at the heart of the conflict between Pakistan and India (see http://www.vishalmangalwadi.com/articles/hate.htm
), Muslims and Hindus are heading towards war, while a growing number of people are looking for a way out of the established Hindu caste system. 50 million "Forward Caste" Maratas in Western India, for example, are considering starting a new religion. Some members of the lower "Backward and Forward castes" are starting to open to the Gospel, with unpredictable consequences for India's religious structure.
"In my Northern Indian hometown Allahabad, 7,000 new believers meet in one church—mega-churches in Northern India, who would believe it?! And 12 groups have planted 2,000 house churches in a State in the heart of the Hindu North, and hope to reach 1 million new churches in the next 10 years. We should not forget the role of the written word in this coming revolution," Mangalwadi continues. "Not many remember that the Protestant Reformation was mainly the work of writers, translators, printers, illustrators and preachers. In every important Reformation city in Europe, 6 or 7 printing companies were busy around the clock, and religious literature dominated Europe for the following 350 years."
Source: Vishal Mangalwadi, WisdomFromIndia.com by way of Friday Fax 2002: 29
Thoughts to Ponder
"God's power is most visible in the helpless and broken figure of Jesus of Nazareth hanging dying on the cross."
—Michael Jinkins from Invitation to Theology
"I have learned to ascribe the honor of infallibility only to those books that are accepted as canonical. I am profoundly convinced that none of these writers has erred. All other writers, however they may have distinguished themselves in holiness or in doctrine, I read in this way: I evaluate what they say, not on the basis that they themselves believe that a thing is true, but only insofar as they are able to convince me by the authority of the canonical books or by clear reason."
—Martin Luther 
"Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them."
—E. Paul Hovey
Book/Periodical reviewers wanted
If you have recently read a book that others could benefit from, consider writing a brief essay and submitting it to our reviews department. Mike Dies, the book and periodical review editor for the Pneuma Review, is always looking for people with mature perspectives and Christ-centered insights. Essays on significant books of interest to Pentecostal/charismatic church leaders are always welcome.
The editor's library is presently stocked with numerous great books needing a review. The editorial committee is also usually able to acquire specific titles from publishers for review purposes. Drop a line to the Editor
if you would be interested in assisting in this area.
Comments from Readers and Web Visitors
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"We keep on praying for you and that the Blessings of the Lord will be upon you. Your Goodness to the Lord reaches to heaven and it is like a fragrant aroma to the Lord and Surely He will bless you with more of His blessings and His provision in all the areas of your life. We are all fine here by the grace of God. Thank you for your continued prayer support as we continue the ministry here. We are so glad to know also of your ministry update [the Pneuma Informer] and are looking forward to the next issue.
Love and prayers,"
Resources You Can Use: How to Design Your Church's Website for Effective Evangelism
In cooperation with www.web-evangelism.com
, this new page from the Pneuma Foundation discusses strategies for making your church or ministry's website a place that reaches people with the gospel. Writing styles, design styles, accessibility, and site content are all discussed in detail with many useful suggestions. Examples of well-designed sites are listed with links to view them for yourself.
Added July 22, 2002.
The next issue of the Pneuma Informer
will include a special report on the 24th annual meeting of the European Pentecostal Theological Association by theologian and archivist Geir Lie.
Using Caution with Email
By David Driggs II
If you have been using email for any length of time, you may have learned to be cautious of any attachments that end in .exe or other extensions. Email programs infected with computer viruses can be forced to email copies of the virus to unsuspecting people in the email program's address book. Most of these infected messages will be filtered out with any good virus-scanning software. However, there are now email messages that can contain malicious viruses even though they are not arriving as attachments. These large emails contain the virus program in the "body" of the email and can arrive undetected by virus-scanning software.
Just recently I received an infected message like this that could have damaged the computer I was using. There was no attachment, but the message itself was quite large, more than ten times the size of a normal email message.
If you are using a Microsoft Windows operating system, please visit this website to find out how to protect your computer:
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Excerpts from the Summer 2002 (Vol 5, No 3) 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, please see the Pneuma Review How to Subscribe
From "The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today. Chapter Two: Dimensions" by J. Rodman Williams
To read the full article on PneumaReview.com, go to: http://pneumareview.com/rodman-williams-the-gift-of-the-holy-spirit-today-dimensions
From "Workmen or Captives? Avoiding the Snare of Subjectivity" by Dave Harvey
. . .
The Origin of the Captivity
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked. (Gen 3:1-7a)
Satan's objective was to alter the source of authority for all of creation by replacing God's Word with a dangerous but appealing alternative: subjective impressions. His strategy had a profound simplicity: 1) Sow doubt (v.1); 2) Create confusion (v.4); 3) Launch a direct frontal assault (v.5), all designed to dislocate their confidence from God and relocate it to themselves. In three quick steps, God's Word was replaced by what Eve "saw", by what was "pleasing", and by what was "desirable" (v.6).
An exchange of monumental proportions had now taken place. The authority for Adam's and Eve's lives had shifted from external to internal; from objective to subjective; from "God said" to "I feel." History would soon attest that humans make poor replacements for God. We will do well to remember that the enemy's first method is still his best, and one to which he often returns.
Subjectivity and Experience
A rich man and a beggar named Lazarus had both died. Arriving at their appointed destinations, Lazarus was comforted in heaven while the rich man was tormented in hell. The rich man then makes two appeals to Abraham, the first for a spot of water to relieve his agony. The second appeal is most instructive for a church mired in subjectivity.
He answered, "Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment." Abraham replied, "They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them." "No, father Abraham," he said, "but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent." He said to him, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead" (Lk 16: 27-31).
The rich man assumed his brothers' greatest need was for a personal (subjective) spiritual experience. Surely a resurrected Lazarus carrying a heavenly message would succeed where God's Word had apparently failed! According to Abraham, such logic is dead wrong (v.31). Spiritual experience never replaces or usurps the Word of God.
It comes down to an issue of authority. For Christians ensnared in subjectivity, spiritual experiences can carry an implicit authority that has the effect of overriding Scripture. Such experiences are commonly used to validate an ungodly decision, justify disassociation from the local church, or claim the right to live a life unexamined by others. Sadly, in some circles this approach is seen as the height of spiritual maturity. Such is the fruit of a church in captivity.
Supernatural encounters with God should be desired, even pursued. But these experiences with God are given to deepen our humility and incite our passion for God and the church. They do not represent an alternative to Scripture, nor are they capable of preserving our faith. The Israelites remind us that you can experience miraculous deliverance—the Egyptian plagues, the Red Sea parting, manna from heaven, the pillars of cloud and of fire, water from the rock—and still worship a golden calf. Even the most spectacular spiritual encounters fade with time; only God's Word endures forever.
Workmen or Captives?
Paul was a man who knew a thing or two about supernatural experience (see 2 Cor 12:1-4). He knew its value and, just as importantly, its limitations. In his final instructions to Timothy, what was Paul's chief burden? That his most faithful and promising disciple would excel in the pursuit of personal, subjective experience? Or that he would be diligent to correctly handle the Word of God? You know the answer.
As Christians, we must never forget that our remaining sin nature will continually drive us to subordinate the objective truth of Scripture to subjective impressions. We really only have two choices: to become skilled workmen in the rich, timeless, and objective truth of God's Word, or to remain captives—each in our own cramped, subjective little universe of personal impressions.
Escape from subjective captivity. Become a workman in the Word.
* Read the rest of this article in the Summer 2002 issue of the Pneuma Review
- Pastor Bernard Kirabira asks for prayer as evangelistic meetings are being held in Uganda and other African nations. Please pray that financial needs are met, that ministry does not happen at the expense of the team's families, and that many souls are introduced to a relationship with Jesus their Savior.
- Pervaiz K. has asked for prayer for the ministry of sharing and living the good news in Pakistan. He writes, "We are here in Pakistan doing the gospel work, social welfare work is very pitiable odds on faith and self-support. We want to build the school building and boarding house for the poor, Orphan & Homeless Children, free dispensary for poor Christian Community and sewing, knitting center for poor Christian community women & girls." There is a great need for meeting physical needs such as sanitation and clean water, shelter for the homeless, and education for children. These efforts open ears and hearts to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Please pray for this ministry in troubled Pakistan.
- Bible student Paul Rajan in India has asked for prayer that the finances needed for him to continue his ministry studies would provided.
- Please join the volunteer staff of the Pneuma Foundation in praying for the provision for some exceptional printing and printer maintenance costs that have arisen recently. The total for these printing and maintenance costs is about $700.
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 send an E-mail to Member Services.