The June 2005 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.orgNew Articles, Links, and other FeaturesNew Article from the PNEUMA REVIEW
- Now in Bulgarian: Rightly Understanding God's Word: Whole Book Context Part 1 of 2. By Craig S. Keener, translated by Alexandrina S. From the Winter 2004 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/articles/RUGW_WholeBookContext1_Bulgarian.pdf
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.
Tell us about your web site
Have a web site you would like linked to the Pneuma Foundation? Write Webmaster Dave Driggs with your suggestion. Or use the on-line form to submit your suggestion. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links.jsp#link
Come visit soon. Write to Member Services with any comments or questions you have about the web site or the PNEUMA INFORMER. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp
The Pneuma Foundation will no longer have a dedicated FAX number that it may utilize. The business that had been donating the always-on FAX service has been closed. Please update your records if you included the number in your contact information for the Foundation.
Reports from Around the World
El Salvador: evangelist speaks at the nation's largest gathering
Rubens and Stefanie Cunha report from a historic evangelistic outreach in El Salvador, Central America: "The largest event in El Salvador's history took place in February 2005 when American evangelist Mike Francen spoke. One pastor estimated the attendance at 190,000 on the second evening; the nation's highest officials were present, including President Antonio Saca and Head of Police Mr. Menesses. A number of miracles occurred; on the first evening, three people who had been blind since birth gained their sight; on the second evening, three invalids stood up from their wheelchairs, able to walk again. The events were broadcast live on television and radio throughout the nation. Many healing wonders occurred in the preparatory conferences: the blind gained their sight, deaf could hear, tumours vanished and the lame could walk. It was just like Acts!"
Source: Friday Fax 2005/20. Used with permission.
"THE PASSION" Aired across Indonesia
In spite of some opposition, Mel Gibson's blockbuster "The Passion of The Christ" was broadcast on national Indonesian TV at 8 pm on March 25th. Gibson gave permission for the movie to be shown without censorship or commercial breaks. Although some provinces were unable to receive the broadcast, most of the country could watch it. Over 110,000 requested a free VCD offered at the close.
Indonesia has more Muslim adherents than any nation on earth.
Source: Web Evangelism Bulletin, June (i) 2005
North Korea: is the Babylon of the East crumbling?
Around 100 years ago, North Korea was a Christian nation; Pyongyang, the capital, was called "The Jerusalem of the East." According to Open Doors, the 2,300 Christian churches and 300,000 believers disappeared in only a short time under dictator Kim Il Sung. Today, Pyongyang is the Babylon of a modern Nebuchadnezzar, Kim Jong Il, who dominates all aspects of society and the lives of all his subjects. No other nation persecutes Christians as brutally as North Korea. Some 25 huge prison camps symbolize the regime of terror, housing 200,000 "political" prisoners. Even the slightest criticism of the regime result in imprisonment in brutal conditions. The prisoners are forced to work up to 18 hours each day, and produce 40% of the nations gross national product.
However, there are signs of change. A growing number of Christians are praying for North Korea, bringing more of the regime's dark side under global scrutiny.
There are also increasingly reports that Kim Jong Il's power is waning. At the same time, the regime is obviously well aware of the power of God's Word, as indicated by the confidential documents obtained by a Japanese newspaper, which document the role of Christianity in the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.
Christianity in the Land of Spies
The strict social controls make it almost impossible for Christians to keep their faith secret. Every third person is a spy, so many flee. Several hundred thousand people have crossed the river border between North Korea and China, but most are deported back to the nation they fled. Some 100,000 managed to escape, of which two thirds became Christians. Newly-saved refugees often return to North Korea, despite the dangers, filled with the desire to spread the Gospel. "The life God has given us will not end in prison camps or starvation, but last forever. We have nothing to lose. If we die, we will be with Christ." Despite the repression, the underground church is growing.
Open Doors is currently orchestrating a prayer campaign for North Korea, and are seeking 1008 intercessors for a round-the-clock prayer watch.
Source: Open Doors www.opendoors-de.org, via FridayFax 2005/14.
Sri Lanka: The Ark-Church in Batticaloa
At around 9 a.m. on Sunday, 26th December, Pastor Selvantha was preaching as usual in his church in the Sri Lankan harbour town Batticaloa. Besides many visitors, whole orphanages were in the service. Selvantha's wife left the church briefly during the sermon, because their 11-month-old baby was crying.
She saw the huge wave approaching, and ran back into the church, shouting "Flee!" But Pastor Selvantha shouted "No, don't run away, pray!" His wife and six others left the church, everyone else stayed. For some unknown reason, someone had just closed all the windows. The wave hit, sweeping everything away, including the pastor's wife and baby. The water rose over the windows, and the whole congregation prayed. The windows withstood the pressure, and everyone in the church was saved. "It was like Noah's Ark," says Chaya of www.dugit.org.
Source: Friday Fax 2005/21. Used with permission.
Helping with Reports
Other News and Headlines
The PNEUMA INFORMER editor is looking for volunteers that could help gather and format reports for publication in this email newsletter. If you would be interested in helping with this, or if you have a one-time suggestion of an encouraging story or report of what God is doing in the world, please write to the INFORMER editor by using the email address found on the Contact Us page.
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
"Eradicating 10 Commandments from the Public Square Makes No Sense" by Kevin M. Williams
Note from the Editor: This guest commentary by Kevin Williams was recently printed in the Grand Rapids Press. It appears here, with the author's permission, with a new title.
It seems to me that all the "ta do" over whether or not the 10 Commandments should be allowed on any public property, let alone the Michigan State Capital is much ado about nothing.
If we are genuinely concerned about the separation of Church and State, then Michigan has a lot more soul searching to do than worrying about having the 10 Commandments on display. Here are three quick examples.
Deuteronomy teaches that if people have access to a rooftop, it needs to have a railing around it so that no one falls off and dies. I'm pretty sure that commandment predates the political origins of Michigan, yet our city skylines are filled with buildings - many of them public - with railings around their roofs. It would seem therefore, that the laws on our books requiring those railings endorse a religious principle.
The Bible insists on equal weights and measures, and has for many thousands of years. In today's jargon it means that when you pull up to a gas pump, you expect to get every drop for which you pay. This is a biblical commandment. Should we therefore, for the sake of separation of Church and State, abandon all reason and remove those labels on the gas pumps that certify their trustworthiness for the consumer?
The Bible clearly instructs the people to pursue justice, to make sure that there are reliable witnesses in court cases, and that judges should never take a bribe nor favor one individual over another. A rigid interpretation of these biblical commands might indicate that a complete overhaul of our judicial system is required. Perhaps opponents should consider favoring a court that cares little for justice, allows anyone to testify regardless of relevancy to the case, or a system that requires bribes to get any case into court.
Otherwise, are we not guilty of endorsing and propagating a set of long-established religious doctrines?
These are only three examples of biblical commandment among many that could be debated - and perhaps should be debated. If we insist on pure separation of Church and State, then the 10 Commandments barely begin to address a Book that has affected our entire social structure. If we insist on absolute separation - of eliminating every vestige of identifiable religious form from the public arena - then we ultimately pursue chaos.
Some will undoubtedly say that I have taken the policy of absolute separation too far in these three examples. Despite that fact that they appear in the Bible millennia ago, a book of religious doctrine, many will cry that we need those laws for the common good and a healthy community.
My point exactly.
The Book that teaches us to put up handrails, to use equal weights and measures, and to have a just court system is the same Book that gave us the 10 Commandments - for our common good and to enable a healthy community.
Those who insist the Book must be vanquished from all areas of government, if they are genuinely serious about separating religious doctrine from all communal institutions, need to consider it in all of its forms and the subsequent ramifications.
Kevin M. Williams is a Messianic leader and regular contributor to the Pneuma Review. He lives with his wife Linda, and children, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Responses from Readers
I just visited your website and am encouraged about what you are doing for God. Keep it up!
I've had several prophecies to become a pastor, but I always try to run from that and now my life is in terrible state. Would you please advise me?
Response from the Foundation:
The Bible says that to serve the community of Jesus followers is an honorable and respected calling. The apostle Paul does say that there are requirements for serving in leadership roles in the community of believers, but he never says that God's grace and forgiveness is not big enough for certain sins we have done in the past. No matter what you have done in the past or the mess you are in right now, God's plan for you is reconciliation and restoration. Turn from sin and walk in His ways. Own up to the mistakes you have made and seek restitution and reconciliation as much as you are able. Submit to the leadership of the community of believers near you and honor their discipline and discipleship. When you humble yourself, when you come to rely completely on God's provision and enablement, then you will see his purposes come to fullness in your life.
I would like to bring this to your attention:
While searching on your site, [ http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links_schools.jsp#us ] instead of being directed to the link: ~ a school in California ~, a pornographic site appeared. I checked this multiple times, and indeed that is the link.
Don't worry...I am not offended, I just hope this can be corrected soon.
Response from the Foundation:
We do thank you for informing us of this. Webmaster Dave Driggs was able to correct this link-gone-bad the same day you informed us of it.
Thank you again.
I have been surfing the net looking for sound teaching on spiritual gifts. I was very pleased to have found your ministry and have applied for membership.
Thank you for the service you provide in listing so many links to Bible schools, denominations, online articles, and other ministries. It is very helpful, and we appreciate you including our link as well.
Thanks you very much for your updates please. Continue doing so as also we pray for you.
Source: Evangelist M
Glossolalia Research Project
Pentecostal/charismatic believers are invited to participate in a special glossolalia research project.
David J. McCollough writes: "I am looking for believers who can speak in tongues to make a tape of
their glossolalia for a special Glossolalia Research Project at Rutgers linguistic department."
For information about how to contact the project leader, Dr. de Lacy, or for information about how to send recordings over the internet, you may contact Pneuma Foundation Member Services.
Please note: Use common sense when participating in a research project. Although this appears to be a useful study project, the Foundation cannot endorse the results or the method utilized for completing this research.
Resources You Can Use
Reaching the Unreached: Special Offer
From the Missions Frontiers website: A Great Offer for Anyone in Christian Leadership
"We would like to invite you to receive regular or one time quantities of Mission Frontiers for distribution to your mission committees, pastors, denominational leaders or mission agency personnel.
"We want to serve you by providing free of charge extra copies of Mission Frontiers that you can distribute to those key Christian leaders that you have contact with.
"You can have a significant impact by helping us spread the vision of reaching the unreached peoples. If you would like to help us, please follow the instruction on the subscribe page. Your help will be greatly appreciated."
"Mission Frontiers is published bi-monthly by the U.S. Center for World Mission and is dedicated to fostering a global movement to establish an indigenous, and self-reproducing church planting movement amongst all of the 10,000 unreached peoples (ethnic groups) of the world as soon as possible.
"With a circulation of over 120,000 subscribers in 150 countries, Mission Frontiers is the most widely circulated publication of its kind, focused on helping Bible-believing followers of Christ worldwide to bring the Gospel of Christ to every people and nation, as seen in Revelation 5:9 and 7:9 of the Bible."
Online defense of the faith
Apologetics Blog: apologetics translated for real people
Source: Web Evangelism Bulletin, June (i) 2005
Assemblies of God history
The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center is an online museum where you can read the exhibits. There is a large collection of oral history from numerous classical Pentecostals, with many interviews that you may sample online. www.agheritage.org
Online books available
"The complete text of the Pursuit of Godliness books are now downloadable as PDF files from our website, free of charge. Are we giving away the store? Not at all. Our primary goal is make the books available to anyone, anywhere in the world, who would otherwise find it difficult or impossible to obtain them. Of course, we'd much rather you buy them, but if you or someone you know genuinely cannot afford the books, or if it will serve you to have the PDF files on your computer for personal use, they're all yours. Enjoy!"
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!
In order to complete this issue of the INFORMER while it is still June, no excerpts from the journal will be included.
- Pray for Christians in Kazakhstan: Teachers north of the capital Astana are putting pressure on children not to attend Protestant prayer meetings, telling children that prayer "can even cause death," Forum 18 News Service has learned. Children who attend prayer meetings are kept behind after school for "educational talks" in which they have been told that they are being turned into "shahids and zombies" (The Islamic term "shahid" is frequently used in former Soviet countries to describe suicide bombers). Parents have been ordered by teachers not to take their children to prayer meetings. The head of the regional Education Department has confirmed to Forum 18 that she ordered "educational work" with children who attend prayer meetings, and also that the national Education Ministry orders officials "at every meeting" to stop children going to church. Religious believers in Kazakhstan link these ongoing actions of the Education Ministry with current parliamentary moves to seriously restrict the religious freedom of all faiths.
Source: Forum18 News Service http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=571
- Please remember Kevin Williams in prayer. He fell over the June 11-12 weekend while walking his dog, landing on his shoulder. As a result, he has a broken clavicle and some damage to his rotator cuff. He would appreciate our prayers for healing and for relief from pain. Kevin is a contributing editor to the publications of the Pneuma Foundation.
- Pray for a Christian prisoner in Iran: An Islamic court has acquitted an Assemblies of God (AG) lay pastor on apostasy and proselytizing charges. During a court hearing in late May, in Bandar-i Bushehr, a judge reportedly declared he was acquitting Hamid Pourmand because he had "done nothing wrong" based on Islamic law, Compass Direct reported. Pourmand had faced execution by hanging under Muslim law for leaving the faith for Christianity 25 years ago.
Despite the acquittal, the pastor remains imprisoned, serving out a three-year jail sentence for a separate military court conviction also linked to his religious conversion. Pourmand, 47, was arrested last September by the Iranian security police while attending a church conference near Tehran. An army colonel, he pastored an AG congregation in the southern port city of Bandar-i Bushehr.
After five months of interrogation in strict solitary confinement, Pourmand was arraigned in February before a military court, accused of "deceiving the Iranian armed forces" by not reporting his conversion to Christianity. Despite clear-cut evidence to the contrary, he was ruled guilty, dishonorably discharged and handed down the maximum three-year prison sentence for his "crime."
After spending the next two months in a group cell at Tehran's Evin Prison, Pourmand was transferred on May 16 to a prison in Bandar-i Bushehr to stand trial before an Islamic court on separate apostasy and proselytizing charges, Compass reported.
For the past nine months, he has been subjected to repeated pressures to recant his Christianity and return to Islam in order to escape execution for apostasy, as required under the theocratic laws of Iran. Pourmand and his wife, Arlet, who is an Assyrian Christian, have two teenage sons, Immanuel and David.
Source: CharismaNOW http://www.charismanow.com/a.php?ArticleID=11237 Used with permission.
- Pray for Christians in Uzbekistan: The last legal Protestant church in north-west Uzbekistan has been closed by the Karakalpakstan region's Justice Ministry, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. As all unregistered religious activity in Uzbekistan is illegal, the church cannot now legally operate. Klara Alasheva, first deputy Justice Minister, denied that her ministry's closure of the church was persecution of the Protestant minority. "We warned the church last year not to conduct missionary activity but they carried on regardless," she told Forum 18. Alasheva also denied that Uzbekistan's ban on missionary activity violated its international human rights commitments. "That's what you're claiming, but we're legal specialists," she told Forum 18. The authorities in north-west Uzbekistan have long conducted an anti-Christian campaign, but Protestants in the region are known to still be active.
Source: Forum18 News Service http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=575
- Pray for Christians in Indonesia: In the wake of the May 28 bombing in Tentena, which left 21 people dead and 74 injured, both Muslim and Christian leaders have expressed concern about corruption and violence in Indonesia. Some Muslim leaders say the bombing is yet another reason why the nation should adopt sharia, or Islamic law, to combat moral decline, Compass Direct reported.
Source: CharismaNOW http://www.charismanow.com/a.php?ArticleID=11411 Used with permission.
- Congratulations to Emilie Walma and Ryan Davis who were married on June 25, 2005. Mrs. Emilie Davis has been a regular volunteer for Pneuma Foundation efforts in the past 3 years. May God bless your union!
- Pneuma Foundation volunteers say thanks to God and to our generous supporters. A recent financial need, mentioned in previous issues of the INFORMER, has been met. Thank you for joining with us in praying for these needs and supporting this ministry.