The September 2006 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.org
New Featured Online Articles
The Pneuma Foundation website was down on September 7 for scheduled maintenance.
New Links and Content Worth Noticing
- Numerous articles are available on the Online Articles index. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/web_article_archive.jsp
- Discussion on the Pneuma Foundation Statement of Faith: Addressing a Concern Brad from Colorado writes with a concern about over-emphasizing speaking in tongues. Response by Pneuma Foundation Executive Director Raul Mock. Added September 5, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0066.xml
- Book review: Voyle Glover, Protecting Your Church Against Sexual Predators. Reviewed by Kirk Wesley Hunt. From the Summer 2006 issue of the Pneuma Review. Added August 30, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=article_0065.xml
- Periodical review: Tony Jones, "Inhabiting the Biblical Narrative: How I Learned to Stop Doing Bible Studies and Start Loving the Bible Again" Youthworker (May/Jun 2004). Reviewed by John Datema. From the Summer 2006 issue of the Pneuma Review. Added September 8, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0070.xml
- "Across the Lines: Charles Parham's Contribution to the Inter-Racial Character of Early Pentecostalism" by Eddie L. Hyatt, with comments by Pauline Parham. Historian Eddie Hyatt shares with us the fruit of his research into the alleged racism that has been attributed to Pentecostal pioneer Charles Parham. Was Parham a racist, or should he actually be given credit for encouraging a "colorblind" revival of Christianity? Was the rift between Parham and William Seymour ever mended? From the Fall 2004 issue of the Pneuma Review. Online article added September 8, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/EHyatt-AcrossTheLines.xml
- "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
- "Herrnhut: A Caribbean Shrine You Need to Know" by Charles Carrin. Brother Carrin shares a lesson from church history about a renewal that changed missions and changed him forever. Added September 15, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0071.xml
- "Beyond Understanding" Pastor Mur reminds us a little about what Heaven is like. Added September 5, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/article_0068.xml
- Guest article: "Pentecostalism's Future: Where Do We Go Now?" by J. Lee Grady (April 28, 2006). Charisma editor Lee Grady says that we must reclaim the spiritual fire we've lost. Added September 7, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=article_0069.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
- The largest list of Pentecostal/charismatic Bible Schools available online anywhere. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links_schools.jsp
Add your school. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links.jsp#link
- Sharing the Story of Jesus: "Missions: A Humble Journey Toward a New Creation" by John Edmiston (Lausanne World Pulse). http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/perspectives/408
Responses from Readers
I could not find a definition for the word, Sinophiles, which was used in a report about China in your resources section [see the "News From China" article in the August Pneuma Informer]. Could you please help me out? The Webster's on-line said it could not recognize the word.
Thank you for the China report. The Lord has been putting China on my heart for a week, and He keeps leading me to information about her. He has also been showing me the financial dependency we have with her, and has revealed to me some of the dangers of it.
- Sharon H.
Thank you for your question, it encourages us that folks all around the world are reading our newsletter and making use of its resources.
To answer your question: "A Sinophile is a non-Chinese who demonstrates a strong interest in various aspects of the Han Chinese nation or Chinese culture in general or who are fond of China or Hong Kong." Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinophile
If you found this definition helpful, you may find that the huge online, open-source encyclopedia called Wikipedia could be very helpful to you.
Keep praying for the people of the great nation of China!
- your friends at the Pneuma Foundation
Note of appreciation:
Greetings in the mighty name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
I received a book by Dr Craig S Keener and the book is just an insight to me. Please send message of appreciation to Pastor John Lathrop of Massachusetts for his commitment and service to me.
God bless you.
Rev MM, Zimbabwe
Response from John Lathrop:
At first I thought that perhaps this African brother received one of Craig's Bible Background Commentaries from Barnabas Ministries (a missions group that I recently went to Africa with) but I checked and this brother was one whom I spoke to while in Kwe Kwe, Zimbabwe. At the time that I spoke to him he did not have internet access so I ran off a copy of Craig's notes, that are on the Pneuma Foundation website - so that is the book he received! I am glad that he has enjoyed the notes. Thanks for letting me know about this.
Bible Interpretation Course Take a course on how to interpret the Bible by Professor Craig S. Keener. Professor Keener grants you permission to use this course to teach others and distribute his syllabus without cost.
Find this resource on the Download Resources page. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/downloads.jsp
"I thank you all for the ministry that God has given you."
Have a comment for us? Contact Us http://www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp
Reports from Around the World
Russia: New law would impact churches' outreach
Religious bodies in Russia seem likely to be more restricted soon in their normal activities, especially missionary work and evangelism. In August the Ministry of Justice informed registered religious bodies of a draft law "On the amendments to some federal laws aimed against illegal missionary activities." The proposed law contravenes the Russian Constitution as well as international treaties guaranteeing people the right to share their religious views and act in accordance with them. Even humanitarian work in the name of Christ would be outlawed. The draft legislation is due to go to the Russian parliament before the end of this year. If enacted the law would especially threaten churches for whom outreach and evangelism is basic in their activities. Please pray that the advocacy of believers, lawyers and others will succeed in getting the oppressive nature of the proposed law changed.
Source: WEA Religious Liberty Commission Prayer List 394 http://www.evangelicalalliance.org.au/rlc/
China: Would a religion law help promote religious freedom?
Some both inside the country and abroad argue that a national religion law would help end China's arbitrary treatment of religious believers and restrictions on their rights by allowing them to appeal to an objective law. But the authorities avoided adopting a religion law and instead passed updated religion regulations in late 2004, though the question of whether a law should be adopted remains live. While the current regulations are contradictory and are implemented arbitrarily - some unregistered places of worship face severe crackdowns while others are untouched - Forum 18 News Service concludes that without an independent judiciary capable of enforcing a law objectively and while existing state laws are interpreted arbitrarily, any religion law would be unlikely to end state interference in religious life and allow religious believers to defend their rights.
Read the full article here: http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=840
Source: Forum18 News Service, 11 Sept 2006
Digital Talking Bibles now in Africa
Talking Bibles International is excited about the fact that for the first time ever, to their knowledge, digital Talking Bibles are available in Africa. 1,000 Talking Bibles are on their way to Malawi, Africa. Organizers from the Bible Society of Malawi were to have dedicated the first Chichewa First Audio Bible in the stadium in Blantyre, Malawi.
Source: Brigada Today 2006/08/25
Belarus: "If they try to stop God one way, we'll try another."
News and Headlines
Despite tight restrictions on missionary activity in the highly restrictive Belarusian religion law - and approval for such activity hard to get - religious believers still have one unexpected way of sharing their faith in public: through popular music.
In what seems to be a unique phenomenon in the former Soviet Union, Forum 18 has found that faith-inspired musicians have achieved broad public support in Belarus. Almost every week since June 2006, for example, Salvation - a group from the western region of Brest - has held first place on "Silver Marathon", a state television program in which viewers vote for their favorite current pop song by text message. In addition to their name, Salvation's song is clearly Christian in sentiment: "You built a bridge from heaven to earth... heaven weeps raindrops of love over you and me."
Paradoxically, state restrictions on the media have proved of assistance in this regard. Since January 2005, all FM radio stations in Belarus may devote no more than 20 per cent of their airtime to foreign music, and several popular Belarusian rock bands are banned from public performance due to their declared opposition to President Aleksandr Lukashenko.
Despite the reduced competition, however, the Belarusian Christian bands now flourishing are - as Forum 18 observed - both more accomplished than many Russian pop musicians and appear to be more accessible to a young secular audience than their counterparts in the West.
According to Patlis - who hails from the western city of Grodno and became Christian as a young conscript in the early 1990s - "Belarus always differed from the rest of the Soviet Union in having a lot of Christian bands." He confirmed that New Jerusalem's approach is intentionally subtle: "If people turn on the TV and see a black suit and a Bible, they think 'Oh, Baptist' and switch channel. And Christians also feel disappointment, fall in love from time to time - it's not just 'Jesus Loves You'." Also, while the band's members are committed Protestants, Patlis works closely with prominent local Orthodox musicians, and there is extensive use of Catholic imagery in the video for "That Love." "We purposefully don't accentuate the fact that we are Protestant," he told Forum 18. "The important thing is not a particular doctrine, but bringing the truth of Jesus Christ to people. There are four gospels, some might prefer one or other, but what matters is that Christ is at the centre of all of them."
Acknowledging that "to a great extent people know we're Protestant but no one has ever stopped us from doing anything," Patlis ascribed this to New Jerusalem's efforts at building up relationships in the music industry over the past nine years: "We just became friends with producers, directors, journalists, so today the people who work in the media are simply our friends, and they help us." In December 2005, Patlis said, he even performed a track from "Fragments of Heaven" to the accompaniment of the presidential orchestra as part of a televised concert, and some 18 months ago New Jerusalem members and their families were invited to discuss the Christian upbringing of children on a state television talk-show.
When Forum 18 asked whether the prevalence of religious themes in Belarusian popular music might be the consequence of the extensive state restrictions on organized church activity, Patlis remarked "if they try to stop God one way, we'll try another." Due to "our inefficiency", he suggested, Christians sometimes wrongly think that they will always be able to work in familiar ways, but "we should be praying for and using opportunities to reach people, or the grace will go some place else."
Source: Forum18 News Service, 20 Sept 2006. adapted from http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=842
for Current News and Links
- India: Police may arrest anyone accused of "proselytizing" without warrant (Times of India). | Ruling by Supreme Court will further empower the persecution of Christian leaders. World Evangelical Alliance predicts the rise of a Hindu Taliban (see WEA Religious Liberty News & Analysis). http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1863281.cms
- Cuba: "Ministries Eager but Skeptical on Cuban Change Evangelistic and church groups not partying like it's 1989, when communism fell in Eastern Europe (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/132/42.0.html
- Landmark Study on Global Evangelism Released An important new study focuses on remaining barriers to global evangelism and offers a strategic roadmap to accomplish the Great Commission among unreached people groups. Experts say that "three out of four people alive on the earth today still have not heard the Gospel" (ASSIST News Service). Suggested by Brigada Today. http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/s06060084.htm
- USA Courts: Court decisions cheer opponents of same-sex marriage Seven victories in July encourage proponents of traditional marriage (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/009/2.23.html
- China: "A More Practical Approach" by David Aikman. A fledgling group in China tries a "new" strategy to secure human rights (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/008/27.58.html
- Tongues Censored: "Seminary leader rebukes pastor over sermon" Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson has issued an unusual rebuke to the Rev. Dwight McKissic, a seminary trustee and prominent Arlington pastor, for acknowledging during a chapel service that he sometimes speaks in tongues when he prays (Star-Telegram of Ft. Worth, TX). http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/15416086.htm
- USA: The secularization of America has been exaggerated New survey shows that many of those previously classified as "non-religious" are actually active non-denominational Evangelicals, even if they avoid the "E-word" to describe themselves. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/137/21.0.html
- Editorial: "Confessions of a Bapticostal" by J. Lee Grady. "I discovered the Holy Spirit's power in a Baptist church. So why are Baptists today trying to censor Him?" (Fire in Bones). http://www.fireinmybones.com/Columns/090806.html
- Editorial: "The Dogs Aren't Barking" by David C. Stolinsky. Should it be a surprise? Persecution of Christians Goes Unnoticed. Numerous news links included. http://www.stolinsky.com/news/news/news_item.asp?NewsID=306
- China: "China's New Legal Eagles" by Tony Carnes. Evangelical lawyers spur civil rights movement forward (full article from Christianity Today September 2006). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/009/39.106.html
- USA: Court Says Tithing Not an Option for the Bankrupt Some see this precedent as favoring the credit industry at the expense of religious liberty. 1998 law let bankrupt give, but judge says 2005 bankruptcy reform law "closes the door" (ChristianityTodayOnline). Suggested by TS. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/137/52.0.html
- "On Fire at Jesus Camp" A new documentary depicts charismatic kids who are articulate and take faith seriously. But have they been "indoctrinated"? Is it a fair representation of evangelicals? Or too political? Christianity Today Movies interviews the directors. http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/interviews/jesuscamp.html | Response from a classical Pentecostal: "Brainwashed in the blood?" by Rich Tatum. "As a Pentecostal, I'm not too thrilled with the way kids from my denomination are depicted in Jesus Camp. Matter of fact, this new documentary ticks me off—for a number of reasons" (ChristianityTodayMovies). http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/commentaries/brainwashed.html
- China: "The Price of Protest" Chinese police beat hundreds during church demolition in a Hangzhou suburb. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/010/2.23.html
- Sri Lanka: "Soaking in Blood—Again" Violence has cost thousands of lives, and relief efforts have been set back (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/010/10.128.html
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
"Beyond Understanding" by H. Murray Hohns
Guest Article by H. Murray Hohns
Every once in a while I am asked to perform a funeral service. A funeral sermon typically includes three segments: a time to reminisce, a time to release and a time for resolution.
My custom is to talk about heaven as I transition from the release segment to the resolution phase. People are tender at funerals so my intent is to challenge them to seriously think about what is ahead. The choices they face and specifically, the choice of heaven or an ending where one is separated from God forever.
Heaven is far different from anything we have known or imagined here on earth. Everything flourishes in heaven; everything is whole there, and everything is filled with delight. Nothing can be added to what is in heaven except you.
I live in the city where I often hear sirens. There are no sirens in heaven. No emergencies. No fears. No need to rush. Life cannot be lost in heaven. No wounds, no accidents, nothing unexpected. There is no anger, stress or anxiety there. There are no crutches, wheel chairs, canes, braces, hospitals, operations, medicine, nor patient care there. No one gets old in heaven. There is no pain. You never hurt or feel out of sorts. You are never upset. You never get tired.
Worry does not exist. You cannot be concerned in heaven. No one loses their cool. Everyone is satisfied. Contentment reigns. Peace and joy span time eternal. Everything is perfect. Perfect forever since time is no more. There is no such thing as a bad day or even a bad moment. God has wiped away every tear. Joy abounds to the point where it is commonplace, but never common for God's presence is joy unspeakable.
Heaven is so different from anything anyone on earth has ever experienced. It is a place where the first can be last, and not mind. Jealousy does not exist there. No competition, no winners, no losers. No copyrights, rights of any kind, or ownership of anything. Pride will not exist. Gratitude will abound.
In short, heaven is totally other than what we know or can imagine. It is far beyond our comprehension and understanding. I, like you, have had some great moments, times when total delight ruled for an hour, a day, a week or even longer. But even with those moments, there was always the chance that something could happen to ruin the great joy being experienced. There was always that exposure to humanity and our shortcomings.
There are no short comings in heaven. No surprises. No time or chance. Instead there is an ever unfolding of wonder layered on wonder that contains and restrains each and every soul in never ending awe. We will ever stand in awe of God and the splendor of his holiness.
There are no obligations in heaven. No rules. No agreements. You do not need rules when perfection reigns. No one is there who would ruin anything or disturb the complete perfect peace of God. There is nothing to be redeemed, repaired or fixed in heaven. There is nothing to be forgiven, no resentment or hurt to be harbored in one's heart.
No one there does anything that they should not do. There is no temptation there. No insurance to buy. There are no risks there. You will not have to be careful in heaven because care for the other person is part of being there.
Scripture tells us that we shall be so overwhelmed with what God has prepared for us who are called by his name, that we will stop all activity and all thought to call God holy, holy, holy. We will fall on our faces as we cry those words, sealed with the beauty of his holiness, proclaiming to ourselves and to all that only He is worthy, worthy of all honor, glory and praise.
And most amazing of all is that anyone can go there. We have all been invited to what scripture describes as the marriage supper of the lamb. Come and dine! Jesus Christ is Lord of all. Think about heaven. What it really is. It is not a gaudy plastic place paved with streets of gold and glitz but a place with relationships, the best sense and presence, finer than the finest gold. Nothing compares with God. Imagine being able to meet your creator, and to know that you are welcome and belong.
How about you? Will you be there? If you are not sure, Jesus, the savior, is knocking at the door of your heart right now. Will you open that door and invite him into your heart? Remember you are your doorkeeper to heaven. You have the power to open that door. Think about that. You do not want to miss what God has planned for you in heaven and on this earth as well.
H. Murray Hohns is a retired civil engineer and technical writer. He is an ordained Foursquare minister, an instructor at Pacific Rim Bible College in Hawaii, serves on his denomination's national financial council, and is a regular contributor to PNEUMA REVIEW and PNEUMA INFORMER.
Resources You Can Use
Christian Podcast Directory Launched
Christian.com launched GodCast1000.com last month, the largest podcast directory dedicated solely to Christian podcasts.
"Religious believers want more 'God on their iPod,' and churches are rapidly finding that through podcasting, church members can take the Sunday sermon with them throughout the week," said Lee Raney, president of Christian.com.
GodCast1000.com ranks the top Christian podcasts by categories, such as church sermons, Christian music, and Bible study. The largest category is sermons, and over 150 church sermon podcasts can be found and subscribed to for free on the site.
The newest trend in podcasting is video podcasting, also called "vidcasts" or "video blogs."
Recognizing the growing number of churches beginning to podcast, Christian.com is also launching a new service called SermonCast, which helps churches convert audio tapes and CDs to podcasts. www.GodCast1000.com
Source: Web Evangelism Newsletter September (i) 06
Michael Peter's book, The Case For Charismatics (revised in 2005), is available for purchase through Amazon.com in print or as an e-book. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1412047501
Two of these chapters appeared previously in the Pneuma Review.
* In the Fall 1998 issue: "Distinct From Salvation?" Pastor Michael Peters takes a look at the Baptism with the Spirit in light of the whole salvation experience.
* In the Summer 1999 issue: "Baptism in the Spirit: Is it Normal to Receive At or After Conversion?" Pastor Michael Peters investigates what is normative Spirit baptism.
To read the full contents of all issues of the Pneuma Review, point your internet browser to: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/pr_archive.jsp
Comments and News
Some of the best writing on the planet emerges from Christianity Today magazine and their associated publications. CT offers a range of email newsletters you can sign up for: http://www.christianitytoday.com/free/features/newsletters.html
Source: Web Evangelism Newsletter September (i) 06
Thoughts to Ponder
"Show me how you live and I'll tell you what you believe."
"Remember, when God says to us at the end of our earthly lives, 'well done my good and faithful servant,' he's not talking about what we've done, but about what we've become."
Source: Dallas Willard
"It is simply impossible to lead, without the aid of prayer, a virtuous life."
Source: John Chrysostom
"Faith without works is like a song you can't sing."
Source: Rich Mullins
"In order for our false selves to die with Jesus, we must break through denial, detach ourselves from the objects of addiction, acknowledge anger over loss of these objects, and grieve until the Holy Spirit comes and heals us."
Source: Don Williams
Articles from the Fall 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
Buy the PNEUMA REVIEW online at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000D8CY9
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Back issues of the Pneuma Review
Currently this issue is available for direct purchase online: Summer 2006 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000IGEEPS
For a full index of the contents of all Pneuma Review issues, visit: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/pr_archive.jsp. More back issues will be added soon.
From "A Biblical View of the Relationship of Sin and the Fruits of Sin: Sickness, Demonization, Death, Natural Calamity" by Peter H. Davids
From the series, The Power of the Cross: The Biblical Place of Healing and Gift-Based Ministry in Proclaiming the Gospel
Christ's death on the Cross atones for and cleanses us from all sin, and the atonement of the Cross provides the basis for God's work to sanctify us and restore us from the brokenness which sin brought into our lives (Isa 53:4-6; Mk 10:45; Rom 3:22-25; 5:8-9; II Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13; Col 1:21-22; I Tim 2:6; Heb 2:14; 9:14, 26-28; 10:10; I Pet 1:18-21; 2:24; 3:18; I Jn 2:2; 3:5, 8). How is sin related to healing and wholeness in the Bible, and how is personal sin related to praying for someone's healing as prescribed in James 5?
The problem with the human race is, according to Scripture, sin, and the problem with sin is that it has effects. What is more, the effects are not simply the immediate results of the sinful act, but also the long-term consequences of the act, sometimes affecting only the individual and at times engulfing the whole of the human race.1 In this chapter we want to look at what parts of the human experience are traceable to sin, as well as examine the biblical solution to these consequences.
. . .
Reversing the Fruit of Sin in the Old Testament
If the fruits of sin include those things which we discussed above, we need to ask if there is a way to reverse them? In other words, if one sins (or if others sin and one is exposed to the results), must he or she simply accept the bitter fruit, or does the Scripture present some other solution?
In the Old Testament there is an answer, which is Yahweh himself. "I am the Lord who heals you." (Exo 15:26, NRSV). How does one appropriate this health? By submission to Yahweh, "If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God ..." (Exo 15:26a). The essence of sin in Gen. 3 was to seek independence from God, thus the essence of the healing of sin is to return to a relationship of submission to God. Naturally, with the healing of the sin itself comes the healing of the effects of sin, such as sickness. (See also Prov 3:7-8; 4:22.) Thus Ps 103:3 (NRSV) describes God as the one, "who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases," and then goes on to describe rescue from death ("the Pit") and promise long life. The Psalm continues and describes Yahweh as the one whose nature focuses on forgiving. (So also Isa 33:22-24, and in a metaphorical sense of the nation as a whole, Jer 30:17.) In Psalm 103 submission to Yahweh is also presented as protection from the fruit of sin in the world around us (specifically, protection from disease and death in battle).
While we have chosen specific illustrative texts, this is a consistent picture throughout the Old Testament. Yahweh is the one who announces the penalty for sin; he is also the one who describes himself as, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness ..." (Exo 34:6-7, NRSV). Now it is true that the same passage indicates that he will "[visit] the iniquity of the parents upon the children ... to the third and the fourth generation," but this appears to be more the divine response to continued rebellion than the core of his nature. While one can find plenty of examples of severe judgment in the Old Testament, God is also continually pictured as forgiving. We might not be surprised that David (a "man after [God's] own heart") is forgiven when he commits adultery and murder (2 Sam 12:13), but Jonah pictures God as forgiving the Assyrians, 1 Kings 21:29 as forgiving Ahab, 2 Kings 5 as healing the Aramean commander Naaman (when the latter submits to the directive of God), and Jer 38:17-23 as offering salvation to Zedekiah if the king would only obey Yahweh. None of these latter three individuals were good folk in any sense of the word. In two of the cases they were within days of a judgment (a fruit of sin) which had been announced without any "ifs" about it. Yet repentance and submission could still advert the judgment.
A similar picture of God as the deliverer from the fruit of sin appears in Job, in which suffering for other than personal sin is discussed. The pious Job does suffer because of the sin of others (assuming that Satan is viewed as an evil being and the attacks of the various raiders are sinful acts). All of the time Job is suffering, God is not seen on the earthly plane. For some reason never explained, he has accepted Satan's challenge and permitted the evil to happen. When God is seen by Job, he shows up as the deliverer.
Thus in the Old Testament the answer to the fruit of sin is Yahweh. When one repents and returns to a position of submission to Yahweh, the corporate and individual fruits of sin are removed. The drought ends, the armies are victorious, the plague ceases, the individual disease is healed, etc. There are certainly ambiguities in this picture, but the basic picture itself is clear.
. . .
Peter H. Davids (as of 1993) is Researcher and Theological Instructor on staff at the Langley Vineyard Christian Fellowship, Langley, British Columbia, Canada. Prior to this post, he was Professor of Biblical Studies and New Testament at Canadian Theological Seminary, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. He received a Ph.D. (New Testament, 1974) from the University of Manchester, England. He has written commentaries on the book of James (New International Greek Testament Commentary, Eerdmans) and I Peter (New International Commentary on the New Testament, Eerdmans) and numerous articles for scholarly journals.
Endnotes appear in the full issue. Read the rest of this article in the Fall 2006 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jspBook Review: The Azusa Street Mission And Revival
Cecil M. Robeck, Jr., The Azusa Street Mission And Revival: The Birth Of The Global Pentecostal Movement (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), 342 pages.
About ten years ago, I audited a seminary course about the Pentecostal Movement. The course was a cooperative effort between Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Harvard Divinity School. The classes were held at Harvard Divinity School and were team-taught by two professors, one from each of the respective schools. During that course, the Harvard professor, Harvey Cox, said that if Cecil Robeck ever sat down to write about Azusa Street that his book would be the definitive work on the subject. If that is true, we have the first volume now available (Robeck indicates in the book that he expects more volumes to follow). The release of this book is very timely; it coincides with the one hundredth anniversary of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the Azusa Street Mission.
Robeck has done extensive research for this book. The book is filled with detailed information about dates, times, places and people. He has gathered this information from a number of sources including interviews with eyewitnesses of the revival and the secular press. The variety of his sources allows him to show the reader how Azusa Street was viewed by both believers and unbelievers alike. Writing about one hundred years after the revival allows Robeck to step back and be fairly objective in interpreting the facts that he has gathered.
The book gives considerable attention to the pastor of the Azusa Street Mission, William J. Seymour. Robeck looks at various factors that contributed to making Seymour the leader that he was, namely his upbringing and spiritual journey. Seymour comes across as a very humble and devout man, who was a team player. One indication of this was that he had a leadership team at the mission that was made up of both men and women and was multi-ethnic. Another evidence of his team spirit was his desire to cooperate, and work with leaders of other Pentecostal ministries. Though Seymour was humble he was also very strong, he had to deal with difficult issues at the mission as well as multiple attempts by leaders, from outside of the mission, who tried to discredit him or steal his ministry.
The book also gives one a good look at the services of the Azusa Street mission. Robeck writes about various aspects of the services including, the worship, preaching and singing that took place at the mission. One very interesting section dealt with singing in the Spirit. The revival had many critics, from both inside and outside the church, but one thing that seems to have especially touched the visitors at Azusa Street was hearing the congregation sing in tongues. When writing about the mission Robeck does not attempt to gloss over, or cover up the shortcomings of the mission, questionable practices and false doctrines are mentioned along with the revival's positive aspects.
The book also demonstrates that the Azusa Street Mission was not just a "bless me club." While people came from near and far to receive their baptism in the Holy Spirit at the Azusa Street mission the experience was not seen as an end in itself. The purpose of the baptism was to be a witness. Many people went out from Azusa Street as missionaries, some went to the other parts of the United States and some to other countries. While the missionary emphasis was good and God used many who went out, the book demonstrates that there were some problems as well. Some who went out to the field were ill equipped doctrinally, and in other ways, and as a result, some who went to the field did not stay very long. One factor that had some bearing on this was a misunderstanding about speaking in tongues. Many at that time believed that when God gave them the ability to speak in tongues that He had given them a new tongue so that they could preach the gospel in another land without having to study the language. Some were troubled when they got to the field and this did not prove to be true.
The Azusa Street Mission And Revival chronicles both the rise and decline of the Azusa Street mission. What is amazing about Azusa Street is that this is the story of how God took a prayer meeting of fifteen people and grew it into something that would shake the world. There is much in the book to instruct, encourage, and challenge, as we move into the second century of the contemporary Pentecostal Movement.
Reviewed by John Lathrop.
John Lathrop, a graduate of Zion Bible Institute and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies (formerly the Christian Church of North America). John currently serves as a pastor at the Christian Pentecostal Church of Newton, Massachusetts.
Read more reviews and articles from the Fall 2006 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp
- "Unreasonable" Jihad menaces Middle Eastern Christians: Islamic militants in Iraq and the Palestinian Territories (PT) have threatened to destroy churches and kill Christians in response to Pope Benedict's speech at the University of Regensburg. A 14th Century Byzantine emperor quoted in the Pope's address had asserted that violent Islamic jihad is evil and essentially unreasonable because it is contrary to the very nature of God. Two of seven churches already attacked in PT have been destroyed. A 70-year-old nun was ambushed and shot in the back in Somalia. Al-Qaeda in Iraq has vowed to "destroy the cross," slit the throats of Christians and make their belongings and children the bounty of the mujahideen. Please pray for the most vulnerable and endangered believers in these places, that God will be their deliverer.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 396 Somalia, Iraq, Palestinian Territories: 'Unreasonable' Jihad
- Director Michael K. of Hosanna Calvary Healing Ministry in Myanmar has asked for prayer for continued, effective outreach. He writes: "I founded this ministry in 1997 because the Lord gave me a burden to heal the people of my country physically, mentally and spiritually. Currently, we have five churches and one orphanage home. We have a great vision to win our nation by the power of the Holy Spirit and by the Word." Reference number: 90026261
- Pastor Kiefa writes: "I would like you to pray for Nyarenda Fellowship that God helps us build two church buildings and helps us to find a sponsor to help the church orphanage school." Reference Number: 90025757
- Nigeria: Churches burned in Jigawa: According to reports from Dutse (capital of Jigawa state, northern Nigeria) on 19 September a woman responded to offensive remarks about Jesus with allegedly 'blasphemous' remarks about Mohammad. The subsequent Islamic riot by thousands of Muslim youths left around ten of Dutse's 15 churches burned and looted, along with many houses, vehicles and some 40 shops. When Muslim rioters started hunting Christians, thousands fled their homes and sought refuge in military and police barracks. Muslim rioters also attacked and wounded state authorities who went to the central mosque to try to defuse and pacify the situation. Religious tension spread to the religious fault-line city of Kaduna (capital of Kaduna state, central Nigeria). Only the swift police response kept the city under control. Please pray for strong government leadership, rule of law, and for God himself to protect his Church.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 397 September 06 Update
- Tajikistan: Religious intolerance needs to be halted: Some 97 per cent of Tajikistan's seven million people are Sunni Muslims. Christianity is amongst the religious minorities, and Protestant Christians are about 0.02 per cent of the population.
Though Tajikistan is officially secular, the government strongly supports Sunni Islam. Religious minorities are persecuted or heavily restricted, especially in their outreach to the ethnic Tajik population. When ethnic Tajiks become Christians their Islamic families and community ostracize them. Please pray for them. Since July 2005 the activities of the churches have been increasingly controlled. Earlier in 2006 a new law was proposed that would severely restrict the churches and stop the activities of non-registered religious bodies. Getting registration for a church in Tajikistan is very difficult now but under the draft law it would be almost impossible. Please pray that it will be dropped.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 395 "Tajikistan: Religious intolerance needs to be halted"
- Brother Aung has asked for prayer about the following: "1. The peace of Myanmar. 2. The new converts so that they may be able to stand firm on His Word and Love. 3. The debt of my church (City Church) in Yangon. We still need to pay for US$ 11000 without interest. 4. The developments of Myanmar Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (MEGST) and Myanmar Center for Theological Studies (MCTS) in Yangon, Union of Myanmar. 5. The church planters who are reaching the unreached people group by sharing the good news and planting churches among them. 6. The workers of the 7 Orphanages and orphans." Reference Number: 90026246
- Iran: Christian released from prison: Iranian Christian Hamid Pourmand was released from prison on 20 July 2006, fourteen months before his sentence expired. After much suffering he has been reunited with his family. However Compass Direct reports that Pourmand was warned 'that attending church services could cause his release orders to be revoked, sending him back to finish his prison term'. Please thank God for his goodness in sustaining this family. Please continue to pray for God to protect his faithful Christian witnesses in Iran, and bless their ministry and witness with great effectiveness.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 397 September 06 Update
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