The October 2006 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.orgNew Featured Online Articles
New Links and Content Worth Noticing
- Numerous articles are available on the Online Articles index. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/web_article_archive.jsp
- "Believe in Miracles, But Follow Jesus" by Eddie L. Hyatt. Bible teacher Eddie Hyatt briefly looks at the unhealthy emphasis some place on the supernatural. He challenges us: "Don't follow signs. Follow Jesus and let the signs follow you." Added October 12, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=EHyatt-BelieveInMiracles.xml
- The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today Chapter One: "Background" by J. Rodman Williams. Also including Author's Preface and Introduction. Reprinted with minor updates from the author in the Spring 2002 issue of the Pneuma Review and now available online. Added October 10, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=JRWilliams-GiftHolySpirit1.xml
- The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today Chapter Two: "Dimensions" by J. Rodman Williams. Reprinted with minor updates from the author in the Summer 2002 issue of the Pneuma Review and now available online. Added October 18, 2006. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/article.jsp?article=JRWilliams-GiftHolySpirit2.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
- How we do Church: Book Review of The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson (Hyperion Books, 2006). This book review from www.ill-legalism.com by Rick Presley asks questions about how churches have or could adapt to the market trend of long tail economics. http://www.ill-legalism.com/thelongtailrpbr.htm
- Christianity Today celebrates 50 years of publication by looking at the Evangelical movement they have represented: "Where We Are and How We Got Here." Unlike the norm 50 years ago, this history acknowledges significant contributions by Pentecostal/charismatics under the Evangelical umbrella. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/october/16.42.html
- Theology Today: "Dear Word-Faith Friends" by Matt Green. The editor of Ministry Today says that the Word of Faith movement has come to a influential position in American religion, but the prosperity message still has some serious theological shortcomings. http://www.ministrytodaymag.com/blog/2006/09/dear-word-faith-friends.html
- Church Leadership: Watch out for the unsafe leader (Monday Morning Insights). http://mondaymorninginsight.com/index.php/site/comments/watch_out_for_the_unsafe_leader
- Christian History: Martin Luther (131 Christians Everyone Should Know, Christian History & Biography). http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/special/131christians/luther.html
Reports from Around the World
Jordan and Iraq: Iraqi Christians arrested then released, others killed in car bombing
Police arrested seven members of an underground church located in Jordan that was established for Iraqi refugees. Four men and three women were conducting vacation Bible school for children under the age of 10 in a nearby city, when several neighbors reported the activity to the police. The seven Iraqi refugees were taken to the police station for questioning.
After canceling their visas, police began to make preparations to deport the men and women back to Iraq. It was devastating news to the refugees, as they left Iraq to escape the war. Although the police were empathetic, they refused to break the law by allowing the refugees to stay.
The underground church congregation began to pray, as well as to speak with several government officials. After several days, the police chief informed the church that he felt strongly that he was to illegally release the refugees.
The church members are now praying for the means to buy a building of their own, to decrease the likelihood of arrests by centralizing their evangelistic activity. The church was planted by an indigenous ministry in Baghdad who sent staff members across the border into Jordan.
In Iraq, the ministry has experienced severe persecution in recent weeks. Three car bombs were detonated only feet from their church building. One of the bombs killed 40 people and injured 35. The other two bombs damaged the building.
The ministry leader reports, "The situation in Iraq is so dangerous, for there are kidnappers, terrorists, criminals and roadside bombs everywhere. People are so tired and scared." The believers ask for prayers of protection for their congregation, as well as the courage to continue spreading the gospel.
Source: Missions Insider September 19, 2006 http://www.christianaid.org
Australia: Girl's conversion results in mother's death
News and Headlines
This story has been removed at the request of World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis. Removed November 9, 2006.
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
Opportunity for Conversation
Are you interested in talking about the role of teachers and theologians in the church today?
Dr. C. Peter Wagner says that we should do away with theologians, or at least calling them that. A guest commentary hosted by Ministries Today is giving everyone an opportunity to write in with their comments, blog style, after reading Wagner's column.
Visit here to participate: http://www.ministrytodaymag.com/blog/2006/09/guest-commentary-goodbye-theologians.html
Resources You Can Use
Brigada Resource List for MKs and TCKs
The mission-resource folks at Brigada have made available for all their list of resources for missionary kids and third-culture kids.
See what your church visitors see! Get "mystery shoppers" to visit your church and evaluate the experience:
Please note that this service is not offered without cost.
Source: Web Evangelism Newsletter September (i) 06
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
Write a review online for the PNEUMA REVIEW!
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
. . .
The Not-Yet Nature of Reversing the Fruit of Sin
While in Jesus and the early church we see some of the fruit of sin reversed, there is also an acknowledgment that the fruits of sin have not yet been totally reversed. While we could cite examples in all realms of experience, the clearest of these is death. Death came through sin, but the resurrections of the dead which we see in Scripture are only occasional. It is true that Jesus is reported in the various Gospels to have raised two people from the dead. It is also true that part of the Matthean mission charge to the Twelve was "raise the dead" (Mat 10:8). Yet Acts reports only two (or possibly three) dead people being raised, and, unlike the summary reports in which many sick are said to be healed, there are no such summaries (e.g. "many dead were raised to life") for raising the dead. At the same time, there is a clear expectation in the New Testament of a final resurrection of the dead when all of the dead would be raised ("the redemption of our bodies," Rom 8:23). Thus the "not yet" of the present points to the coming fulfillment of human hope, while the "already" of the occasional raising of the dead whets the appetite for the full event.
The same could be said for all of the effects of sin. While in the present some people bow to Jesus (i.e. are evangelized), in the future "every knee will bow" (Phil 2:10). While in the present people are brought together in the church, where there is reconciliation of the various divisions of humanity (most notably the Jew-gentile division, Eph 2:14), in the coming age there will be one city, "the holy city Jerusalem," (Rev 21:10) which appears to unify many of the themes of Scripture (e.g. the Twelve apostles and the Twelve tribes) and which answers to the search for community (Enoch, Gen 4:17; Nimrod's cities, Gen 10:8-11). While there are stories in Scripture of the present provision of food and protection from the danger of natural disaster, in that age "they will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat" (Rev 7:16). Obviously the same type of "already - not yet" tension is present in the case of disease and the demonic. While Paul performs all types of healing miracles, at least once he must leave a co-worker behind sick (2 Tim 4:20; cf. Phil 2:26-27; 1 Tim 5:23; Gal 4:13-14); yet there is no disease whatsoever in the heavenly city, where every tear is wiped away (Rev 21:4). In the case of the demonic, Christians expel demons now but may not be able to expel every demon in the world, and there is no indication that Christians will expel the principalities and powers Paul speaks about. Yet in Revelation the demonic has disappeared into the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:10; cf. Mat 25:41).
The point which needs to be underlined is that in no area are the effects of sin completely reversed in this age, although in all areas there is some reversal of each of the effects of sin. There is always some tension remaining, even if there is a significant taste of "the powers of the age to come" (Heb 6:5). While this protects the church against a triumphalism which denies the reality of the present battle, it also points in hope to the coming final victory and the present experience of the partial reversal of the fruits of sin. The "not yet, " while inducing a longing for the future, should give faith and hope in the present as we see the "already" and realize that as it happens, as the fruits of sin are reversed, it is not perfection, but simply a down payment on what is coming.
. . .
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: Preaching to Every Pew
James R Nieman and Thomas G Rogers, Preaching to Every Pew: Cross-Cultural Strategies (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001), 159 pages.
This book is a "must-read" for every city church pastor because most city congregations have become multicultural. I have found in my own study that the majority of Pentecostal churches are racially, ethnically and socially mixed ("Pentecostal Preaching in North America" Th.D. dissertation, 2000).
Both of the book's authors are Lutheran ministers, members of the Academy of Homiletics and are practicing homileticians. Nieman's interest is in combining homiletical research with social sciences. Rogers' is interested in preaching and cross-cultural communication (his PhD is in homiletics).
This book is the result of extensive research and study about how pastors preach to a congregation of people that represents different cultures, languages, ethnicity, races and social classes. The authors build upon the experiences of pastors, analyze their situations and make recommendations.
In a world where the accepted norm is "me," "myself" and "I", with the added professionalism of the clergy, this book is a fresh and helpful work.
In the first chapter the authors present a biblical basis for multicultural communication and preaching. Jesus serves as the best example of cross-cultural communication. (One example is when He spoke and ministered to the Samaritan woman drawing water from the well). In chapters two to five the authors outline the main points of cross-cultural strategies. They are the frame of ethnicity, the frame of class, the frame of displacement and the frame of beliefs.
The frame of ethnicity, culture and race are the same. The frame of class refers to social status. The frame of displacement is about people who have moved from one place to another and who feel unattached to their present location. The frame of beliefs deals with people who have various views of Christianity. The background of a person influences their view of Christianity. For example, people who become Christians after being in a Buddhist background will have a different view of Christianity than someone who comes from rural America. (Christianity is a synthesis of former and present cultures).
At the end of each chapter Nieman and Rogers present suggestions on how to preach in various situations and then, in their final chapter, re-affirm the importance of being a loving and caring neighbor.
The authors suggest the best way to minister effectively to a cross-cultural congregation is to genuinely love the people, to treat people as neighbors in the biblical sense of the word. Pastors should treat people as part of the body of Christ. Even though there are differences each person is equally important. Pastoral preaching should be inclusive of each represented culture by adding illustrations and symbols in their sermons that will apply to the various groups in the congregation. (Or it could be a picture on the wall of one or more of the cultures represented). The preaching style should be flexible so as to meet the needs of the audience - it can be monologue, dialogue or a mixture of these two. The preaching should be Christocentric and must give hope. Augustine is a good example of someone who spoke effectively to a mixed audience.
Since this is a new area of study, I hope other scholars will build upon the research done by Nieman and Rogers so as to expand the boundaries of cross-cultural communication for pastoral preaching.
Reviewed by Aldwin Ragoonath
Aldwin Ragoonath, Ph.D., is a trained homiletician with special interest in Pentecostal preaching. He has pastored for over twenty years in the Caribbean and Canada. His ministry is devoted to helping pastors develop their preaching gift. He teaches Pentecostal preaching courses and facilitates seminars around the world. He is married and has two adult children and two grandchildren. He makes his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Read more reviews and articles from the Fall 2006 issue of the PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp
- Iran: Daughter of martyred Christian arrested and under the threat of execution On 26 September Reza Montazami (35) and his wife Fereshteh Dibaj (28), house-church leaders in Mashhad, Iran, were arrested and taken to a branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Their family has heard they will soon come before a Revolutionary Court.
Fereshteh is the daughter of Rev Mehdi Dibaj who was imprisoned in Iran for nine years before being sentenced to death for apostasy.
An international advocacy campaign led by Iranian Bishop Haik gained Mehdi Dibaj's release in January 1994. However over the next few months Bishop Haik, his successor Bishop Michaellian and Dibaj were all kidnapped and murdered by a team from Iran's secret police under the command of Mahmoud Saeedi. Saeedi today holds the post of Deputy Minister of Interior in the government of President Ahmadinejad. Please pray for Reza and Fereshteh and their family, the Iranian Church, and the authorities in Iran.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 398 "Iran: House-Church Leaders Arrested"
- The Pneuma Foundation is in need of your prayers for increased effectiveness and financial support. Gifts to the Foundation have been considerably less this year than in previous years. Because of our commitment to avoid debt, this means that new ministry efforts must remain on hold until finances are available. The executive committee is very excited about how a number of new individuals are submitting articles and reviews and volunteering to help. Those that have been giving of their finances and their time are most appreciated. Please pray that God would continue to expand this ministry and use it to spread the word about the power, love, and forgiveness found only in Jesus our Messiah.
Thank you for your support in prayer and financially.
- Afghanistan: Christians in the crosshairs. Afghanistan has suffered much conflict over the course of history. Today is no different as a 'new' Taliban is exerting a grip of terror and intimidation over Afghanistan's mostly impoverished 25 million. A radical Taliban, importing tactics and technology from Iraq, puts the Christian minority and Christian aid bodies at great risk. Moreover, recent hostilities threaten the peace and security that has engendered a small yet significant growth in Christianity.
Though Christians face risks of beatings, intimidation, family pressures and even death, faith in Christ and interest levels continue to grow. Pray for divine safety, strength and faithfulness to surround the Afghan church. Intercede for opportunities to worship together, although mostly in secret. Lift up all leaders and authorities and those working to build a climate of peace and security. May their efforts be graced with strength and endurance.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 399 Afghanistan: Christians in the Crosshairs
- India: Millions affected by severe flood in Orissa. Drought, floods, famine and cyclones make it virtually impossible for Orissa's 62 tribes, 80 percent of which depend upon farming for survival, to advance economically. Currently, more than 3 million people in 26 of the state's 30 districts are being affected by massive flooding, as torrential rains have devastated homes, crops and livestock. According to a report from one indigenous ministry, 37 million acres of land have been damaged, and 100,000 houses destroyed. Thousands have been killed.
Overflowing rivers have forced approximately 200,000 people from their homes and caused severe damage to roads. More than 500 roads, 15 of which were major highways, are submerged. Many people who lost their homes are camping along river embankments and highways. Others are taking shelter in schools and other public buildings.
Relief efforts have been hindered by the rising water level and stormy conditions, as well as stolen materials. Hundreds of villages, many that are completely inaccessible to governmental relief agencies, are still awaiting aid.
Please pray for the people of Orissa, India and the Christians that seek to share the love of Jesus in the midst of this extended catastrophe.
Source: adapted from Missions Insider September 19, 2006 http://www.christianaid.org
- Iraq: Christians in desperate need. Iraq's new constitution establishes Sharia as the supreme authority, rendering religious liberty a mere illusion. On top of that, the security situation for non-Muslims is absolutely diabolical. The ancient Mandaean sect, whose members claim to follow the teachings of John the Baptist, are facing total annihilation. The much larger Christian community is also facing catastrophe. The violence against them is destined to result in at least decimation, total marginalization and abject dhimmitude (subjugation), or at worst annihilation. Earlier this month 13 Christian Assyrian women were kidnapped and murdered for not dressing according to Islamic standards. Christians and other non- Muslims who are able are fleeing, mostly to Syria and Jordan, putting a huge strain on traditional hospitality. Around half the pre-war Christian and Mandaean population has either fled or died.
Unbelievably, multitudes of refugees are having their applications for asylum in the West rejected. Meanwhile, there is no end in sight to the violence, insecurity and ethnic-religious cleansing.
Reports indicate Mandaean and Christian leaders are being specifically targeted. Mandaean deacon Ra'ad Falh Mater Al-Osmani is one of several senior Mandaean figures murdered in recent days. He was assassinated on 10 October, the day before a Syrian Orthodox priest, Father Boulos Iskander (59), was found beheaded and dismembered in the Tahrir City district of Mosul. The Islamic militants who kidnapped Fr Iskander told his church that the ransom for his life would be reduced if the church repudiated the Pope's comments on the unreasonableness of Islamic violence. The church erected 30 large billboards all around Mosul repudiating the Pope's comments but their priest was murdered anyway. Fr Iskander leaves a wife Azhar, sons Fadi and Yohanna, a married daughter Fadiyeh, a daughter Miriam (13), a church in grief, a people facing annihilation, and a nation in need of a miracle that only Christ can deliver.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 400 " Belarus; Iraq: Christians Need Urgent Prayer"
- Belarus: Massive fine for "illegal" baptisms. Baptizing 70 people in a lake has led to the pastor of one of Belarus' largest Pentecostal churches being fined over 150 times the minimum wage, Forum 18 News Service has learned. This is, to Forum 18's knowledge, the first time that a congregation of a mainstream Protestant Union has had such a huge fine imposed for religious activity without state permission.
Judge Oksana Kusheva of Baranovichi Municipal Court imposed the fine on Pastor Sergei Poznyakovich and fined the Pentecostal Union's bishop for Brest region, Nikolai Kurkayev, a significantly smaller amount.
Baranovichi's state official dealing with religious affairs, Ruslan Krutko, told Forum 18 that Pastor Poznyakovich's fine was so large because the church performed similarly unsanctioned baptisms in the same lake in 2005. Confirming that the authorities had not responded formally to a request to be allowed to perform the baptisms, Krutko nonetheless insisted that official permission must be obtained in advance. A church member commented to Forum 18 that "if we are fined again within a year, the authorities will have grounds to close the church down."
Source: Forum18 News Service | Read the full article: http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=847
- 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"
Support the Pneuma Foundation
The Pneuma Foundation is supported by the generous gifts of its members and friends. If you would be interested learning more about how you can support the Foundation, please visit: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/supporting.jsp.
Mention of a ministry or organization in this publication does not mean that the Pneuma Foundation recommends that organization or its resources to you. Mention of an organization or its news or resources is for informational purposes only. Please exercise appropriate wisdom before utilizing resources or otherwise receiving any assistance from an organization mentioned within this publication.