The October-November 2008 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.orgNew Online Articles
New Links and Content Worth Noticing
- Winfield Bevins, "The Spirit of Life." Pastor Winfield Bevins introduces us to God the Holy Spirit and shows from the Bible how He helps us. Added October 2, 2008. http://www.PneumaFoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/WBevins-TheSpiritOfLife.xml
- New to the Guest Articles index: Mike J. Knowles, Living Out Creation. Recognizing our creatureliness humbles us and teaches us to praise our Creator. Added October 8, 2008. http://www.PneumaFoundation.org/article.jsp?article=/MKnowles-Guest-LivingOutCreation.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
- Troy Anderson, "A New Day for Apologetics: People young and old are flocking to hear - and be changed by - winsome arguments for the Christian faith" (Christianity Today, July 2008). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/july/14.29.html
- Ed Dobson, "Opening the Closed American Mind: Some principles for reaching skeptics with the truth" (Outreach & Evangelism). http://www.christianitytoday.com/outreach/articles/openingclosedamericanmind.html
- Book Review: Scott Billingsley, It's a New Day, Race and Gender in the Modern Charismatic Movement (Univ. of Alabama Press), 202 pages. Reviewed by Matthew Avery Sutton in Books & Culture (Sep/Oct 2008). http://www.christianitytoday.com/books/features/bookwk/080929a.html
- Jack Hayford, "What's Really Important" Examining the principles that are essential in leading a congregation to maturity and fruitfulness. http://ministrytodaymag.com/display_cms.php?id=1242
- James Emery White, Opening Gateways to the Unchurched 4 myths about reaching the unchurched - and 4 ways to draw them in (Outreach & Evangelism). http://www.christianitytoday.com/outreach/articles/gatewaycountry.html
- David Ravenhill, "You Can't Bribe God" (Charisma, March 2007). http://charismamag.com/articles/index.php?id=14675
- "Missional Shift or Drift?" Research shows that pastors' views of the gospel and mission are changing. But should we celebrate or repent? (Leadership, Fall 2008). http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2008/fall/7.23.html
- James K. A. Smith "Thinking in Tongues" First Things (April 2008), pages 27-31 http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=6173
- Scott Hagan, "HELP! Someone Is Speaking in Tongues: Things can get awkward when someone gives a message in tongues on Sunday morning. Here's how to manage the moment" Ministry Today (Mar/Apr 2005). http://www.ministrytodaymag.com/display.php?id=10653
Reports from Around the World
Iran: On the verge of a Jesus revolution
Read the article "Today's Iranian Revolution: How the Mullahs Are Leading the Nation to Jesus" by Krikor Markarian in the September-October issue of Mission Frontiers. The article is available online here: http://www.missionfrontiers.org/2008/05/PDFs/06-13%20Iranian%20Revolution.pdf (This downloads a PDF file immediately, about 560KB)
The full issue of the magazine may be found here: http://www.missionfrontiers.org/2008/05/200805.htm
Some quotes from the article: "The Persian people themselves were beginning to react in a negative way to the harsh restrictions imposed by the implementation of Islamic law."
"One lady, who has personally distributed 20,000 Bibles, says never once did anyone turn her down. Rather, the vast majority received it as the greatest treasure they had ever been given."
"Although presently this new movement is entering into a new period of trial, this time around they have a strong international network of believers, churches and ministries standing ready to help them. Now they have the Scriptures in Farsi, contextualized worship songs, leadership training programs, and satellite broadcasts. And last but not least, they have the promise of Jesus, who said, 'I will build my church . . .' Without any doubt, the move of the Holy Spirit in Iran is evidence of that ultimate and enduring reality."
Inflated numbers were deliberate misinformation
In August we offered a link to a transcript of an Arabic TV [Al-Jazeerah] program: "Rare look at Islam: Muslims discuss the annual exodus of 6 million African Muslims to Christianity."
We have since learned that this was deliberate misinformation on the part of the speaker, as pointed out by the Barnabas Fund.
In a report by Patrick Sookhdeo of the Barnabas Fund entitled "Exaggerated Convert Figures Could Cost Lives," caution is urged to keep secret believers secret and avoid broadcasting provocative numbers.
Sookhedo says, "A story that six million African Muslims are becoming Christians every year resulted from claims made by Sheikh Ahmad al Katani of Libya in a televised interview shown [on] Al-Jazeera. The sheikh's aim appeared to be to alarm Muslim viewers with high figures of Muslims leaving their faith in order to persuade them to give more generously to Islamic missionary efforts in Africa."
Source: Adapted from WebEvangelismBulletin: Web Evangelism Newsletter Sept 08
UN Anti-blasphemy resolution: Weapon against free religious speech
The United Nations Anti-Blasphemy resolution is drawing the ire of evangelical mission groups. Carl Moeller with Open Doors explains that in application, "This anti-blasphemy resolution is mostly seen to be putting a 'chilling effect' on Christian work and outreach around the world, and that is a very troubling development for us." Free speech advocates say the non-binding resolution is being used to intimidate believers and spread Sharia law. Despite the good intentions, Moeller says, "The reality is that wherever Christianity and Islam come into relationship with each other in the culture, the net effect has been for Christian evangelism to be silenced or to be intimidated through this act." Moeller urges prayer because "the slope is so slippery because everything that purports to criticize Islam is considered 'blasphemy.' Anything that promotes another religious viewpoint, like Christianity, is considered 'blasphemy.' It really becomes the ultimate weapon against free religious speech around the world."
Source: Mission Network News, 9 October, 2008. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/11757
Protection from attack, "Covered in flames"
John, a contributor to Pneuma Foundation publications writes: "Below is the text of an email that I received today from one of our missionaries in South Africa. Pretty amazing story."
Pastor Lucas came last night, he pastors the church in R., where we have had problems. He felt to say in church Sunday during Worship, which is when God speaks, that someone there had to confess something. Well, a young man who has been there for some time, went to him yesterday to confess that he was a Satanist and was sent there to that church by the local satanist coven to stop him. They didn't want that church there, but every time, he tried to do something to Lucas or the church, it was covered in flames and he couldn't get near it or him. The satanists threatened to kill him if he failed, and he just couldn't get near it for the fires. So he had to confess, accepted Jesus into his life, and now Lucas will disciple him and pray deliverance every day for every area affected. I am going to go this morning to buy him new clothes, as all his clothes and shoes are "programmed" by the satanists as to where he is and doing what. Believe me, this stuff is all true.
News and Headlines
Some stories here would raise your hair, even on what our Christians see and experience. He gave him details from past things that we know about, when things would go awry and try to discourage us. Praise God for victory. We are more than conquerors!
for Current News and Links
- USA: Activist sues Bible publishers for anti-homosexual content (OneNewsNow). This news item suggested by Kevin. http://www.onenewsnow.com/Journal/newsofinterest.aspx?id=214134
- "Charismatic Wins Seoul Peace Prize" Suzanne Scholte was honored in Seoul, Korea, October 7, for her campaigns to improve the human rights of refugees from North Korea and the Western Sahara (Charisma News). http://charismamag.com/cms/news/archives/100808.php
- India: "[T]he worst violation of the freedom of religion in any democracy in recent history" (MinistryReport). http://www.ministrytodaymag.com/ministry_report/2008-10-07/story4.html
- Editorial from J. Lee Grady: "In India, They Hack Christians to Pieces" http://fireinmybones.com/index.php?col=100808~In%20India,%20They%20Hack%20Christians%20to%20Pieces
- "Worse Than Ever Christians knew the attacks were coming, but no one knew they would be this deadly (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/november/3.15.html
- Editorial: Terror in Orissa It's time for India to start acting like the world's largest democracy (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/november/4.17.html
- Theology in the news: "Anathemas All Around: Charges of heresy underscore stakes of debate over Trinity" Collin Hansen reports from the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School debate over "Do relations of authority and submission exist eternally among the persons of the Godhead?" with Wayne Grudem and Bruce Ware opposed by Tom McCall and Keith Yandell (ChristiantyTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/octoberweb-only/141-53.0.html
- Laos: Cruel oppression increasing Christianity is labeled a "foreign religion" in Laos, so becoming a believer is considered near treason. Christians in the Communist-ruled nation report escalating persecution (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/11764
- Interview with Sunday Adelaja The founder and head pastor of the Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations, an independent charismatic church centered in Kyiv, Ukraine, speaks briefly with Christianity Today. Embassy, claiming 25,000 congregants, is the largest evangelical church in Europe has been influential in political movements in the former Soviet nation. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/october/26.74.html
- Editorial: "The Charismatic Megachurch: An Endangered Species?" (The Ministry Report). http://www.ministrytodaymag.com/blog/2008/09/charismatic-megachurch-endangered_15.html
- Christians Assist Victims of Congo Violence Churches and Christian aid organizations are responding to what is being called a humanitarian catastrophe in the war-torn African nation (CharismaNews). http://charismamag.com/cms/news/archives/111208.php
- India: "How to Be Un-Born Again" India's biggest radical Hindu group aims to wipe out Christianity through reconversions and violence (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/novemberweb-only/146-11.0.html
- Kazakhstan: Anti-terrorist police raid church anniversary celebration at restaurant The Department for the Struggle against Extremism, Separatism, and Terrorism claims it must "check-up" on dangerous sects and faith healers (Forum18). http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1220
- Bulgaria: 80 Years Bulgarian Pentecostal Union (Cup&Cross). http://cupandcross.com/index.php/80-years-bulgarian-pentecostal-union
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
"There are Times When We Must Declare War" by H Murray Hohns
Read this article on PneumaReview.com: http://pneumareview.com/there-are-times-when-we-must-declare-war/.
H. Murray Hohns teaches at Foursquare's Pacific Rim Bible College in Honolulu, is on staff at the largest church in Hawaii and has served on his denomination's investment committee since 1999. Hohns has two degrees in Civil Engineering and a MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary. He has written five engineering books and hundreds of articles in every type of newspaper, magazine and journal.
Book Review: Understanding Evangelical Media
Quentin J. Schultze and Robert H. Woods Jr., eds., Understanding Evangelical Media: The Changing Face of Christian Communication (InterVarsity, July 2008) ISBN 978-0-8308-2882-1
This is a valuable introduction to a whole range of communication media: radio, tv, movies, print and web, music, theater, gaming, advertising and ethics. Contributors are all experts in their fields, mainly college lecturers (though not one from outside USA, not even Canada!). You may know Dr Q's writing about the Web, including his 1996 Internet for Christians which gave many their introduction to what was then a new medium.
The book offers valuable analysis, explains how Christian have used different media in the past and present, clarifies the different issues and conflicts that have resulted, and poses many questions for us to think through. Few of us may get the chance to take a college course on Christian communication, so here is an alternative!
Visit http://www.understandingevangelicalmedia.com for more information including sources, notes, and links to organizations and movements mentioned in the book.
Source: Web Evangelism Newsletter Sept 08
Thoughts to Ponder: Holiness
Read this department on PneumaReview.com: http://pneumareview.com/thoughts-to-ponder-holiness.
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
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For a full index of the contents of all Pneuma Review issues, visit: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/pr_archive.jsp.
Book Review: A Generous Orthodoxy
From the Fall 2008 issue
Brian D. McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional + evangelical+ post/protestant + liberal/conservative + mystical/poetic + biblical + charismatic /contemplative + fundamentalist/calvinist + anabaptist/anglican + methodist +catholic + green + international + depressed-yet-hopeful + emergent + unfisnihed Christian (Zondervan/Youth Specialties, 2004), 297 pages, ISBN 0310257476.
Read the review on PneumaReview.com: http://pneumareview.com/a-generous-orthodoxy.
Reviewed by Raul L. Mock
Raul L. Mock is one of the founders and directors of the Pneuma Foundation and editor of The Pneuma Review. Raul is a licensed minister and member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies. He lives with his family in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.
Read more reviews and articles from the Fall 2008 issue of THE PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jspPentecostals Needed: New NCC Director Partners with Pentecostals
From the Fall 2008 issue
Read the interview on PneumaReview.com: http://pneumareview.com/pentecostals-needed-new-ncc-director-partners-with-pentecostals.
- Laos: Cruel persecution is escalating. Christians in Communist-ruled Laos report escalating persecution with hundreds of families experiencing horrendous tribulation. Christianity is labeled a 'foreign religion' there and embracing it is akin to sedition. The authorities violently intimidate Christians to sign papers renouncing their faith and when that fails they expel them from their homes and villages. When that fails they arrest and torture them. So Pastor Sompong Supatto (32) and Boot and Khamvan Chanthaleuxay (both 18) have been handcuffed and in stocks since 3 August for refusing to renounce their faith. Pastor Supatto faces a life sentence and the teenagers, whose health is now very bad, will only be released if they renounce their faith. Interference from Hanoi, Vietnam, is possibly contributing to the persecution. Please pray.
Source: Adapted from World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission - RLP 498 | Laos: Cruel Persecution Escalating
- Please pray for the complete healing of Dr. Irving Hexham of the University of Calgary. He wrote to Raul Mock recently: "The specialist said the condition is a variant of the Guillain-Barre Syndrome which is caused by a particularly nasty virus. This virus can cause paralysis and other problems although it seems most people eventually make a full recovery. The problem is that it can linger on for up to three years and I can expect to have problems for at least the next year. Among the side effects are fatigue, and I have been very tired recently, and severe muscle pains which are what took me to the doctor in the first place." Dr. Hexham is an expert on new religious movements and has authored more than twenty books. Read part of his story here: http://www.ucalgary.ca/~hexham/personal/profiles.html
- Somalia: Islamist violence resurging. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis have died in famine and conflict over recent decades as the country has suffered under a belligerent Soviet-backed dictatorship, poverty, famine, clan-based warlordism and now militant Islam. In December 2006 Ethiopia invaded Somalia to protect the UN-appointed government and to crush the threatening hard-line militant Islamists who had seized power in a coup just months earlier. However, lack of international and regional military assistance to help stabilise Somalia has allowed the Islamists to be in the ascendant once again. Attacks on humanitarian aid workers and Christians are escalating in frequency and barbarity. In recent weeks Mansuur Mohammed (25) was publicly denounced and beheaded for his conversion to Christianity and two Catholic nuns were kidnapped. Only God can bring light and peace to Somalia. Please pray.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission - RLP 504 | Somalia: A Fiery Furnace, yet Christ is there
- Kenya: church attacked by Muslim mob. A longstanding effort to replace a church with a mosque in Kenya's northern town of Garissa culminated in an attack by 50 Muslim youths. The attack left the building in ruins and injured 10. Jonathan Racho with International Christian Concern (ICC) says anti-Christian violence is growing in Northern Kenya. "It's a part of Kenya where Muslims make up the majority, so there is a growing hostility against Christians in these parts, and this is partly because of the growth and influence of Islam elements inside Somalia." Most of the people there are ethnic Somalis. Racho says Christians are turning to authorities, but "no one in the administration is protecting them. The Christians are not being protected. The people who attacked them are free on the streets. They are not in prison. This is really disappointing. The Muslims in Garissa are openly saying that they're going to destroy other churches, too."
Go to full-story link to find out how to contact the Kenya Embassy.
Source: Mission Network News, 6 October, 2008 Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/11741
- Please pray for KenJ, who has been helping the Pneuma Foundation for many years in preparing articles for our website. KenJ has said that he has noticed his health declining and he is finding it increasingly difficult to continue to do things he has been involved with for years. Let's pray for this faithful brother to be restored.
- Egypt: Muslim-Christian Tensions Escalate. Islamic intolerance of Christianity has multiplied in Egypt with the rise of hard-line Islam. Violence against Christians, especially Egypt's indigenous Copts, has soared. The government is reluctant to prosecute Muslims who persecute Christians, so it sponsors 'reconciliation sessions' instead to intimidate the Christians into dropping all charges and surrendering all rights to gain 'peace'. So Muslim belligerence and Christian vulnerability grows. When the Abu Fana monastery was attacked in May, three monks were kidnapped and tortured in vain, trying to make them spit on the cross and convert to Islam. The government called it a 'land dispute' and brokered a totally unjust 'reconciliation'. Terror threats have closed six other monasteries. Please pray for Egypt and for God to sustain and protect his people.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission - RLP 499 | Egypt: Muslim-Christian Tensions Escalate
- Pastor B.A.T. in Zambia writes: "Pray that we may find partners to work with in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ." Reference number: 90033926
- Two Christians released in Iran. While Iran's proposed apostasy law is still waiting to be ratified, the Christian community received some good news. Two Muslim-background believers have been released by authorities. Glenn Penner with Voice of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC) says, "Both Mahmood Matin-Azad and Arash Basirat have been released from an Iranian prison, after they had met with a tribunal who had ruled that the charges against them were invalid." Penner isn't sure if this is appeasement, or a lull before the storm. But he's pleased that this is the first time Christians have been released after a trial.
In the meantime, pray that the apostasy law, which would condemn Christian converts to death, will not be ratified by Iranian authorities and that Christian will continue to be bold in their witness.
Source: Adapted from Mission Network News, 2 October, 2008. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/11730