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   The November 1999 Pneuma Informer
In this Issue:

President's Page

Read this page on PneumaReview.com:
James M. Dettmann, President
The Pneuma Foundation

Introducing some of the Writers and Editors

Meet some of the contributors to the Pneuma Review and the other publications of the Pneuma Foundation:

Robert Graves is the author of numerous articles and books including most recently, The Gospel According to Angels (Chosen, 1998). Robert has taught at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas and at Georgia State University. His excellent book Praying in the Spirit (Chosen, 1987) is being reprinted as a series in the Pneuma Review.

Marci Munn has served as an editorial assistant for the Pneuma Review since the premiere issue. The editors have appreciated how she has consistently completed her assignments on or ahead of time. Marci has been a real blessing in her volunteer service.

Pastor C.J. Halquist is contributing the "Pastor's Paraklesis" department to the Pneuma Review. Pastor Carl has served for over 35 years in the Assemblies of God and has been ministering to other shepherds and those preparing for ministry for many years. He has earned a reputation of being a pastor's pastor in his own fellowship and beyond. His fatherly wisdom is welcomed in the Pneuma Review and the Pneuma Foundation. Pastor Carl served for 16 years at Central Assembly of God in Grand Rapids, Michigan and recently took a position across the state as a pastor of visitation where he has moved with his wife Sandy.

Pastor Ronald Messelink is a Contributing Editor to the Pneuma Review and has been assisting the Pneuma Foundation in an advisory capacity since its inception. Pastor Ron is an excellent teacher who emphasizes the believer's need to understand who they are in Christ. He pastors Grace Life Church in the northern suburbs of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Wayne A. Grudem is professor and chairman of the department of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He has also served in a number of ministry roles as youth pastor, InterVarsity volunteer staff member, elder, assistant pastor, and interim pastor. Grudem's areas of expertise include biblical manhood and womanhood, spiritual gifts, biblical economics, the works of the Holy Spirit, and the biblical basis for Christian doctrines. Grudem has published numerous articles and books including The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today (Crossway 1988) and Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Zondervan 1994). Recently, he edited Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? (Zondervan, 1996). His chapter entitled "Should Christians Expect Miracles Today? Objections and Answers from the Bible" originally appeared in The Kingdom and the Power: Are Healing and the Spiritual Gifts Used by Jesus and the Early Church Meant for the Church Today? (Regal, 1993) edited by Gary Greig and Kevin Springer. This chapter is appearing as a series in the Pneuma Review.

* The next issue of the Pneuma Informer will include more introductions to writers and editors.

The Latest issue of the Pneuma Review

The Winter 2000 issue should be to domestic US and Canadian subscribers before Thanksgiving (Nov 25).

Here is what you will find in the latest issue of the Pneuma Review:

"Bible Answers about Continuing Spiritual Gifts for Your Non-Charismatic Friends"
   By Jon Ruthven
   Non-technical reasons why you should not be embarrassed about believing in supernatural gifts for today. Be enriched in your understanding of the contemporary gifts of the Spirit.

"Better Than I Was, Not Better Than You Are."
   By Robert Graves
   Part Five of the Praying in the Spirit series.

"How to Receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit"
   By David Johnson

"Should Christians Expect Miracles Today? Objections and Answers from the Bible" Part 1 of 4.
   By Wayne Grudem
   Answers to the most frequent objections to the contemporary gifts of the Holy Spirit.

"Appointed Times: The Fall Feasts"
   By Kevin Williams
   The Fall Festivals of God: prophetic rehearsals with relevance for today.

Excerpts from the Winter 2000 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, visit: /intro_pr.jsp

"Should Christians Expect Miracles Today?: Objections and Answers from the Bible," Part 1 by Wayne Grudem.

Read the full article: http://pneumareview.com/should-christians-expect-miracles-today1.

The Praying in the Spirit Series by Robert Graves: "Better Than I Was, Not Better Than You Are"

If Pentecostals and charismatics have done nothing more, it seems that they have convinced some non-Pentecostals that they believe themselves to be superior because they have spoken in tongues. Indeed, spiritual elitism, counting one's own beliefs as sole "correct" theology, could be a temptation for all Christians, but especially those within revivals or renewals. The nature of renewal demands that some portion of the Church be moving in a different stream than the remainder, and the tendency to see oneself in a different light than one sees the others (no matter which group you are in) is a natural byproduct.

This being said, let me point out two things about pride and tongues. First, contrary to popular belief, the ability to speak in tongues is nothing to be proud of. The baptism in the Holy Spirit with the experience of tongues is not a merit badge but a sign of inadequacy. For years some anti-Pentecostals have been claiming that tongues, even in the first century were signs of immaturity and inferiority (Banks, pp. l9-20; Millikin, p.24). They are right, but for the wrong reason. When I pray in tongues it is a sign of my own inadequacy in the sense that my intelligible powers are insufficient to express my heart's praise to God. After all, how can I expect my mind to express the joys and cries of my spirit? No, speaking in tongues does not demonstrate a virtue, it underscores a weakness, a human limitation.

In my twenty years in the Pentecostal-charismatic renewal, I have never met anyone who expressed pride in his ability to speak in tongues. According to non-Pentecostal Watson Mills, the typical tongues-speaker has abased himself, has become a fool for Christ's sake. Human pride has been shattered and self-sufficiency dethroned (p.146).

I have, on the other hand, met many excited and effervescent souls whose hearts could not contain the joy of the Holy Spirit. Some have such zeal to share their experience, they offend many strong and faithful Christians who are not yet convinced that the charismatic experience is for today's Church—that is, continuously given until the Second Coming of Christ.

Second, this very eagerness to share the gift seems to dispel a motive of boastful, prideful ownership. If pride were involved, there would be no sharing at all. The message would not be "let me tell you" but rather a silent and snobbish, "I've got mine; you get yours if you can."

Has an exuberant charismatic Christian ever approached you and told you about his experience, what it's done for him, and what it can do for you? Did it turn you off? Well, before you close and lock the door on the person and the experience, think about what it suggests. It says, "If I received this experience, so can you! You know me, all my faults and weaknesses. This experience is for all of us, not just an elite few."

Maybe you had been a Christian for fifty years when some young, whippersnapper charismatic bubbled over on you. I can understand your discomfort, but when you think about it, you can't but praise God for His wisdom and grace. What this situation tells you is that this vocational gift of the Holy Spirit with the experience of tongues is not earned. It is not merited. It is not for only the elders or bishops. It is for every Christian, despite his tenure as a believer. The only condition for receiving this experience is that you be a child of God, for it is every child's inheritance.

From the Messianic Foundations Series by Kevin Williams, "Appointed Times: The Fall Feasts"

By searching through the treasures waiting us in our own Biblical heritage, in this case the Fall Feasts of Leviticus 23, untold riches can be found. Some may have been taught that Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot, are "Jewish" festivals and therefore "dead" in a modern faith expression. If the observance of these appointed times were strictly ethnic, such teaching would certainly be true and any application empty legalism. But in a strictly Biblical context, the only context we should concern ourselves with, and the heritage that is ours to claim, this wholesale rejection of the feast days is both unfair and unscriptural. It denies believers of every denominational creed their own God-given heritage.

"The LORD spoke again to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, "The LORD'S appointed times which you shall proclaim . . ."'" (Lev 23:1, 2).

God calls them His appointed times. At no point does the Architect of our faith refer to them as the "Feast of Israel," or the "Jewish High Holy days." To do so takes them out of Scriptural context, improperly transfers them into an ethnic context, and in our innocence creates a sense of distance that makes us feel they have no place in our Christian faith. This steals the treasures that God intended for His faithful remnant to have; it robs them of their inheritance, and hinders our understanding of the Bible.
The term, "the LORD'S appointed times," carries relevance. If God has appointed them, then there are many things He wishes to reveal about Himself through them. In fact, a study of the feasts of Leviticus 23 shows that God does have much to unfold about Himself, and much to offer His children in any century.

From the "Answers to Questions" department:


Pentecostals claim to have two baptisms (water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism), but doesn't Ephesians 4:5 say there is only one baptism for believers today—water baptism?


Scripture never contradicts Scripture, and since Hebrews 6:2 teaches the doctrine of baptisms, plural, Ephesians 4:5 cannot mean that there is no Spirit baptism distinct from water baptism. Two baptisms for believers are specifically mentioned in the New Testament: baptism in water (Acts 2:38) and baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5).

The context of Ephesians 4:1-5 makes the meaning of the "one baptism" clear. It says, "one hope . . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism." In other words, there is one body of Christian truth. There are not different faiths, hopes, and modes of baptism for converted Gentiles and converted Jews. The verse is not trying to say that Spirit baptism was accomplished once for all at Pentecost and now only water baptism is left! That would contradict Acts 11:16, where Peter referred to the experience of the Gentiles at Caesarea as another baptism in the Holy Spirit after Pentecost.

After the Gentiles at Caesarea received this Spirit baptism and spoke in tongues, they went on to be baptized in water (Acts 10:47). So then, there were two baptisms for these new converts, long after Pentecost when Spirit baptism was supposedly accomplished for all time!

Furthermore, since the baptism in the Holy Spirit at Caesarea was also called a receiving (Acts 10:47), the receiving fifteen years later at Ephesus (Acts 19:2,6) was also a baptism in the Spirit. The idea that no one was baptized in the Holy Spirit after Pentecost is clearly untenable.

In Acts 19, Paul taught the disciples at Ephesus both to be baptized in water and to receive the Holy Spirit—two separate experiences. Certainly he held the same doctrine when he wrote to the Ephesians concerning the "one baptism."

Ephesians 4:5 ("one baptism") was written about AD 63 and scholars agree that Hebrews 6:2 ("the doctrine of baptisms") was written later. Obviously, Ephesians 4:5 cannot mean that Spirit baptism was done away with when Hebrews 6:2 shows that the doctrine of baptisms, plural, was still in effect.

All Scripture is profitable for doctrine (2 Tim. 3:16), including the Scriptures in Acts that show that water baptism and Spirit baptism are two distinct experiences for believers. It is a mistake to say that any fundamental doctrine of the New Testament has passed away.

From Amos Yong's review of the book The Word and the Spirit: Reclaiming Your Covenant with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God by Paul Cain and R. T. Kendall.

Read the full review: http://pneumareview.com/between-two-extremes-balancing-word-christianity-and-spirit-christianity-a-review-essay-by-amos-yong/

From Raul Mock's review of "Eat this Book: The Holy Community at Table with the Holy Scripture" (Theology Today, April 1999) by Eugene Peterson.

Peterson's challenge to return to reading and doing the Word is one to be heeded. If God's revelation of Himself to us is not our only basis of trust and life, then we will have a flawed and ultimately destructive manner of life. In an absolute sense, only God's revelation of Himself is true. Therefore, if we remake the Scriptures to fit our preconceived ideas, is it any wonder that we will only end up deceiving ourselves and others?

Wrong ideas about what life is all about come from misunderstanding what God has revealed to us. He is the author of life, and only He can tell us how to really live. I find it encouraging that there are many who are calling the church back to reading and doing the Scriptures. Recently, many articles have appeared in periodicals challenging the church to rethink how they approach God's Word. Gary M. Burge says that the Bible is "The Greatest Story Never Read," in his challenge to recover Biblical literacy in the Church (Christianity Today Aug. 9, 1999). Pastor Jack Hayford specifically addressed "Biblical Illiteracy in the Pulpit" in his interview with Ministries Today's new editor Larry Keefauver. He said, "We must first study the original text in the context of Scripture and its literacy and historical background. Then we go to the commentaries for further illumination. But the original excitement and inspiration we had in studying the text must not be lost or dampened by study. We are not seeking to justify our opinions or insights, but to understand the text and communicate with enthusiasm its truth and application for today" (Ministries Today Jan/Feb. 1999, p. 28).

If faith comes by hearing with the heart, and hearing comes by faithful reading (formative assimilation) of God's revelation, then we need to be fulfilling this glorious privilege. As Pentecostals and charismatics, we should know that the Holy Spirit works in and through us with that we have in our hearts. If His Word is treasured and active in us, He can renew us and others by the practice of the Word.

It is no secret that individuals and ministers from the Pentecostal/charismatic tradition are known for Biblical illiteracy. May we all heed this challenge, regardless of the stereotypes and our backgrounds. It is the Spirit who is bringing this admonition to His Church. We all need to fall in love with the Word and submit ourselves to it. We need to eat this Book.

Prayer Requests

  • Dave and Debbie Johnson, Assemblies of God missionaries to the Philippines, have asked for prayer regarding a number of evangelistic outreaches they are leading in the coming days. If you would like more information about their ministry, contact them through Member Services. Dave is a contributing editor to the Pneuma Review.

  • One of the friends of the Pneuma Foundation has asked for prayer. She said, "The doctors say that I must have and operation to remove my whole thyroid in Feb/00. I am trusting Yeshua, that He can give me a new thyroid. Please also agree with me, that the doctors will agree to another ultrasound in late Jan/00, to prove Gods power. Yet if the Lord chooses for me to have the operation, I will never stop praising and loving Him." Her first name is Karol.

  • The directors of the Pneuma Foundation are still asking for prayer in finding sponsors for upcoming projects. Both volunteers and financial contributors are needed for some of our projects such as: a Student Writing Contest, opening a local bookstore, Pastor Conferences, and Theological Symposiums.

  • Praise Reports

  • Kevin Williams, Messianic rabbi and writer for the Pneuma Foundation, has recently had the opportunity to teach about the real issues of anti-Semitism in the Church with a non-denominational group in Canada. This is a praise that such an opportunity has arisen, and prayer request that ministers and churches will really take this to heart. Many that make up the Pneuma Foundation believe that racism and anti-Semitism in the church are symptoms of the Church's deepest problems today.

  • Equipment donated:
       Recently, Grandville Christian Fellowship donated a photocopier to the Pneuma Foundation.
       Also, an individual anonymously donated a fax machine for use in the office.

  • Please send us your prayer requests and praise reports. We have a great God who always meets our needs.