The February 2001 Pneuma Informer
In this Issue:
- Letters from around the world
- What is God doing in the World?
- Resources You Can Use
- Recommend Your Favorite Book
- Excerpts from the Winter 2001 issue (Vol 4, No 1) of the Pneuma Review:
- Prayer Requests
Letters from around the world
Here are some communications from Pneuma Informer
readers from around the world.
Greetings, Brother D
It has been a long time since I spoke with you last, and I wanted you to know that I have not forgotten your request about
Pneuma Review subscription information for India.
After all of this time, I have still been unable to find an easy way to accept payment in Rupees. The Pneuma Foundation does not have a financial agent in India, and our opportunity for on-line Credit Card purchases does not include India as one of the resident nations.
As I mentioned earlier, it would be the desire of the Pneuma Foundation to not even charge subscriptions. However, our support comes from our members and friends, and our budget is not sufficient at this time to finance such a large effort. Subscriptions are therefore charged to help cover the cost of producing and mailing the Pneuma Review.
Please do continue to refer to our website as we make more and more "free" resources available online. Hopefully soon we will be able to expand our ministry into India.
Thanks again for your encouragement. It certainly bolsters our efforts here to know that we are doing in having an impact the world over. May the Lord continue to use you in the nation of India to share the life-changing Message of Jesus Christ.
Rich Blessings in our Savior and Friend, Jesus the true Messiah,
Raul Mock, Executive Director
The Pneuma Foundation
Dear Brother Raul,
May the Lord truly bless you.
I believe God will open further doors for you and your ministry, even to India. Till then, I truly would like to place on record my deepest appreciation for you and your ministry and what you are doing for the body of Christ. It is amazing indeed.
Once again, my prayers are with you. I will continue to keep in touch for any further developments and opportunities that the Lord may open for you in India.
May the Lord bless you and your wonderful ministry,
In Christ's love and service,
, from E-mail
Christian greetings from Argentina.
Thank you for adding my name to receive your news about our common interest. The Lord allowed us (my wife and me) to be third pentecostal generation in the Church of God (Clev. Tenn.) and as a minister I like to up dated one subjects related with my believes.
May the Lord bless your life and ministry is our desire and prayer.
Yours in His Service,
, National Director of Education
We are busy busy busy as we wait for Jesus to come.
Keep sending us what you are doing for Christ, it keeps us praying for ya.
, in Ukraine
Thanks for introducing yourself. I very much appreciate the stated goals of the Pneuma Foundation.
I have been a part of the charismatic/Pentecostal community all of my 27 years in the faith. As a pastor of 13 years in my city I came to become best of friends with several non-charismatic leaders who became some of my most trusted ministry associates. I have labored hard and long to see denominational and racial barriers torn down in the Body of Christ. When I speak I almost always say that charismatic and non-charismatic are both evangelicals.
Blessings — RT
, in Vancouver
What is God doing in the World?
Have you heard of or experienced something supernatural that God is doing in your corner of the world? Have you seen a miracle of healing or heard of something extraordinary that has pointed many people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?
Write to us at the Pneuma Foundation with your story, and we will try to incorporate your story into a new Informer department about what God is doing in the world. Also, if you are aware of a situation that needs prayer support, please tell us about that as well.
If you are quoting someone else or referring to a news bulletin, please give us enough information to verify the account or quote it properly.
Resources You Can Use
Ever look for an internet message board where you can interact with other thinking charismatics?
Here is an invitation from the on-line Charismatic Reform Journal to come and participate:
Introducing a new and upcoming forum at www.crjournal.com
The purpose of Charismatic Reform Journal is to publicly address issues pertaining to the Charismatic Church in regards to its ethical standards and doctrinal beliefs that may fall short of orthodoxy. In establishing this website we hope to provoke thought concerning these issues. By doing so, it is our desire to raise a Biblical standard to counteract erroneous teachings that are circulating in the Charismatic Church and to see reform come to these areas of concern.
The forum at crjournal.com provides an avenue for such issues to be discussed where the participants could feel the freedom to make comments, ask questions and suggest ideas. This encourages an atmosphere for us to learn from each other.
You may join us in the forum at http://www.crjournal.com/forum.htm
Your input in our discussions would be greatly valued. Hope to see you there!!
Recommend Your Favorite Book
Read a good book lately that other Pentecostal/charismatics would enjoy? Maybe you have read something others need to read.
E-mail us your recommendations. We will consider reviewing the book for the Pneuma Review
and the Pneuma Informer
. Tell us what the books are about, why it impacted you. Make sure to give us all the details about title, author, publisher, and if possible tell us where it was purchased. If you happen to be an author yourself, tell us about all of your books and where we can find them.
Sharing with others what God has ministered to you with can be a tremendous blessing.
Excerpts from the Winter 2001 issue (Vol 4, No 1) of the Pneuma Review
The Pneuma Review is a quarterly printed journal of ministry resources and theology for Pentecostal and charismatic ministries and leaders.
From the article "Pentecostalism and Ecumenism: Past, Present, and Future" Part 1 of 5 by Amos Yong
I. The Biblical Basis of Ecumenism
. . .
My prayer is not for them alone [the immediate disciples, in vv. 19 and before]. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they [the disciples] know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them (John 17:20-26).
Three points should be made about this passage. First, note that Jesus' prayer extends far beyond the circle of the twelve disciples, and embraces all of those who believe in him. The unity that is prayed for, in other words, is universally inclusive of believers in Jesus Christ, then, now, and so long as the our Lord shall tarry.
Second, the unity that is expected derives from the unity between the Father and the Son. This is an important point because the Father-Son unity in the Johannine gospel appears to be all-encompassing: ontologically in terms of shared presence (1:1-2; 10:38; 14:10-11; 16:32) and the divine name (8:58, cf. Ex. 3:14); imagistically in terms of the Son revealing (1:18; 14:7-9) and representing (13:20) the Father; act-ually in terms of the Son doing (only) what the Father does (5:19; 8:29; 14:31); gloriously in terms of equal honor being due to Father and Son (5:23) and bestowed by each on the other (8:49-50, 54; 13:31-32); judicially, as rendered by the Son on behalf of the Father (5:22, 26-27, 30; 8:16); mutuality in terms of witness and testimony (8:18) and will and intention (6:38; 12:28); evangelistically in terms of Jesus' proclaiming and teaching (only) the Father's message (7:16-17; 8:28; 12:49; 14:24; 15:15); salvifically in terms of Jesus being the way to the Father (14:6); communally in terms of fellowship (11:41-42) and love (14:21); and so on. This is a deep unity that cannot be simply explained in only one or another way. As prayed for by Jesus, then, the unity of believers should be understood not simplistically at any one level, but holistically, embracing every aspect or dimension of reality. As such, this unity transcends all artificial lines of demarcation that human beings so often erect to distinguish themselves from others.
Finally, it would be remiss not to mention the centrality of love to the Father-Son unity and the unity that Jesus prayed for those who believe in his name. Love is that which characterizes the Trinitarian relationship between Father and Son, between the Son and the world, and between the Father and the world. Earlier in the gospel, Jesus had said, 'By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another' (13:35). How do we show forth the salvation that we have experienced? By loving each other. Failure to demonstrate such love to the world betrays our witness to non-believers. On the other hand, the loving unity that should bind believers together in Jesus is precisely that testimony by which others realize the love of God for the world.
John does also mention another motif of the unity between Father and Son that is connected to the sending of the Spirit. Jesus promised the arrival of the Counselor, the Spirit of truth, from the Father, and foretold that 'On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you' (14:20). Later in the same upper room speech, Jesus indicates that the common message of Father and Son will be made known to the disciples by the Spirit of truth (16:12-15). Yet nowhere else in the autoptic gospel is this connection between the Spirit and the ecumenical prayer of Jesus explicated.
Such explication is, however, found in volume two of Luke's writings. Luke, as is well known, is supremely concerned in the book of Acts with the person and work of the Holy Spirit. This pneumatological motif finds expression on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit is, literally, poured out 'on all people' (Acts 2:17). One should not take this 'all' lightly since Luke goes to great lengths to describe the universality of peoples represented in Jerusalem who heard those in the upper room speaking to them each in their own native tongue. This gathering of Judeans, Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Cappadocians, Asians, Phrygians, Pamphylians, Egyptians, Libyans, Cyreneans, Romans, Cretans, Arabians, residents of Mesopotamia, and others (2:9-11) has long been understood to represent the re-gathering of God's people from their initial dispersal at the Tower of Babel. More importantly, however, it was individuals from each of these people groups who were baptized into the one body of Christ on that day (2:41), and who, in turn, took the gospel from Jerusalem to Judea, to Samaria, 'and to the ends of the earth' (1:8).
The cumulative fruit of the Spirit's outpouring on the Day of Pentecost finds its fulfillment in the eschatological consummation of God's saving work. We are told in the revelation to the seer on the isle of Patmos that those gathered before the throne of God and the Lamb are 'from every tribe and language and people and nation' (Rev. 5:9; cf. 7:9). This is in part because the gospel is being sent 'to every nation, tribe, language and people' (14:6). On that final day, the great multitude representing such a staggering diversity of persons will lift up one great voice to the Lord God Almighty as they celebrate the great wedding feast joining together once for all the Lamb and his bride (19:6-9). The one body of those who are saved, as this picture and that depicted at Pentecost show, knows no boundaries, whether such is conceived politically, socially, linguistically, racially or ethnically, or otherwise.
To summarize, then, a biblically conceived ecumenism begins with the one work of God represented during the New Testament era as and through the Church of Jesus Christ. The unity of this body is-or should be-a reflection of the unity between the Father and the Son. Put another way, this unity is demonstrated in the love that members of this body have for each other, in the same way that the Father loves the Son and vice versa. It is therefore appropriate to consider this love as 'the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace' (Eph. 4:3), begun at Pentecost and to be completed on that great and final Day of the Lord.
In the coming issue of the Pneuma Review
: II. Classical Pentecostal Objections to Ecumenism
From the article "Now That You've Spoken in Tongues" by Robert Graves, from the Praying in the Spirit series
I know a young man named Bob, a Pentecostal, who has not spoken in tongues since his initial encounter with the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, he is just one of many who have had an incomplete charismatic experience. Perhaps they were taught that the experience was once-and-for-all and never to be repeated. Or maybe, in their minds, the encounter was so exalted that they believed a common occurrence of it would diminish its value. Others may have been startled, even frightened, by this awesome contact with God-further familiarity was not considered reverent. Still others, having experienced tongues only after much tarrying, agonizing, and begging, may have concluded that once was difficult enough. For whatever reasons, many charismatic Christians have lost out on the richness of this experience because they were not instructed that they could and should continue to use their prayer language.
Using the Prayer Language
The apostle Paul implied that he prayed in tongues as much as he prayed with his understanding: "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind... I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you" (1 Cor. 14: 14 - 15, 18). Since Paul was reluctant to speak in tongues to edify the church, he must have spent most of his time speaking in tongues and personal prayer and praise of God. These verses show that Paul did not stop speaking in tongues after his initial experience and that he used glossolalic utterances in his personal prayer life beyond the "church walls."
In this passage of Scripture, Paul uses three words in his description of glossolalic language that provides us with indicators of his own use of tongues. In verse 14 he calls it "praying" (proseuchomai); in verse 16 he calls it "praising" (eulogeo);" also in this verse he calls it "thanksgiving" (eucharisteo). If we are to use the prayer language Biblically, certainly we should let the words of Paul, Spirit-inspired apostle and charismatic par excellence, inform our doctrine and practice. According to Paul, we may use our heart-language to pray to God-that is, petition Him; we may use it to praise Him for who He is; or we may use it to thank Him for what He has done.
To get an idea of what Paul may have had in mind when he related tongues to these different approaches to God, we might take a look at how Paul and other New Testament writers use the terms "praying," "praising," and "thanksgiving":
We may use tongues in our in private prayer life and in corporate worship. "When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray [proseuchomai] to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matt. 6: 6; see also Mark 1:35; Luke 9: 18; Acts 10: 9). Here Matthew uses the same word for "pray" that Paul uses to describe speaking in tongues. And we have already seen that most, if not all, of Paul's use of the prayer language was done outside of the church. This is not to say, however, that we should not pray within an assembly of believers. Luke tells us that Peter "went to the house of Mary the mother of John ... where many people had gathered and were praying" (proseuchomai; Acts 12: 12; see also Luke 1:10). In one of the most beautiful scenes in the Scriptures, Luke describes his and Paul's sad farewell to their friends in Tyre: "All the disciples and their wives and children accompanied us out of the city, and there are on the beach we knelt to pray [proseuchomai]. After saying good-by to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home" (Acts 21: 5-6 ). We, too, being many members, may approach God corporately, praying in the Holy Spirit.
We may use tongues to pray for the spiritual welfare of others. "And this is my prayer [proseuchomai]: that your love may abound more in more and knowledge and depth of insight" (Phil. 1:9). Here is an excellent way to use your new language-pray for others. Lift up your Christian friends, especially those who have ministered to you and perhaps even brought you into the Kingdom. Paul wrote that he longed for these brothers and sisters "with the affection of Christ Jesus" (verse 8). In verse 3 he said, "I thank [eucharisteo] my God every time I remember you." To another church he wrote, "How can we thank [eucharisteo] God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?" (1 Thess. 3:9). In your heavenly language, give thanks to God for your friends and lift their spiritual needs to God.
We may use tongues to pray for the ministries of others, especially missionaries. "Devote yourselves to prayer [proseuchomai], being watchful and thankful [eucharisteo]. And pray [proseuchomai] for us, too, that God may open a door for our message..." (Colossians 4:2-3; see also Acts 13: 3; 14: 23; 1 Thess. 5:25;2 Thess. 3: 1). Paul devoted a portion of his prayer time to praying in the spirit. Here he is requesting prayer from other Christians; it is safe to assume that Paul desired his readers to lift him and his companion, Timothy, up to the Lord with their minds and with their spirits. We of the 21st century Church should also lift up our missionaries to God, using the mind and the spirit. In Acts 6, the Church was brought together and seven men were chosen to help the apostles with more practical matters. Before beginning their duties, these men were prayed for (proseuchomai; verse 6). We may do likewise, lifting of our church's workers to God with our prayer language as well as our native tongue.
We may use tongues to pray for the physical welfare of others. "And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed [eulogeo] them" (Mark 10:16; see also Matthew 19:13). This concept of blessing, which comes to us from the Old Testament, carries with the idea of handing one over to the protection of God. How comforting it is to know that we can submit our loved ones to God and rest peacefully, knowing that they are in the hands of an all-knowing, all-powerful, and merciful God. Perhaps you have loved ones whom you desperately need to turn over to a stronger and wiser power. You could take time now to entreat God in their behalf, to release them to God, to truly bless them. You may do this with your prayer language and your native tongue.
"The Seven Deadly Signs" by John G. Stackhouse, Jr. Christianity Today (June 12, 2000), pages 54-57.
What is the mark of success? What is the sign of failure? In this article by John Stackhouse, we are given seven specific statements to measure if our business, ministry, or family is in danger of financial indiscretion.
Stackhouse challenges us to take sin seriously when it comes to financial matters. "None of us plans to deceive and cheat and steal. We intend to do the right thing all the time. It's only when the truth becomes uncomfortable, inconvenient, or even dangerous that we are tempted to lie, and manipulate, and cover up" (p. 55). Life has a way of messing with our theology and principles, though. Temptations are little things that are before us everyday. If we think we are immune, we deceive ourselves.
The seven warning signs that Stackhouse gives us are: 1) You'd rather not have to talk about a financial matter. Disclosure and openness with supporters is the only path of truth for an organization. At home, financial privacy can lead to secrecy, and "secrecy shuts our the light of another's loving counsel" (p. 56). 2) It's been a while since someone has said no to you or told you that your idea is bad. Stackhouse says that unless you are surrounded by yes-men or are always right, this is a sign that you have enclosed yourself in darkness such that even those closest to you cannot breach it with light. Unquestioned authority without checks and balances is a setup for abuse. If dissent cannot be heard without reprisal, whether at home or in a corporation, the organization is sick and needs graceful intervention. 3) You find yourself paying unhealthy attention to "competition." Envy is a serious thing. Stackhouse says, "We all have needy egos, and we are prone to sin in order to satisfy the demands of those egos. We each need someone in our lives who will help us admit to the evil strategies we follow in order to advance our own interests at the expense of others" (p. 56). Certainly in our day and age there is a need for mentors and accountability. 4) There's no one on your leadership team who can provide expert advice on thorny issues. Street savvy entrepreneurs and financiers may make great board members, but only if balanced out with the resident theologian or ethicist. If there is no one to point you back to Jesus and his call on your organization, you may be tempted to make decisions for the wrong reasons. Doing things right costs something. 5) You have an uneasy feeling about a recent financial matter or decision. Perhaps our bodies are signaling us that there is something wrong spiritually. 6) Your organization is under financial stress and you are finding it hard to pay your bills. One thing institutions tend to never consider is that their usefulness to the body of Christ may be over and that need to disband. "Financial struggles are often tests of faith and shapers of character. ' But unless we believe our organizations should go on forever, there must come a terminus sooner or later. The decline of financial support may be one way in which the body of Christ is communicating God's will for our ministry: scale down, or even stop work. Are you transparent to this possibility and seeking more light on the matter?" (p. 57). 7) You have apprehensions about someone else's financial decision, but you cannot obtain reliable information to evaluate this decision. Stackhouse says that the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals has recently completed a major investigation of American evangelical use and abuse of money. One of the findings of this study is that many institutions have been governed by people (elders, trustees, presidents, etc.) who were kept in the dark by defensive or even deliberately deceptive executives or pastors. There may also be a misleading of contributors. "In short, some evangelical homes are run as if Mom and Dad are never wrong and can never properly be challenged by the children. Even worse, some are run as if only one parent is infallible and cannot be corrected even by the spouse. Some churches are run as if the senior pastor or board chair alone should have all the facts and therefore make all the final decisions. Some Christian businesses and nonprofit ministries are run as if the leaders are omnicompetent and could never make a mistake—innocent or otherwise-and they are entirely sanctified and thus would never sin against anyone. So structurally there is little accountability for those leaders, even less protection of employees, and no real openness to dissent" (p. 57).
I like how Stackhouse closes this with a challenge, "Who are we kidding about money in our lives and work? The apostle John reminds us that many of us are deceiving ourselves, as well as others. We are stumbling in darkness, and we need to repent right now. All of us need to take sin as seriously as the Bible does in every area of our life, including our finances. Especially our finances" (p. 57).
Reviewed by Raul Mock
- Please pray for Christians living within the Zhejiang Province of China as they are under immense persecution. The Chinese government is cracking down on all unregistered groups, Christian or otherwise, and has already destroyed over 200 churches and temples in an apparent effort to stamp out an unregistered, non-Christian group before it becomes defiant of the government.
- Dr. Suri Samuel has asked for prayer regarding City on the Hill Ministries and Orphanage in Narsapur, India. There is a great need for financial resources and protection in this region as natural calamities and the persecution of Christians have left this orphanage virtually without support. Contact Dr. Samuel for more information: surisamu [at] md3.vsnl.net.in
- Pastor Abraham Emmanuel in Sri Lanka continues to covet our prayers for his ministry. People are being saved and baptized regularly, yet there are tremendous financial burdens to continue this service unto the Lord. For more information or ways to assist Pastor Emmanuel's ministry, contact Member Services.
- Please send us your prayer requests and praise reports. We have a great God who always meets our needs.
- If you would like more information about how you may help in meeting these needs, please send an E-mail to Member Services.