In this Issue:
Letters from Readers
Thanks for sending the Pneuma Informer. Very thoughtful stuff, very helpful for our people. One of the great frustrations for us is that though many of our younger well-educated leaders are no longer cessationistic, they haven't given the whole issue of the Spirit a very high priority in their studies and interest. This is partly due to prejudice about Pentecostals and charismatics generally, and partly to simply not knowing what the "next steps" into a more vibrant experience of the Spirit should look like. Because of our tendency toward denominational isolation, our younger leaders don't know many Spirit-filled scholars, and they imagine that not too many exist. PI helps to fill in the gaps, and to demonstrate that Spirit-filled Christians can also be committed to the kind of sound Scriptural study and academic integrity to which our people aspire.
— From a denominational leader
Christian greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
I already received a copy of The March 2001 Pneuma Informer.
It is a real pleasure to receive this Informer in order to be updated on what the Lord is doing in His Church through the Holy Spirit.
I don't want to miss any issue.
New Look: The Pneuma Foundation Website
If you haven't visited
recently, check out the new look and feel of the site.
Because of the kind gift from Mins.net
we are now able to use several technologies that were unavailable on previous web hosts. The site has been updated to include a few of these technologies (like Server Side includes and Perl CGI). We will be able to have a more interactive site in the future, and the new look is just one of several changes taking place at the Pneuma Foundation Website.
Our list of on-line articles is growing, as well as our links to friends of the ministry. See especially /links_articles.jsp for links to articles and books about the gifts of the Spirit and the Pentecostal/charismatic movement. Also on-line are back issues of the Pneuma Informer which include excerpts from past issues of the Pneuma Review (see /pi_archive.jsp
Tell us what you think of the site by writing to the Web Servant
Wanted: Pentecostal/charismatic Bible Schools
Does your Bible college, ministry institute, or seminary have a webpage? If your institution is a Pentecostal/charismatic institute of higher learning, the Pneuma Foundation wants your URL. Please see if your school is already listed at: /links_schools.jsp
If your institution does not already have an entry, write to Web Servant
and ask to have your URL included. We would love to include your web address in our free listing. You may also a Link
using the on-line submission form found at the bottom of the Pneuma Web links page.
Resources You Can Use: Internet Bible College
As nations all over the world are closing their borders to missionaries and Christian educators, the Internet Bible College [http://www.internetbiblecollege.com
] is able to continue to prepare men and women for ministry.
The Internet Bible College is part of the ministry of the Vision International University (USA) and Vision Christian Colleges (Australia). The IBC says that they are not just reaching those living in nations closed to missionaries, "Our Internet site is especially helpful to those students who are unable to attend a college for any reason, even though they desire to do so. Such people suffer a lack of teaching due to their lack of resources, distance, isolation, the demands of their job, their family and/or their ministry demands and or financial restrictions. We deal with these issues in a very practical way. We bring the College to you the student, the course is paid for as you go, unit by unit instead of term fees or up-front costs, you are free to continue in you ministry as you study for your degrees to whatever level you desire."
IBC provides study programs ranging from Certificate of Ministry to Doctorate in three ways: correspondence courses through snail mail, correspondence through E-mail, and by establishing satellite colleges in local churches. Churches that desire to have a Bible College of their own, but lack the resources to provide appropriate teaching material, are now able to use IBC materials such as "College in a Box." According to IBC, there are now over 1000 such satellite colleges in more than 100 countries worldwide, all-in-all ministering to over 45,000 registered students.
Through the Student Resources page on the Internet Bible College website, they are now able to provide study materials in places where even missionaries cannot go. This growing list of resources provides a vast wealth of information making these tools available to Christians in countries where bibles, concordances, and biblical reference materials are not available or scarce.
Contact Pastor Denis Plant about the Internet Bible College [http://www.internetbiblecollege.com
] at: Denis [at] eisa.net.au
Excerpts from the Spring 2001 issue (Vol 4, No 2) 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 Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel's Messiah" from the Messianic Foundations Series, by Kevin Williams. Part 1.
It has been bantered about by theologians that Matthew may have been written in Hebrew for the Hebrews. If we understand the records of Paul correctly, we know that it was at least 15 years after the resurrection before he began proclaiming the good news to the non-Jewish world. Similarly, many theologians place the writing of Matthew within 15 years of the Messiah's resurrection. Therefore, there is a strong possibility that he wrote it in the Promised Land for the people of the Land, in the language of the people-Hebrew.
Certainly by 300 of the Common Era (300 AD), the historian and scholar Eusebius believed it had been written in Hebrew. In Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, he quotes Papias, "Matthew wrote the words in the Hebrew dialect, and each one interpreted as he could."
In its 28 chapters, the Tanakh is quoted 93 times, with over 100 easily recognized allusions to the Torah or the Tanakh. There are numerous references to the Oral Law, frequently cast in the positive rather than the generally interpreted negative light.
If, therefore, we can accept that it was written in Hebrew, to proclaim the Messiah to the people of Israel, if we accept its many Tanakh references and inclusions of oral traditions, in short-if we accept that it was written by a Jew for Jewish people, then that context ought to be consistent throughout the document.
If you have made that leap of faith, then you are ready to examine this gospel in its Jewish relevance. You can look at the words, and then you can look beneath those words, stepping down into the culture, the theology, the sights and smells of ancient Israel, and prepare to walk with the Messiah!
"The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham . . ." (Matthew 1:1).
If nothing else, we can see that Jesus is Jewish. Not that anyone would argue that point, but for the purposes of taking the gospel message to the Hebrew people, Matthew sets the stage so that no one can misunderstand.
His first proclamation? "Jesus Christ." In the English, we have some understanding of this title. Yet in the Hebrew, it would be profound: Yeshua Ha Moshiach-literally-"The Anointed One who brings salvation." To the uninitiated, it is a name followed by a title, not unlike the millions of business cards printed and distributed every year.
In Matthew however, it is the first stepping stone in a book that presents the path of Messiah, and everything which comes after this will build upon this first step. It is not merely a name and title, it was the answer to the Jewish prayer, "May Messiah come soon and in our day." Matthew proclaims that the Anointed One, the promised One of the Most High has been born and brings salvation to His people, Israel.
"The Son of David." Not just any "David," but David Ha Melech-King David. This Yeshua was of noble birth, of the line of David son of Jesse, an heir to the throne of Israel. As such, he would be a picture of David the gentle shepherd, David who takes on giants, David who comes into his power despite great opposition, David of lowly birth but anointed of God, and David the priestly king.
"The Son of Abraham." Abraham, the first person in the Bible to be called a Hebrew, a friend of God, the firstfruit of what would become known as the nation of Israel. The one whose name means, "the father of nations," who through his seed would indeed become the physical and spiritual father of many nations. Paul tells us in Galatians 3:29, ". . . if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise."
This first verse of the New Testament is more than relevant-it is foundational. It sets into motion a new era in man's relationship with God. In the first verse of the Hebrew Bible we read that "God created the heavens and the earth." In the first verse of the gospels, we read that God is re-creating. Man will, through the life of this Yeshua, have the opportunity to be born-again, born anew, and re-created into the likeness of His Son, the Anointed One.
From "The Kingdom of God As Scripture's Central Theme: A New Approach to Biblical Theology" Part 2 of 2 By David Burns
The Kingdom of God in the Old Testament
The Kingdom of God is at the heart of the Old Testament. Throughout its pages God is presented as the undisputed Sovereign who reigns over all he has created and who administers the rule of his Kingdom through covenant. In our brief survey we will show how the Kingdom of God developed in the Old Testament and focus on texts that speak of his kingship. From there we will move on to discuss the coming of the Kingdom under the New Covenant.
The Kingdom of God in the Pentateuch (Torah)
In Genesis 1-3 we find that God created man and placed him in what appears to be a covenant relationship with himself. Under covenant Adam and Eve had special responsibilities. Created in God's own image, they were commanded to "fill the earth" and to "rule" over it (Gen. 1:26, 28). In obeying that mandate they would act as God's kingdom representatives upon earth. In ancient times kings placed images of themselves in a territory to remind their subjects to whom they owed their allegiance. In a similar manner God as king placed his image upon the earth to represent himself. If mankind ruled over creation in a holy and just manner they would be reflective of God their king and so fulfill their role as image.17 In so doing they would reap the blessings of the covenant relationship by being granted continual life in the presence of God as represented by the tree of life (Gen. 3:22). However, man chose the way of disobedience. As a result God brought down upon humanity the curses of the covenant (Gen. 3:14-19). Yet, in the midst of curse there was hope for restoration. The serpent's head would one day be crushed by a descendant of Eve (Gen. 3:15). Thus begins the history of redemption. All the covenants that follow-the Noahic, Abrahamic, and Mosaic, Davidic, and New-become steps toward the re-establishment of God's Kingdom on earth.
The fall of man in the garden led to evil becoming rampant (Gen. 6:1-5,11-12). The great flood of Noah's day effectively reduced evil in the world by destroying all life. Yet God assured the advancement of his Kingdom by delivering the righteous Noah, his family, and two of every creature safely through the flood (Gen. 6-9). They became the recipients of another covenant wherein God promised to never again flood the earth (Gen. 9:11). The Noahic Covenant was essentially the Adamic Covenant reformulated to fit a sinful world. The creation mandate of multiplying and ruling is restated (Gen. 9:1-2), but the rule of man now has an element of dread for the creatures (Gen. 9:2). In fact man's entire role as "image" is in jeopardy due to his failure as God's representative on earth. Thus the sacredness of that image must be protected by placing a just penalty upon any living being that would take its life (Gen. 9:5-6).
As mankind once more multiplied upon the earth, so again did their wickedness (Gen. 11:1-9). Yet God's program of bringing his kingdom into the world went forward. This time he called Abraham and his descendants, Isaac and Jacob, into covenant relationship with himself (Gen. 12-15; 17:19; 28:3-4). The covenant with Abraham was a significant step because it was destined to become the basis for both the Old and New Covenants (Ex. 6:2-8; Rom. 4; Gal. 3). Under this covenant God's revelation concerning his redemptive purposes was greatly expanded (Gen. 12:1-3): (1). God would give to Abraham and his descendants the land of Canaan as an eternal inheritance. (2). God would make Abraham into a great nation. (3). Abraham's name would become great. (4). Blessings and curses would reciprocate upon those who blessed or cursed Abraham and his descendants. (5). Blessing would come through the line of Abraham and overflow into the whole world. Each of those promises became tremendously important to the manner in which God would work to bring his Kingdom into the world. Ultimately it would be the Messiah who would make possible the fulfillment of all those promises (Acts 3:24-26; Rom. 4:16-17).
Abraham's descendants did grow into a great nation, but they found themselves as slaves in Egypt. However, God had not forgotten his covenant with Abraham (Ex. 2:24) and so delivered them from their captivity "with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment" (Ex. 6:6). On the basis of the Abrahamic covenant God promised they would be his people and he their God (Ex. 6:7). He would lead them into the land he had promised (Ex. 6:8). After their miraculous deliverance from the Egyptian army, the Israelites celebrated through song (Ex. 15:1-21). In the song they pictured God as a victorious warrior king and declared, "The LORD will reign for ever and ever" (Ex. 15:17). For them God was not a deistic Sovereign who was detached from the life of his people. Rather, he was intimately involved with Israel as evidenced by his rescue of them from the hands of the Egyptians.18 At the foot of Mt. Sinai God established a covenant with Israel. He gave them his holy law and declared them to be "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Ex. 19:6). They had been specially called of God to be the visible manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth. Through Israel God would work to bring all peoples unto himself and so fulfill the promise to Abraham that through him all families of the earth would be blessed.
"Flowing into The Mainstream" by Lauren Winner. Publisher's Weekly (Sept. 11, 2000). Pp. 39-40, 42.
Hungry? More than ever, people are turning pages to learn passion for God. All this is possible now that Christian publishers and booksellers no longer think charismatics are "fringe." In fact, books by Pentecostal/charismatic authors have become the bread and butter for most Christian bookstores (p. 39, 40).
Lauren Winner, book producer for Beliefnet.com, provides many reasons for this movement to the mainstream. First of all, non-charismatic evangelicals are reading books by charismatics more than ever. Tired of dry religiosity, many non-charismatics are looking for the missing joy and God-ward desire they see in their Pentecostal/charismatic friends. Those readers are finding practical answers to where they are at today. Are you looking for healing? How do you pray effectively? Is faith a noun or a verb? How do you live up to what God has called you to? You will find answers from charismatic authors today.
Another reason why as many as six out of ten Christian books sold are charismatic (p. 40) is that charismatics tend to give away a lot of books (p. 40). These books are also now more readily received because charismatic books are not as controversial as they used to be. Divisive issues such as tongues-speaking and prophecy are not being written of as much, and authors are concentrating on subjects that touch all believers. "If charismatic writers have turned their attention to broader issues, charismatic books still are not so mainstream as to be identical to other evangelical books" (p. 39). If you want to read about spiritual intimacy, get fired up about serving Jesus, or renew your prayer life, go find a charismatic title at a Christian bookstore near you.
I am encouraged that Pentecostal/charismatic books are being widely received. While gaining spiritual credibility is certainly positive, charismatics in general have not gained intellectual credibility. I believe there is still a great need for biblical excellency (instead of biblical expediency) to infect the Pentecostal/charismatic movement. Nevertheless, this new acceptance of charismatic books and authors is a positive development.
Reviewed by Raul Mock
- Richard Twiss, a First Nations minister, has asked for prayer for a special missions trip in June. In response to an official government invitation, he will be leading a First Nations "cultural ministry team" to the closed nation of Tibet, June 15-28. Richard has said, "This is an incredible opportunity for our First Nations believers to use their culture as a bridge for the Gospel into the lives of people shut off from the love of God in Jesus Christ. We will have a dance and music exchange with a national Tibet team of performers before government officials then our team will travel to some remote village areas. ' It is a spiritually dark land, so please pray for God's grace and miracles!" See the Wiconi website for more information: http://www.wiconi.com/.
- Pastor Abraham Emmanuel has asked for prayer that the telling of the good news of Jesus Christ might be spread all over Sri Lanka. "If I can receive at least $175 USD per month continually then I reach lots of interior places in my country. Due to the civil war the cost of living has gone beyond the control. Therefore it is impossible to live with little support. There is new worker is willing to work in the mountains (tea plantation) but I cannot send him because I have no way of supporting him." He also encourages others to come and join him in the work, saying that he can arrange meetings for those interested in starting a ministry in his country. For more information, contact him at: emmanuel [at] panlanka.net.
- Your continued prayers are requested on behalf of the Pneuma Foundation. Although there are significant financial needs for the ministry at this time, this is also a time of great expansion and outreach of ministry. Please pray with us for our ministry to be increasingly anointed of the Lord to bring the love, power, and forgiveness that is found in Jesus alone.
Last month we prayed for a friend of the ministry whose brother had recently been diagnosed with cancer. This friend reported that his brother has passed away. Our condolences and prayers are with the family at this difficult time.
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.