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   May 2002 edition of the Pneuma Informer

The May 2002 Pneuma Informer

In this issue:

Comments from Readers and Web Browsers

'Thank you for including me on the regular email distribution of Pneuma Informer. I enjoy getting it and seeing where current pentecostal scholarship issues lie.'

'I briefly checked out the Pneuma Foundation's web site which seems pretty impressive. I look forward to browsing it more.'

'I was just reading an article from the Pneuma Review on the Living Water ['Mayim Chayim: The Living Waters' Fall 1999] by Kevin Williams. This is a really good article, and I learned a lot from it.'

'I would like to suggest the doctrine of 'The Trinity' for an article. I have been studying Hebraic Roots of my faith for several years. I currently attend a Messianic Congregation that embraces all of Torah. I have just in the last 6 months encountered the differences of the Trinity doctrine, and am in search of the truth. There doesn't seem to be a lot of articles out there. I have heard some teachings, but must admit that not much sounds different than the three working as one, in one purpose. I am afraid to depend very much on the things that I have always been taught as I now find so many of them to have been lies.'

Greetings, Gail
Thanks for your inquiry about the Pneuma Foundation presenting an article on the tri-unity of God from a Hebraic perspective. I have spoken with Kevin Williams, who is a leader at the Adat Eytz Chayim congregation [www.chayim.org], and who is a regular contributor to materials published by the Pneuma Foundation. Kevin has written several articles that help explain the Jewishness of the Brit Chadasha (New Testament) to the gentile Christian church. You may find some of them in the online Pneuma Review article archive.
    This has been a subject of interest to Kevin for some time, demonstrating the ancient Jewish concept of the tri-unity of the Godhead. His article may now be found on the Pneuma Foundation website. The article is entitled, "Unify The Name."
In the love of HaAv [the Father],
Raul Mock, Executive Director

Author's Introduction
A question came up regarding the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. There are some in the world that accept the three-in-one concept readily, while others reject it outright. For some Messianic gentile adherents reading [Jewish] Orthodox commentaries, they can-from time to time-become confused and unsure. Is the Trinity another one of those misleading teachings of the church? Is it a valid theology? Since it was established as official doctrine at the Council of Nicea, under Emperor Constantine, doesn't that make it suspect by association?
   Well, it had been on my heart to put something down on paper (or in this case, electronic phosphorescence) and when the question came up, I felt lead to write.
Good Shabbos,
Kevin Williams

Reports from Around the World

Pastor Trains 'Urban Missionaries' for Inner-City Service
As inner-city crime rates, drug activity and family breakdown worsen, one California minister is seeking to confront the problems from within.

Through his American Urban University (AUU), Bishop George McKinney, pastor of St. Stephen's Church of God in Christ in San Diego, hopes to prepare "urban missionaries" who feel called to work in inner-city schools, law enforcement agencies and other public services.

"Our aim...is to train teachers, social workers, police officers, public servants who have a sense of a calling," said McKinney, 69. "Not being trained to escape the neighborhood, but being trained to come and give back to the community and to be agents of transformation in our community."

A year ago, the school began offering theological training in its C.H. Mason School of Ministry for those wanting to serve in full-time ministry. Within five years, AUU Executive Vice President Leon Wood expects the school to be fully functioning as a Christian liberal arts university, complete with opportunities for distance learning.

"It takes a certain type of teacher, a teacher with a faith-based understanding, to cope with the challenges that are facing them [in inner-city schools]," said Wood, a former community-college dean and inner-city pastor. "That is also true for those dealing in the social services, in the field of law and those who are in the midst of hardships in the inner city.

"It takes a certain type of skill and understanding. If we can develop an educational system that has...spiritual values...those who graduate from our programs will be able to attack some of these social situations in a much different way."

McKinney's commitment to reclaiming America's inner cities for God has long marked his ministry. St. Stephen's operates a school, counseling center, retirement facility, and AIDS and prison ministries. The church even purchased a housing project to weed out drug activity and make the community safer and more stable.

Now McKinney's attention is fixed on preparing current and emerging leaders to make an even greater mark on urban communities by fusing theological with practical training. A survey he conducted in 1986 upon becoming bishop of COGIC's Southern California Second Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction revealed that less than 5 percent of pastors under his leadership had any formal ministry training.

"It is my feeling as a bishop that it's not enough for me to talk about how sad it is that many of my colleagues did not have training," said McKinney, who has earned both master's and doctoral degrees in theology and is a licensed marriage and family counselor. "It's better to light a candle and provide training for them."

W.P. Middlebrooks, 32, who has been attending classes at AUU for a year in pursuit of a master's degree, said the school was "a realistic approach to urban ministry." He added: "The majority of the instructors are actively pastoring in the ghetto, so they're able to give firsthand knowledge, realistic insight into what's happening...and what you'll end up dealing with and what spiritual war in these communities is about."
Source: Charisma New Service 4:44 by Adrienne Gaines. Used by permission.

Pakistan: Miracles and New Churches
According to Pakistani church planters in a report by Swiss missions agency Kingdom Ministries, over 100 new churches have been planted in the past few months. To quote Kingdom Ministries News: "Many Pakistani church planters with whom we have contact have planted between 5 and 10 new house churches, each with between 15 and 50 members - in many cases, entire families. Many people experienced physical healing. One 35-year-old woman had been paraplegic for a long time, unable to leave her bed. She was healed during a prayer meeting. After experiencing this miracle on her own body, she accepted Jesus into her life. A criminal drug addict also accepted Jesus, and was immediately freed from his addiction. When his family saw what had happened, they also decided to follow Jesus, and have joined one of the churches."
Source: Kingdom Ministries, by way of Friday Fax 2002 Issue 18

Germany: Salvation and Healing
2,300 people attended the Come to the Light service in L'denscheid, Germany on March 2, 2002. 'During the service, 50 people gave their lives to Jesus, including one young man who had been desperately seeking God for years. He wrote to us, saying that he has 'finally come home'," says Walter Heidenreich, leader of the Freien Christlichen Jugendgemeinschaft (Free Christian Youth Fellowship). A young woman had been suffering from a bone disease for two years, and had to take 18 tablets each day to control the pain. She traveled 220 miles for the chance of receiving prayer, even though she was not a Christian. After prayer, her legs felt very light. She now no longer needs the tablets and sleeps soundly for the first time in years.
Source: Walter Heidenreich, FCJG by way of Friday Fax 2002 Issue 14

Thoughts to Ponder

"In all those dark moments, O God, grant that I may understand that it is you who is painfully parting the fibres of my being in order to penetrate to the very marrow of my substance."
—Teilhard of Chardin

'No errorless system has yet been developed in spite of the resource of truth to be found in an infallible Bible.'
—Miner B. Stearns

"If we knew, O God, that you love to give to us far more than we long to receive, would we not pray with much greater faith?"

'If men and women today began by the thousands experiencing the depths of Jesus Christ in a transforming way, there would simply be no place for their expression of experience to fit into the present-day straightjackets of Christianity. Protestant or Catholic, neither one is structured to contain a mass devoted people who long for spiritual depth. We are structured towards infancy.'
—Gordon Cosby, The Church of the Savior, Washington, D. C.

Excerpts from the Spring 2002 (Vol 5, No 2) 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.

From "Pentecost and the Inside-Out Church" by Brian White

. . .

The following incidents in the Book of Acts can teach us a lot about where the Holy Spirit likes to work:

1. Both Peter (Acts 4:8) and Stephen (Acts 7:55) were filled with the Holy Spirit while on trial before the rulers, elders, and scribes. This was exactly what Jesus had promised would happen: He said that the Holy Spirit would be with us and would teach us what to say when we stand before rulers and authorities (Luke 12:2).

2. The Holy Spirit filled the Samaritans, people the Jews were prejudiced against for both racial and religious reasons (Acts 8:14-17). Because of the Jews' hatred of this people group, the Samaritans couldn't come to meetings of the Church in Jerusalem - so the Holy Spirit went to them, just as Jesus had promised (Acts 1:8). He loves to go to the places where people are disadvantaged, discriminated against, hated, and oppressed.

3. Later in Acts 8, God led Philip to go out to a desert road, and the Holy Spirit instructed him to run up and join a passing chariot. The chariot's owner was a seeker, and Philip led him to Christ. Then the Holy Spirit snatched Philip away and deposited him in another city while the seeker continued on his way back home to Africa (Acts 8:26-40). It's important to note that the Holy Spirit could have arranged for this Ethiopian man to find a Christian in Jerusalem who might have invited him to a gathering of believers—but He didn't. For some reason, the Holy Spirit wanted to meet that man outside.

4. What about the filling of the Apostle Paul? Saul of Tarsus was filled with the Holy Spirit in a house on Straight Street in Damascus (Acts 9:17). God sent a believer named Ananias to go to Paul. He could just as easily have directed Paul to go to a gathering of believers somewhere in Damascus. Evidently, the Holy Spirit likes to pour out on people in living rooms.

5. When the Holy Spirit was about to break the bitter, centuries-old division between Jews and Gentiles, He decided to speak to Peter about it. Where was Peter when the Holy Spirit spoke to him? On the roof of a house in Joppa (Acts 10:19).

6. The Holy Spirit spoke to Peter on that roof in response to the prayers of Cornelius, a Gentile who feared God. An angel appeared to Cornelius and told him to send for Peter. That angel could just as easily have told Cornelius to go to Peter; Peter could have arranged to bring Cornelius to a special meeting of the believers in Joppa. Instead, the Holy Spirit told Peter to leave Joppa and to go to Cornelius in Caesarea. As a result, Cornelius, his family, and his friends were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit in Cornelius' house.

7. In Acts 19, the Holy Spirit filled a number of Ephesians. This is significant because Ephesus was known throughout the ancient world as a center of idolatry and sorcery. Ever feel like the places where you live and work are dark, lost, maybe even evil? Those are the places where the Holy Spirit yearns to be.

There are many more examples, but maybe these are enough to show us an important pattern: the Holy Spirit's presence and power are not confined to the walls of a church building or to gatherings of believers. He is out there where seekers are looking for God, out there where believers are trying to reach the lost, out there where believers are 'on trial,' in the wilderness, in the courtroom, in the living room, among the powerless and the disenfranchised, in the cities where darkness and idolatry and witchcraft seem to prevail. He is out there. Of course, the Book of Acts also reveals that the Holy Spirit was deeply involved in the Church and that His power was evident wherever believers gathered together (see, for example, Acts 15 where the Holy Spirit unifies the Church during a contentious and crucial meeting). But the Gospels and the Book of Acts indicate that the activity of the Holy Spirit was largely concentrated outside of the large-group gatherings of believers: He was continually sending believers OUT and He was going with them.

Evangelism took place everywhere. The only recorded altar calls happened in the streets, in courtrooms, and in the living rooms of unbelievers. Prophetic ministry and other supernatural giftings (like healings) took place in homes and in the streets as well as in corporate gatherings of believers. The early Church simply believed that the Holy Spirit was EVERYWHERE and that it was their job to be about His business all the time, wherever they were, not just on Sunday and not just 'in church.'

A Fresh Call to an Ancient Calling

It's important to study the Holy Spirit's activity in the early Church because your church is being encouraged to live inside out, just like the early Church did. The call to be an inside-out church is a call back to the roots of the Church, back to the very foundation of what it means to be Pentecostal.

When Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be filled with the Holy Spirit, he wrote about the reasons why God would pour out His Spirit: to bring good news to the poor, to bind up broken hearts, to set captives free, to comfort the mourning, and to restore broken foundations (see Is. 61:1-4 and Luke 4:16-21). And when Jesus announced the imminent arrival of the Holy Spirit's power in Acts 1, He reminded the disciples that the power they would receive would propel them beyond the walls of their comfortable gatherings into places like Samaria, places they had always been taught to avoid. He told them that Pentecostal power would take them, not to the end of the church service, but to the ends of the Earth (Acts 1:8).

That power is available to us. Whether we were baptized in the Holy Spirit during the Charismatic Renewal or as recently as last week, we have the power now 'to do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith' (Galatians 6:10).

How exciting to know that we can walk in the power of the Holy Spirit outside of the church building, in our everyday lives! This is why we have received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. This is the ancient calling that recent revival has prepared us for. This is the vision that we must open our eyes to. The Holy Spirit is at work in our offices, in our classrooms, in our neighborhoods, in our living rooms. It's up to us to see that He doesn't have to work alone.

  • Read the rest of this article in the Spring 2002 issue of the Pneuma Review, or on the Pneuma Foundation website. /article.jsp?article=inside-out_church.xml

  • From "Edward Irving: Preacher, Prophet & Charismatic Theologian" by Derek Vreeland

    . . .

    The final and most direct historical connection is found between Pentecostalism and Irving in the writings of Charles Parham. It was Parham's association between Spirit baptism and speaking in tongues that formed the theological impetus of the Pentecostal revival. Pentecostal enthusiasts hailed speaking in tongues as the initial Bible evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. As previously noted, Irving taught that speaking in tongues was the standing sign of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. While these two statements are a reflection of each other, Irving's 'standing sign' did not necessarily breed Parham's 'initial Bible evidence.' However Irving's passion for the practice of speaking in tongues served as a historical precedent for Parham. This strengthened Parham's interpretation of Acts 2:4. Parham writes,
    We have found that the early Catholic Fathers upon reaching the coast of Japan spoke in the native tongue; that the Irvingites, a sect that arose under the teachings of Irving, a Scotchman, during the last century, received not only the eight recorded gifts of 1 Cor. 12, but also the speaking in other tongues, which the Holy Ghost reserved as the evidence of his coming.[46 ]
    Irving's ministry, although brief, is a testimony of the power of God concentrated through the pen of a theologian. Irving's imprint on the Church in charismatic renewal is that the moving of the Spirit does not have to be irrational or anti-intellectual. Irving consistently defended his experience of the Spirit with a thoughtful exposition from the Scripture. It was not choice between theological accuracy and spiritual vitality. He deeply longed for both to be evident in his ministry. The life and ministry of Edward Irving-although historically disassociated from the Pentecostal movement-is worth the attention of scholars, pastors and thoughtful Christians who desire the life of the Spirit and the rightly divided word of truth.

    * Read the rest of this article in the Spring 2002 issue of the Pneuma Review. This article may be available soon on the Pneuma Foundation website under Online Articles from the Pneuma Review.

    * Endnotes appear with the full article in the Pneuma Review

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