The July 2011 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
Reports from Around the World
Egypt : Can oppressed Christian minority find freedom, too?
Enraged Muslims betrayed the Christian hope for unity in several violent attacks during the final weeks of June in Egypt. Despite all this, Christians hope the fight for democracy will unite them with the Muslims. Paul Estabrooks with Open Doors says others aren't so sure. "The church is, I think, far more optimistic about opportunities and positive change in the future than we on the outside looking in." Christians in Egypt have found some unity with Muslims as they protest government oppression, but Muslims will be the majority in the new regime. With the power shift, Muslims may be more likely to oppress the Christian minority. "They trust that minorities are going to be involved in any democratic constitution that'll be established and be protected," says Estabrooks. "However, there doesn't seem to be a history of protection of minorities in new democracies." How can Christians help? "Pray that their optimism will be honored and that they will be able to have the freedom that they desire to share the Gospel."
Source: Mission Network News, 29 June, 2011. Full story: http://www.mnnonline.org/article/15906
Middle East: One man's trust
"For Real?!" by Rachel Fields, who has lived in the Middle East since 2003 and is assistant director of an English center there. How one Muslim man's faith in Jesus has led increasing numbers of fellow Muslims in his community to also put their trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord. www.lausanneworldpulse.com/themedarticles.php/1402/05-2011
Global Leaders Share Concerns
Christian leaders in the Global South think evangelism will be easier in five years, while those in the North think it will become more difficult.
Cuba: Severe government pressure against Churches
"Cuban Baptist pastor prevented from attending church service as pressure on all denominations intensifies" dynamic.csw.org.uk/article.asp?t=press&id=1193 (Christian Solidarity Worldwide).
South Sudan: Beginning of Independence
South Sudan marked independence Saturday, July 9, with the jubilation of a people group freed from oppression. Days later, the big question is: Now what? Lawmakers formed a caretaker government and announced a new currency yesterday. But freedom begins with a solid foundation. Lorella Rouster with Every Child Ministries says they're part of that solution. "I was there just a few days before Independence, training church and orphanage workers in Southern Sudan in more effective ways of children's ministry." As refugees return to the South in droves, groups like ECM are preparing for the influx by partnering with the local church. "We would like people to pray that people would use the teaching that we have given them and be effective in reaching the new generation," says Rouster. "The techniques that we've given are good for large groups, so I think that's good for the influx of new children." Pray for a peaceful transition.
Source: Mission Network News, 12 July, 2011. Full story: http://www.mnnonline.org/article/15958
Survey: Religion, Faith Still Important to Most People
News and Headlines
A global survey of more than 18,000 people across 24 nations finds that religious faith is still important to most people.
for Current News and Links
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
Tony Richie, "The Right Moment for an Important and Unprecedented Document"
Read the revised and expanded version of this article on PneumaReview.com:
Resources You Can Use
New Christian Magazine from India
John Lathrop, a regular contributor to Pneuma Foundation publications, writes to tell us about a new publication that will be of interest to Informer readers:
There is a new Christian magazine that is being published in India called Christian Trends (it is published in English). One of the founders is Dr. Finny Philip. He is a Pentecostal, I met him in the Philadelphia area in 2005. Dr. Philip is the Principal of Filadelphia Bible College in Udaipur, Rajasthan India. You can see the college's website at: fbcudaipur.com/index.html
You can see the first issue of the magazine on their website at: http://ctrendsmag.com
Prevent Church Lawsuits
James Cobble, "Simple Guide to Preventing Church Lawsuits: Legal trends that put your church at risk" http://www.churchsafety.com/topics/law/governance/boardbasicssafechurches/churchlawsuits.html
Join us on Facebook
Add us to your Likes: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Pneuma-Foundation/120599944618303
Interview with Pastor Philip Mantofa
Introducing Philip Mantofa: Pastor Philip Mantofa graduated from Columbia Bible College, in British Columbia, Canada, with a degree in theology. Since 1998, he has been serving Mawar Sharon Church, a growing church of 30,000 in Indonesia. Currently, he is one of the leaders of the Mawar Sharon denomination, which has a network of 70 local churches. He has brought more than 100,000 souls to Christ. His passion is to see nations encounter and experience the love of Jesus Christ and ignite fire in the younger generation to become pastors and spiritual leaders all over Asia. He and his wife have three children.
Pneuma: Please tell our readers how you came to know Jesus.
At one time I harbored a lot of hatred toward the Lord and toward myself. I was disappointed in my family, friends, and church. My days seemed dark. On one occasion I cursed the Lord, I challenged Him, and blasphemed Him. When I did this my heart began to beat fast and I collapsed. My heart was racing and I thought that I would die. My breathing became tight and I felt the presence of the Lord. He spoke to me and said "I love you." When He said that my heartbeat became stable again and I stood up. Then I blasphemed Him again. This time I was thrown to the floor and my heart again began to beat frantically. Once again I felt the Lord's presence and I cried like a baby because I heard Him again say that He loved me. I was on the floor screaming, "Why do you love me? I do not love You! Kill me now! Do it now while I hate You! Punish me now!" I rejected God's love. I blasphemed a third time, again my breath was constricted and I was thrown to the floor. Once again His presence came to me and I heard a voice in my heart say as though crying "I love you." After this my heartbeat once again became normal.
After these experiences I decided that if the Lord would not kill me then I would kill myself. No one knew of my plans to kill myself. Twice I planned to take my life but I could not do it because I thought of my family and how they would handle it. The third time I planned to kill myself I was interrupted by a phone call from my pastor's wife and so I did not go through with it.
Two weeks later I went to church. I had a sense that there was going to be an altar call to receive Christ and I prepared to leave the service. I stood and started moving toward the exit. As I was reaching for the door knob I heard a man's voice in my ear, it was very firm and loud. It was an audible voice. The voice said, "Philip, if you are not saved today, you will be lost forever." There was no one standing near me, I then realized that it was the voice of God. I immediately ran to the front of the church and lifted my hands. I cried and cried. I also saw a very bright light. At this time I heard an audible voice speaking to me in English. The voice said, "I am Jesus and I love you." I asked the Lord to let me die for Him. He told me to live for Him. That day He touched me and I was changed.
Pneuma: When did you sense the Lord's call to ministry, and what is the specific calling that He has placed on your life?
When I was six years old I had a vision. I was not born-again at this time but I had a vision nonetheless. I believe that this vision was the first indication that there was a call of God on my life. I saw a large stone in front of me. The stone looked like it was rolling toward me. It was very close and was going to crush me. I did not know what the vision meant. Right before the stone got to me my mama slapped my cheeks and asked me what was wrong. Suddenly the vision was gone.
I forgot about that vision until the Lord Himself reminded me of it after I had repented (at the age of eighteen). I asked one pastor the meaning of the vision. He said: "That was a solid hard rock which would crush your life. But after the rock crushed your life, it was no longer you who lived but Christ who lived in you!"
When I repented the Holy Spirit spoke to me: "I called you! Follow Him just like when He called His disciples and said: 'Follow Me!'" Since that day I have abandoned all of my hopes, desires, and aspirations and have followed Jesus. At the time, I quibbled a little with the Lord because I was not certain if that was from the Lord or not. "You do not have the right to quibble with Me!" the Lord said. "Your mother has already surrendered you to me. Your mother gave you to me in a vow when you were sick." I asked my mama about this and found out that it was so. At first my mother forgot; but finally she remembered her vow; she had never told me about it. She was surprised when I asked her about it. My father did not know my mama had dedicated my life to the Lord. It was a secret promise between the Lord and my mama. No one else knew because my mama had said it in her heart. When I asked her about it, she said, "How did you know about that?" I answered, "The Lord told me I could not run away from Him because I had already been dedicated to Him by a vow."
Early in 2003, I had a supernatural experience while I was alone in my bedroom; I met the Lord Jesus. I felt a strong urge from the Holy Spirit to pray and I obeyed Him. The presence of God was very powerful in that place. I felt unworthy to receive such a great honor. At that time I uttered one sentence that today has become the vision for Mawar Sharon Church."We will build You 1,000 strong local churches with 1,000,000 disciples!"After I finished that sentence, the visitation ended.
On October 14th 2003, I once again had a supernatural experience in my room, this time I wasn't alone. I was relaxing with my wife and daughter when the Holy Spirit spoke to me. "Stay awake later, after your wife and daughter are asleep." I obeyed. After my wife and daughter were sound asleep, I gave myself to prayer and the Holy Spirit spoke to me for five hours without stopping. The Lord revealed to me the coming of a great spiritual revival. I saw a tsunami, enormous waves that were tens of meters high in front of me. The unbroken waves were extremely large. From behind the waves I heard a voice. "I have sent you a greater spiritual revival. It is very great and you do not know it. In one sweep many souls will be saved." After I received that promise from the Lord, I went straight to bed. It was 4 o'clock in the morning.
Pneuma: Your homeland of Indonesia is predominantly Muslim. How receptive are the people of Indonesia to the gospel, and what are some of the reasons?
Indonesians at large are thirsty and hungry for a visitation from the Living God. The main reason is because the Bible says that the field is white unto harvest, and the Bible never lies! God knows the hearts of men and He speaks the truth. Indonesia is not exempt from His Word. A small and vocal minority of Muslim radicals would lead us to believe that Muslims are not a ready harvest. It is Satan's lie! Worse yet, if Christians hearts are filled with the fear of man and fear for their own lives, lies enter in and kill faith. Another reason for the great reception of the gospel in predominantly Muslim Indonesia is the willingness of a few to believe God's Word and obey the great commission against all odds. There are heroes of faith in this part of the world!
Pneuma: How is Indonesia different than other countries you have ministered in?
As far as God is concerned, it is not different than other countries on earth in the sense that God can work anywhere in the world. As far as I'm concerned, it is a place of two births in my life. Firstly, I was born here and I call this country "home." But more importantly, Indonesia has been born in my heart by choice. After living most of my life overseas, in the year of 1998 - during one of the darkest times in the history of the nation, when Chinese minorities and Christians were persecuted, robbed, raped and murdered in broad day light - I returned to my homeland by faith for the sake of revival and the Gospel. I could almost say that, that day I went to hell to bring down the Kingdom of Heaven. Now that's unforgettable for me! That's my bonding with Indonesia.
Pneuma: What are some of the things you have seen God doing as Jesus is being proclaimed?
Many miracles and healings have been reported. For example in "The Festival of God's Power" meetings held in Surabaya, Indonesia on October 8th and 9th 2010, a seventeen year old man was healed of deafness. On the first day of the crusade the Lord opened one of his ears and on the second day he was completely healed. Also, during this crusade a thirty-five year old woman who could not see very well was totally healed. These are just a couple of examples but these healings have been confirmed by doctors.
The Pneuma Informer would like to thank Mulyadi B. (Pastor Mantofa's assistant) and John Lathrop for helping to prepare this interview for publication.
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
For a full index of the contents of all Pneuma Review issues, visit: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/pr_archive.jsp.
Worthington's A JUST FORGIVENESS, Reviewed by Woodrow E. Walton
From the Summer 2011 issue
Everett L. Worthington, Jr., A Just Forgiveness: Responsible Healing without Excusing Injustice (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009) 252 pages, ISBN 9780830337014.
Since this reviewer has sat under Worthington in a seminar setting in an American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) national meeting, it is a personal pleasure to review this book of his which seeks to "titrate" justice and forgiveness in order to either foster reconciliation or restore lives where reconciliation may be impossible to attain. "Just forgiveness" is one where both justice and forgiveness is served. Worthington identifies that humility is what brings justice and forgiveness together. Such an interconnection is accomplished "by a Trinitarian God who understands such interconnections" and is able to lead individuals, groups, and societies "to humble just forgiveness and peace" (p.230).
Worthington, who received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Missouri (Columbia), is professor of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond), and also an active member of the AACC, and is known for his work in marriage counseling. This reviewer owns one of his works in that area. In his A Just Forgiveness, Worthington starts off by discussing the place of forgiveness in marital and family relationships before continuing to show how forgiveness and responsible healing can take place in church, business, community and society, and the world at large where "injury has occurred" while also upholding the case for a "rational and relational justice" (p. 59).
The book is essentially divided into two sections. The first one hundred twenty-six pages concentrates on what just forgiveness entails. Those pages also delve into the tensions involved, the questions raised and the humility that is required for resolution of differences and hurts and restoration. The second part discusses how just forgiveness can result in family situations, within churches, workplaces, communities, and the world. He makes distinctions among distributive, retributive, procedural and restorative kinds of justice and shows how each works itself in actuality. Similarly, Worthington distinguishes decisional forgiveness and forgiveness from the heart and makes the case for a forgiveness that needs to be both rational and affective. One without the other does not bring about resolution, restoration, and/or reconciliation.
There is one place where Worthington follows Max Weber's sociological distinction between "church" and "sect," while recognizing their commonality as a community of believers (p.150). The sect usually arises "in opposition to an established church and organize around a person" (p.150) while a church is what emerges as a sect grows and becomes "unwieldy and unable to operate on the basis of a single leadership" (p. 150). Jesus, however, never made such a distinction. Since the term "church" describes those who "belong to the Lord," no matter the size, degree of organization, and type of polity, sect and church are much the same in having the same submerged personality conflicts regardless of differences over polity, beliefs, or ethical standards.
One of the most interesting discussions in the book is in chapter nine where Worthington takes on the issue of just forgiveness in the world where he describes violent cultures, the role of prejudice, the origins and types of societal violence, and the underlying factors which lend themselves to the persistence of societal violence. Worthington examined the Amish response to the Nickels Mine Massacre of school children in Lancaster Co., PA; the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission experiment, the Colombian limited amnesty program, and the Rwandan Gacaca court trials (having to do with the 1994 Rwandan Genocide).
Worthington closes off his book by promoting a "Track-Three Diplomacy" approach on the world level and concludes with suggestions on what we can do. Track-Three diplomacy "involves opinion leaders working with their constituencies to bring about changes in attitudes that foster and maintain peace and reconciliation" (p. 214). Before giving suggestions on what we can do whether in the family, the church, the workplace, community, society, and the world, Worthington singles out motives for doing whatever needs to be done. These involve recognizing the injustice gap that exists and the justice motive, grace and mercy motives, agape - the God kind of love - and keeping motives in balance. In whatever situation three primary actions must be taken and these are seeking God, taking responsibility for reducing tension, and pursuing pathways to peace no matter if the situation is interpersonal, church-related, societal-related, work-related, or community - related. He also defines specific things for individuals to do. Rather than describing those specifics, this reviewer recommends that the potential reader pick up and read the entire two hundred thirty-two pages of text. It is well-worth the reading by any one. There are no difficult terms within Worthington's study but is very understandable and includes ample illustrations drawn from his own life and situations that have received national notice. There is one reference to an incident that is principally still sensitive to the Jewish community and it revolves around an incident in the life of Simon Wiesenthal after whom the Wiesenthal Center in New York City is named.
Reviewed by Woodrow E. Walton
Preview A Just Forgiveness
Woodrow E. Walton, D.Min. (Oral Roberts University School of Theology and Missions), B.A. (Texas Christian University), B.D. [M.Div.] (Duke Divinity School), M.A. (University of Oklahoma), is a retired Seminary Dean and Professor of biblical, theological and historical studies. An ordained Assemblies of God minister, he and his wife live in Shattuck, Oklahoma. Walton retains membership with the Evangelical Theological Society, American Association of Christian Counselors, American Society of Church History, American Academy of Political Science, and The International Society of Frontier Missiology.
Read more reviews and other articles in the Summer 2011 issue of THE PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp