The April 2002 Pneuma Informer
In this issue:
* Numerous Links added to On-line Study Resources
, Members and Friends
, and On-line Articles and Books
. Look at all of the latest links or suggest your URL on the Links
* The Praying in the Spirit series
by Robert Graves is now available on-line. As appearing in the Pneuma Review
. Added April 12, 2002
* On-line article by Raul Mock "Being Watchful: E-Mail Hoaxes and Scams
" Some practical advice about living for Jesus today. Added April 23, 2002
* Articles on Prayer:
Also, be sure to check out the "What's New" section on the Pneuma Foundation homepage
. New articles and other features are being added regularly.
Have a website you would like linked to the Pneuma Foundation? Write Webmaster Dave Driggs
with your suggestion. Or use the on-line form to submit your suggestion: Suggestion
Reports from Around the World
India: Is a Missionary Graveyard Becoming a Vineyard?
Many Christian conferences in India are not simply conferences; they are multi-day festivals, so-called 'conventions.' The Swiss missions agency 'Inter-Mission' reported of such a convention held recently in Sikkeria, Bihar state, by the GEMS mission agency, with an attendance of some 10,000. Despite the large numbers, everything was orderly and peaceful. Even the insects showed their respect: swarms of poisonous insects are often attracted by large crowds, but the convention had no such problems - the insects concentrated on a town 4 miles away. 'Hundreds of women from illiterate tribes wept with joy when they heard the Gospel, and many were freed from demonic possession,' according to the report. Many were healed of various sicknesses, and thousands proclaimed their readiness to serve God. Five evangelist couples were married during the conference. 456 of the attendees decided to follow Jesus, and were baptized in the nearby river, with thousands of witnesses. Bihar State was long known as "the missionaries' graveyard" - many initiatives were started, and many died. 'Today,' writes the mission agency, 'God changed the graveyard into a blossoming vineyard.'
Source: : GEMS/Inter-Mission, Heiner Henny inter [at] datanetworks.ch by way of Friday Fax 2002 Issue 14
Nigerian Christians' 'Prophetic Mandate' Impacts World
What has been described as a book of Acts-like move of God is sweeping Nigeria - and spreading overseas. Huge crowds and reported healings are commonplace in the West African nation, while some of the largest churches elsewhere in the world are pastored by expatriates.
The world's largest church building - seating some 50,000 - is located 30 miles west of the capital, Lagos, and stadium-sized sanctuaries are springing up around the country. German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke attracts upwards of 1 million when he holds open-air crusades. The Redeemed Church of God's annual Holy Ghost Congress is the largest Christian gathering on earth - last year's three-day event drew between 2 million and 4 million attendees.
"There is a prophetic mandate on Nigerian Christians,' says Matthew Ashimolowo, a former Muslim who now leads the largest church in England, Kingsway International Christian Centre in east London. "God has given us a word that our ministers will go out and shake the world." Ukraine's largest congregation, the 15,000-member Word of Faith Bible Church in Kiev, was founded by Sunday Adelaja, a Nigerian student. Nigerians also pastor the largest churches in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Jamaica.
The Nigerian growth continues despite fierce opposition from Islam. Several Muslim-controlled states in the country have introduced strict Islamic law, and scores of churches have been burned down. "Whatever it is about Nigeria, it must be special because the devil fights it," says Ashimolowo. Yet missiologists say that the country is now 45 percent Christian.
"God has visited us in the same way He did in the book of Acts," says Enoch Adeboye, general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, the country's largest and fastest-growing denomination. Founded 50 years ago, it had only a few dozen churches in 1980 - but since then has exploded to 5,000 congregations and an estimated 3 million adherents.
Many leaders point to 1998 as the turning point - the year when Muslim dictator Sani Abacha died, to be succeeded the following year in a free election by Olusegun Obasanjo, a born-again military leader. "The amount of prayer going up for Nigeria was unprecedented," says Yemi Osinbajo, a Pentecostal who is attorney general in Lagos state.
Christians across the denominations have embraced a theology that leaves room for miracles, speaking in tongues and noisy worship. But a growing number of young leaders are concerned that the revival is fraught with problems.
They say that most Pentecostal churches are mired in legalism. Many pastors, they say, have adopted an American model of "celebrity Christianity," which has been eagerly embraced by a patriarchal African culture that struggles with hero worship. And they are concerned that a version of the "prosperity gospel" message has been welcomed by preachers using it to enrich themselves.
Such issues invite heresy, spiritual abuse and a faith that is too irrelevant to address complex social issues such as social justice, AIDS and hunger. "If revival stops with jumping and clapping and speaking in tongues, then we have wasted the grace of God," says David Oyedepo, founder of Winner's Chapel. "This move of God is not to redecorate the church. It is to redecorate the world."
Source: Charisma News Service (Apr 15, 2002, 4:32). By J. Lee Grady. Used by permission.
Denmark: a growing number of Muslims are being baptized
"In Denmark, a growing number of Muslims have converted to Christianity in the last few years," reports Idea, an evangelical news service. Free churches in particular report of a stream of Muslims wanting to be baptized; in Odense, almost 50 Muslims have joined one Pentecostal church in the last three years alone, according to a local newspaper report. Other churches report similar numbers, and John's Church, part of the Danish State Church in Copenhagen, has baptized 25 ex-Muslims in the same period. According to the newspaper report, the new believers are predominantly Iranians and Iraqi Kurds who have been in Denmark for several years. Leif Munksgaard, leader of the State Church's Centre for Intercultural Cooperation, says "They left a totalitarian state, and came to Denmark, where they encountered Christianity and were attracted by the good news about Jesus - that's normal!"
Source: Idea, www.idea.de by way of Friday Fax 2002 Issue 15
Thoughts to Ponder
"To believe that the Lord God omnipotent reigns and redeems is the end of all possible panic, moral, intellectual or spiritual. ... For a person to believe in the redemption means that no crime nor terror nor anguish can discourage him, no matter where he is placed. God is not saving the world; it is done, our business is to get men and women to realize it, and we cannot do it unless we realize it ourselves."
— Oswald Chambers from Highest Good
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 "Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel's Messiah" by Kevin Williams. Part 5: Matthew 5:13-20.
Read the full article on PneumaReview.com: pneumareview.com/secret-codes-in-matthew5-kwilliams
Charisma's Bible Handbook on the Holy Spirit by John Rea. Creation House (1998), Pp. 346.
Read this review on the PneumaReview.com website: http://pneumareview.com/charisma-bible-handbook-jdettmann
- Wiconi International (www.wiconi.com) has asked for prayer for their First Nations evangelistic team as they travel this April to Pakistan. They will be conduct outdoor events using their cultural expressions as a bridge for the Gospel. Please pray for their safety and to have an effective witness.
- Pray for the persecuted church worldwide. Believers around the world are daily suffering because of their trust in Jesus alone as their Savior and Lord. In the coming days, pray especially for brothers and sisters in the following nations: China, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan.
- Please join the volunteer staff of the Pneuma Foundation in praying for some needs at the office, a number of pre-printed forms and envelopes. The Pneuma Foundation is supported by the generous gifts of our members and friends. Please pray that these needs will be met in the near future.
- 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.