Sunday, February 27, 2011

Outline of a Charismatic Epistemology

This is Charismatic and Reformed scholar (and a professor at Calvin College) J. K. A. Smith addressing the Society of Vineyard Scholars on "The Spirit of Knowledge: Outline of a Charismatic Epistemology." One of his points is that it should not just be Evangelical theology with "tongues" tacked on.

In this lecture, he deals with some of the themes from his recent book Thinking in Tongues: Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Philosophy (Pentecostal Manifestos).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

To Be Continued

Marvin Cotten and Scott Lencke have created a very helpful blog called To Be Continued, about the continuing gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
The purpose of To Be Continued is to put forth a solid biblical, theological and historical case for continuationism.

What is continuationism, you may ask?

There are varying beliefs within continuationism, but mainly it is the belief that all spiritual gifts are still available today, even things like prophecy, tongues, miracles and healings. When hearing this word, many might think of Pentecostal, charismatic or Third Wave church groups. Such is fine. We have simply decided to use the more theologically accurate word of today – continuationism.

This belief is the opposite of what is known as cessationism. As with continuationism, there are varying beliefs within the cessationist framework. But, as a whole, most cessationists believe that certain gifts of the Spirit ceased with the death of John, the apostle, and with the completion of what became the New Testament Scriptures. Some more ‘soft’ cessationists hold that all spiritual gifts are available today, but the ‘sign gifts’ (i.e. tongues, miracles, healings and even prophecy) are not to be normatively expected.

Therefore, To Be Continued is here to put forth a solid biblical and theological case for continuationism – the continuance of all gifts of the Spirit, including prophecy, tongues, healings and miracles. The articles we post will be along the lines of these various areas:
  1. Expositional-exegetical commentary on particular and relevant Bible passages.
  2. Theological considerations on varying topics related to the issues of continuationism and cessationism.
  3. Interacting with cessationist arguments.
  4. Drawing in various articles from other continuationists.
  5. Sharing solid theological resources for continuationism.
  6. Book reviews from both the continuationist and cessationist view.
  7. Sharing our own personal stories and reflections on the work of the Spirit, as well as other people’s stories.
They post some wonderful testimonies about the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit today, such as this clip about a ministry to the homeless in Glastonbury, UK, which has experienced healing signs and wonders.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why Muslims Follow Jesus

Christianity Today reviews a recent 750 page survey on why Muslim have been coming to faith in Jesus the Messiah. The first most prominent reason given was the lifestyle of Christians ~ especially their love. Then there is this:
The next most important influence was the power of God in answered prayers and healing. Like most of the factors that former Muslims list, experiences of God's supernatural intervention often increase after Muslims decide to follow Christ.

In North Africa, Muslim neighbors asked Christians to pray for a very sick daughter who then was healed. In Senegal, a Muslim marabout (spiritual leader) referred a patient to Christians when he was not able to bring healing. In Pakistan, after a pilgrimage to Mecca did not cure a disabled Shiite girl, she was healed following Christian prayer.
Another reason is the power of Jesus to deliver them from the demonic:
Closely related was the finding that some noted deliverance from demonic power as another reason they were attracted to Jesus. After all, he is the healing prophet in the Qur'an and has power over demons in the Gospels. In northern Nigeria, a malam (what some might call a witchdoctor) used sorcery against a man who was considering following Jesus. The seeker became insane, and his extended family left him. But then he prayed that Christ would free him, and he was healed.
Dissatisfaction with their experience with Islam is another reason Muslims have been turning to Jesus. Islamic law does not have the power to transform lives and society.

Dreams and visions have also played an important part in many conversions:
Many Muslims view dreams as links between the seen and unseen worlds, and pre-conversion visions and dreams often lead Muslims to consult a Christian or the Bible. Frequently a person in the vision, understood to be Jesus, radiates light or wears white (one respondent, though, said Jesus appeared in green, a color sometimes associated with Islamic holy persons). An Algerian woman had a vision that her Muslim grandmother came into her room and said, "Jesus is not dead; he is here." In Israel, an Arab dreamed that his deceased father said, "Follow the pastor. He will show you the right way." Other dreams and visions occurred later and provided encouragement during persecution. A Turkish woman in jail because of her conversion had a vision that she would be released, and she was. A vision of thousands of believers in the streets proclaiming their faith encouraged a young man in North Africa to persevere.

Miracles Bring Muslims to Jesus

Tom Gilson, at Thinking Christian, considers a survey cited by Christianity Today of 750 Muslims who have come to know Jesus the Messiah. He finds that there are four main reasons:
  • First, they are drawn to the lifestyle of Christians.
  • Second, they are experiencing the power of God in answered prayers and healing.
  • Third, they are dissatisfied with their experience with Islam.
  • The fourth reason Muslims are converting to faith in Jesus is because of dreams and visions. 

Gilson elaborates:
Just last Tuesday I asked a missionary if he knew of experiences of signs and wonders. He spoke of a team of three missionaries, colleagues of his, who were paddling up a river on a boat, in a place where they had not been before. A woman called out to them from the shore, "Are you bringing the word of God?" They landed there and she told them she was the local religious leader. She had had a dream the night before that three men would come in a boat, bringing the word of God. This was not a Muslim community, but illustrates the same point: God is working through dreams and visions. Note that this cannot be ascribed to mere psychology; the information was too specific. The same is true of stories Moreland tells, for example of a Muslim man who walked up to a Christian missionary in a marketplace and said, "I had a dream last night that if I came to this marketplace at this time today, I would see a man wearing a blue jacket just like yours and he would tell me about God."

Christian Revival in the Muslim World

Dreams and visions of Jesus are causing many Muslims to come to Jesus the Messiah. This report is from CBN.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Miracles Among Muslims ~ The Jesus Visions

Miracles Among Muslims:
The Jesus Visions

by Christine Darg

From the back cover:
Christine Darg, a dreamer in the tradition of biblical Daniel and Peter, heard the voice of God tell her in a dream to go to to an Arabian city where the Holy Spirit was moving in Revival. What could she do but head there? Miracles Among Muslims chronicles her amazing encounters with dreams and visions in this current move of God, and also some of the startling visions she herself has experienced in the Middle East and throughout the world.

In remarkable ways, and on a seemingly unprecedented scale in fulfillment of Bible prophecy, the Lord is showing Himself alive (Acts 1:3). Miracles Among Muslims is an extraordinary account of signs and wonders in the Muslim world.

For many centuries of desert like dryness in the Middle East, the word of the LORD was precious. There was no open vision. But suddenly, in the fullness of time, the spiritual scenario in the Middle East has changed. He is also fulfilling His promise to Abraham that Ishmael might live! Dreams and visions are some of the primary ways the Lord is communicating His gospel to the children of Abraham: "And afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions" (Joel 2:28 NIV).
Chapters include:
  1. "Not by Might, nor by Power, but by My Spirit!"
  2. Miracles in the Holy Land
  3. Let Ishmael Live!
  4. Multitudes Reaching for Jesus
  5. Jesus Heals and Delivers in Dreams and Visions
  6. Glory in Egypt
  7. Signs and Wonders in Iraq and Jordan
  8. Adventures Through Dreams
  9. Jesus Appears in Arabia
  10. Lessons from Jesus' Visitation in Arabia
  11. More Signs, Wonders and Miracles
  12. Biblical Dreams and Visions
  13. How to Discern if a Vision or Dream is from God
  14. Revival Epilogue
"This book shows what happens when you follow the voice of our Lord." ~ The Reverend Canon Andrew White, President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East

A Muslim Cries Out to Jesus

This is the testimony of Kamal Saleem, a Muslim and also a terrorist. Befriended by Christians, he was confused by their love for him. He cried to out to his deity, Allah, but Allah said nothing. In his despair, he decided to end his life. But as he held a gun to his head, he heard a voice call his name. It told him to call out to God, the Father of Abraham, Isaace and Jacob. So he called out as the voice told him. Then he had a vision of Yahweh in His glory, a vision of Jesus with holes in His hands ~ and Kamal gave his life to Jesus.