Radio Ministry Continues

March 30, 2007 by  
Filed under Media

Radio seminars and Bible studies are held weekly on the local network that reaches the church members at their homes and work places. The testimony of this story is that this same radio network was designed, built and used for political propaganda by the Communist Party. For 45 years trained political leaders defended and proclaimed the atheistic message of the Communist Regime teaching people that there is no God. But God has proved that indeed He exists and controls kings and kingdoms. Today, this same radio network is used to proclaim the message of the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through our radio programs, people are taught to revere God and to obey His words. Every week our team receives hundreds of calls, letters and e-mails with questions about our faith and the Bible. Our broadcast reaches thousands of people in their homes and at their work places, but even more important the message of Christ reaches directly their hearts.

1996-1997 Ministry Report

March 25, 2007 by  
Filed under News

After a successful time of ministry in the Carolinas, Georgia and Chicago I returned to my home country Bulgaria and during the summer of 1996 I was able to hold several crusades in the mountain towns of Trayvna, Zeravna, Tvurditza, Yablanitza and Pravetz.

In October 1996 I began working with the Mission for Christian Upbringing which at that time operated in consortium with the Life with God Church of God (United) in Yambol. During this time the mission team of the church began two new churches in the region and provided pastoral care for 14 more. We held as many as four services every day. This work grew to what today is known as Mission Maranatha – a home mission department of Cup and Cross Ministries International. Since 1999, Mission Maranatha has started 9 Pentecostal churches in the Yambol area, provided Sunday School literatures, held a weekly radio program, organized social care centers and numerous conferences, crusades and meetings. The team Mission Maranatha serves to several hundred people as their main ministry methodology are ongoing prayer meetings and fasting organized among all the churches. The results have been magnificent as hundreds of people have been saved and many have received healing and miracles as the power of God is evident in every service.

In 1996 the idea of Shalom TV and the Bulgarian Christian Coalition was born. Both events happened in the middle of the 1997 economical crises in Bulgaria. As a result on January 10, 1997 the Socialist government seized power and a new government of democrats assumed political leadership of the country. Regardless of the political and economical tensions, our ministry continued strong. Shalom TV continued its operation from Yambol Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Christian Coalition was eighth in the April 1997 Parliamentarian Elections.

The Great City of Yambol

March 20, 2007 by  
Filed under News

The town of Yambol is situated in southeastern Bulgaria and is located along the banks of the river Toundja (ancient name Tonzos). The rich and fertile lands in the river valley have been inhabited ever since the most ancient times.

Proof of human dwellings of prehistoric times are the dozens of ancient tomb hills that have been found in the area. Moreover, remnants of the so called Rasheva and Marcheva tomb hills dating as far back as the Neolithic, Etnolithic and Bronze Ages lie within the area of the modern town. Some of the findings discovered in them are exposed in the Louvre in Paris and the Archaeological Museum in Sofia. The larger part of them, however, belongs to the Museum of History in Yambol.

Today the population of Yambol is about 100 000 inhabitants. The town is a district centre in southeastern Bulgaria with a population of over 200 000 people, and at present it is the administrative centre of Yambol district.

Best developed were the chemical industry, food processing, wine production, the textile and cloth industries and furniture manufactories.

The district of Yambol is a huge producer of agricultural products such as wheat and barley, fruits and vegetables.

In consequence of the social-economic changes that have taken place in our country the main industrial enterprises in the recent past have been closed down nowadays. This results in mass unemployment and considerable impoverishment of the active population in town.

Protestantism in Bulgarian

March 15, 2007 by  
Filed under News

Protestantism was introduced in Bulgaria by missionaries from the United States in 1857-58, amid the National Revival period. The two main denominations, the Methodists and Congregationalists, divided their areas of influence. The former predominated in northern Bulgaria and the latter in the south. In 1875 the Protestant denominations united in the Bulgarian Evangelical Philanthropic Society, which later became the Union of Evangelical Churches in Bulgaria. Besides setting up churches, the Protestants established schools, clinics, and youth clubs, and they distributed copies of the Bible and their own religious publications in Bulgarian.

The Union of Evangelical Churches produced the first translation of the entire Bible into Bulgarian in 1871 and founded the nondenominational Robert College in Constantinople, where many Bulgarian leaders of the post-independence era were educated. After independence in 1878, the Protestants gained influence because they used the vernacular in services and in religious literature.

The communist regimes subjected Protestants to even greater persecution than the Catholics. In 1946 church funding was cut off by a law curbing foreign currency transactions. Because many ministers had been educated in the West before World War II, they were suspected automatically of supporting the opposition parties. In 1949 thirty-one Protestant clergymen were charged with working for American intelligence and running a spy ring in Bulgaria. All church property was confiscated, and the churches\’ legal status was revoked. Most of the mainstream Protestant denominations maintained the right to worship nominally guaranteed by the constitution of 1947.

According to estimates in 1991, the 5,000 to 6,000 Pentecostals made the largest Protestant group in Bulgaria. The Pentecostal movement was brought to Bulgaria in 1921 by Russian immigrants. The movement later spread to Varna, Sliven, Sofia, and Pleven. It gained popularity in Bulgaria after freedom of religion was declared in 1944, and the fall of Zhivkov brought another surge of interest. In 1991 the Pentecostal Church had thirty-six clergy in forty-three parishes, with sufficient concentration in Ruse to petition the government to establish a Bible institute there.

Postmodern Rebels

March 10, 2007 by  
Filed under News

Almost one hundred years ago, Pentecostalism emerged as a rejection of the current social structure. Sin, corruption and lack of holiness were pervasive, spreading not only throughout society, but also establishing strongholds within the mainstream denominations. With its Wesleyan holiness roots, Pentecostalism took an open stand against the sin that ruled both the church and the community. Also, Pentecostalism prophetically condemned the approaching modernity of the 20th century as being morally declined. As a rebel against modernity in the culture of the 20th century, Pentecostalism became postmodern by rejecting modernism through its Wesleyan-holiness identity and the Biblical truth for church and community. Indeed, the principal model of rebelling against sin and unrighteousness in the context of social injustice was provided for the church by Jesus Christ Himself.

In the beginning of the 21st century, much is said about the church becoming a postmodern system serving the needs of postmodern people in an almost super-market manner. Yet, again, it seems reasonable to suggest that the Pentecostal paradigm from the beginning of modernity will work once again in postmodernity. While again moral values are rejected by the present social system, Pentecostalism must take a stand for its ground of holiness and reclaim its identity as a rebel – this time an antagonist to postmodern marginality and nominal Christianity. A stand against sin must be taken at all cost, regardless if it evokes alienation or even persecution from society. Postmodern individuals are on a quest, searching for an answer how to deal with sin. Pentecostal identity holds the answer to this question. If an open stand against sin means rebellion against postmodernism, then Pentecostals proudly deserve the name Postmodern Rebels.

Cup & Cross to Present at Society of Pentecostal Studies

March 5, 2007 by  
Filed under Research

Cup & Cross Ministries is presenting two research papers at the upcoming annual meeting of the Society of Pentecostal Studies in Cleveland. The research deals with Bulgarian evangelical congregations ministering in North America and with the situation of Evangelical Churches in Bulgaria. Both papers will be presented Saturday March 10, 2007 at 1:30 pm in Humanities Center room 202 of Lee University. All are invited.

Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association Gains Legal Status

March 1, 2007 by  
Filed under News

The Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association has finally received official legal status with the Bulgarian government, after battling courts throughout the country for the last four months. Global religious freedom watchdog FORUM 18 closely followed the case of chaplaincy ministry in Bulgaria recognizing its “underground” status and releasing an informative article about the current situation of chaplaincy in Bulgaria which can be found at: http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=919

After a decade of ministry, the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association held a national founding meeting in August, 2006 and submitted a petition for registration with the Bulgarian court. The purpose of the establishment was the legal representation of Bulgarian evangelicals who minister in various fields of chaplaincy despite legal limitations and open government restrictions. Their campaign for legalizing chaplaincy in the Bulgarian armed forces has formed “The Case of Underground Chaplaincy in Bulgaria.”

After months of legal battle, the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association was officially registered through the Sofia Municipal Court on February 23, 2007. The result was made possible by a joint initiative of the Association’s establishing members, the representing legal team led by former Bulgarian presidential nominee, Ivan Gruikin with the assistance of legal council Latchezar Popov of the Rule of Law Institute and religious-liberty lawyer Viktor Kostov of the Balkan Center for Law and Freedom.