Brill’s Encyclopaedia of Global Pentecostalism

June 30, 2021 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, Missions, News, Publication, Research

Brill’s Encyclopedia of Global Pentecostalism (BEGP) provides a comprehensive overview of worldwide Pentecostalism from a range of disciplinary perspectives. It offers analysis at the level of specific countries and regions, historical figures, movements and organizations, and particular topics and themes. The online version of the Encyclopedia is already available

An Open Letter about the Global Crisis of Civil Society since 2020

April 1, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Publication, Research

An Open Letter about the Global Crisis of Civil Society since 2020

Darin Stephanov, Ph.D. (historian, Harvard)
Bistra Strechkova, microbiologist (formerly with Novartis Pharmaceuticals

Dear friends, colleagues, and acquaintances we have crossed paths with at some point in life:

My wife Bistra and I hereby commence this long and difficult letter to you, which we consider our civic duty. We wish to share our reflections about various aspects of last year’s (and ongoing) crisis, as well as to express some well-justified misgivings about the future on the basis of all that has come to pass over the course of the past year and to this day. We will be much indebted to you, if you can find the time and peace of mind to read through to the end.

As you know, officially it all began in China at the beginning of 2020. Chinese scientists were the first to study the fluid from the lungs of several patients, ascertain the presence of a coronavirus (after rejecting the possibility of a bacterial agent due to the lack of effect of antibiotics) and introduce a total socioeconomic lockdown. Well, we have had viruses before, such as West Nile, SARS, MERS, avian, swine and so on, on average once every few years since 2001.

The last measure, however, is unprecedented in world history. OK, we can say this is how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) does business. For example, they lock up millions of Uighurs in education camps in Xinjiang for an unspecified period of time, without outside contact. A similar fate, except labor camps, has befallen about 500,000 Tibetans a month or so ago. Allegedly, in the middle of the last century, the CCP used to employ human chains of tens of thousands of people passing along reed baskets full of dirt, hand by hand, while digging up dams. CCP is as CCP does, BUT

For reasons unknown, the entire protocol for fighting the coronavirus was then suddenly exported with no reservations, discussions, criticism or alterations whatsoever to almost all of the rest of the world. When did we last trust the CCP so much and about what else? Never. About nothing. The wave of lockdowns, officially for three weeks to “flatten the curve” rolled throughout the western countries (except Sweden) like a wave of falling dominoes. Next, the startled politicians delegated all power to the experts. Let’s take the example of one major expert – Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London, who, not for the first time, pulled out a horrific forecast for hundreds of thousands of (in this case, coronavirus) dead in the UK and millions in the US, should a lockdown not be implemented. Of course, it turned out to be totally wrong, as had been the case many times before, but yet again no one called him to task. He just started keeping a lower profile at SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) since May 2020 due to breaking the curfew to receive his illicit lover.

Thereafter, we all got new words and unprecedented measures, which changed our realities, such as “new normal”, “social distancing”, “superspreader”, “elbow greeting”, “contact tracing”, “self-isolation,” and on and on. Besides lockdowns, we have never had:

  • medical martial law
  • checkpoints
  • mass testing
  • mass quarantines
  • mass contact tracing
  • curfews
  • asymptomatic sick people
  • mask wearing, not to mention mandatory
  • the introduction of mandatory vaccines in many countries (often indirectly, seemingly voluntary, but with multiple social mechanisms of coercion), strong pressure for the rest (more on the subject below)
  • a limit on the permitted distance from one’s home (5 km. in Australia)
  • a daily personal limit on the time spent outdoors (1 hour in the UK)
  • mandatory test results on arrival from abroad (Greece, New Zealand and many others)
  • isolation/quarantine camps in various stages of planning/execution in New Zealand, Canada, USA (NY Senate Bill 416), Germany (?!!), etc.

and so on.

Let’s work our way from the periphery to the core of the matter. I (Darin) happen to specialize in microhistory so I tend to pay more attention to words and their context than most people. “Lockdown” is a prison term. The measure goes into effect during a prisoner escape. “Quarantine” has previously been enforced only upon a well-founded suspicion for the presence of an infectious disease or on arrival from a risky region, and not indiscriminately, on predominantly healthy people. “Social distancing” is an oxymoron (a combination of contradictory words). I recently read that the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, would give Germans “amnesty” from the lockdown for Christmas. No comment. One can clearly detect elements of Orwellian doublespeak. George Orwell’s book “1984” (1948) and Aldous Huxley’s book “Brave New World” (1932) have been tremendously helpful, like guide books to life over the past year and on to this day.

Hmm, is it possible to find doublespeak elsewhere as well? For example, the authorities saying they are “saving lives”, when they are doing exactly the opposite? It is not only possible, but predictable, realistic and readily provable. It is just that you are not going to hear about it on corporate media. After many months of locking down the people and the economy and barring access to hospitals for all except COVID patients, now we can calculate the number of the chronically sick (diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc.), who are dying at home due to a prolonged lack of regular medical care. Let’s add the number of suicides (there is a proven direct proportionality between the percentage of unemployment and the number of suicides), as well as the victims of chronic alcoholism, domestic violence, mental disease and so on.

But why limit ourselves only to other types of victims when there are effective ways of swelling the numbers of COVID sick and deceased themselves? For example, we could gradually increase the number of COVID symptoms shared by a number of other diseases, with none unique to the new disease. In this way, we can reclassify ordinary flu and pneumonia as COVID. According to the official statistics, in one of Canada’s provinces last year there were 6 (?!!) cases of flu. When an independent journalist (Jeff Berwick) reflected this little known fact in his report, the number on the respective webpage was changed to “negligibly few.” There are other ways as well. Here is an example from the US first announced by Dr. Scott Jensen, a state senator from Minnesota. For a diagnosis of ordinary pneumonia, hospitals receive 4,000 $, for COVID – 13,000 $, for intubation – 39,000 $.

Another widespread method involves the writing of death certificates. For example, we ignore completely all types of comorbidity and every deceased WITH COVID we put down as deceased FROM COVID. In Italy, which, at the beginning, so scared the rest of the world with its high mortality, the health minister admitted already back in April 2020 the “liberal” counting of COVID victims who have died with 1, 2, 3 or more other conditions. With all comorbidities accounted for, the final number amounts to only 2% of the original number. In the US, doctors were given new instructions on the writing of death certificates. In passing, we could mention the multiple documented cases of superimposition of COVID on suicides, deaths from gunshot wounds, car and other accidents, according to relatives.

Thus we arrive at the root of the problem with COVID. According to their inventor himself – Cary Mullis, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry for 1993 – the RT-PCR tests are NOT FIT FOR DIAGNOSING infectious diseases or measuring a viral load. (if this or other hyperlinks do not work, read on to find out why). Their main and proper use is in science or criminology when one has a limited quantity of genetic material and wishes to multiply it in order to be able to study it. Moreover, there is no common standard and each lab has its own protocol for cycles of multiplication. It seems that, above 35 cycles, just about every test gives a positive result. And these are “the most precise” tests! The “rapid” tests are not even worthy of our attention here.

Even billionaire Elon Musk, who is involved in vaccine development himself (the German company Curevac), recently shared that out of 4 tests he took simultaneously under identical circumstances, 2 came out positive and 2 negative. As a matter of fact, this is not a test in the true sense of the word, but a technique for quick and cheap multiplication of genetic material. If a person has ever had flu or has taken a flu vaccine recently, there is a good chance they may get a positive result. According to Dr. Mullis, who, sadly, passed away in August 2020, the PCR tests only confirm the Buddhist adage that “everything is contained in everything else.” In short, for the above-mentioned reasons, there is no way for us to know, based on these tests, how many people are sick or are dying and from what exactly. What is even worse is that the system is entirely open to all kinds of potential manipulation in the direction of production or not of numbers and “clusters” of the disease at all times (for example, before and/or after the administration of a COVID vaccine).

Let’s take a step back.

My (Darin’s) late father used to emphasize the importance of independent free thinking since my early childhood (“A majority does not by default imply truthfulness.”) Today this point is more important than ever. Something else he used to stress, blessed be his soul, long before the beginning of the internet and the explosion of media, was the vital significance of varied and reliable information flows for the proper functioning of just such thinking.

A while ago, I came across a statement by an American anthropologist, the name escapes me at the moment, according to whom the split and divergence between reality as portrayed by the media and reality proper had begun already in the 1960s. I suppose an element such as this has always existed. Those who remember the socialist period in Eastern Europe firsthand know how one used to read “between the lines” the official newspapers. But who could have predicted that since the inception of the “transitional period”, this process would only become faster and more complicated? Everywhere. After decades of taking both electoral campaigns/politics as a whole and the leading corporate media’s news broadcasts to a lower and lower common denominator, the two realities are now jarringly, unrecognizably different. Just think of the movie “They Live (1988).”

Numbers are also helpful. In the US, 90% of the TV market is controlled by 5 mega corporations. In Germany, 98% of the printed popular periodical press is controlled by 5 owners. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that investigative journalism, “the fourth power” is no longer welcome on mainstream TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, etc., all of which act more and more like propaganda branches of certain coalescing corporate, state and/or transnational interests. Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth.” What better example than the mass projected monovision of the corona crisis? Have you noticed any layers of meaning, contention, a striving for an open discussion, or toleration for a divergence in viewpoints?

No. Differences, if acknowledged at all, are instantly castigated. Eamonn Holmes, an ITV (UK) host was forced to issue a public apology and almost lost his job for the mere question whether the “other” opinion should be given the floor. If someone expresses a point which does not toe “the party line” via Zoom or skype, the connection tends to mysteriously disappear (we are aware of at least two such instances – in the US and our native Bulgaria). What we do get is the automatic disqualification of alternative viewpoints with the alarming tendency towards their criminalization. Keywords: “fake news”, “conspiracy theories,” “Russian hackers”, “far right” and so on. How many of you know that the term “conspiracy theory” was coined by the CIA for the purpose of prompt discrediting of alternative versions of the assassination of JFK? Of course, we all know what a simple, unambiguous event that was, like an open book . . .

Here is a list of the main tactics employed in debunking “conspiracy theories” on corporate media:

1)     Complete silence on all points of the argument; the word “conspiracy” removes any need for a one-sided commentary, much less a two-sided discussion.

2)     Isolation of a point of the argument from its natural context, followed by its blow-up, out of all proportion, and its subsequent presentation as THE entire original argument, which can only invite ridicule. Example: “5G causes COVID.”

3)     Direct character-assassination of the “conspiracy theorist” once more without the slightest need whatsoever to address their actual argument.

4)     Indirect character-assassination of the “conspiracy theorist” by way of a spurious insertion of a random imaginary connection between their argument and obvious hoaxes such as that “Elvis is still alive or that the Moon landing was shot in a Hollywood studio.” Example of victim: Talkradio host Julia Hartley-Brewer in response to her questions to Chris Hopson, UK’s National Health Services (NHS) Providers Chief Executive in Jan. 2021.

5)     Tendentious discussion of the imaginary motives of the “conspirators.” Example (a paraphrase of the words of an English radio host): “The anti-vaxxers in the UK know that their statements can hurt people’s health. Why do they make them then?”

What is self-evident? At no point is the original argument faithfully presented in its entirety or discussed on its own terms. Never is the floor given to alternatively thinking people. Why? Should it not be easy to refute them since “Science” is on our side?

Instead of a two-sided discussion on a level playing field, we get censorship – 1) by way of what is said/shown or not, and 2) by way of what is taken off air. Speaking of 1), how many of you know about the large anti-lockdown protests in Berlin at the beginning and the end of August 2020? Based on drone pictures of the dense crowds in the heart of Germany’s capital, fair estimates range in the ball park of 1 million people. What number did the mass media give us? 18,000. Speaking of 2), an ever accelerating purge of “otherness” is in full swing on platforms and social networks such as youtube, facebook, twitter, linkedin, vimeo . . .

Needless to say, for the good of the people. Actually, it had commenced little by little already several years ago, but picked up speed with the corona crisis, under the unassailable pretext of, what else, the health of the people. The culmination thus far came on October 15, 2020 in connection to the upcoming US presidential elections. Inconvenient videos, lectures, even scientific articles or statements which are at variance with the commonly accepted (commonly imposed?) narrative tend to disappear fast. Without prior warning, explanation, or right of appeal. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the digital Library of Alexandria is on fire. By the looks of it, the private webpages of independent journalists and all manner of free thinking folk will be next.

By the way, most official “fact checkers” of alternative viewpoints tend to be sponsored by the same people who are the object of criticism in the first place. The same goes for more mainstream journalism than you can imagine. As a Bulgarian proverb goes: “The thief cries out – “Catch the thief!”” Understandably, James Corbett, an independent journalist, asked the question: “Who will check the fact checkers?” That is why Richard Grove, another freelance journalist, recently started a joint project of about 40 truly independent fact checkers.

What recently came to light was the coordination of censorship between Facebook, Google, and Тwitter, during a senatorial questioning of Mark Zuckerberg. To those who still hold on to an idealistic image of the role of Google and who may not be aware of Google’s, as well as Facebook’s connections to the military industrial complex, from their very foundation, we recommend the excellent documentary „The Creepy Line (2018).” In it, among other things, you can discover curious little facts about the algorithms and filters for Google keyword searches (just try the same keyword search with different browsers and search engines, and see what you get), as well as about the dark side of social networks in general. It may be good for gmail account holders to keep in mind that everything (including drafts and deleted emails) gets recorded and kept by Google.

If all had been well with the mass media, the message in a situation like this would have been something like: “Let’s calm down the people. We have a problem, but we will pull through together.” Instead, we all witnessed a relentless global campaign of fear porn. In the US, there are people who have not left their houses since March 2020.

Which is one of dominant factors for a weakened immune system? Stress as a whole and fear in particular. Another key factor in this respect? Staying at home under lockdown (house arrest?). What did months (almost a year) of draconian measures accomplish in the fight against COVID? On the contrary, things got worse. Despite this, the already severe restrictions keep getting tighter all the time . . . After the COVID psychosis was maintained over the summer thanks to the PCR tests, now we find ourselves in the midst of the winter flu season so there is a good chance things will only deteriorate until the spring. A downhill for COVID operators.

The virus is not isolated and purified. Instead of a black-and-white photo, all we get its ubiquitous colored CGI version (it is more frightening). None of the four postulates (video taken down by youtube, “mirrored” up again) of Robert Koch, one of virology’s founders, has been fulfilled for COVID so we have no golden standard for the tests. However, we have “experts” who can connect the virus to erectile dysfunction or depression, a sense of imaginary smells, or even can tell us what people sick with COVID see at the moment of death . . . ?!! We seem to have entered a dark age of superstition, obscurantism, and witch hunting. We seem to have gone back 1,000 years.

The whole thing looks more and more like a Covidian cult, which exacts from its members, all of us, complete unquestioning obedience in the execution of absurd, alogical, unscientific directives. Let’s mention quickly the masks – an unprecedented measure in our lifetimes – backed up by no compelling scientific investigation whatsoever. On the contrary, there are many and convincing scientific studies and depositions about the neurological harm caused by them even to healthy individuals, as well as a plethora of practical video demonstrations of their utter ineffectiveness (video taken down by youtube, refugee shelter at bitchute) in stopping aerosols in either direction (all except gas masks). Moreover, there are credible scientific studies about the harm, on psychological basis alone, done to patients cared for by a doctor wearing a mask compared to patients cared for by a doctor not wearing a mask. Recently, we read about a study showing that 85% of the COVID sick had worn correctly and consistently their masks. So what? The people should do as they are told, and that’s it … And when they may wish not to harm themselves, they will be fined and even arrested.

Thus, we get to the vaccines. The argument constructs itself. Suffice to point out a few facts and make a list of the unprecedented steps.

Facts:

1)     The average period for vaccine development prior to COVID = 20 years.

2)     The shortest period ever for the same (most conservative estimate) = 4 years.

3)     The number of vaccines against coronaviruses, which are known since the 1960s = 0.

4)     Effectiveness of the common flu vaccine = 21%.

5)     You can inform yourselves about the ingredients of previous vaccines here and here.

6)     The number of previous vaccines developed by Moderna = 0.

7)     The total amount of fines for vaccine injuries paid out by Pfizer since 2000 = 5 billion $

And so on.

Unprecedented steps in the development of COVID vaccines:

1)     Mass-scale solicitation of funding for the large pharmaceutical companies (Big Pharma) by way of a teleconference of world leaders (40 countries, not counting the US, which separately donated around 2 billion $) back in May 2020. Total sum collected during said conference = 8 billion $. NB: With a world population totaling about 7.8 billion people, we leave it up to the reader to calculate the size of potential COVID vaccine profits.

2)     Easing and acceleration of procedures regarding vaccine development and approval. Omission of the animal trial phase. Permission for company applications for final approval by the respective institutions (CDC in the US, EMA in the EU) while Phase 3 is still incomplete, that is, before the actual completion of vaccine development.

3)     Preliminary purchase of vaccines from all leading candidates – Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Astra Zeneca, Johnson & Johnson, etc. – months before final approval of any of them. Total number pre-purchased by the EU as of Dec. 21, 2020 = 1.3 billion doses.

4)     One-sided/non-transparent, therefore unverifiable/unprovable determination of the percentage of effectiveness of COVID vaccines by their own producers in a manner reminiscent of auction bidding: Pfizer started with 90%, Moderna raised the stakes to 94.5%, Pfizer corrected itself up to 95%; Astra-Zeneca began with the extremely inadequate 70%, but corrected itself up to 90%. (NB: Compare with Fact 4) above)

5)     The three leading vaccines are experimental, that is, without precedent in world history – mRNA (Pfizer and Moderna) or adenovirus vector (Astra Zeneca). All of them essentially amount to gene therapy, with no one having any idea whatsoever about the possible consequences.

6)     Removal of any legal responsibility from the producers globally (in the US, it was removed back in 1986) on identification of side effects, be they short- or long-term, or damages to human health, be they temporary or permanent, including the death of COVID vaccinated people.

7)     Ongoing discussions of a system of pharmacovigilance, i.e. surveillance of the biological parameters of COVID vaccinated people over a period of 24 months by Google (US). The next step, already under intense deliberation, is the deployment of AI for “pre-diagnosеs” of sicknesses days or weeks before the human subjects become aware of being sick themselves for the purpose of timely administration of the respective medicines.

8)     A continuous, far-reaching campaign of agitation of the public about the need for mass-scale vaccination. Widespread condemnation and criminalization of the image of anti-vaccine activists within the framework of the newly ascendant societal model of “biosecurity” (see below). An official discussion of measures for combatting “vaccine hesitancy.” A marketing campaign to popularize COVID vaccines on the basis of purely psychological factors, including the recruitment of “stars” and other influencers with millions of followers, a certain first male vaccine recipient by the name of William Shakespeare in the UK, etc. in lieu of the provision of strictly scientific information (US, UK). Removal of all legal impediments to the open advertising of COVID vaccines on mass media (UK); payment of 12.58 pounds sterling directly to every GP for each administered COVID vaccine. Issuance of a paper card (wallet size) to each COVID vaccinated person (US).

9)     Placement of the military at the helm of vaccine development and administration (US, Canada, UK).

10)                        Alteration of the definition of “herd immunity” amounting to the removal of one’s acquisition of natural immunity in consequence of having overcome a certain disease by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the eve (Nov. 13, 2020) of the introduction of COVID vaccines. A measure such as this opens the door to mass-scale vaccination for each subsequent virus.

And so on.

Formally, COVID vaccines may remain voluntary, but what freedom of choice would people have, if access to employment, school, public transportation, shops, concerts, sports, restaurants, etc., as well as foreign travel depend on COVID passports? Let’s not kid ourselves, should passports for COVID vaccination be introduced, other vaccinations can be easily added. The virus will inevitably mutate, there may be other viruses too . . . Not to mention that in the US there are presently 276 vaccines (Robert F. Kennedy Jr.) in various stages of development and, under the “new normal,” it will probably not be so hard to include many of them in the mandatory vaccination calendar after COVID. Ever wondered about the size of profits from a single vaccine in the mandatory vaccination calendar in the US for a single year? About 30 billion $. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know how much money a popular morning program of a leading TV station in the US made for a single week from Big-Pharma ads already years ago? About half a million dollars.

Naturally, many players are trying to capitalize on the corona crisis (and many already have), but the largest and potentially dangerous scheme is publicly presented by Klaus Schwab (a student of Henry Kissinger, who is a student of William Elliot, all at Harvard) – founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF, allegedly “weforum” when in fact more like “theyforum”), which will convene virtually for its annual meeting next week. Once more, let’s pay close attention to words and slogans – „the Great Reset“, “the Fourth Industrial Revolution“ (check 9:57 on free thinking by Prof. Farahani, Duke U.), „Build Back Better” – recently spoken by politicians such as the prime ministers of the UK and Canada, as well as the new American President Joe Biden. It would be natural to expect that the first term means “Great Restart”, but Mr. Schwab rejects this interpretation on p. 121 of his book – “This [return to the old normal] will not happen, because it cannot happen.” – by the same name (plus, COVID), which came out in May 2020. To our mind, it might be better to think of it as “the Great Beginning [of a radically new system]” or “the Great Transformation.” In actuality, it would be more of a “Great Making of Have-Nots” (for the actual accompanying 2016 WEF video, recently taken off their webpage by themselves, click here), but let’s not jump ahead of ourselves. If you take a closer look at him, herr Schwab may remind you of Blofeld from SPECTRE (the James Bond movies). The problem is that he has many influential supporters, including, besides the ones mentioned above, philanthro-capitalists like Bill Gates, George Soros and the members of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, the Pope, Prince Charles, Kristalina Georgieva of the International Monetary Fund, Antonio Guterres of the United Nations, the president of Маstercard and many others.

Behind the veil of specious terms such as ‘sustainability’ (think, centralized rationing), ‘inclusion’ (think, total dependence), and ‘equality’ (think, serfdom) lurk ideas of social engineering of the deepest kind and on the largest (global) scale. On WEF’s webpage, you can find all manner of excruciatingly detailed country-by-country “transformation maps,” which you can see with a free membership, including for education, and even propaganda for little children (check 2:00). In this vein, the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, recently publicly admitted that the coronavirus had only accelerated plans which had been in the making for years.

Hmm, let’s sketch in broad strokes the economic side of lockdowns, which have been going on, with some interruption for almost a year, with no end in sight . . . Let’s say that at the beginning it was not clear whether we could fight the virus in this way, but what was very clear on such a trajectory, and which inevitably happened (and keeps happening every day) was the annihilation of hundreds of thousands (millions?) of small and mid-size businesses of independent producers, the vast majority of which will never come back, and the resultant ruination of many tens of millions of people. Not by COVID, but by the governments. One has to agree that it all looks a lot like a controlled demolition of the world (especially, Western) economy. What we have here in plain sight is the removal of the economic independence of a large percentage of the population, which comprises the middle class, the backbone of Western democratic societies. It reminds one of the “saving of lives” from which many people died and continue to do so.

Meanwhile, quite predictably, the billionaires pulled ahead by about 2 trillion $ in just 6 months reaching a total net worth of 10.2 trillion $ (as of Oct. 2020). Jeff Bezos (183 billion $) of Amazon has a chance to become the world’s first trillionaire in the foreseeable future. If we combine this consolidation of economic activity with the accelerated automation of labor (both blue- and white-collar), already under way, which threatens 70% of the working population with unemployment, we reach “favorable” conditions for the new reforms (see below).

Let’s define two more keywords, which have been flying under the radar so far, but which everyone should know about – ‘technocracy’ and ‘transhumanism.’ The former is a new economic and social system of resource management and distribution by unelected “experts-technocrats” and their algorithms. Whereas this movement dates back to the 1930s, its platform was recently brought up to speed with the new technologies and possibilities of the 21st century. The latter is a deliberate/artificially induced and permanent change of human nature, relationships, society, and all other human activities. Here is a quote from a Mr. Schwab speech before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, as well as (in several instances, in paraphrase) from his book The Fourth Industrial Revolution (2016): “In the end, the fourth industrial revolution will lead to the fusion of our physical, digital and biological identities . . . “ This fusion of humans and machines is the center of focus for theoreticians such as Ray Kurzweil of Google (“the singularity”), companies such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink, etc.

Do you see where we are going with this? On the one hand, for the first time in the history of modern civilization, technologies for the full centralized control of the populace are available. Moreover, the foundations for a multibillion- (multitrillion-?) dollar technological infrastructure are being laid globally as we speak. Unlike the virus, it will be open-ended. On the other hand, there is zero transparency and public discussion about the needs, risks, nature, safety, parameters of application, and control, let alone the ethical side.

Hmm, is it possible that the corona period, regardless of its mysterious origins, may be used as a springboard [a period of initial psychological entrainment/conditioning of the masses] for life under the new, artificially created circumstances and passive/uncritical reception of the upcoming reforms? The introduction of a digital dollar/euro/yuan/yen, etc., the death of cash (officially, due to the virus; really, to remove any form of alternative, not to mention untraceable, payment), the introduction of universal basic income (UBI, in Finland and Germany trials are already underway) for all ordinary people (starting with the recently ruined) in exchange for enforced, uni-directional transparency and obedience (a system of social credits), a new “social contract”, a new social hierarchy . . . In China, for years now, if a person jay walks, the respective fine has already left their bank account before they even have enough time to get back home. An act like this leads to a loss of points. On falling below a certain level, a person cannot rent an apartment, get credit, board a train or a plane, etc. Such was the unfortunate state of about 10 million people in 2018.

Is it possible that the masks, social distancing, and physical isolation are not temporary? For example, children’s dolls wearing masks have been on sale for months, mannequins wearing masks can be seen gracing shop windows, new airport arrangements are also drawn up with masked people everywhere. Telework, tele-education, telemedicine . . .

Was the suppression of all positive emotions and socialized vent seeking since last year (bars, sports, concerts, cinema, theatre, church going and church singing, etc.) unintentional and inevitable, provided that ways of keeping a safe distance between people do exist? Is the new concept of “biosecurity,” according to which everyone is a potential culprit (bioterrorist), whether they realize it or not, coincidental or temporary? Does this weaponization of the human body justify in toto the strict, allegedly temporary, but very likely permanent measures along the axis – problem-reaction-solution?

Against the background of developments since last year, which definition of “humanity” seems more convincing – 1) a collection of free-willed personalities or 2) a faceless globally manageable resource?

Is it possible that the final (very ambitious, seemingly absurd) goal of certain influential circles (just ask yourselves who benefits (cui bono) and who is not subject to criticism) is the transformation of all horizontal human relations into vertical ones anchored in and centralized by the nascent global conglomerate, which can then drive a wedge between people and atomize them, removing all forms of personal space and alternative viewpoint?

What few realize is the connection between the four rising pillars of the present globalization: 1) large corporate media, 2) large high-technological companies (Big Tech), 3) large pharmaceutical companies (Big Pharma) and 4) the prism “governments-central banks-military industrial complex.” Their full technological switch and coordination, in the absence of transparency and mechanisms for control by the citizens, will create perfect conditions for the rise of a global technocratic dictatorship, which, once in place, will be undefeatable. Totalitarianism (techno-feudalism?) of the purest variety.

The quickening (especially since last year) processes of weakening of horizontal (organic or secondary) connections between people (with family, relatives, friends, acquaintances) only push us closer to this sinister goal. In this vein, here are two recent examples from the US. 1) In October 2020, the D.C. Council passed a bill for vaccination of children as young as 11 without parental agreement, knowledge, or access to their records. 2) The governor of Vermont subjected all school children after Thanksgiving to a sort of inquiry as to whether their parents had kept holiday celebrations at home in line with the medical mandates. What do you think is the ethically “correct” answer in this case?

As you may have already guessed, so far the “Five Eyes” – the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (plus, notably, Ireland) – have suffered to the greatest extent from the unbridled medical fascism. Best organized not only in Europe, but in the entire world, have been the forces of civil resistance (a broad coalition of doctors, scientists, lawyers, politicians and ordinary people) in Germany. Recently, a French team produced a documentary, entitled “Hold-up,” which we have heard praise for, but have not yet watched (we are waiting for the subtitled version). Needless to say, it was taken off youtube and vimeo after only 2 days.

The game is getting rough. Brandy Vaughan, an anti-vaccination activist from California, a former Big Pharma (Merck) employee, and a mother of a vaccine-injured child, died under very suspicious circumstances on December 7, 2020, only a few days prior to the start of COVID vaccinations in the US, after a long-term suffering from aggressive stalking, anonymous threats, house break-ins/home security alarm tampering and extensive psychological harassment. This death can be added to the many dozens of mysterious deaths of holistic medics in the US over the past several years alone.

“Mr. Global” (the term was coined by Catherine Austin Fitts, the former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under George H.W. Bush) is playing “all-in” so there may yet be other unpleasant surprises – a cyberpandemic, disruptions of the internet, blackouts, disruptions of the food supply, and who knows what else . . . ?

In short: we have on our hands a pandemic not from COVID-19 (see also attached file and note 1 below), but from ubiquitous (moral, scientific, economic, etc.) corruption, power grabbing, ignorance, PCR tests (“casedemic”), fear, and an artificially fanned group hysteria. A pandemic, which, with the passage of time, looks more and more like a plandemic.

Keep in mind that there are fates worse than physical death. If we let things take their own course, in the end, we will be faced with the utter visibility, surveillability, taxability, and censurability of all human interactions forever. Sounds incredible? And yet how many things seemed incredible less than a year ago and still happened and keep happening? For the sake of our personal comfort today, we may lose our freedom tomorrow (or even today). Along these lines, it may be useful to review the example of the frog in the pot of water on the hotplate. If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will jump out immediately and save itself. If, however, you put it in a pot of cold water, raising the temperature ever so slightly, it will not suspect anything until it is too late. Where is your line in the sand? What world do you want to live in? What world are we going to leave to the future generations?

What can we do for a new normal that suits us?

  1. The first and easiest step is to secure the privacy of our personal information and internet searches. For example, we use Brave browser with swisscows and DuckDuckGo search engines, as well as a paid VPN provider (Surfshark) to shift GPS locations at will.
  2. The second and much harder step, if one wishes to shake the stupor of the “Covidian Cult,” understand much better what is really going on, and what the “crème de la crème” have in store for us, is the total unplugging from all mainstream media. Most hyperlinks take you to the webpages of independent investigative journalists, many of whom have won awards for their labors, despite the risks, which have only grown larger lately, and despite their demonetization by youtube (most of them depend on voluntary donations). Upon individual inquiry, we can refer you to other names (including, comics) we respect. NB: If you wish to inquire further about any of these people, you might want to start with their own webpages and make up your own mind. Regrettably, in our experience, Wikipedia (on all controversial subjects and alternative viewpoints), most fact checkers, and skeptics websites engage in deliberate smear campaigning and are therefore thoroughly unreliable. The arts of mis- and disinformation are ancient and more advanced (newly enabled by technology) than most can imagine.
  3. When so much is at stake, it may be a good idea to take active measures to overcome one’s virological illiteracy. We only got here thanks to our blind trust in “the experts.”
  4. Regaining the right of free (especially, inconvenient) questions and insisting on a public examination and re-evaluation of the accumulated knowledge, the indirect methods for its procurement, and the effectiveness of the measures of contemporary virology. We will not bore you with the full list (entirely abrogated) of necessary steps for the clarification of the COVID case according to the protocol of standard science itself. We also have ideas for a side-look, which may reveal the root of the problem.
  5. Organization of forums for public discussion for the purpose of clarification of all aspects of the COVID situation, followed by the attribution of legal responsibility to and penal consequences for the respective individuals and institutions.
  6. Readiness for forms of civil disobedience, petitions, protests, etc.

We remain at your disposal for questions and ideas for concrete acts of solidarity aimed at the immediate cessation of all wrongful unscientific practices related to this entirely manufactured crisis, the crown jewel of the globalists. Only then can we proceed to activities, which 1) counteract “the shriekometer (Fitts)” of and the excessive polarization on social networks and corporate media, which amp up ego fragility/brittleness, conformism, victim mentality, and resignation among the people, and 2) encourage in their stead individual thinking and will, freedom of speech, unfeigned toleration of differences in opinion, as well as a strong sense of personal responsibility. Thereafter commences a more acceptable future.

If you wish, feel free to share this open letter with whoever you like. We will respond to all who write us back.

Finally, a couple of motivating thoughts:

  • After Dante: The antechamber of hell is reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, maintained neutrality.
  • Ryan Cristian from The Last American Vagabond: “Question everything. Come to your own conclusions. Stay vigilant.”

Note 1: The death rate among COVID infected people from the most vulnerable age group (above 70) is about 0.54%, whereas for the next group it is even lower (0.50%) or much, much lower (0.02-0.03%) for the rest, according to CDC data as of Sept. 23, 2020.

Happy New Year to you all!

Sincerely yours,

Bistra and Darin

December 21, 2020

 

 

Global Network of Bulgarian Evangelical Churches outside of Bulgaria (2018 Report)

February 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

bulgarian-churchBulgarian Evangelical Churches in the European  Union (2018 Report)

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in America (2017 Report)

  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Chicago (2017 Report)
  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Texas (2017 Report)
  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches – West Coast (2017 Report)
  • Atlanta (active since 1996)
  • Los Angeles (occasional/outreach of the Foursquare Church – Mission Hills, CA)
  • Las Vegas (outreach of the Foursquare Church – http://lasvegaschurch.tv)
  • San Francisco (occasional/inactive since 2012, Berkeley University/Concord, CA)

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Canada (2017 Report)

  • Toronto (inactive since 2007)
  • Toronto/Slavic (active since 2009)
  • Montreal (occasional/inactive since 2012)

CURRENTLY INACTIVE CHURCHES/CONGREGATIONS:

  • New York, NY (currently inactive)
  • Buffalo, NY  (occasional/inactive)
  • Jacksonville, FL  (occasional/inactive since 2014)
  • Ft. Lauderdale / Miami  (currently inactive)
  • Washington State, Seattle area (currently inactive)
  • Minneapolis, MN (occasional/inactive since 2015)

READ MORE:

“Strange Fire”? Not in a Global Pentecostal Context of Ministry

June 20, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, News

A Biblical and experiential panel response to John MacArthur’s “Strange Fire” from an international Pentecostal point of view Strange Fire
Dony K. Donev with Dennis Balcombe, Hanny Setiawan and Marius Lombaard

MacArthur Strange Fire

John MacArthur, Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship (Nelson Books, 2013).

Almost one year ago, internationally known author John MacArthur began campaigning for his new book Strange Fire. With lots of material written beforehand by many who had not even read the book, the actual premiere was at a conference with the same name, not without some scandal to help its wide popularization. But scandal was hardly needed when the book classified most (if not all) Charismatics around the world as heretics. Тhe bottom line for MacArthur’s work was deconstruction modern day Charismatic theology and exposing it as unbiblical.

Do Pentecostal churches really offer a “strange fire” as MacArthur proposes? Could charismatic extremes practiced by some be evident in all Charismatic churches and classical Pentecostal denominations? And is it possible to declare a world wide movement of half a billion strong as heretical by observing random examples among less than 3% (three percent) of its representatives residing in North America?

The premise of this ad hominem attack is surprising, when even in Pentecostal scholarly circles we have long debated some Charismatic praxis as wrong and destructive to the movement as a whole. So, when an outsider to Pentecostalism as MacArthur jumps in and claims all Pentecostals are bad because some Charismatics have been found in the wrong, the normal response is simply to disagree. Especially when these extremes do not concern Pentecostalism globally, but as MacArthur himself admits, are defined to a North American context of ministry and even more strict and limited Charismatic circle of neo-Pentecostalism.

The purpose of this article, therefore, is to present the view of Classic Pentecostals, as deferred from the variety non-Pentecostal Charismatics. And to discuss MacArthur’s assumptions in an international Pentecostal context, though Strange Fire refuses to view Pentecostalism as the global power it has become. Perhaps, the very weakness of any theological work that seeks international recognition, but fortifies its argument only within the perimeter of westernized theology. To provoke an even deeper discussion, the study explores five of the major arguments of Strange Fire within the ministry context of Pentecostals from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia.

Apostolic Relevance or a New Apostolic Reformation?

Admittedly, MacArthur strongest point within his attack on Pentecostals is outlining Peter Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation movement. And even quoting Vinson Synan, who was invited to join the network for $69 a month, but declined with the response, “I could not afford to be an apostle.” But how concerned is the larger Pentecostal world about this apostolic movement? And how important is NAR in global Pentecostalism today?

Hanny Setiawan of the Bethany Church of Solo Baru, Indonesia states:

I personally know NARs and follow Wagner’s thought but, I am not sure that Indonesian charismatic churches are aware of Wagner’s thought. Indonesian charismatic churches are not strategically structured and concepted like Wagner’s way of thinking. I recognize myself has an apostolic function even though I don’t call myself an apostle (neither my community). Wagner’s book and other related books have helped me to know my calling deeper. And because I understand what my calling is, I can perform my apostolic function more efficiently.

Lifetime missionary to China, Dennis Balcombe also responds:

This New Apostolic Reformation is simply an American invention and organization by Peter Wagner and some who follow him. It has absolutely no relevance to the church in China, and I suspect in most other parts of the world. I live in the Hong Kong SAR and have not heard of anyone who is actually a part of this or calls himself an apostle. It is almost unheard of in mainland China where the church situation is much different. [Even] In the past in mainland China the church seldom used any type of titles for ministers other than ‘Servant of the Lord” or “Handmaiden of the Lord.” One reason was that for much of the past 65 years in Communist China, the house church (which constitutes the majority of Protestant Christians in China) has been illegal and persecuted to various degrees. Anyone having religious titles would possibly be marked by authorities.

Several years Peter Wagner and Chuck Pierce came to Hong Kong, and at the invitation of a local pastor, Rev. David Wang, invited many mainland house church leaders to attend an ‘apostolic ordination meeting’. They ordained several as apostles of various areas. However none of them were main leaders, and when they went back to their cities and told other pastors of the meeting, almost without exception the others totally rejected this.

Coming from my own background as a minister in post-Communist Bulgaria, I can confirm much similar experience with NAR in Eastern Europe. That there are true Pentecostal apostles is an undisputable fact; especially, when we speak of men and women who have started multiple churches and sometimes whole movements. At the same time, questioning the authenticity of “apostles who never do anything” (terminology by C.Buettel/J.Johnson) has been an open praxis in modern day Pentecostalism ever since its conception at the Azusa Street Revival.

Prosperity and Poverty in the Context of Global Pentecostalism

Next to apostles and “rock star” ministers, Strange Fire addresses the prosperity movement. Yet, the global Pentecostal church is hardly a materially prosperous one. On the contrary, overwhelming evidence from around the world repeatedly proves that poverty is an ever present factor in global Pentecostalism. So, exactly how important is the prosperity teaching in Pentecostal churches around the world?

Pastor Balcombe puts it rightfully:

This doctrine is almost totally foreign to the true Chinese churches in most parts of Asia, especially Hong Kong and China. [Prosperity] is being preached and practiced to various degrees of success mostly only in some more prosperous Asian nations. We would immediately think of Singapore and the mega-church of Joseph Prince which is also well known for the teaching we call antinomianism. Though this church is large and considered to be Charismatic, we would not identify it as a solid Pentecostal/Evangelical church.

Marius Lombaard of the University of South Africa agrees that:

The Pentecostal church I was part of was very opposed to prosperity teaching. It distinguished itself from other Pentecostals and Charismatics. Members at the time ranged from ordinary poor, to middle class people and no body was above middle class.

Hanny Setiawan affirms the above by saying:

Bill Hamon’s book the eternal church has helped me map the charismatic churches in Indonesia. With the Full Gospel movement (more traditional Pentecostal churches), Indonesian Pentecostal were “updated” into charismatic teaching in 1998 during the Asian turmoil. That’s when the prosperity teaching came into various emerging mega churches.

And then he wholeheartedly declares:

As part of both Pentecostal and charismatic churches I strongly state that I hate prosperity teaching. And yes, we have issue upon this teaching.

For working with the poor, I have to be honest that what I am doing is not typically with charismatic/prophetic churches in Indonesia. But few churches have already started doing work for wide-nation program in the social sector.

Even in my own European descent, I have to agree with these views when applied into global Pentecostal context. In my own dissertation a decade ago I wrote of Bulgarian churches that planted in North American context of ministry.

The fifteen years of economical crises, political disorder and the high rate of unemployment in Bulgaria have not helped the church plan for the future or find alternative ways for support. Thus, the Bulgarian Protestant Church remains a poor church. Moving to a land of greater prosperity (viz., North America), however, has not brought much improvement to the situation. The financial blessings enjoyed by individual Bulgarian believers are not always reflected in the financial ability of the church. Even within the American context, the Bulgarian church remains a beggar in a land of plenty (Bulgarian Churches in North America, 2004).

Prosperity is a mindset, a worldview of its own. And how it is measured remains entirely cultural. But one thing is for sure, it is not the worldview of the entire global church, regardless if they are Pentecostal, Baptist or even Catholic. In other words, no one movement can be holistically and globally prosperous. And when ministering among the poorest of the poor, the Bible does remind of Jesus’ teachings whereas our personal prosperity cannot remain self-centered. It must be applied toward the needs of the others as well. Or we are in the danger of Laodicea—to be rich, yet poor in the site of God.

Miracles shall cease? Not according to the Bible

From his personally-modified cessationist theology, MacArthur insists that miracles and healings are not consistent with the view of the church in the 21st century. This is hardly true for all Pentecostal groups around the world. Many among them have come to know Christ and exist as a church through no other way but by a miracle. And they are not hesitant to testify of that. If asked, virtually all Pentecostals can very vividly describe the last occurrence of miracle and demonstration of spiritual gifts they’ve witnessed recently in their own spiritual walk with specific details (date, place and event).

Hanny Setiawan responds:

I can boldly say that MacArthur is wrong in this statement. In fact, I am working on writing all the miracles happened to us in a website. We believe miracles are usual in Indonesia. Many Indonesians are uneducated and miracles are expected. Prophetic dreams, directions, visions, are widely experienced. In my ministry network, in fact, we move heavily in a divine direction. We teach the difference between Titanic Teaching and Noah’s Ark. What MacArthur suggests is to build ministry like building the Titanic, all brain and logic. We don’t buy into that! We build our ministry based on total obedience to divine direction. Sometimes it’s illogical and insane, but it’s always biblical. Illogical doesn’t mean un-biblical.

Dennis Balcombe also responds:

This is absolutely not true in most of Asia, especially in China. I have been travelling throughout the world for the past 45 years, and I would say this is not true of most of the part of the world we identify as ‘third-world nations’. This would include S. E. Asian nations, especially Indonesia, India, most of Africa and South America. I have been working extensively in mainland China since 1978, and have spoken to thousands of individual Christians and have deeply researched the history of Christianity and revival going back over 100 years. Almost without exception people tell me they became Christians due to some miracle they experienced, saw or heard about.

While in China not every Christian believes in or has experienced speaking in tongues, you would have to travel far and wide to find a Christian who doesn’t believe that miracles are for today and take place in the church today. It would take volumes to write in detail all the miracles I have either witnessed or heard about in China and other nations I have travelled, and this year Charisma Publishers will publish a new book I just wrote, China’s Opening Door with a few chapters dedicated to the miracles in China.

Like the churches in China today, the church under the Communism Regime could not exist without miracles. The fall of the Berlin wall was a miracle of its own. This alone is proof for supernatural signs at an international scale.

There is a video recorded from that time where a woman born blind who received her vision during a Bulgarian Church of God service in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was shot while Lee University’s Campus Choir lead by Dr. David Horton visited Bulgaria. While people are praising God for the miracle and the choir is singing, the camera drifts in the crowd to record a bearded man dressed in pure white standing taller than anyone else in the auditorium. His appearance is so amazingly different from the rest of the congregation that one immediately thinks of Jesus standing in the crowd. The video was lab tested upon returning to the States and was proven authentic. Yet, not a single person remembered seeing that man during the service.

Prophecy shall cease, but only where charity has failed

The argument of secession of the gifts of the Spirit is presented mainly in ch. 12 of MacArthur’s “Strange Fire.” It represents the heart of his argument against Pentecostalism through the years. This argument has been theologically reputed and practically invalid. But most of all, it is simply not true experientially as prophetic messages in or without tongues are still evident in multitude of Pentecostal churches around the world today.

Hanny Setiawan is certain that:

Again, MacArthur is very wrong. Without the work of the Spirit, Indonesian churches cannot survive. We live in the biggest Muslim nation in the world. And prophetically, we get the message that Indonesia is the last puzzle of the world. I share this to show how prophetic is integrated in our strategic ministry policy. Now we work toward 34 provinces by faith through the Holy Spirit without money backup. How could MacArthur explains this?

Marius Lombaard underlines the social aspect of the prophetic church by saying:

In my country, Christianity is too diverse to give any idea what the “majority” believes. Many may still believe in prophecy, but they would nuance their views of it differently. Prophecy can be wrongly caricatured. My beliefs about prophecy is that it is a function of the church to speak prophetically about contemporary cultural and social issues, rather than individuals being “filled with the spirit” and randomly telling people what they believe God to be telling them. I do think when prophecy takes my latter description of being “filled” with the spirit and randomly speaking things one believes God to be telling you, that there is a high risk of it being false.

Dennis Balcombe also admits as a Pentecostal that:

On rare occasions there are “prophecies” that violate the Word of God, are judgmental and condemning, and are spoken with malice and evil intent. We will always immediately deal with such prophecies, ask the speaker to be quiet, and let the congregation know that the “prophecy” was wrong.

Thus, prophecy is always judged by the written Word of God, the witness of the individual and the pastor or spiritual head of the one receiving the prophecy is usually present, or the words are given to him to follow up on. Over the years, we have found almost all of these prophecies to be accurate and are amazing inasmuch many of these giving the prophecies know nothing about the individuals they are speaking to. We see a powerful confirmation of the word of knowledge.

However, a small percentage seems to have ‘missed the mark’ and were not suitable or applicable to the individual. We would tell the person if there is no confirmation to ignore such ‘prophecies’ and we would point this out to the one giving the prophecy. If it happened often, we would not allow that person to continue to operate in this gift. There are some individuals, almost always from the USA or other Western nations, who will from time to time give predictive prophecies relating to major world events, world leaders, earthquakes and other natural judgments, etc. We usually only read about these prophecies in various public meetings, but not in our local church.

All through the Bible, persecution of the community of God is overcome mainly through prophetic presence and power. For this reason my masters’ thesis Pentecostal Primitivism argued that a persecuted movement, as Pentecostals have been for many years and in many places around the world, cannot survive without miracles within the prophetic realm:

Since a social movement that purposes liberation of the individual is always rejected by the present political and economic powers, Pentecostalism arises and develops in the midst of constant persecution and resistance. The constantly present struggle against evil, wrong and unrighteousness is the power that moves Pentecostalism to its final purposes. Once persecution disappears, Pentecostalism loses its original power and turns to a nominal religious organization, which continues to function and exist, however, outside the boundaries of its original purpose.

The theology of the Persecuted Church is a theology of martyrdom. The context of persecution is a constantly present formational factor in Pentecostalism worldwide, and as such it is a universal characteristic of the movement. Only as such can Pentecostalism act in its God-given prophetic authority. In the same prophetic power in which John prophesies of the coming Baptiser with the Holy Spirit, the Early Pentecostals preached about the Fire from Heaven prior to the actual experience of the Holy Spirit baptism. The message of the movement then becomes a prophetic utterance under which the movement grows and develops to the point of fulfillment of the promise given by God.

Spiritual Salvation: Both Prophetic and Supernatural

How important are the above issues to the salvation of eternal human souls if both prophetic and supernatural are removed from within the church? Should not salvation be the central focus of the church of the 21st century around the world rather than other seemingly important theological quarrels? And isn’t Biblical salvation still both supernatural and prophetic?

“Salvation is central of our ministry. It will always be the most important thing,” Hanny Setiawan responds. “But that’s only the beginning of discipleship. Personal piety teaching will merely cause egoistic salvation. Being and Doing are two things that have to happen together. Being like Christ, and doing Christ’s work. MacArthur’s concerns are well-taken, but he has to listen to our concern as well. Cessationist teaching has produced arrogant and humanistic Christianity. Total dependency to written words has to go hand in hand with total dependency to the living words. Holy Spirit and Bible are the two variables we need. Jesus is both natural and supernatural, so why can’t we believe that we are naturally supernatural”?

Marius Lombaard explains that:

Salvation is not dependent on a Gnostic view that one must hold to all the correct beliefs or doctrines, but on trusting that God will raise the dead at his second coming just like he raised Jesus from the grave. Nevertheless, I do think charismatic gifts are a practical matter that deserves attention in light of the prosperity and “word of faith” movement. I think there is a lot of unwarranted strange things happening in the charismatic churches in my country, but I do not think they are a majority, and they are not all equally practicing the stranger charismatic things.

Dennis Balcombe continues:

Preaching the “Full Gospel” with signs following, healing the sick, leading believers to be baptized in the Holy Spirit is very much a part of the ministry of the church today, and will result in the salvation of many souls. But the preaching of the Gospel will always focus on Christ, His Word, the cross and the salvation of the lost. Gifts of the Holy Spirit, healing of the sick, the ministry of prophets and apostles, God’s blessing on those who believe in Him (the good side of the prosperity Gospel) are part of the inner working of the Gospel. Our destination is the evangelization of the lost, the preaching of the Gospel of Christ to the nations, and the salvation of souls. The observations of John MacArthur in Strange Fire of the over-emphasis on gifts, ministries, anointing, prophecy, tongues, healing and other parts of the inner working of the Gospel to the neglect of preaching the Word and Christ should be a wake-up call to all of us.

***

As a fifth generation Bulgarian Pentecostal, which is somewhat rare in a post-Communist context, my last words to the cessationism of Strange Fire are the same I wrote on the back of a final exam at a Bible Belt Baptist College some 20 years ago:

My grandmother was baptized with the Holy Ghost at an all-night cottage prayer meeting at age six in a small southern town in Bulgaria in 1926; as after God healed her from tuberculosis at the same prayer meeting two years earlier. My mother was baptized with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues accompanied with the gift of prophecy at age 12. And then in 1990, God baptized me with the Holy Spirit, among many others at the first national gathering of Pentecostals in Bulgaria after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

After preaching for 25 years the Gospel of Salvation and Pentecost with the Biblical gifts of the Spirit, and having dedicated over ten years to higher education and three graduate degrees, with a scholarly certainty of my Biblical Pentecostal experience I can declare: “You’ve come to tell me there’s no Pentecost for today a bit too late!”

 

PR

Dennis Balcombe

Dennis Balcombe

Dennis Balcombe, originally from California, USA, has served as a missionary in Hong Kong and China for the past 45 years since 1969. He was one of the first missionaries to enter China when it opened in 1978, and much of his time is in China ministering in both official churches and home churches. He is the founder and senior pastor of Revival Christian Church in Hong Kong and serves with his wife Kathy, two children and the family of his daughter, Sharon and Samuel Lau.

Hanny Setiawan

Hanny Setiawan MBA/MA is a pastor at the Bethany Church of Solo Baru in of Surakarta, Indonesia. He holds an MBA in Management Information System degree from Bentley University in Boston and is currently working on MA in Community Development at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminar. He is currently fathering a national-wide youth movement and developing Indonesia Reformed Charismatic Institute and Praying Indonesia Movement. His strategic vision is for a new generation of revivalist in Indonesia in all spheres of ministry: business, media, art, politics and economy.

MariusLombaard

Marius Lombaard

Marius Lombaard is an undergraduate student of theology at the University of South Africa (UNISA). He is married and aspires to major in New Testament studies. He also had extensive exposure to all the major mainline church denominations in South Africa, and speaks with considerable insight as to the ethos of all these denominations.

 

Global Day of Prayer 2010

May 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, News

globaldayofprayer1Cup & Cross Ministries International in association with Bibliata.com, Studio 865 and Mission Restoration – Bulgaria will be broadcasting the Global Day of Prayer from the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria beginning 10 AM ET on Sunday, May 23, 2010 .

Watch the event LIVE via http://bibliata.com