At Bread of Life Church of God in Byron, GA

March 30, 2016 by  
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Bread of Life Church of God in Byron GA

The Life and Ministry of Rev. Ivan Voronaev published in Bulgarian

November 1, 2015 by  
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51Sa1IcA8OL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_[1]We are pleased to announce that some five years after its first publication in English and Russian, our research on the Life and Ministry of Ivan Voronaev is now available in Bulgarian as well. This edition includes the Story of the Voronaev Children, the Correspondence of Ivan Voronaev plus a concluding chapter on the First Pentecostal Believers and Churches in Bulgaria. The book is published for the 95th anniversary of Bulgaria’s Pentecostal movement.

This book tells the story of the life and ministry of the family who brought the message of Azusa Street to Eastern Europe and Russia. The research has taken close to a decade to complete. It started with a brief article on the beginning of the Pentecostal movement in Bulgaria, where unfortunately most church archives were destroyed during Communism. Consecutively, the research led my wife and I on a long journey from the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives in Nashville, to the Assemblies of God headquarters in Springfield and the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley.

We are grateful to the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center for making available the ministerial file of Rev. Ivan Effimovich Voronaev kept in their denominational archives. We are deeply indebted to Dr. Albert Wardin for opening the doors for research in Nashville and Berkeley, where most documentation referring to Voronaev’s ministry as a Baptist is preserved. We are also thankful to Oleg Bronovolokov of the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary in Kiev, who helped with the input of various Russian documents pertaining to the Voronaevs.

Both papers included in this book were presented at two consecutive meetings of the Society for Pentecostal Studies in Minneapolis (2010) and Memphis (2011). The first paper, although heavily edited to fit the format, was published in vol. 30 (2010) of Assemblies of God Heritage magazine under a new title, “Ivan Voronaev: Slavic Pentecostal Pioneer and Martyr.” Some of the historical data we presented in the article was published openly for the first time. Our research was further mentioned in the December, 2010 AG Heritage editorial. The Bulgarian “Evangel” also published our translations of Voronaev’s correspondence.

In 2011, Vladimir Franchuk, translated parts of the Voronaev’s papers in Russian and included it in his book “Revival: from the center of Odessa to the ends of Russia,” thus making our research available to the Slavic people just in time for the 90th Anniversary from the beginning of Ivan Voronaev’s Pentecostal ministry in Russia. Partial information from these papers was also used by several recent studies concerning Pentecostalism in Europe and the life and ministry of Rev. Dionissy Zaplishny. Unfortunately, with all this interest, little attention was given to the second paper concerning the Voronaev children until now. The last chapter on the First Pentecostal Believers and Churches in Bulgaria is published for the 95th anniversary of Bulgaria’s Pentecostal movement.

Read about the legacy of Ivan Voronaev:

New Voices from the Past: The Untold Story of the Life and Ministry of Rev. Ivan Voronaev

April 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, Missions, News

51Sa1IcA8OL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_[1]New Voices from the Past: The Untold Story of the Life and Ministry of Rev. Ivan Voronaev
Missions & Intercultural Studies
Dony K. Donev, D. Min.
Cup & Cross Ministries International
Presented at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies

The name Ivan Efimovich Voronaev is of a central importance for the development of Pentecostalism in Communist Russia and its Eastern European satellites. Voronaev was saved in his early life in Russia and then became a powerful Baptist minister, but after being persecuted for preaching the Gospel, in 1912 he immigrated with his family through Japan to the United States. Voronaev’s ministry touched both Baptist and Pentecostal churches from California and Washington to New York and Connecticut, before he undertook the difficult journey across the Atlantic, through Constantinople and Bulgaria to reach his native land. Voronaev established Pentecostal churches along the way laying the foundation of Pentecostalism in Eastern Europe. Although his story has been told many times, very little has been documented about his early ministry before he converted to Pentecostalism and launched what would become an international Pentecostal campaign reaching people from Seattle to Siberia (going eastbound). This present study reviews Voronaev’s ministry based on documents from the early period of his life, examining his connections with Baptist and Assemblies of God denominations in the United States. It then presents information about his mission trip to Eastern Europe, with a special focus on his stay in Bulgaria and the foundation of his work in Russia. But long before finding his place in the ministry, the story of Ivan Voronaev begins with his personal quest for identity in ministry, beginning with a search for a name…

Spirit Filled Life Bible Review

September 10, 2013 by  
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9781418543341[1]

Several months ago, our team undertook the task of comparing and reviewing a growing number of Study Bibles appearing on the book market recently in what we called a 21st century Revival of Study Bibles. This article is part of our Study Bibles review series as outlined here: http://cupandcross.com/bible-revival/

Spirit Filled Life Bible Review
Dony K. Donev, D.Min.

The Spirit Filled Life Bible is another great example of a Pentecostal study Bible from the 90s, which sets the stage for this century’s study bibles revival. It was edited by Jack Hayford who later served as president and chancellor of King’s University (formerly The King’s College and Seminary). The text provides Bible commentary from a conservative Pentecostal perspective and study notes are a bit more detailed than the Fire Bible.

For example, the first Old Testament control passage we use in our study from Number 6 is well documented and discussed almost verse by verse. Under the title of “Priestly Blessing,” the Spirit Filled Life Bible makes the case for: (1) wave offering as part of worship (v.20), (2) personal blessing through the singular “you” in the original Hebrew (v.22), (3) a definition of blessing (v. 24) and much more on the final phrases in the blessing: “make His face shine upon you” and “lift up His countenance upon you.”

Jeremiah 18 also has several historical commentaries in the Spirit Filled Life Bible as part of Jeremiah’s laments described in a note in ch. 11. The point here is being made that the responsibility for the law in the Old Testament was given to the priest.

The doctrine of the Rapture is commented in Revelation ch.4 in both the footnotes and a special block note within the text. The first one gives three views of the Last Days (dispensational, futurist and historic/preterist), while the second correlates with the elements of John’s vision. The Dispensational interpretation is offered in continuity with the interpretation of the 7 Churches of Asia-Minor. Two other block notes with markings “Word Wealth” and “Kingdom Dynamics” are placed in 1 Thess. 5 explaining the origin of the word “Rapture.” The significant for Pentecostals phrase “in the Spirit” is explained as “a state of heightened spiritual sensitivity.”

The Tribulation is also clearly explained as post-Rapture event with a classic interpretation of the prophecy given in the text of Daniel 8. The 24 elders are viewed as “evidence of the church’s exemption from the Great Tribulation” as they “are already glorified, enthroned and crowned,” which without a doubt proceeds from pre-Millennial doctrinal interpretation.

The doctrine of the Trinity is preserved as per the Biblical Truths of the Foursquare Church, namely: “Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.” Thou the word “Trinity” itself is absent from the detailed word Concordance at the end of the Spirit Filled Life Bible, perhaps because it is not present in the actual Biblical text, it is persistently present in the commentaries. This is true even in the largely disputed (from a manuscript point of view) 1 John 5:5-6 which is explained as Trinitarian in the comments.

Similarly to the Fire Bible, the Holy Ghost baptism is explained in the forward to Acts along with a page full with notes on speaking in tongues in Acts ch. 2. Additionally, there is a chart with a six-fold involvement of the Holy Spirit in human history: in the beginning, the Old Testament and Old Testament prophecy, in salvation, the New Testament and in the written word. The Spiritual Gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 are discussed one by one. There’s also a very nice write-up at the end by Paul Walker of the Church of God who further explains “Holy Spirit Gifts and Power.”

The commentary notes at the end contain a self-guide by Pat Robertson, named “Spiritual Answers to Hard Questions.” Power over demons is explained along with the process of exorcisms, without explicit statements about the influence of demons over born-again Christians. The following subject on the Kingdom of God is also dealt with without any explicit reference to Kingdom Now Theology, although explicitly lengthier and detailed in comparison to the rest of the subjects. The final note deserves special attention and should be hereby quoted in place of an epilogue: “Lack of forgiveness blocs access to the kingdom (of God) and its marvelous power. (See also Mt. 6:5-15; Mark 11:22-26).”

Growing in the Life of Faith

July 20, 2013 by  
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downloadHaving evolved from Wesleyan-holiness movement and having received great formational impact from many of the 20th century denominations, Pentecostalism inherits numerous church practices. Yet, several practices are historically, culturally and ecclesiastically distinctive from the Pentecostal churches. Among them are:
1. Baptism with the Holy Spirit accompanied by the initial evidence of speaking in tongues (glossolalia).
2. Practicing of the gifts of the Spirit, with the gifts of speaking and interpreting of tongues being predominant.
3. Foot washing services, as a part of the communion service.
4. Enthusiastic and emotional worship involving the whole congregation.
5. Altar services accompanied with shouting, running and trances.
6. Prayer clothes as a part of prayer for the sick.
7. Life of holiness, not only as a personal lifestyle, but as a discipleship model as well.
8. Inspiring the process of uniting and unifying people from different social, educational, economical and cultural backgrounds forming a movement without borders.

The absence of the above practices in Pentecostal discipleship will result in the following negative implications:
1. Discontinuity with Pentecostal heritage.
2. Discontinuity with Pentecostal theology.
3. Mutilation of Pentecostal Practices.
4. Discontinuity with Pentecostal identity and transformation into a new identity distinct from the Pentecostal one.
5. Failure to fulfill the divine calling for the Pentecostal mission.

Indeed, discipleship can exist without the above listed practices and actions, in the same way it exists in other Christian denominations and movements. However, discipleship of this type will not carry a Pentecostal distinctiveness. Therefore, it is clear that Pentecostal discipleship can exist and be productive only when modeled after distinct Pentecostal practices. Only then will Pentecostal discipleship be a cross-cultural and a cross-denominational movement.

It is unfortunate that Pentecostal practices, even within the global Pentecostal community, are disappearing. It is even more troubling that in many congregations and movements they are mutating to create a new identity much different from the Pentecost of the Bible. For example, in the beginning of the 21st century:
1. Baptism with the Holy Spirit accompanied by the initial evidence of speaking in tongues (glossolalia) is often replaced by the modern and postmodern religious experiences like “holy laughter,” “holy rain,” etc.
2. Practicing of the gifts of the Spirit, is a rare appearance often replaced by “prophetic” utterance and leadership of types quite distanced from the Biblical prophetic operation.
3. Foot washing services are not a part of our worship any longer.
4. Enthusiastic and emotional worship involving the whole congregation is more often faked and imitated than genuinely inspired by the Holy Spirit. The reason: great desire for the results without much discipline to go through the process.
5. Altar services accompanied with shouting, running and trances may still occur, yet they often do not fulfill their original purpose: to reconcile both Christians and sinners with their Creator.
6. Prayer clothes as a part of prayer for the sick are practiced as ministry, yet the results of healing are often not there.
7. A life of holiness has been rejected as impossible, impractical and foolish. The few who still press forth for practicing it have been classified as social outcasts by both the world and the global Christian community.
8. The idea of uniting and unifying people from different social, educational, economical and cultural backgrounds forming a movement without borders has been implemented by the world into the idea of a “global community,” yet it has very little presence and practice in the Pentecostal churches.

LIFE AND MINISTRY OF IVAN VORONAEV

February 25, 2012 by  
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ivan-voronaeffTHE LIFE AND MINISTRY OF REV. IVAN VORONAEV NOW WITH A SPECIAL ADDITION OF THE (UN)FORGOTTEN STORY OF THE VORONAEV CHILDREN

This book tells the story of the life and ministry of the family who brought the message of Azusa Street to Eastern Europe and Russia. The research has taken close to a decade to complete. It started with a brief article on the beginning of the Pentecostal movement in Bulgaria, where unfortunately most church archives were destroyed during Communism. Consecutively, the research led my wife and I on a long journey from the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives in Nashville, to the Assemblies of God headquarters in Springfield and the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley.

We are grateful to the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center for making available the ministerial file of Rev. Ivan Effimovich Voronaev kept in their denominational archives. We are deeply indebted to Dr. Albert Wardin for opening the doors for research in Nashville and Berkeley, where most documentation referring to Voronaev’s ministry as a Baptist is preserved. We are also thankful to Oleg Bronovolokov of the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary in Kiev,
who helped with the input of various Russian documents pertaining to the Voronaevs.

Both papers included in this book were presented at two consecutive meetings of the Society for Pentecostal Studies in Minneapolis (2010) and Memphis (2011). The first paper, although heavily edited to fit the format, was published in vol. 30 (2010) of Assemblies of God Heritage magazine under a new title, “Ivan Voronaev: Slavic Pentecostal Pioneer and Martyr.” Some of the historical data we presented in the article was published openly for the first time. Our research was further mentioned in the December, 2010 AG Heritage editorial. The Bulgarian “Evangel” also published our translations of Voronaev’s correspondence.

In 2011, Vladimir Franchuk, translated parts of the Voronaev’s papers in Russian and included it in his book “Revival: from the center of Odessa to the ends of Russia,” thus making our research available to the Slavic people just in time for the 90th Anniversary from the beginning of Ivan Voronaev’s Pentecostal ministry in Russia. Partial information from these papers was also used by several recent studies concerning Pentecostalism in Europe and the life and ministry of Rev. Dionissy Zaplishny. Unfortunately, with all this interest, little attention was given to the second paper concerning the Voronaev children until now.

Christmas in Bulgaria: Appreciating the Simple Things in Life

December 25, 2009 by  
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wiseRoasting chestnuts over an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at your nose is a comforting carol which brings many pleasant feelings around the holidays. These are two features, which are not only common to the States, but to Bulgaria as well. This is the season of chestnuts being roasted, however it is not like we picture being over a cozy fire place in a warm home. In Bulgaria it would be on the street side to sell in order to bring in some income for your family. And the Jack Frost is not just a nip for some, but it is a bone chilling cold due to not being able to afford the electric bill.

For some, there will be no gift under the tree and for others there will not even be a tree. This is not said to bring you sorrow, but for you to appreciate the simple things in life. Enjoy family, friendships, a warm home, a hot meal, your health. Enjoy the time the Lord has given you and use it for his Glory and not for bickering or complaining over the small angst.

Don’t loose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is not about the material, but it is about the spiritual. It is about the birth of our Lord and Savior even though our politically correct society wants to get ride of the “Christ” in “Christmas.” If it were not for His birth, He would not have been able to die for our sins. This remission of sin is the ultimate gift this Christmas season for it is through this act that we are able to have eternal life if we only ask.

So when you wake up on the 25th begin your day not consumed with what you didn’t get or what didn’t happen to your liking, but in silence remembering the silent and holy night over 2000 years ago. Remember those less fortunate in order not to take for granted with what you have been blessed. And most of all thank Him for His gift to you. Let these thoughts bring you comfort this holiday season.

Merry CHRISTmas 2009
From all of us in Bulgaria!