Religious Praxis without Religious Identity

March 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Obama VaticanSome people who do not identify with a religion, nevertheless, practice some form of religion

Sizable numbers of those who do not affiliate psychologically with any religion are, nevertheless, occasional or unsettled practitioners. As such, they might sometimes attend religious services, have previously identified religiously as adults, or expect to take up a religion sometime in the future. A more complete religious profiling requires additional information about religious beliefs and behavior.

Gallup Polls, which use a differently worded question emphasizing “religious preference,” seem to indicate less change over the same time period as well as a lower current proportion of “no religion” / “none” responses. Unfortunately, Gallup changed the question wording several times, complicating analysis. Since mid-2000, they included the “if any” phrasing in their primary version of the question: “What, if any, is your religious preference — Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, or an Orthodox religion such as Greek or Russian Orthodox?”

This study is an excerpt from the larger report on The Decline of Religious Identity in the United States by Sid GroenemanGary Tobin published in 2004 via the Institute for Jewish & Community Research (http://jewishresearch.or)

Religious Change in Contemporary America

March 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured, News

religion_declineCompared to even 15 years ago, fewer Americans today espouse a religious identity. In this report we examine not religious practice like church attendance or membership but rather religious identity.

Approximately one of every six Americans has no religious identity
Sixteen percent of United States adults either fail to place themselves in any denominational category (answering “none” or ”no religion”), or they describe themselves as secular, humanist, ethical-culturalist, agnostic, or atheist.

Individuals who identify with no religion are a growing population
Based on a review of survey evidence, the proportion of non-identifiers appears to have grown substantially in the last 10-12 years.

The non-religiously identified make up the third largest group in the country
The two largest groups are Catholics and Baptists. Those non-religiously identified are virtually tied with Baptists as the second largest group since the difference in estimated size between them is within “sampling error.”

Those raised in no religion are most likely to not identify with a religion
About 1 of every 9 Americans who was raised in some religion now identify with no religion; nearly three-quarters of those with no religious upbringing are current non-identifiers.

Being raised in more than one religion may lead to no religion
Those raised in multiple religious traditions are more than twice as likely to be non-identifiers as adults than those raised in a single religion.

Younger Americans are less religiously identified than older Americans
Younger adults (under 35) are most likely to be non-identifiers, and those over 65 are least likely to be. Religious identification shows a steadily increasing association with age. It is unclear whether this represents a persistent growth trend in non-identifiers, or if it reflects a snapshot in time, with younger people likely to become more affiliated with religion as they pass through customary life-cycle stages. Non-identification in the United States likely will continue to increase

This study is an excerpt from the larger report on The Decline of Religious Identity in the United States by Sid GroenemanGary Tobin published in 2004 via the Institute for Jewish & Community Research (http://jewishresearch.or)

Video Bible in Bulgarian

March 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Media


The Video Bible project in Bulgarian was originally envisioned in 2008 by the Cup & Cross ministry team as a result of two consecutive endeavors. The first was the finalization of a vision for the Bulgarian Bible on the internet, which began in 1996 and continued in the next decade resulting in the development of – a web community for Bulgarian and Slavic speaking Christians around the world. The second one was the Bibliata.TV web project released in 2007-2008 after a wide variety of oppositions ranging from purely technical to religious and political aspects.

Once Bibliata.TV had established its permanent place in the internet it grew fast to become one of the most successful interactive media projects in Bulgarian history. Currently, the project hosts over 11,000 original Christian videos uploaded by some 1,200 registered members. It provides a web platform for daily religious broadcast for some two dozen of Bulgarian churches and ministries active around the globe and in 2008 became the home of the Bulgarian Video Bible.

This last ambitious project of the Cup & Cross ministry team undertook the difficult task to recreate the Bible in video format one chapter at a time. Churches, ministers and lay people were asked to record a favorite portion of the Bible as a video and upload it to Bibliata.TV. Currently 6,672 videos are already completed. They can be all seen at: The anticipated release date of the Bulgarian Video Bible is 1.11.2011.

4 Points to the Glory of God

March 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured, News


1. Every time God renews His covenant with His people, He shows His presence.

2. We know that God is present in the covenant, because He shows His glory. It happened to Moses and his generation. And it also happened to Solomon several hundred years later.

3. When a generation looses the vision of the glory of God, God begins renewing His covenant again with a new generation.

4. God is not satisfied with a people who know the signs and the blessings of the covenant. He rests not until He is revealed as the God of the covenant.

Mark Hits the Marketplace

March 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, News

marknbtThe new literal translation of the Gospel According to Mark hits the Marketplace on Monday via bookstores across Bulgaria as annual book fairs are usually held during the spring season. This time has been long waited by theologians and Bible scholars as this is the first series of literal translations from Nestle-Aland in the Bulgarian vernacular. It is the third volume our ministry has put out with the complete Johannine works in (2008) and the Gospel according to Matthew (2010). Final editorial revisions before printing are being made on the last of the volumes, which includes Luke and Acts, with plans to make it available to the general public by the end of the year.

Ivan Voronaev: The Death of a Hero is a Legacy to Remember

March 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured, News


A more recent research, which came out after the writing of this first paper, proposed the discovery of a letter documenting Ivan Voronaev’s death on November 5, 1937. Such claim, especially coming from a single document, is the least to say suspicious, as it undermines the findings of leading Pentecostal historian, Vincent Synan (mentioned above) and the testimony of over 500 Russian Pentecostal national leaders placing Voronaev’s death some seven years later. It also contradicts the testimony of Voronaev’s wife and children, who continued to speak in defense of his release in churches all over the United States well pass 1937 (especially pass 1940).

If such document was indeed authentic, it is quite questionable that it has never surfaced before regardless of the numerous writers and researchers, representing at least a dozen of institutions and that many denominations, over the period of 100 years never came across such letter. Our team itself spent over ten years, with the help of friends and colleagues both in the United States and Russia, researching archived materials and documents, which had not been taken out of the boxes and shelves for decades, and we were not able to find even one concrete reference as per Voronaev’s time or cause of death. Not even his family knew, not even his children.

It was not until the 2010 Society for Pentecostal Studies meeting in Minneapolis, when this present research brought about that Voronaev could have in fact, under severe physical a psychological pressure, signed a document refuting his faith and work as a Pentecostal minister. This is part of history, which none of us would like to believe, but was completely possible under the Communist Regime and did occur time and time again in the lives of many Pentecostal heroes of the faith, making their testimonies not one bit less believable or inspirational. And though we strive to estrange from any conspiracy theory, this all looks very much like a political cover up and a clean house operation.

But who then, would have had such an increasing interest in recent years to go so deep into Bolshevik KGB archives, gaining access in offices and places where no one has been able to penetrate before? Certainly defending the honor of Rev. Voronaev was not at stake here, as no one, not even his most fervent critics for one moment believed his denial from the faith, as stated by the Communists. Such action was strongly refuted by his wife upon her arrival in the United States and even if it occurred in truth and reality as historical evidence, makes very little difference in the rich heritage Voronaev has left in Eastern Europe and global Pentecostalism.

So if Voronaev’s legacy was not at stake here, then whose? Perhaps, someone else’s honor had to be defended. Like the honor of an organization felt threatened by a story of its own, kept as a cold case for years now, but coming alive resurrecting memories and livelihoods and guilt? Or perhaps a party so mighty, so powerful, so strong that it could not bear the burden of martyrs it buried below? In all cases, such defensive and definitive action can come only from human organization based on man made polices and rules, which Voronaev rejected and fought from the moment he was saved from this world to the moment he was sent into the world to come.

Preview and Purchase at

Missionary Leader Lovell Cary Passes

March 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured, News

cary-lovell1FaithNews Networks: February 28, 2012–Lovell R. Cary, 83, veteran Church of God missionary and denominational leader, passed away last night, Monday, February 27, in Cleveland, Tennessee.

Cary is best known for his leadership of Church of God World Missions as Assistant Director for eight years and as General Director for eight years. Since 2004, he has served as a Missionary Evangelist. He also served eight years on the International Executive Council.

Cary accepted his first appointment to missions in 1954, when he went to Hawaii. In 1959, he moved to the Philippines and later served as Field Director of Asia Pacific for 20 years.

Current General Director of World Missions Rev. Douglas LeRoy said of Dr. Cary, “He has introduced Christ to thousands, and his Christian life and global passion have impacted the world. He was known as an effective preacher of the gospel and as ‘Mr. Missions.’” Cary’s biography, Nothing to Win but the World, sums up his life as a missionary statesman.

Lovell and his wife, Ginny, were married for 65 years. They have two daughters – Sharon and Susie – three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Before Scandal Breaks

March 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured, News

beforescandalbreaksAnytime a scandal is about to be revealed, there is one logical thing that has to happen. The house needs to be cleaned.

Operation Clean House (OCH) is a thoroughly thought through plan that is designed to be launched at a very strategic time before scandal breaks. Such timing will be after parties have used their purpose, individuals have done what they have been told, and cards have been played.

Yet, before OCH takes full effect, there always has to be a scapegoat. Every scandal needs a scapegoat; a diversion of the truth, that which fulfills taking the fault off of the real guilt. If you prematurely get rid of all evidence, there remains no person or factor on which to place blame and the true instigator of the scandal is found out. And once the scapegoat has carried away the blame and negative connotations of a scandalous situation, all knowledgeable remaining individuals of the truth have to be tactfully disregarded, threatened, demoted or fired.

Operation Clean House is designed to lessen the effects of scandal. If guilt is quickly placed and dealt with via the proper channels and procedures, then questions of why, what, where, and who are not asked. Justice has already been found and investigation of truth is not needed. For OCH to be successful, and it’s success is a must for the survival of the master mind(s) behind a scandal to come out with clean hands, then fingers will be pointed. All entities which have know-how of the scandal, have participated in the cover-ups, have been “yes men” or even have kept silent will be at risk. And when fingers are pointed, it does not matter how close you think you are to being saved or what promises where made; if you have been close to the fire, you will get burnt. Because it is the ultimate nature of scandal, that when it breaks, anybody in its close proximity will be affected.

And although it is very unfortunate, scandal is only created knowing good and well that there will be only one true survivor. A scandal will never be allowed if there is any possibility of loose ends. To outwit, outlast and outplay is the goal. For when there is only one true survivor, history can be told or mis-told in whatever manner is more appealing or self-serving to the survivor. Heroes become victims, liars become truth tellers, warriors become enslaved and history is re-written after OCH is successfully implemented. If there is anybody left around to tell the truth, then scandal likely will not break. So before scandal is to break, the house needs to be cleaned. However, what is not taken into account in scandalous events is that every action is being recorded and one day all, will be revealed.

Now, you may be thinking that I am writing about political scandal and you will be partially right. I am talking about political scandal in the church. Matthew 7:16 is my prayer that I remain faithful and my house remains clean, with no dirt or dust, but only fruits of labor for the Kingdom. And that one day when I’m called to enter my heavenly home, that because I have kept my earthly abode clean, I will hear the words, “Welcome home my good and faithful servant…”