The Orthodox Church before AD 1054

May 15, 2022 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Research

Dony K. Donev, D.Min.: Eastern Pneumotology Lectures

Eastern Orthodoxy can be expressed in one word: theism. The purpose and meaning of life is to become more like God. Deification is pursued by all means of human existence. This quest for divine likeness often includes the typical for the Eastern Church, speculation on the divinity and humanity of Christ, traditions on the doctrine of the Trinity and non-traditional mystical experiences. They appear in the context of both physical and spiritual characteristics in individual and corporate ecclesiastical environment. The role of the Spirit in the process of deification is threefold and involves: creation, re-creation and theism. Eastern Pneumotology follows the graduate process of theism development. The Spirit is involved in the original creation of the world as well as the new-birth experience. His work however, does not end there, but continues throughout the process of personal deification of the believer.

The Orthodox Church before AD 1054

The experiencing of the Spirit in this period is characterized with the existence of spiritual gifts, the quest for spiritual knowledge and an experiencing of the kingdom of God. Beside attempts to explain the nature and existence of the Trinity, the ecclesiastical writings contain passages on sin and prayer (John Cassian), creation and re-creation (Maximus the Confessor). The main focus in this context remains on the mystical experiencing of the Spirit. A motto statement of this era is the expression of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagate that “God can be approached experientially beyond the bounds of sense perception and reason.”[1]

From a similar perspective John Cassian believed that spiritual knowledge comes only through the presence of the Holy Spirit.[2] It is a result of one’s inflammation with the desire to possess the wisdom of God. This search for spiritual knowledge is accompanied by a personal quest for ethical and practical knowledge. The process contains one’s deliverance from the evil of the world and humility of heart as the fruit of the Spirit.[3]

The fruit of the Spirit is the context in which the gifts of the Spirit operate. They are not a product of one’s efforts, but rather acts of God’s grace. Cassian divides the list of existing spiritual gifts in three categories: (1) gifts of healing, (2) gifts for ecclesiastical edification and (3) gifts contrived by deceiving devils.[4] The latter probably resembles a problem with false teachers and false prophets experienced within the Eastern Church of the late third and early fourth centuries.

Cassian further claims that the spiritual gifts are given for a season, after which only love continues.[5] Yet, on the other hand, he reports the experiencing and practice of spiritual gifts in his time.[6] It seems appropriate to assume that Cassian did believe in the operation of spiritual gifts not only through the apostolic time, but also in his own time. Thus, his postulation for the disappearance of the Spiritual gifts refers to a rather latter period when the church will not be present in the world any longer and spiritual gifts will not be needed in the context of the Kingdom of God. Love, however, will remain.

Another writer who focuses on the nature and the existence of the Kingdom of God is Maximus the Confessor (ca.580-662). Maximus was born and lived in the aristocratic circles of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. He was exiled in Thrace for opposing the heresies of monotheletism and monoenergism.[7]

In the pneumotological context of his claims, he assumed that the kingdom of God is the Holy Spirit. He proves the former by an interesting analogy between the kingdom, where God dwells, and the temple of the Spirit, which are the Christians. The spiritual temple is consisted only of the believers who have rejected evil and thus have accepted the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit.[8] Since they have the kingdom of God inside of them, Maximus concludes that the Spirit and the Kingdom are identical equivalents.

The Kingdom of God, according to Maximus, is realized only in a state of continues prayer. It is only then, that the mind departs from all human knowledge and worldly ideas. Separated from all human perceptions, one receives understanding of God, but “only without the human senses.”[9] This state is an ecstasy in which one abides in God in a complete, but rather momentary deification.[10] The eternal deification is preserved for the ones who maintain a righteous life, and is reached only in the eternal union with the Trinity.[11]

The process and act of deification is described as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit by another systematic writer of this early period, by the name of Symeon the New Theologian. Burgess describes Symeon as the most mystical writer in description of his personal pneumatic experience.[12] The New Theologian, claims that baptism of the Spirit opens the door for a continuous theosis. Thus, deification is impossible apart from the spiritual baptism.[13] Denial of the fact that the Spirit baptism and deification cannot be experienced today is blasphemy or unforgivable sin.[14] In this context, one can be neither saved, nor deified without the baptism of the Spirit.

Furthermore, the baptism of the Spirit is received only after extensive process of preparation and purification, which comes close to our modern-day, Pentecostal understanding of sanctification. During this process, one grows in meekness and humility, being aware of his/her sins.[15] The final stage involves purification with many tears, without which no one can receive the Holy Spirit.[16] Symeon understands the above process of the baptism with the Holy Spirit as a return to a radical living of the Gospel in analogue to the primitivism of the first century Church.[17]

[1] Burgess, 38.

[2] Conf. 14.16, NPF 2nd Series 11:444.

[3] Colm Luibhead, John Cassian: Confences, CWS (New York: Paulist Press, 1985), 14.10, NPF 2nd Series 11:440.

[4] Conf. 15.1, NPF 2nd Series 11:445-46.

[5] Conf. 1.11, NPF 2nd Series 11:299-300.

[6] Conf. 15.4-5, NPF 2nd Series 11:447.

[7] Burgess, 40.

[8] Ibid., 44.

[9] Ambigua 10, PG 90:col. 1113.

[10] Ambigua 7, PG 90:col. 1076.

[11] Ambigua 10, PG 90:col. 1196.

[12] Burgess, 38.

[13] Ibid., 61.

[14] Disc. 33.3-5, 341-43.

[15] TGP 3.23, 87.

[16] Disc. 3329.5, 313.

[17] Burgess, 62.

160,000 Pentecostals in Bulgaria Reported by the NEW Encyclopedia of Global Pentecostalism

April 20, 2022 by  
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Restorative Significance of the Gifts Given to the Christ Child

December 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Publication, Research

It is recorded that the Magi gave the Christ Child three gifts upon his birth; gold, frankincense and myrrh. We understand the gold today as a physical gold, representing His kingship and the other two as an incense to symbolize his priestly role and oil for his foreseen death. Yet, what if the gold that was given to the Christ child was for another reason and perhaps it was not “gold”, but a golden spice or a golden salt. Of the gifts, one could be ingested, one could be inhaled and one could be absorbed. If we look at all from a medicinal viewpoint, these three gifts may have more symbolic meaning than once perceived.

MAGI

So who exactly were the “Magi”. We know that they followed the stars and were from the East. The East was a region of the world known, at the time, for its great knowledge of natural remedies. So it is not unimaginable that they could have been natural healers or homeopathic doctors of their times. This could explain the hypothesis that all three gifts had a therapeutic purpose in the life of Christ.

GOLD

If we view the gold in compound form, it can be used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Gold is a type of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic medicine (DMARD) that dampens down the underlying disease process. This meaning it treats inflammation and stops the immune system from attacking its own body’s tissue. Gold can also be used to treat other auto-immune conditions. If we think of the gift of gold as a spice, the first one that comes to mind is curcumin which is known as the “golden spice” of the East. It also has the ability to reduce inflammation and provides immune system support along with anti-cancer effects. This golden spice seems to have the ability to kill cancer cells and prevent their regrowth.

FRANKINCENSE

When frankincense is inhaled, it is the most effective method of delivery to send a chemical message to the brain. The oils in frankincense have a high level of sesquiterpenes, an agent found in plants that has the ability to go beyond the blood-brain barrier. Sesquiterpenes from frankincense increase oxygen availability in the limbic system of the brain which leads to an increase in secretions of antibodies, endorphins and neurotransmitters. In layman’s terms it has the ability to go straight to the brain without traveling through the bloodstream and brings healing properties to reset and repairs its internal communications. It’s almost as if it can unlearn a disease or degenerative disorder passed down in our DNA.

The amygdale glad of the brain’s limbic system plays a major role in storing and releasing emotional trauma. The only way to stimulate this gland is with fragrance or the sense of smell. This may help us understand how we are able to release emotional trauma with aromatherapy of frankincense.

MYRRH

Myrrh also can arouse the limbic system to release emotional trauma. It also has anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties among with many other health benefits. Once applied to the body, oil molecules pass through dermis, into the capillaries and directly into the bloodstream.

The substance know as monoterpenes are present in almost all essential oils. They are what enhances the therapeutic values of other components and are the balancing portion of the oil. They inhibit the accumulation of toxins and restore the correct information in the DNA of the cell. Sesquiterpenes are also found in myrrh and delete the bad information in cellular memory or memories that are hypothesized to be stored outside the brain in the body.

REMARKS

This is quite interesting, to say the least, that all three gifts can protect the body from such dramatic trauma. The body of Christ from infancy was being safeguarded against what was to become his destiny of great suffering and pain. The cathartic releasing of emotional trauma provided with the gift of frankincense would lay the foundation for the harrowing experience of death by crucifixion.

All three offerings had anti-inflammatory properties and helped support the immune system by preventing the system from attacking its own body’s tissue. Christ’s earthly body was protected right down to the minuscule cellular level. Even the cellular memory of his body was restored with these gifts. At a molecular level, His Heavenly DNA was being guarded. The gifts purposed to protect the Christ child’s from disorders genetically passed down and to restore the information in the cells of the DNA.

One gift was for the body, one was for the blood and one was for the brain. One gift purposed to go beyond the blood-brain barrier while the other was via the bloodline. The Christ child was both a descendant of a Heavenly father and an early mother. The father’s bloodline was supernatural while the mothers’ was a physical line.

We will never truly understand this side of Heaven all the care that went into protecting the Christ child. Yet since we are descendants of a Perfect Deity, we too have this promise of complete restoration of curses, sickness, disease, imperfections, degenerative disorders, mental impairments, and any physical, mental or spiritual attack of the body, mind and soul. We have been given a choice of living a life of blessing or curse. Just as the gifts of the Christ child had to be accepted, we too much choose to accept this promise.

PentecostalTheology.com

BULGARIA in Brill’s Encyclopedia of Global Pentecostalism

September 1, 2021 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, Media, 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

For some of you it has been a long time ago that you submitted your article(s) for BEGP, for others it was a bit more recent, but I am very happy to announce that this Summer the print edition of Brill’s Encyclopedia of Global Pentecostalism will finally see the light. With this we can proudly close this chapter and proceed to see what the reception of the volume will bring! Thank you for being part of this great project!

To celebrate, we will organize an online symposium on September 16th, with presentations from the editors as well as 3 experts who will comment on BEGP: Amos Yong, Birgit Meyer and Néstor Medina. You can find more detailed information in the attached flyer. Please be welcome.

Registration is free (but necessary to receive a link); we will raffle one free copy of the print edition among the registered participants. For registration and questions, please send your message to begp@brill.com, mentioning Symposium in the subject line.

We hope to see you then!

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches on the West Coast (2021 Report)

July 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Research

bulgarian-church

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches – West Coast (2017 Report)

  • 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)
  • Phoenix, AX (occasional/outreach)

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Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Texas (2021 Report)

July 20, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Research

bulgarian-churchDallas: 2435 East Hebron Parkway Carrollton, Texas 75010 (outreach of the Assemblies of God – Carrollton, TX)

Houston: 6400 Woodway Drive (building #C), Houston, Texas 77057 (inactive/occasional since 2012)

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Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in America (2021 Report)

July 10, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Research

bulgarian-church

CURRENTLY ACTIVE CHURCHES/CONGREGATIONS:

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Chicago (2017 Report)
Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Texas (2017 Report)
Bulgarian Evangelical Churches – West Coast (2017 Report)

  • 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)
  • Phoenix, Arizona

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches Canada (2017 Report)

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

Atlanta (active since 1996)

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)

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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

Pentecost Sunday Full Gospel

May 20, 2021 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, News, Publication, Research

I keep on repeating this through the years, but the need for the constant repetition comes from the simple fact that among new doctrinal teachings and Hillsong style of worship the True Message of Pentecost remains long forgotten

  1. Salvation – That a man must be saved while the hour of grace is still upon us has been that teaching of every protestant evangelical since the Reformation. Why people attend church all their lives without getting saved is beyond me. But I do know that the commitment of the CHURCH to REVIVAL brings people to SALVATION.
  1. Sanctification – The Wesleyan teaching of sanctification resolves that the sanctification of the believer is definite. This means that though it may progress and evolve through time, as the believer gets closer to God in his/her daily walk, sanctification must become ENTIRE i.e. allowing NO sin to abide in the believer’s body, soul or spirit. Without ENTIRE sanctification resulting in holiness, no one will ever see God (Heb. 12:14).
  1. Holy Ghost Baptism – The doctrine of the Baptism with the Holy Ghost means that when baptized we speak in one tongue with God because we are ONE with His Spirit. Not just in us or upon us, but that we are IN the Spirit as John was on the day of Revelation.
  1. Healing in the Atonement of Christ belongs to every believer. This means you, your family and your church members. The healing provided in the Atonement is for ALL believers – no exception. It is also for ALL sickness, disease, viruses, infections, tumors and cancers. But that it belongs to does not yet mean that it has been received by the believer. For this reason, God does not stop healing neither in this age nor through eternity, as the leaves of the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem are still and forever for the healing (Rev. 22:2)
  1. The Second Coming of Christ for Pentecostals is not simply pre-millennial, but also pre-Tribulation. There have been MANY teachings on the End Times until today. Post-millennials claim we live in the Millennium even now anticipating the return of the Lord; a-millennials that there will be no Millennium at all. Post-tribulationists expect his return at the end of the Tribulation, mid-post-tribulationists in the middle. But in Pentecost, we expect Christ to return before the Tribulation that we may be saved from the hour of trial (Rev. 3:10) and before the Millennium so we may reign with Him 1,000 years. Any other message is no message of hope for the Church of the Living God.

Diamonds in the Rough-N-Ready Pentecostal Series

 

Speaking in Tongues in America Prior to the Azusa Street Revival of 1906

April, 1906 – The Azusa street revival swept the globe starting with California

January 1, 1901– The initial phenomenon of speaking in tongues occurred at Parham’s school in Topeka, Kansas

January 6, 1900 – Frank Sanford’s Shiloh school reported that “The gift of tongues has descended”

1896 – Over 100 people baptized in the Shaerer schoolhouse revival conducted by the Christian Union in the North Carolina mountains

1887 – People falling in trances and speaking in tongues were reported at Maria Etter’s revival meetings in Indiana

1874 – Speaking in tongues occurred during healing meetings reported in New York

1873 – William H. Doughty and the Gift People of Rhode Island spoke in tongues

1854 – V. P. Simmons and Robert Boyd reported tongue speaking during Moody’s meetings

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FURTHER READING:

Church of God (Cleveland, TN)

Azusa Street Revival of 1906

Prior to Azusa Street Revival of 1906

The Unforgotten: Historical and Theological Roots of Pentecostalism in Bulgaria

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The Unforgotten

The Unforgotten: Historical and Theological Roots of Pentecostalism in Bulgaria

This book tells the story of four early Pentecostal families who brought the message of Azusa to Bulgaria, Eastern Europe and Russia. The research has taken over a decade to complete. It started with a brief article on the beginning of the Pentecostal movement in Bulgaria, where unfortunately many 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, the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, Pusey Library at Harvard, the British and Foreign Bible Society in Cambridge, and countless Bulgarian churches.We are grateful to the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center for making readily available their denominational archives. Dr. Albert Wardin graciously opened the door for research in Nashville and Berkeley, where most documentation of Voronaev’s early ministry are preserved. Dr. Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. of Fuller provided tremendous guidance to the life and ministry of Frank and Anna Bartleman through virtually every step of their journey and every address they occupied. We are also thankful to Dr. Oleg Bornovolokov of the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary in Kiev, who helped with various KGB/FSB documents and the NKVD dossiers from Gulag.The papers included in this book were presented at Society for Pentecostal Studies meetings between 2010 and 2021. The first part of the book appeared in vol. 30 (2010) of Assemblies of God “Heritage” magazine and their December, 2010 editorial. The Bulgarian Pentecostal Union published our translation and commentary of Voronaev’s correspondence in their monthly “Evangel.” In 2011, Dr. Vladimir Franchuk, translated our Voronaev’s papers in Russian and included them in his book “Revival: from the center of Odessa to the ends of Russia” just in time for the 90th anniversary of Pentecostalism in Russia. Most of the historiographical data presented in this book is being published openly for the first time.

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