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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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

 

 

National Church Survey to Reveal State of the American Church in 2021

March 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Media, News, Research

National church survey reveals important data about the state of the church in America today

The survey has been conducted for the past several years in several hundred congregations from all denominations across the United States. All collected national trends provide information about essential ministry dynamics and characteristics of the local congregation like:

  • Church Type & Membership
  • Teams & Leaders
  • Praise & Worship
  • Pastoral/Personal
  • Mission & Vision

Subscribe to ChurchInfluence.com weekly newsletter to receive free each published report containing important information about current church trends in America today.

Sample reports from the national State of the Church survey include:

  • 5 common church types across the nation
  • 3 financial characteristics of the average church in America
  • College education take over church leadership
  • 4 leading types of pastor’s teams
  • The growth of congregational ethnicity
  • 6 dimensions of leadership training for small churches (80-120 members)
  • Top 3 problems in church growth
  • 8 Successful strategies to communicate with your church volunteer teams
  • 4 age groups within the make of church membership
  • 7 factors that make your congregational ethnos
  • 20th century paradigm for church training still used today
  • How can you improve worship within a church service
  • 5 ways to improve how the community views your church
  • 3 successful ways how to really spend half of your time in prayer and meditation

Though, the majority of participants were among Western North American Pentecostal/Charismatic congregations, the National State of the Church Survey brings results of the state of the church much similar to the ones presented by the Pew Forum, Barna Research Group and Gallup. While the said researchers present a more holistic to the Christian body information, the National State of the Church Survey brings a special focus of statistical data on Pentecostal/Charismatic congregations, their structure, leadership and praxis.

 

Trends and Issues Affecting the Next American Spirituality

March 10, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Research

Three Trends and Three Issues Affecting Asian Missions” by David Barrett bring focus on obvious antipode of missionary need in the Western hemisphere today. The Macedonian Call to 3.7 billion Asian people with some 9% Christians is no small issue in global missions. At the same time, America becoming the 3rd largest mission field in the world is the obvious missions gap in the Western hemisphere. The parallels in post-modernity are many.

About 20 years ago, a book called “The Next American Spirituality” summarized the culture of today’s American spirituality and its relation to the apostolic church. The main question is, “What would a theology of the church look like that took seriously the fact that North America is now itself a mission field?”

To answer the question, Gallup and Jones examined how America does Biblical spirituality, using the gathered data to analyze its shift and direction. According to their survey, the marks of the next American spirituality were going to be (in short):

1. Bull-market church growth

2. Self-centered religion of me and thee

3. Hunger for experience – any experience

4. Search of roots amid the relativism

5. Quest for community resulting in self-belongingness and self-realization

In our current context of ministry two decades later, all of the above signs are evident and true. This is due on hand to the constant shift in the cultural paradigm, as well as the obvious shift in the identity and practices of the Christian church in the postmodern context. It almost seems like instead of being the model, the church is following a model, which not only changes the churches identity but interferes with its original evangelistic goal and global mission.

Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association and Master of Chaplaincy Program Ministry 2020 Priority Review

January 10, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Research

In the midst of the 2020 pandemic, the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association was able to continue in active field ministry as well as its Master of Chaplaincy Program in affiliation with New Bulgarian University. Another doctoral graduate from the chaplain’s program graduated in 2020 with special focus of ministry in the Eastern part of Bulgaria. The Association has not completed its task yet, namely, legalizing chaplaincy within the Bulgarian armed forces, but major milestones have been accomplished. Our 2006 proposal submitted to NATO’s Manfred Wörner Foundation is being implemented as foundational to the doctrine and direction of the Association, being now used by other fields and states as well.

As prisoners in Bulgaria were not generally released during the Pandemic, prison chaplaincy continued through the Sofia region office led by one of our students from the Masters’ Program.

Hospital chaplaincy has remained a challenge as many hospitals, especially in mid-Bulgaria, struggled to provide adequate healthcare during the pandemic crises.

International chaplaincy among Bulgarian migrants have continued as allowed by shutdown orders in various countries in the European Union. On several occasions large communities of migrant workers were forced by the economic challenges to return to Bulgaria, which has presented additional opportunities for chaplaincy ministry.

Institutional chaplaincy has been the weakest point as in the past decade, as interweaving religion and business in the Bulgarian context of ministry has remained a strong test for the endurance of chaplaincy. However, the corporate ecosystem in Bulgaria is progressively changing as foreign investors are continuing to establish regional offices and labor opportunities in the country.

Haskovo, Harmanli and the Strandja region toward the Turkish border south of Yambol have been a focal point of chaplaincy among foreign migrants residing in Bulgaria. We have already established relationship with para-church organizations that work successfully among Muslim migrants in the Scandinavian countries. Their experience and training within the Bulgarian context of ministry has been indispensable.

Finally, social involvement through community chaplaincy has been developing well in the past several years, especially in major project areas like the second largest Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, the region of South Bulgaria, along the Black Sea especially in Bulgaria’s largest sea port at Varna, and along the Danube River including the port cities of Silistra, Rousse, Svishtov and all the way to Vidin.

I was called … Celebrating 30 Years of Global Ministry

September 1, 2020 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News, Publication, Research


During the month of September, our ministry is celebrating 30 years in Global Harvest. I was saved in my hometown of Yambol Bulgaria on August 9, 1990 and baptized with the Holy Spirit seven days later. In two weeks time, God called me to preach and I preached my first sermon one Friday night in September at the Church of God in the mountain town of Pravetz, Bulgaria where a small group of Pentecostal believers had kept the faith during the long years of the Communist Regime. At that time, Pravetz was known as a stronghold of Communism where the Communist president who ruled Bulgaria for 36 years was born. Many, including school officials, did not receive our faith and openly tried to suppress its expression. All night prayer meetings were a weekly event, and chain fasting almost never stopped. The Bulgarian Church of God was still underground.

Only 14 were present at the meeting as I preached from Genesis chapter 14. Little I knew that just a few short months later, the youth group of the church would count over 100 strong and growing, and with the Berlin Wall now fallen revival was on the way. That night in Pravetz Bulgaria I just preached a sermon from the Word. That same Word, which God still claims cannot return void. For Revival must go on …

Now 30 years later, the time to tell the story has finally come!

 

This book should have been published seven years ago in 2013. Its original subtitle was going to read “7 Years in Bulgaria.” Instead, it took seven years to finish it with all documents, research archives and new cases. Now, it is finally here and it finally reads like a story – not just choppy interviews, deposition documented testimonies or court records, but a story of struggle, strength and solitude. A story of life and a story of us.

1995-96 The establishing of the first Bulgarian Church of God in Chicago and its first split

2000-01 The contracted building of the ministry center for the Central Church of God in Sofia

2002-03 The church split in Southaven and what followed next

2005-06 The post-communist split of the Bulgarian Church of God and consecutive sub-denominations

2010-13 The social media network that cost us millions (of souls)

2016 The vote that forced to kill a church

2019-20 The sale of the ministry center for the Central Church of God in Bulgaria

READ: CONFESSIONS of a Pentecostal Preacher

Digital Discipleship at Lee University

June 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Media, News, Research

Digital Discipleship is a practical training manual for the use of collaborative online tools, digital storytelling, creative websites, and mobile networking in the ministry of the Church. This course is intended to provide students with a hands-on toolbox for extending their present ministry to the internet world with the intent of soul-saving and discipleship. There are no pre-requisites to this course, and it is open for enrollment to current students or new applicants. This 3-credit-hour, fully online, asynchronous course will take place June 23 to Aug. 10. To register, visit applytolee.com and use the code DIGITAL (case-sensitive) to waive the $25 application fee.

Lee University 2020 Church of God Scholarship Program
Receive a Lee Online student scholarship of $1,000, disbursed over the academic year – Fall, Spring, and Summer. Continuous enrollment is required. Details are important, so here are some of the finer points of this special scholarship offer:

  • The scholarship is open to new applicants starting a program in August 2020.
  • The $1,000 will be applied evenly over the 2020-2021 academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer), so make sure you stay enrolled to reap the full reward.
  • The award can be used towards Lee Online certificate, undergraduate or graduate programs.
  • Enroll full-time (two classes per session) or part-time (one class per session).
  • It can be combined with the ministry or military/first responders program tuition discounts (but not with other scholarships).

Make sure to use SPIRIT (case-sensitive) as your discount code when you applytolee.com so that we can reserve your scholarship funds.

Ensure Eligibility
Available to newly enrolled Lee Online undergraduate, graduate, or certificate students with a start date of August 18, 2020. May not be combined with any other offers or scholarships.

Register for your scholarship today here: https://leeuniversity.edu/cog/

Pentecost Sunday Full Gospel as Preached by the Early Pentecostals

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

States Consider Religious Services Essential

April 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Research

 

DeSantis quietly signs second order overruling all local coronavirus orders, including church bans

Gov. Ron DeSantis quietly signed a second order Wednesday evening that forces local governments to follow the state’s shutdown order to the letter, opening the door to an immediate resumption of activities that cities and counties had banned. But at a news conference Thursday, DeSantis claimed his new order merely “set a floor, and you can’t go below that,” adding that if local governments wanted to close a running trail, for example, they could do so.

Of the 39 states that have implemented stay at home orders, 12 make exceptions for religious gatherings.

A revival held at a church resulted in an outbreak of the virus in Hopkins County, Kentucky, and the governor reminded the public Wednesday that those exercising the exemptions still hold a responsibility to take precautions to the virus. “The ramifications when we don’t follow this, end up being widespread and they hurt people that didn’t make that choice,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Let’s make sure that we’re responsible in the choices we make to protect those around us.” Here’s a list of states that still allow some form of religious gatherings during the stay at home orders:

Arizona

Religious services are exempt as an essential activity because worship is protected under the first amendment of the Constitution. However, the exemption specifies that the services are exempt as long as they “provides appropriate physical distancing to the extent feasible.”

Colorado

The state allows houses of worship to stay open as long as they are using an electronic platform or are practicing social distancing. Services from religious leaders are also allowed for individuals in crisis or for end-of-life services.

Delaware

Along with social advocacy, business, professional, labor and political organizations, religious organizations are exempt.

Florida

The state recognizes attending a church, synagogue or house of worship as an essential activity along with caring for loved ones, pets and recreational activities that comply with social guidelines.

Kentucky

Kentucky makes an exemption for life-sustaining business and religious organizations that provide “food, shelter, social services, and other necessities of life” for people disadvantaged or in need because of the pandemic. However, the organizations must social distance as much as possible, including ending in-person retail.

Michigan

Michigan also makes exceptions for operations, religious and secular, that provide necessities for those in need. The state also does not subject places of worship to penalties for breaking orders when they are used for religious worship.

New Mexico

The state does not include congregations in a church, synagogue, mosque or other place of worship in the definition of “mass gatherings” that are barred.

North Carolina

Traveling to and from a place of worship is exempt from the executive order as “leaving the home and travel for essential activities.”

Pennsylvania

Religious institutions are exempt along with lifesaving and sustaining operations, health care, child care for employees of life-sustaining businesses, news media, law enforcement, emergency medical fire fighters and the federal government.

Texas

Religious services, if they cannot be conducted at home or remotely, can be conducted as long as they are consistent with guidelines from the federal government and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

West Virginia

Attending a place of worship is considered an essential activity in the state along with going to the grocery store or gas station, picking up a prescription or necessary medical care, checking on a relative, getting exercise, and working essential jobs.

Wisconsin

Religious facilities, groups and gatherings must have fewer than 10 people in a room and must adhere to social distancing requirements.

The nationwide move to close churches, synagogues and mosques as part of the broader effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus is meeting some new resistance.

In a new “safer-at-home” order banning many activities, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Wednesday said “attending religious services” is among the “essential” activities that would be permitted. The order came two days after the arrest of a Tampa pastor, Rodney Howard-Browne, who held worship services in defiance of a local ban on large gatherings. That ban is now effectively overruled.

Governors in several other states have also designated houses of worship as providing essential services and thus exempt from shutdown orders. Those provisions have come in the wake of criticism, largely from conservatives, that any order to close churches constitutes a violation of the principle of religious freedom.

Liberty Counsel, a legal advocacy group that represents evangelical Christian interests, agreed to represent Howard-Browne and harshly criticized the move to force churches to close.

“Why is it the church can’t meet when it has a constitutional right to do so and has undertaken extraordinary efforts to protect people, but commercial businesses can meet with no constitutional protections and many do nothing to protect anyone?” the organization said in a press release.

A coalition of Catholic leaders on Wednesday similarly issued an open letter calling on authorities to recognize religious services as essential and pleading for the allowance of “some form of a public mass,” especially at Easter.

Many churches and other houses of worship have been forced to close in response to government bans on public gatherings of more than ten people. It is not yet clear whether the broadening move to include religious institutions as essential will allow churches, synagogues, and mosques to reopen.

In several states that do not explicitly mandate church closures, religious leaders are strongly recommended to suspend services.

An executive order issued Tuesday by Texas Governor Greg Abbott explicitly designated religious worship as essential and thus exempt from a mandate that “every person” in the state “minimize social gatherings” and “in-person contact,” and it overruled the local bans on large gatherings that had forced the closure of many Texas churches.

Legal guidance issued in connection with Abbott’s executive order, however, advised that houses of worship “must, whenever possible,” conduct their activities remotely.

Statement of Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne

Apr 2, 2020

My name is Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne. My wife, Adonica, and I are the founders of Revival Ministries International, The River at Tampa Bay Church, River Bible Institute, River School of Worship, and River School of Government in Tampa, Florida. I am the senior pastor of the church. We are a multi-ethnic local church, with an international outreach and influence.
In December 1987, my wife and I, along with our three children, immigrated from our native land of South Africa to the United States. I felt a call from God on my life to preach the gospel and to come to America. I am proud to be a citizen of the United States of America. When I became a citizen, I swore the Oath of Citizenship, before God—to uphold and defend the Constitution—and I have done everything in my power to do just that. My family and I are deeply appreciative to be able to live in this great nation, the beacon of freedom to the world.
The two greatest commandments mentioned by Jesus, to love God and to love people, exemplify my life. My greatest passion in life is to introduce people to Jesus, so they can experience His love and forgiveness.
As you know, I was arrested on trumped-up charges for conducting a church service on Sunday, March 29, which Sheriff Chad Chronister claimed, in a press conference, allegedly violated the Hillsborough County Executive Order that went into effect last Friday, March 27, at 10:00 p.m. The two charges are second-degree misdemeanors that carry a maximum penalty of two months in jail and $500 fine.
The fanfare and drama that surrounded my arrest was completely unnecessary. A simple phone call informing me that I had been charged with violating the Executive Order and needed to come to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office would have sufficed. I would have been willing to turn myself in but was not offered that option. It was unnecessary to send law enforcement to my home. And it was unnecessary to hold a press conference even as I was being arrested.
Before addressing some of the false statements made in the press conference, I want to say that even though the drama and made-for-TV press conference was not appropriate, I do not hold any ill-will toward anyone at the press conference, including Sheriff Chronister. I have the utmost respect for law enforcement. In fact, in January of 2020, I had the pleasure of honoring the Hillsborough County law enforcement by presenting a plaque to Sheriff Chronister at The River at Tampa Bay Church. Afterwards, we held an event for our church community (which includes many from the inner city) to interact with, and build a rapport with, our local police and deputies.
I also want to say that I was treated well and with dignity by the deputies and staff of the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office who came to my home and walked me through the booking process.
Sheriff Chronister made statements at the press conference that the arrest was conducted at my home because the church has an arsenal of weapons. This is patently false. The church, like many churches, had armed off-duty deputies on Sunday to provide protection against anyone who might have ill intentions.
A statement was also made that I was “reckless” for holding the church service. With all due respect to Sheriff Chronister, the church went above and beyond the requirements for secular businesses to protect the health and well-being of the people who attended. None of this seems to have been taken into consideration but appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to hyped-up reports by media (who were not in the building at any time).

A statement was also made that we ignored repeated warnings. This is patently untrue! On Thursday, Sheriff Chronister spoke to some of our staff by speaker phone. I was also present. After we told Sheriff Chronister that we were enforcing six-foot social distancing, had installed over $100,000 of high-grade hospital air purifiers, and were taking other actions to protect the health of anyone who attended, he said the church could operate on Sunday, and that he had no intention to close the church or arrest anyone. The order then became effective on Friday night at 10:00 p.m. On Saturday, we prepared our building, and our staff and ushers, to take all possible, reasonable precautions. On Sunday, we held our usual meeting with the precautions (listed below) in place. At NO time, before or during the service, did we receive any “warnings” from the Sheriff or any other official.

The March 27 “Safer-at-Home” order contains, in paragraph 3, 42 sub-paragraphs of exceptions, including “religious personnel.” Following this long list of exceptions, in paragraph 5, the order adds another huge exception: “Businesses which are not described in paragraph 3, and are able to maintain the required physical distancing (6 feet) may operate.” (emphasis added). In other words, any business that is not in the long list of specific exceptions, is also exempted if it is able to comply with the six-feet separation between people. In such case, there is no limit on the number of people who can be present.

The church took extra precautions to more than comply with the Executive Order, which included the following:

  • Persons who were concerned for their health or had physical symptoms of any kind, were encouraged to stay home;
  • Every person who entered the church received hand sanitizer;
  • All the staff wore gloves;
  • The church enforced the six-foot distance between family groups in the auditorium as well as in the overflow rooms;
  • In the farmer’s market and coffee shop in the lobby, the six-foot distance was enforced with the floor specifically marked;
  • The church spent over $100,000 on a hospital grade purification system set up throughout the church that provide continuous infectious microbial reduction (CIMR) that is rated to kill microbes, including those in the Coronavirus family.

The church sanctuary has moveable chairs. Chairs were removed from the sanctuary so that the remaining chairs were separated by six feet. Any small group that may have been closer than six feet were family members that came to the church together. This six-foot separation was maintained throughout the church.

The church took every precaution to protect the people who attended. In fact, the kinds of precautions the church undertook cannot be found existing in many commercial business establishments that freely operate in Hillsborough County under this Executive Order.

The Executive Order on its face, and as applied, discriminates against religious services and gatherings, despite the fact that the First Amendment provides express protections to houses of worship and assembly. There is no similar constitutional protection for commercial businesses; yet houses of worship and religious gatherings are singled out for discrimination. The State of Florida’s Executive Order exempts churches, as does the Orange County Executive Order, and many other county orders. Yesterday, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a new Executive Order that states attending “religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship” are “Essential Activities.” Surely, Hillsborough County could follow their lead and not violate the Constitution. There are other means available to achieve the interest that we all share to protect human life.

The word of my arrest has traveled around the world. While I have received vulgar verbal abuse and death threats from people who do not know me and are not familiar with the facts, I have also received many words of support and prayer. Many people are deeply concerned that in America a pastor would be arrested.

As my wife and I prayed about what we should do this weekend, we have decided to close the church for this upcoming Sunday service, for the protection of our people in this antagonistic climate, in large part created by media hype and misrepresentations, which have undoubtedly been exacerbated by Sheriff Chronister’s exaggerated and outright false accounts of the situation. We do not make this decision lightly. This is Palm Sunday. We are entering the time of year that is most important to Christians around the world in which we remember and celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We did not hold church to defy any order; nor did we hold church to send a political message. We did not hold church for self-promotion or financial motives, as some have wrongly accused. We held church because it is our mission to save souls and help people, and because we in good faith did everything possible to comply with the Executive Order. Indeed, Sheriff Chronister told us last Thursday that we could hold church.

At this point, we believe it is prudent to take a pause by not opening the church doors this Sunday. This will allow an opportunity for people to take a deep breath and calm down. No matter your view on this matter, I encourage you to take a step back and reconsider the options. I believe we can better balance the health and safety of our community without throwing out the Constitution.

At this time, I have not made any decision about Easter Sunday or services thereafter. Adonica and I are praying and seeking the Lord for wisdom. I will say, however, that the church cannot be closed indefinitely. We believe that there are less restrictive means available to balance all the various interests.

My attorneys at Liberty Counsel will vigorously defend me against this unlawful arrest. I have also authorized my attorneys at Liberty Counsel to file a federal challenge to the Hillsborough County Executive Order. As I said earlier, this order violates the First Amendment and is unconstitutional. I have authorized this constitutional challenge for several reasons.

First, I have already been arrested once on trumped-up charges. I am a law-abiding citizen, who respects law enforcement. Like any normal law-abiding person, I would prefer not to be arrested again. A second arrest could escalate to a higher criminal penalty, or even a felony. No one wants to face criminal charges. My attorneys at Liberty Counsel are representing me on the criminal case, which we will move to dismiss.

Second, because of the publicity, the vitriol and death threats that have been directed at us and the church, I feel compelled by these threats to not meet this upcoming Sunday for the protection of our pastors, staff, and congregation. Also, I love my pastoral staff at The River, and they love us and are in agreement with our stance to obey the Word of God and also to stand up for our constitutional rights. If the church holds service this coming Sunday and the Sheriff chooses to arrest me again under this unconstitutional Executive Order, he will probably have to arrest all of our pastors for preaching in my place. Personally, I do not want to put my pastoral staff in a position of having to choose between criminal arrest or carrying out our God-given mission to worship together and lead people to Jesus.

Third, The River Church provides many ministries more than services where we physically gather together to worship. We have various training schools, and we also provide food and clothing to people in need. The Farmer’s Market and the weekly food boxes we provide are greatly needed at this time to help needy and hurting families. These ministries need to continue to operate to help people. We have many inner-city people who do not have the luxury of watching church online at home. We feel obligated to continue to serve them in person and to make sure we continue to provide groceries to them every week. People in our community need help more than ever in this time of crisis, and the church is where many of them turn for spiritual and material help. We need to be able to minister, without unreasonably restrictive measures, to their spiritual and material needs. Church is a body of believers that cannot be substituted online, especially for people who do not have access to the internet, or their internet is too slow to watch video. Our church helps hurting people and those in need, both spiritually and physically. There is no substitute for meeting together to help one another. This can be done while also protecting the health and welfare of those who attend.

No one wants to face arrest for a criminal charge just for exercising a constitutional right. The threat of arrest, and worse, actual arrest, operates as a significant chill to the exercise of constitutional rights. No one should have to choose between the two. Even in times of crisis, the courts are open to protect our constitutional rights. We hope and trust that the authorities in this case would re-consider their actions and choose to uphold the Constitution, for all of our sakes, basing their decisions on actual facts and correctly applying any and all of the law, rather than succumbing to pressure from certain antagonistic media.

May God grant us wisdom and blessings as we approach this sacred time of Palm Sunday and Easter.

 

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