Temp Bulgarian Government Assigned before Early Elections in March 2017

February 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

During their first cabinet meeting, the caretaker ministers of Bulgaria have agreed on a new structure of the government and have been assigned several tasks. There will be four Deputy Prime Ministers in the interim government, the same number as in the previous cabinet, according to the list of decisions sent by the government’s press office. Their portfolios, however, will be slightly different as the elected cabinet had a Deputy PM for “coalition policy”, while the caretaker government does not include such a post and has a deputy to oversee the preparation of Bulgaria’s Council of the EU presidency instead.

  • Interim Health Minister Ilko Semerdzhiev will also be Deputy Prime Minister in charge of social policies.
  • Stefan Yanev, the caretaker Defense Minister, for his part will have a Deputy Prime Minister office overseeing internal order and security.
  • Deputy Prime Ministers on EU funding (Malina Krumova) and the rotating EU presidency(Denitsa Zlateva) will have no portfolios.

The Prime Minister will have as many as 16 staff, including advisers, experts and assistants in his political cabinet. Each deputy Prime Minister with a portfolio will have three experts and the same number of advisers and assistants on his or her team. Deputy PMs without portfolios will count on 10-strong cabinets. In a separate move, Health Minister Semerdzhiev and Labour Minister Galab Donev have been tasked to be the government’s representatives to the National Council on Tripartite Cooperation – meetings of state authorities with businesses and trade unions.

As Deputy PM on internal order, Stefan Yanev has been tasked with the overall coordination of the early parliamentary election scheduled for March 26.

Pacifism as a Social Stand for Holiness among Early Bulgarian Pentecostals

May 30, 2015 by  
Filed under Events, Missions, News

Slide15Historical and Doctrinal Formation of Holiness Teachings and Praxis among Bulgarian Pentecostals (Research presentation prepared for the Society of Pentecostal Studies, Seattle, 2013 – Lakeland, 2015, thesis in partial fulfillment of the degree of D. Phil., Trinity College)

When Pentecostalism began to spread rapidly in Bulgaria in the 1920s, it was viewed hostile as by both Protestant and Orthodox traditions. Not fasting during lent and not sacrificing for the dead, not honoring Mary or the saints was all detrimental in the formation of the identity of Pentecostal churches in Bulgaria. Even insignificant things like not wearing a cross, or not making the sign of the cross and not lighting candles and incense were noticed and severely criticized by the surrounding culture. And of course not drinking alcohol in Bulgaria and the Pentecostal abstinence was met with enormous opposition from other religious groups. Along with that any benevolence, social involvement, spiritual upbringing of minors (including sport actives) was all condemned as harmful protestant propaganda.

But one specific evangelical stand could never be forgiven – the protestant pacifism in the form of conscientious objection against carrying arms. For the newly re-born Balkan state, in a place where war has been ongoing for centuries, to refusal to go to war was essentially to refuse to be a Bulgarian.

The pacifism of Bulgaria’s evangelicals was silent but powerful against both Hitler’s fascism and the militant atheism of the coming Communist Regime. Their deep Christian conviction simply did not allow them to kill, carry a weapon, imprison another human being, swear allegiance to the communist state or take orders from another authority but God. And for their stand, many ministers and believers paid a heavy price. About 40 ministers and members of the Bulgarian Church of God alone were sentenced to hard prison labor for noncompliance with the mandatory military service. Hundreds more known and unknown believers from other evangelical churches followed.

Sanctification and Personal Holiness among Early Bulgarian Pentecostals

May 5, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Research

Slide11by Dony K. Donev, D.Min.

Historical and Doctrinal Formation of Holiness Teachings and Praxis among Bulgarian Pentecostals (Research presentation prepared for the Society of Pentecostal Studies, Seattle, 2013 – Lakeland, 2015, thesis in partial fulfillment of the degree of D. Phil., Trinity College)

With all said about the importance of Spirit baptism and the importance of the Trinity in the Pentecostal experience of the believer, it comes as a great surprise that sanctification was never mentioned as a specific doctrine among early Bulgarian Pentecostals. Voronaev’s teaching included: (1) salvation through new birth, (2) baptism with the Holy Spirit, (3) healing and (4) the second return of Christ. Sanctification was never specifically mentioned as a separate doctrine.

To this day, sanctification is not an official doctrine for the Evangelical Methodist Episcopal Church of Bulgaria. In 1928, Bulgaria’s Pentecostal Union also included holiness as number ten in their first bylaws. Sanctification was not defined as a second work of grace, but as a “continuous life of holiness”. With the enormous theological Methodist influence, it is astounding that the doctrine of sanctification was never taught as a separate work of grace. Even when after Pentecostalism spread in Bulgaria, it was not included in the tri-fold formula for “spiritual fullness” of the believer.

Nevertheless, the search for a deeper spirituality was always there. When liberal theology entered Bulgaria in the beginning of the 20th century, the more conservative believers were forced to separate from the larger city congregations into home services and cottage meetings.

These small communities were enclosed, but easily identified by their extreme personal asceticism. There was no use of instruments in worship, no denominational structure and a distinct social disengagement from the world. Men shaved their heads completely and grew long mustaches. They wore no dress ties, because they pointed downward toward hell. Women wore head coverings as a sign for the angels both within and outside church services. Even the mother of Bulgaria’s Pentecostalism, Olga Zaplishny, who was college educated and spent years in the United States wore a head cover and enforced all ladies to follow her example.

Doctrine of the Trinity among Early Bulgarian Pentecostals

May 1, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Research

Slide11by Dony K. Donev, D.Min.

Historical and Doctrinal Formation of Holiness Teachings and Praxis among Bulgarian Pentecostals (Research presentation prepared for the Society of Pentecostal Studies, Seattle, 2013 – Lakeland, 2015, thesis in partial fulfillment of the degree of D. Phil., Trinity College)

The Doctrine of the Trinity was not foreign for the Eastern Orthodox mindset of the first Bulgarian Pentecostals. They grew in a spiritual context where eastern pneumotology historically promoted the graduate process of theism development, with the Spirit being involved in both original creation of the world and the new-birth of the believer. For them, God’s work did not end there, but continued throughout a process of personal sanctification of the believer. This gradual process would have the same triune characteristics as of the triune God, providing the believer an experience with each person of the Trinity.

The historically inherited value of the Trinity is evident in the Bylaws of the Pentecostal Union where it was listed second only to the verbal inspiration of the Bible. As ordained Assemblies of God ministers, both Zaplishny and Voronaev subscribed to the 1916 Statement of Fundamental Truths, which resolved the “oneness controversy” and because of that were unquestionably Trinitarian. All documents from the time period prove that the movement they started in Eastern Europe followed their theological teachings.

Water Baptism among early Bulgarian Pentecostals

April 30, 2015 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

Slide11by Dony K. Donev, D.Min.

Historical and Doctrinal Formation of Holiness Teachings and Praxis among Bulgarian Pentecostals (Research presentation prepared for the Society of Pentecostal Studies, Seattle, 2013 – Lakeland, 2015, thesis in partial fulfillment of the degree of D. Phil., Trinity College)

The sacrament of water baptism was not new for Bulgarian believers. But Pentecostals did NOT accept infant baptism. Converts who were baptized as babies or any other Eastern Orthodox ritual were re-baptized before being received in the church. Among early Bulgarian Pentecostals, baptism was always done outside in “running water.” It was also considered mandatory for salvation as Bulgaria’s early Pentecostals insisted on spiritual fullness including: (1) salvation, (2) water baptism and (3) baptism with the Spirit. This formula of spiritual experience satisfied the witness of blood, water and Spirit (1 Jn. 5:8) on earth and corresponded with the triune God in heaven (1 Jn. 5:7), from whom the believer’s spiritual experience originated.

Bulgaria Holds Early Parliamentary Elections

October 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

Bulgaria will hold its early parliamentary elections on October 5, 2014. The elections come after much political tension, over a year of constant protests, and a deepening economic crisis expressed most recently in a collapse within the bank sector and a 10% increase of the prices of electricity.

The GERB right-centrists political party is expected to win, but if it will take enough seats in the Bulgarian parliament to form its own government is yet to be seen. Meanwhile, on its resent tour its representatives boldly proclaimed they will not seek coalition with any other political forces namely the leftist Socialist party and the ethnic fractions representing Turkish and other minorities in Bulgaria.

Contrary to this in a recent interview for Routers, GERB’s top leader expressed readiness to collaborate with various political forces including the socialists. Some political parties are also reaching for votes among Bulgarian evangelicals in order to gain momentum in the elections. Evangelicals are not represented by their own party in the current elections, although some Roma evangelical churches are said to have formed a small ethnic political party to reach a better representation.


Concise Plan for the Evangelization of Bulgaria (According to the Model of the Early Church)

January 15, 2004 by  
Filed under News

Bulgaria is a post-communist country in Eastern Europe with a size slightly larger than the state of Pennsylvania and a population of eight million. Having converted to Christianity in AD 864, Bulgaria has remained predominantly Eastern Orthodox. Although, over 90% of the Bulgarians claim to be Eastern Orthodox in religious orientation, today a larger part of the nation remains largely pagan in praxis. The strong mission and revivalism movements at the turn of the 19th century widely introduced Protestant theology as an alternative for Bulgaria. One hundred years later, in the beginning of the 21st century the Bulgarian Protestant movement claims over 100, 000 newborn Christians. However, as Postmodernism approaches the Bulgarian church, more and more congregations find themselves in crises. The following excerpt is an outline of a larger study which purposes to propose a paradigm for Protestant development compatible with the current political, economical and social situation in Bulgaria.
1. Unity in the Spirit crossing interdenominational and cross-cultural differences, and building working relationships
2. Accent on the Bible with special attention to new translation and interpretations of the Biblical texts serving as means for personal and social formation
3. Life of holiness based on the New Testament as requirement for Christian life and testimony
4. National 24-hour fasting and prayer movement for blessings upon the Bulgarian nation, revival in the church and personal needs
5. Rediscovery and new commitment for Biblical style of ministry operating under the gifts of the Spirit
6. Expecting and receiving a spiritual vision from God
7. Creating ministry strategies and estimating ministry resources.
8. Geographical reorganization of restructuring Protestant activities in Bulgaria.
9. Strategic evangelization and revival movement
10. Establishment of a discipleship process
11. Integration of cell (home) groups
12. Purposeful training of leaders
13. Contemporary paradigm in organization of new congregations based on radical counter-reformation
14. Establishing of mission work in Bulgaria and internationally
15. Creating environment for Christian education
16. Participation in the social formation
17. Presentation of eschatological hope
18. Endurance in the faith