On Earth as it is in Whatever?

Over and over again I see how some fellow Christian activists want to de-emphasize the importance of Heaven. It is often claimed that the reason why traditional evangelical and charismatic churches have not been so involved in promoting peace and justice is because there is too much focus on Heaven, salvation and evangelism – they don’t want to waste their energy and time on politics and activism when they can use it to save souls instead.

To challenge this heresy, some Christian activists go to another extreme. They might argue that giving people eternal life wasn’t Jesus’ main concern, that the Kingdom is mainly here and now and not there and then, that evangelism is not so important, etc. God’s focus is primarily earth, not heaven, and we should mimic that, they claim.

However, Paul wrote:

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Col 3:1-2)

and:

Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Phil 3:19-21)

Continue reading On Earth as it is in Whatever?

Pentecostalism, Latin America and Eco-Theology

by Luis Aranguiz Kahn. Part 1 of 4. Read the whole article as a PDF here.

What would a Pentecostal Latin-American Eco theology look like? In this question I am saying many things simultaneously. First of all, I use the word “Pentecostal.” However, there isn’t only one Pentecostalism; rather, there are many branches and styles within what is commonly referred to as “Pentecostalism.” In this clarification I am compelled to choose one specific branch in the Pentecostal tradition. Secondly, I use the word “Latin-American”, which means that I have to take distance from different kinds of Pentecostalism among the world. I have to speak from Global South, to speak considering our regional ecological problems instead of other’s concerns. And finally, I use the term “Eco theology”. This is a complex word because I have to engage it with my specific Pentecostal view and my Latin-American context.

By this way, I will go describing our reality and context in relation with climate change and energy issues, especially related to mining and pollution. Last but not least, I will put in dialogue the result of this question and contextual reflection with the concerns of the common project that convoke us: energy ethics. This reflection intends to call to a stronger Pentecostal action in the field of ecology, looking forward to a church that serves the world as Jesus did.

The Pentecostal movements started in the beginning of the twentieth century in many parts of the world. They share not only the conviction of the power of the Holy Spirit pouring among the Church giving many supernatural gifts, but they also share social and material conditions: many of these revivals took part among poor people, peasants or industrial workers. In other words, they started in the middle of the social issues. In the case of Chile, it started mainly in growing cities with increasing immigration from the countryside and consequent formation of poor neighborhoods. Continue reading Pentecostalism, Latin America and Eco-Theology

How the Holy Spirit Caused Jesus Army to Practice Community

Huw Lewis is one of the apostolic leaders of Jesus Fellowship Church, or Jesus Army, in the UK. A charismatic church founded in the late 1960’s, it has practiced intentional Christian community with a complete sharing of possessions for over 40 years. Pax Pneuma interviewed Lewis about what community is like:

Please briefly describe how the outpouring of the Spirit led you to practice community!

The main consequence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was a very real and deep love for God and one another. This meant that we wanted to be together, to share meals, to meet and gather, worship, pray and open up our hearts to each other. Each night we would spontaneously just gather at the chapel and stay around until late.

It became something of a disturbance at the end of an evening to have to go back to our own houses/ flats so it was a natural progression to start experiments of living together. It began small but grew to larger community houses in time. I believe “God’s love shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5) will lead to a changed lifestyle of sharing, openness, justice and equality as hall marks of God’s character. We just didn’t want to be away from the very tangible presence of God that we found when we gathered together.
Continue reading How the Holy Spirit Caused Jesus Army to Practice Community

Trump, “Illegal” Immigrants and the Bible

Vlog by Micael Grenholm:

Trump has said that refugees the US is receiving legally are “illegal immigrants”. He’s not the only one misusing the term though, I can’t count how many times American Christians have told me that the biblical commands to welcome and care for the stranger don’t apply to “illegal immigrants”. It’s time to stop using those words and treat everyone equally as human beings created in the image of God.

foto-magnus-aronson-9158Micael Grenholm is editor for Pax Pneuma. Having studied theology as well as peace and development studies in Uppsala, Sweden, Micael Grenholm’s passion is to combine charismatic spirituality with activism for peace and justice. Apart from editing the Pax Pneuma website he vlogs for the YouTube channel Holy Spirit Activism and is active with evangelism and apologetics both locally and online.

How the Fig Tree that Jesus Cursed Represents Nationalism

by Faith Totushek.

Mark 11:12-22  tells us the remarkable account of the fig tree and the temple.  These stories are strung together to teach us a number of things about how our faith might be hi-jacked to represent not the character, image and heart of God but nationalism and earthly systems of power, oppression and corruption.

As Jesus is riding into Jerusalem, he notices a fig tree and examines it to see if there is fruit.  Finding no fruit, he curses it, saying, “may no one eat fruit from you again.”  What’s going on?  Why would Jesus do this?  What does he have against fig trees?  The cursing of the fig tree is a prophetic act that hints at what might happen in Jerusalem.

When Jesus arrives in Jerusalem he makes his way to the temple.  Actually, if you look at verse 11, you will notice that Jesus had been to the temple the night before but returned to where he was staying because it was late.  I find this curious, wondering if he took note of what was occurring in the temple and what it stood for and returned home to consider what he saw.

In the morning we see Jesus entering the Temple and driving out the animals and money changers and those who were selling animals for sacrifice.  And Jesus says this, “My house will be a house of prayer for all nations but you have made it a den of thieves.”  Was he concerned about selling stuff in the Temple?  Was he concerned that the activity would disrupt prayer time?  Seriously, this is how the account is often taught.

But there is some much deeper taking place. Continue reading How the Fig Tree that Jesus Cursed Represents Nationalism

The Micaiah of America

Photo from the Donald J. Trump state park, by Emily Guendelsberger.

An adaption of 1 Kings 22, by Ramone Romero.

The president of America brought together the prophets from the eighty percent of the house of the Lord who had supported him. He sought their blessing, their prayers, and their further support as he moved ahead with his plans to expel foreigners, tax the poor, favor the rich, exploit the environment, prepare for war, and more.

“Go forward,” the charismatic prophets answered, “for the Lord has given you victory.”

But someone asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?”

The president answered, “There are still some, but I hate them because they never prophesy anything good about me, but always bad—fake news.”

So the president called one of his officials and said, “Bring me one of these. Bring me a Micaiah.” Continue reading The Micaiah of America

Hearing God’s Truth in Silence

For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  – 1 Cor 2:11

Hi. I’m (almost) 28 years old, I grew up in a Christian family, up until this day I have been part of six (!) different Pentecostal and Baptist churches, visited a lot more. A few years ago I took a one-and-a-half-year break from church life to retreat, refocus, re-scrutinize my life of faith. Oh, the questions from my brothers and sisters I had to answer during that time. I didn’t necessarily intend to go back to church life the way I was used to it (I did, but that is a different story). So, I really had a time off.

It felt like quitting an unwanted job, finishing school or ending a friendship that was no good to you. Suddenly there was a relief, like an invisible burden had been taken off of me. Which made me wonder what kind of burden I have dealt with. Such a big one, I know now.

Growing up in a Christian environment, I considered myself a spiritual person that is used to take part in church life. I attended Sunday service, ministered in worship, prayer, preaching, painting, cooking, cleaning, smiling, shaking hands… countless sermons I’ve heard, courses, classes, groups, I’ve attended. Nice things, you know. They helped me a lot along the way. Continue reading Hearing God’s Truth in Silence

Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice