The Blind See and the Deaf Hear in Mbeya, Tanzania

Photo: Mission SOS

Photo: Mission SOS

Two friends of mine here in Sweden have studied a year at SOS Mission Bible School, and a few days ago my Facebook feed was filled with testimonies about miracles thay had seen in Mbeya, southwest Tanzania, where they had done a missions trip. Mission SOS have put several videos from this event on their Vimeo, and I would like to share these amazing testimonies with you:

Update 1 Mbeya 2014 from Mission SOS on Vimeo.

First we have an intro video, where the campaign coordinator shares that miracles are taking place even before the campaign has started.

Update 2 Mbeya 2014 from Mission SOS on Vimeo.

Then comes the report from the first night of the campaign, where many were healed and saved. A young girl shares how she prayed for another girl who was totally deaf, and she starts to weep of joy when she explains how she was healed! Continue reading

Marc Dupont’s First Creative Miracle

Marc Dupont preaching in Stockholm

Marc Dupont preaching in Stockholm

My post about creative miracles has been very popular, mainly because it’s one of the top pages on Google when you search for “creative miracles”. A creative miracle is simply a miracle when God creates something, for example a missing bodypart. In the post, I shared Marc Dupont’s testimony about a creative miracle he saw in the 80’s:

A woman brought her young son, who had a clubfoot, to me for prayer at the end of a meeting. In fact, it was the last of four nightly meetings held while I was visiting a church in the mid-west of the United States. After four nights of extensive ministry I was very tired. So when she showed me his foot with the obvious deformity, my tiredness took over and I felt no faith whatsoever to pray for this five- or six-year-old boy.

As she explained that he could walk OK, but had never been able to run successfully in his life, my heart went out to him, but I still felt my tiredness upon me. To step into a faith mode and believe for the impossible seemed even more impossible at that point in time.

However, as I knelt down and began to pray for his foot, almost immediately right in front of my eyes it began to change shape. What had, more or less, appeared as a block of wood covered by skin began to change into a normal foot with toes, an arch etc, all in normal size and shape. It had taken place so quickly that I was a bit dizzy. I wasn’t sure whether I was actually seeing a miracle happen, or was imagining it. It took all about five seconds for the transition to take place.

Continue reading

Glory Report from Iris Global in Mozambique

Iris Global is the best missionary organization I know of – they combine evangelism, poverty reduction and the power of the Holy Spirit, all soaked in worship and passion for Jesus. Last weekend they did an outreach in the “bush bush” (i.e. very rural place) of Mozambique to share the love of God – and it was truly a success. I follow Heidi Baker, the leader of Iris, closely on Facebook and found that she posted these amazing pictures:

“Pointing out scripture to a village chief and his mother. They both came to Jesus that day…..”

“Baptizing people in the ocean this afternoon near a remote village that never had a gospel witness before today…”

Continue reading

Healings and Salvations in Kitwe, Zambia

I love to read reports about evangelistic campaigns in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and just two weeks ago my Facebook feed was filled with testimonies from my Facebook friend Tommy Lilja who organized a campaign in Kitwe, Zambia. Many were saved, healed and baptized with the Holy Spirit. Here is what he reported (translated from Swedish):

Resting after having eaten some french fries. A good first night. A little bit chilly. Many healings. A man around 25 years old had been blind since he was 10, he was healed, another young man shared how his ear “popped” when it opened and he received his hearing again.

Thousands came to receive Jesus. So many were baptized in the Holy Ghost, a real breakthrough. It was a life-changing meeting. Many came broken, sick and without hope. But they went home with Jesus and hope for a bright future. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, was there and the Pentecostal revival is spreading across the world.

“At the cross the work was finished
You were buried in the ground
But the grave could not contain You
For You wear the Victor’s crown”
Continue reading

Walking on Water

I was perplexed when I read the Gospel of Matthew for the first time and saw that Peter walked on water. I could not have imagined that in my wildest dreams. In all the children’s bibles and pop culture references I’ve read and heard, Jesus was portraid as the superhero who could even walk on water. But in reality, Peter also did this miracle, without being very super:

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” – Matthew 14:25-33, NIV

Now, Peter shows some amazing faith and courage here! I mean, I would have been fully satisfied with Jesus’ answer “It is I. Don’t be afraid” and said “Awesome, welcome into our boat.” Instead, Peter loves Jesus so much that he wants to join him on the stormy ways, as long as he knows that it truly is Him.
Continue reading

What a Truly Pentecostal Church Looks Like

Yesterday, on Pentecost day, I had the honour to preach in my dear house church Mosaik. We’re always outside in the park during the summer, and this Sunday we had som English speaking visitors – so for the first time in a year I preached in English. And since a friend of mine recorded it all, it’s now available for you guys!

I started with talking about the Pentecostal language miracle, when one is able to speak existing languages that one hasn’t studies, and gave some testimonies about when this has happened in modern times. This was also what my last blog post was about. Then, I talked about how Peter, in his Pentecostal sermon in Acts chapter 2, really emphasises miracles when he talks about Jesus. He presents the Messiah by saying “Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know” (Acts 2:22). Then he goes on with “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. (vv. 32-33). Thus, Peter proves that Jesus is the Messiah by pointing at His miraculous ministry, His resurrection and the miracles His Spirit does.

The people “were cut to the heart” (v. 37) when they heard this and asked Peter what they should do, and he answered “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (v. 38). 3000 people did so, and suddenly the apostolic league of disciples had become a mega church – but not in the modern sense, since they lacked a church building. They were a charismatic, evangelistic house church movement that spread rapidly, as Luke famously portrays:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)

Continue reading

The International, Pentecostal Miracle of Tongues

Happy Pentecost! This weekend, millions of Christians all across the globe are celebrating the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the apostolic church. Pentecost has always been very important for me, I started this blog on Pentecost day 2012, writing about the meaning of Pentecost. This is because the apostolic Pentecost as it is described in Acts 2 combines everything I like: charismatic fire, economic communism, universal evangelism and overall simplicity, fellowship and joy.

It all started when the wonderful Holy Spirit descended with fire and the international gift of tongues:

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? (Acts 2:1-8, NIV)

In my experience, this is quite a common miracle. When the early Pentecostals met at the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles to enjoy the restoration of spiritual baptism, many claimed that people actually started to speak real languages. In the October issue 1906 of The Apostolic Faith, the official publication of the Azusa Street church, the following article is included:

Sister Hutchins has been preaching the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. She has received the baptism with the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Uganda language, the language of the people to whom she is sent. A brother who has been in that country understands and has interpreted the language she speaks. Her husband is with her and her niece, who also has been given the African language.

Continue reading

The Gang of God in India and Sweden

Gang of God

I have a facebook friend called Niklas Frihaven who’s really on fire for Jesus. He has a facebook page called Gang of God where he regularly posts testimonies about healing and salvation from wherever God calls him to be. This is genuine, homemade excitement about the Holy Ghost, and I’d love to share some of what he has posted:

Niklas with the healed girl

Niklas with the healed girl

Wonders and Miracles in India
Much happened during our two weeks in India, want to share some testimonies .

An old woman had such pain that her back, she looked like a fishhook , during prayer , she became straighter and straighter , not completely straight but still free from pain and about 10 cm longer , Thank you Jesus!

Another woman had a large painful outgrowth like a tumor on the left hip , after the first pray the pain was gone, after the second prayer while we were talking to her the outgrowth disappeared right before my eyes, Halleluja!!!

I am so thankful to God that I get to experience all this , totally me and Dina got to be there when some 550 people were completely free of pain , disease , disability and psychological distress .

The girl in the picture was a bit special miracle , her mother brought her to the church, she was mute and deaf since birth , we prayed for her , and immediately she began to hear and then she started to say her first words ever , was so beautiful to see her happiness when she said her first word, JESUS!

Continue reading

Living Liberation Through Worship

image

This is a contribution for reflection for the Wild Goose Festival

A lot of Christian activists detach themselves from the Bible, evangelicalism and a devoted life to God. I know of so many Christians that used to be passionate about Jesus, then after they started working for peace and justice, they started to question their faith and it grew colder. I even know of some becoming atheists. I fear that Christian activism is one of the main secularizing movements in the church today.

Of course, it is with pain I’m writing this. As you can tell from my blog title, I’m a Christian activist myself. For over five years I’ve been telling fellow Christians to love their enemies, share all they have with the poor, end oppression and care for the creation. I am very critical to the lack of activism within evangelicalism, but I’m convinced that it isn’t because they read the Bible too much or take Jesus too seriously – on the contrary, they ignore large parts of God’s Word even though they claim to believe in it. Much like the pharisees in the time of the gospels.

If we do take Jesus and the Bible seriously, we’ll sell everything we have and give the money to the poor (Mk 10:21). We’ll never fight back but turn the other cheek(Mt 5:40-48). We’ll give to everyone that asks us (Lk 6:30). And not only that, we’ll heal the sick and raise the dead (Mt 10:8), prophesy and speak in tongues (Acts 2:6-21) and preach the Gospel to the whole world (Mt 28:18-20). If you follow Jesus, you can’t separate peace and justice from miracles, evangelism, Bible study or prayer. It’s all connected.
Continue reading

The Miracle of the Resurrection of Christ

Paul summed up the Gospel like this:

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”(1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

As you can see, Paul thinks that at the core of the Gospel lies Jesus’ death for our sins, His burial and His resurrection. And among these three, the resurrection receives most attention. He lines up everyone he knows of that has seen the resurrected Jesus, including himself. Then he goes on discussing the resurrection in the rest of the chapter.

Likewise, Paul, Peter and others who preach the Gospel in the book of Acts often emphasize the resurrection even more than they emphasize the cross. This used to confuse me, since the atonement happened on the cross. It was on the cross that Jesus died for our sins and defeated the devil – the cross is at the core of all atonement theories. The resurrection is great of course, Jesus is alive hallelujah, but shouldn’t the death of Jesus be the focus of the apostles rather than His resurrection?
Continue reading

A Modern Miracle: Healing Oil Appears from Nowhere

Members of the Jesus Army

Members of the Jesus Army

Not only are they practicing community of goods and spreading the Kingdom through evangelism and social justice, the Jesus Army in the UK is a church that flows in the wonderful miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. They’re also experiencing a lot of signs and wonders. This testimony is from a series they’ve published called Revival Fires that I got at home:

Holy Oil

Holy Oil

During a Jesus Fellowship ‘covenant band’ (a small group meeting) in London recently, a mysterious oil appeared on the hands of three of the four women present while they were praying and worshipping.

They laid hands on the other woman in the group and the oil began to appear on her forehead and on her hands also. One of them attempted to wash the oil off with copious amounts of water only to find that the oil appeared again.

The next day, during lunch time the same four women began to pray for Ruth, a young woman who had had severe pain in her neck for the previous two months. The pain was so bad that Ruth had become housebound and was on large amounts of morphine to control the pain.

As they prayed they watched her face change from the chalk-white colour they had become accustomed to to a normal healthy rosy glow. Ruth found a large degree of healing and was able to run and dance about and later to walk around the block. At the same time, another woman who had become deaf in one ear through an ear infection was healed when she felt oil dripping into her ear.

The most powerful effect of the experience was an anointing to pray for others, and in particular to intercede for people in the housing estate where they had been meeting in Sharon’s flat. In the month since that evening, two residents of the same block of flats have come to Sharon’s door in tears, wanting to find faith in Jesus.

Healing the Sick and Raising the Dead in China

Half a year ago my pastor told me that there is a Chinese lady studying at Stockholm School of Theology called Ge Baojuan who has raised dead people back to life. Since this school isn’t exactly charismatic I was cheerfully surprised and went to Stockholm to do an interview. I asked her to share some miracles she had seen, and she didn’t disappoint me. She said that a lot of miracles are happening in China and that this is one of the major reasons why the church is growing so quickly there.

Jenny, Ge and me

Jenny, Ge and me

She told me about when she raised a child from the dead, when a girl with mental problems was healed, when tumors disappeared from a woman’s womb and when a lady miraculously survived a car accident. The two latter examples were from Sweden, so luckily the power of the Holy Spirit isn’t restricted to China.

I was so impressed by pastor Ge’s humility and faith. She has been a pastor for a long time and has done a huge impact for the Kingdom of God in Wuhan, and now she has come to Sweden to take a master of arts in theology. In my opinion, she should teach the Swedes how to be a Spiritual master.

“An Angel Called me to Sweden”

Edward Thomas, coolest priest on earth. Photo: Rickard Kilström

Edward Thomas, coolest priest on earth. Photo: Rickard Kilström

The United States has given us a lot of crap over the years but one of the best things they’ve handed over is Ed Thomas, priest in the Church of Sweden and a friend of mine. Well, actually the United States is not responsible at all in sending him here, nor any American, but God Himself called Ed to Sweden. And I’m not talking about a vague feeling or a subjective interest that many Christians normally identify “calling” with – Ed was actually ordered to become a Swedish priest by the audible voice of God and an angelic visitation.

Ed shares this experience in the video above. He used to be a chef in the states, cooking food for celebrities like Tom Cruise and started to earn a lot of fame and money. He was a passionate believer and went through some program to know the will of God, praying every morning with some friends for almost a year in trying to figure out what God wanted them to do. Since his chef job was going very well he simply concluded that this is where God wanted him, and he was pleased with that since he was making a lot of cash out of it.

But one night, everything changed as Ed awoke hearing someone say “Edward!” There was no one there. He woke his wife up, who just told him “You’ve eaten too much strong food! It’s just a dream, go to sleep!” Ed fell asleep and a second time the voice woke him up saying “Edward!”

Continue reading

A Modern Language Miracle in Jerusalem

S.t Mark's Church in Jerusalem

S.t Mark’s Church in Jerusalem

My dear friend Andreas have just returned from a trip to Israel and came back with some amazing stories. He shared how he and his friends were walking in the Old City of Jerusalem, and suddenly Andreas recognized the Church of S:t Mark, a Syriac Orthodox church that claims to be built on the house of Mary, the mother of Mark (Acts 12:12-17). Not only that, they claim that this also contains the upper room, the place of the Last Supper, several appearances of the resurrected Jesus and where the Holy Spirit ascended on Pentecost; although this is also claimed by the Cenacle.  Anyways, they went inside to have a look.

It’s a pretty cool church. The liturgical language, Syrian, is similar to Arameic, the language of Jesus. The liturgy itself is extremely old, and even if it is doubtful that the practices of the church goes all the way back to biblical times, it’s a good indicator of how ancient Christianity looked like.

Andreas and his friends met a nun who was so excited to share what God is doing in their little church. She told them about a man who had came to the church, and how she guided him around. A few weeks later he returned, and the nun welcomed him back, but for some reason he looked confused and said something in Hebrew. The nun didn’t know Hebrew so she asked him to talk English like last time they met. The man was even more confused and talked a lot of Hebrew with her.
Continue reading

The Absense of the Holy Spirit Within Academic Theology

This is an assignment I’ve written for my dogmatics course at Johannelund Theological Seminary.

image

Alister McGrath’s Christian Theology is a standard introduction work for thousands of students that take courses in Christian dogmatics, including the people at my seminary. On 500 pages, McGrath talks about the most central issues of systematic theology. Five of those 500 pages are about the Holy Spirit. In comparison, 50 are dedicated to the doctrines of the church and the sacraments.

McGrath admits that the Holy Spirit should deserve a chapter of his own, especially with the popularity of the charismatic movement in mind, but still he doesn’t create such a chapter but restricts himself to five pages. Here, he writes about how the Holy Spirit is described, the debate concerning the Spirit’s divinity and finally what the Holy Spirit does. Only one paragraph is dedicated to charisms, the emphasis of the charismatic movement. One paragraph in a 500 page-book.

I would say that this priority is out of touch with reality. There are around 600 million charismatics and Pentecostals worldwide, most of them in developing nations, that are very interested in the Holy Spirit and his gifts. They have realized that the New Testament very often connects the Spirit to miracles, and that the miraculous power of the Spirit is accessible to all believers. Sharing this common knowledge, there is disagreement however on how one gets baptized or filled with the Spirit, how to pray for healing, how to hear the voice of God, the role of speaking in tongues, etc. In other words, there is certainly enough material for McGrath to fill a chapter.

Yet, he doesn’t, and I think it is not so much his personal fault but rather a tendency within academic theology as a whole: charismatics are excluded from theological discussion. This can also be seen in Norwegian theologian Jan-Olav Henriksen’s introduction to dogmatics: the chapter about the Spirit is combined with the chapter about the church, to hide the embarrassment of only giving six pages to the Holy Spirit. Just as in McGrath’s work, emphasis lies on the Spirit’s soteriological role, while charismatic phenomena are de-emphasized.

Why does it look like this? Let me share some theories.

Continue reading