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Elijah Stephens from Redding, California is a former Vineyard Pastor with the ambition to make a documentary about evidence for miraculous healings. The film’s working title is Prayer Movie, and in a recently released video Stephens describes the project idea as following:
In the video you can spot professor Candy Gunther Brown who has written Testing Prayer: Science and Healing dealig with this very issue, as well as Craig Keener who has documented several medically verified healings in his big book Miracles. Heidi och Rolland Baker along with Randy Clark will also be a part of the film.
While the documentation of inexplicable events is far from new, films on this topic are quite rare other than looking at specific, individual cases. Stephens give some really compelling arguments on his website for why Christians should welcome evidence to support miraculous claims rather than brushing it off as a sign of weak faith or as a way to test God. He refers to how Johsua commanded the Israelites to put stones in the middle of Jordan so that their grandkids can be reminded of the miracle God did there (Josh 4:4-7).
If you want to support the project you can donate to Stephens’ Kickstarter. If the target isn’t met you wont have to give your money away. I myself am very excited for this movie and will pray and give for it to become a reality!
At least one Sunday a month we have “Come in, go out”-meetings in my house church, where we firstly gather in my living room for some worship, prayer and Bible study, and then we go out on the streets of Uppsala to hand out coffee and evangelize. Yesterday, we had two remarkable encounters during the outreach phase.
A Kurdish man came, received a cup of coffee and then loudly announced “I don’t believe in religion! Not in Islam, Christianity or anything else!” Thinking that this was an atheist, I started to bring up some apologetic arguments for God’s existence, but they fell flat to the ground. “I do believe in a creator! But not in religion! It is impossible for humans to understand God and to have contact with him!”
Oh, so it’s a deist then, I thought. My friend Tryggve and I then started to question him on how the Creator is able to create an entire universe without being able to cure a disease or talk to those that He has created, but our attempts were unsuccesful as the man repeatedly just stated “It’s impossible! It’s impossible! You don’t understand!” I then started to testify about miracles that I have witnessed and how Jesus revealed Himself to me, but I could hardly finish a sentence before the man shouted “No! Those are just illusions! You don’t understand the truth!”
The man furthermore claimed that we all believe what we believe because of our upbringing, whereas I told him about the amazing church growth in Nepal, where millions have converted to Christianity during the last 30 years mainly due to visions, healings, signs and wonders. Again, his response was that it was impossible. I asked him how he knew that it was impossible, and he claimed that “everybody” knew miracles are impossible. When I pointed out that this was a lie since we Christians know that miracles exist, he again said that miracles are impossible and that God does not reveal Himself to people. (more…)
The Jesus movement in the 1970’s impacted Sweden quite a lot. Lonnie Frisbee and other American Jesus hippies visited the country, multiple communities called “Jesus houses” sprung up, and Jesus people were evangelizing in the streets and parks. People like Ylva Eggehorn, Stefan Swärd and Ulla Österjö-Jansson arranged Jesus conferences and Jesus marches – no wonder they were called Jesus freaks.
In my hometown of Uppsala, a theology student called Hans Sundberg were impacted by the Jesus movement and started to evangelize. Once, he was sharing the Gospel in the street together with some Christian friends, when an Iranian man who believed in Baha’i started to argue with them. Hans argued back, and their discussion went into sort of a stalemate until Hans’ friend Maria started to speak loudly in tongues. Hans was initially a bit embarrassed (after all, the Bible says that nonbelievers will think that we are lunatics if they hear us speak in tongues (which it is right about)), but he then realized that the Iranian man understood everything Maria said. She was speaking farsi, about how Jesus is the only way to God and salvation. Hans saw prophetically how an arrow came out from Maria’s mouth and gently hit the heart of the Iranian man with peace and eternal life.
Meanwhile, a small Swedish town called Surahammar (which means grumpy hammer) was struck with a youth revival as the Jesus movement came to town. Youths from the local Pentecostal church gathered daily in a bakery to pray, study the Word and then hit the streets to evangelize and heal the sick. One of the kids involved in the revival was Simon Ådahl, who after refusing military service due to theological reasons became a musician and, eventually, a prophetic evangelist. You can read more about him here. (more…)
Simon Ådahl is a friend of mine who’s prophetic, poetic and passionate for God. A musician and evangelist, he loves to tour around Sweden to share what God can do for people. He’s written a book called “The Unexpected Journey”, and while it contains less trolls and dragons that Tolkien’s classic novel it is still an amazing testimony about the supernatural: it contains many testimonies about miracles, and here’s one of them:
TLDW (Too Long Didn’t Watch): Simon and Maria are eating dinner with a Greek friend called Christos in Rhodos City, Greece. Simon starts to prophesy about Christos, his wife and daughter about the secrets of their hearts (1 Cor 14:25) and eventually Christos receives Christ! Glory to God!
Darren Wilson’s documentary Finger of God is one of the best and most influential films I have ever seen. It introduced me to Heidi Baker and Iris Global as well as to Bill Johnson and Bethel Church, it showed me amazing miracles at a time where I doubted that those really happen, and it stirred me to create Christian film clips of my own. This week, Wilson’s new film Holy Ghost Reborn has been released, and I thought it was a good opportunity for me to review all his previous films, starting up with Finger of God. Here’s the review:
Hello charismactivists and all you others who follow this blog! I got two pieces of fresh news for you. The first being that the URL to this website has shrunk to the much simpler name of holyspiritactivism.com. All the old links are still functional and redirects to this site. God bless WordPress for making this transition so easy and convenient :)
Secondly, I’ve created two new resource pages on the website to equip your work for the Kingdom of God. One is about street evangelism which provides some tips on how to share the Gospel as well as arguments for why all churches should make public evangelism as common as Sunday services:
I have mentioned previously that I really enjoy the apologetic work of William Lane Craig, and regularly listens to his podcasts and lectures. I find Craig very intelligent, theologically sound and mostly quite easy to understand, and he oftens pinpoints thoughts and arguments that I have developed on my own. The other day I was listening to a talk he was holding in Southampton in the UK a couple of years ago on the resurrection of Jesus:
In the talk, which he has held multiple times in different locations, he defends five historical facts about Jesus and early Christianity which he argues that there are sustainable evidences for. These are:
- Jesus died on a Roman cross outside of Jerusalem
- He was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea
- On Easter Sunday his tomb was found empty by a group of women
- On multiple occassions individuals and groups of people experienced appearances of Jesus
- Jesus’ original disciples believed that he had rose from the dead, despite their having predispositions to the contrary
William Lane Craig is in my view a very good Christian apologist and philosopher, and I regularly listen to his Reasonable Faith podcast. Even though I think he could use some more revival fires and hands-on mission work in the dirt, his intellectual defense for the Christian faith has undoubtedly helped many and led several people to the Lord. In a recent podcast, Craig and Kevin Harris discussed miracles and whether it is rational to believe in these. As a charismactivist, I find the topic highly interesting.
There are many different forms of philosophical and theological objections against the existence of miracles that all are quite easy to respond to. Cessationism is a Christian view which says that miracles did exist in the times of the Bible but then ceased when the Bible was written; ironically, this idea is not found in the Bible. Naturalism is the idea that the supernatural – obviously including miracles – does not exist, but this cannot be proven just as atheism cannot be proven. In fact, as long as the existence of God is not disproven and thus possible, it is entirely possible that miracles exist, as Craig points out in this short video:
In the podcast, Craig and Harris discussed another form of objections against miracles that is quite unique. Philosopher Hans Halvorson has argued that under no circumstances should one believe that a miracle occurs today: “for any event you experience in your life, no matter how strange, surprising, or wonderful, you should not believe that it is a miracle. Similarly, if somebody tells you that a miracle occurred, you should not believe him.” Yet, he also says “it can be rational to believe in the miracle stories of the Bible—because the miracle stories in the Bible are relevantly different than the purported miracles of today.” This is some kind of secular cessationism – miracles don’t happen today, but it’s possible to believe in Biblical miracles because they’re different.
Listen to Craig’s and Harris’ response to Halvorson’s article below:
Yesterday I met a very friendly brother from England, Mike O’Leary, who is in Sweden for two weeks on a short missions trip. We’ve been in contact for at least a year on social media, and it’s evident that he’s on fire for Jesus. Yesterday when we went back to my place for some tea (my experiences from the Jesus Army has taught me that Brits like that drink), I asked him something that I often try to ask brothers and sisters I don’t know well: how did you became a Christian? His story was truly amazing, and I asked him if I could record it when we got home:
Mike used to be an atheist who found belief in God ridiculous. As he says in the video, he loved to debate with theists and show them how wrong they were. However, in 2007 he heard the external, audible voice of God three times, saying “Follow Me”, when he was out in his garden. That changed things.
One of the best books I’ve ever encountered on the topic of miracles is simply called Miracles, and is written by Craig Keener. A professor of New Testament Studies, Keener started his book as a footnote in another work on the book of Acts where he explained why he didn’t rule out the possibility that the miracles described there actually happened, and when his footnote had grown to a couple of hundred pages he decided to make a book out of it (and it’s pretty clear that this guy likes footnotes, there’s such an insane amout of them that the book had to be published in two volumes!)
Keener covers a various of fields such as exegesis, history, philosophy, natural science and journalism as he provides hundreds of testimonies about miracles, most of them from recent times and several of them medically and scientifically verified. It’s a very good read. And I would like to share with you the essense of his philosophical argument, which also can be viewed in this video:
It is common to hear, especially in the Western world, that miracles “clearly” don’t exist, that belief in miracles is a medieval relic, that “modern” people can’t believe in supernatural superstition etc. Quite often this is simply viewed as an axiom, a self-evident premise that does not have to be proven; it is often believe that science has already denied the existence of miracles so arguments for the premise is not necessary. However, science has not proven that miracles don’t exist, science is agnostic on such matters just as science has not proven that God does or doesn’t exist. I’ll come back to that shortly. (more…)
In May 1976, a 16-year-old girl called Heidi was kneeling at the altar of a small Pentecostal church at a Choctaw reservation site in Mississippi. She had been saved just two months earlier, and now she was astounded as she suddenly saw a white light coming over her while she heard a voice, audibly, that said “I am calling you to be a minister and a missionary. You are to go to Africa, Asia and England.”
Heidi married Rolland Baker, grandson to the great missionary H.A. Baker, and God took them on an amazing adventure across the world. Today they live in Mozambique and help thousands of orphaned children, planting thousands of churches and witnessing amazing miracles such as blind people seeing, deaf people hearing and dead people coming back to life. I’ve made a video about them and their organization Iris Global which you can watch below:
Heidi and Rolland have inspired me so much in my vision to combine miracles, evangelism and social justice, and I pray that they will continue to make an impact in Mozambique and all across the world for the glory of God.
I witnessed my first exorcism five years ago. A friend who belonged to my church – a very gentle, humorous and smart person – started to act extremely weird during worship; shouting and shaking uncontrollably. The other church members quickly started to pray, and as they brought Michael, who previously had told me that he had a lot of experience when it comes to deliverance, I knew things were serious.
It was pretty terrifying of course, realizing that something else may be controlling my friend’s body. I was even more upset when Michael failed to cast out the demons that day. Their filthy activities continued for several weeks when we met for worship, until they finally were driven away by prayer and the Word of God.
Delivering people from demons is of course a very Biblical practice. We read in the Gospels:
Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. – Mark 1:23-26
“The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.” – Acts 15:12
I love this little Bible passage! At the apostolic meeting in Jerusalem, where it was to be decided what rules and customs should be followed by Gentile Christians, those who have assembled take a testimony break to hear about some miracles. This I believe was both because they illustrated a theological point given by Peter – that God is already working among the Gentiles even before they had been circumcised – and because miracles are very cool to hear about. Seriously, not many grow tired of hearing about miracles.
Right now, I’m at a Pentecostal conference in the northern parts of northern Sweden, where the sun never sets and penguins ride around on polar bears. I’m helping the aid organisation of Swedish Pentecostalism, PMU and collects money for Denis Mukwege’s Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Congo. It’s my first time at the conference and it’s nice, the vegetarian food is a little meh and the topics being talked about at the meetings and seminars aren’t always that radical, but overall it’s OK.
I guess that for an outsider, at first glance, the conference is like any conference or festival – people drinking coffee and eating ice cream, chatting and laughing, going to concerts and lectures. Of course, the topics are Christian and the songs are to God, but that wouldn’t matter much for a nonbeliever. The real game changers I believe are partly the eternal issues about the afterlife and salvation, and partly signs and wonders telling us about the truth of these eternal issues. And God is working through many in Swedish Pentecostalism hallelujah, so testimonies about amazing miracles can pop up anywhere.
Omid was saved after he heard the audible voice of Jesus Christ: “I’m real. Don’t take your life.”
Yesterday I was attending the Fire of God Revival Conference in Stockholm. I’m not a big fan of the setting (giant auditorium with coloured spotlights and smoke machines) but the Spirit and message was awesome. Three ordinary guys – Patrick, Charles and Omid – have together with Nigerian pastor Francis Anene arranged the conference. At this first meeting they shared their testimonies, and of the four Omid’s testimony touched me the most.
Omid Seppänen was born in Finland, raised in a family with a Muslim father who taught him the Qur’an and a Christian mother who brought him to church. Needless to say, he became religiously confused. As a teenager, he rebelled against his parents and became an atheist. He went to parties every weekend for two years, drank and used drugs, and started to become very depressed.
One night, he saw the devil himself, physically, standing in his room. He was shocked, not the least since he didn’t believe that the devil existed! This vision terrified him, and his depression increased.