Friday, September 28, 2007

Azusa Street with Bishop William J.Seymour

Bishop William J. Seymour
Pastor of the Apostolic Faith Mission
312 Azusa Street - Los Angeles, California
William Joseph Seymour was born May 2, 1870 in Centerville, St. Mary's Parish, Louisiana. His parents, Simon Seymour (also known as Simon Simon) and Phillis Salabar were both former slaves. Phillis was born and reared on the Adilard Carlin plantation near Centerville .
When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery in the rebel states, Simon enlisted in the Northern Army and served until the end of the Civil War. While with the United States Colored Troops he marched across the southern gulf states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. During his service, he became ill and was hospitalized in New Orleans. From the descriptions, it seems he may have contracted malaria or another tropical disease in the southern swamps. Simon never fully recovered.
William Seymour, the oldest in a large family, lived his early years in abject poverty. In 1896 the family's possessions were listed as "one old bedstead, one old chair and one old mattress." All of his mother's personal property was valued at fifty-five cents.
Seymour also suffered the injustice and prejudice of the reconstruction south. Violence against freedman was common and groups like the Ku Klux Klan terrorized southern Louisiana.
The young Seymour was exposed to various Christian traditions. His parents were married by a Methodist preacher; the infant William was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church in Franklin, Louisiana; and, Simon and Phillis were buried at a Baptist Church.

Many accounts of Seymour's life say he was illiterate. This is not true. He attended a freedman school in Centerville and learned to read and write. In fact, his signature shows a good penmanship.
Fleeing the poverty and oppression of life in southern Louisiana, Seymour left his home in early adulthood. He traveled and worked in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and other states possibly including Missouri and Tennessee. He often worked as a waiter in big city hotels.
In Indianapolis, Seymour was converted in a Methodist Church. Soon, however, he joined the Church of God Reformation movement in Anderson, Indiana. At the time, the group was called "The Evening Light Saints." While with this conservative Holiness group, Seymour was sanctified and called to preach.
In Cincinnati, Ohio after a near fatal bout with smallpox, Seymour yielded to the call to ministry. The illness left him blind in one eye and scarred his face. For the rest of his life he wore a beard to hide the scars.
In 1905, Seymour was in Houston, Texas where he heard the Pentecostal message for the first time. He attended a Bible school conducted by Charles F. Parham. Parham was the founder of the Apostolic Faith Movement, and is the father of the modern Pentecostal/Charismatic revival. At a Bible school in Topeka, Kansas, his followers had received a baptism in the Holy Spirit with the biblical evidence of speaking in tongues.
Because of the strict segregation laws of the times, Seymour was forced to sit outside the class room in the hall way. The humble servant of God bore the injustice with grace. Seymour must have been a man of keen intellect. In just a few weeks, he became familiar enough with Parham's teaching that he could teach it himself. Seymour, however, did not receive the Holy Spirit baptism with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
Parham and Seymour held joint meetings in Houston, with Seymour preaching to black audiences and Parham speaking to the white groups. Parham hoped to use Seymour to spread the Apostolic Faith message to the African-Americans in Texas.
Neely Terry, a guest from Los Angeles met Seymour while he was preaching at a small church regularly pastored by Lucy Farrar (also spelled Farrow). Farrar was also an employee of Parham and was serving his family in Kansas.
When Terry returned to Los Angeles, she persuaded the small Holiness church she attended to call Seymour to Los Angeles for a meeting. Her pastor, Julia Hutchinson, extended the invitation.

Seymour arrived in Los Angeles in February 1906. His early efforts to preach the Pentecostal message were rebuffed and he was locked out of the church. The leadership were suspicious of Seymour's doctrine, but were especially concerned that he was preaching an experience that he had not received.
Moving into the home of Edward Lee, a janitor at a local bank, Bishop Seymour began ministry with a prayer group that had been meeting regularly at the home of Richard and Ruth Asbery, at 214 North Bonnie Brae. Asbery was also employed as a janitor. Most of the worshippers were African-American, with occasional visits from whites. As the group sought God for revival, their hunger intensified.
Finally, on April 9, Lee was baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. When the news of his baptism was shared with the true believers at Bonnie Brae, a powerful outpouring followed. Many received the Holy Spirit baptism as Pentecostal revival arrived on the West Coast. That evening would be hard to describe. People fell to the floor as if unconscious, others shouted adn ran through the house. One neighbor, Jennie Evans Moore played the piano, something she did not have the ability to do before.
Over the next few days of continuous outpouring, hundreds gathered. The streets were filled and Seymour preached from the Asbery's porch. On April 12, three days after the initial outpouring, Seymour received his baptism of power.
Quickly outgrowing the Asbery home, the faithful searched for a home for a new church. They found their building at 312 Azusa Street. The mission had been built as an African Methodist Episcopal Church, but when the former tenets vacated, the upstairs sanctuary had been converted into apartments. A fire destroyed the pitched roof and it was replaced with a flat roof giving the 40 X 60 feet building the appearance of a square box. The unfinished downstairs with a low ceiling and dirt floor was used as a storage building and stable. This downstairs became the home of the Apostolic Faith Mission. Mix matched chairs and wooden planks were collected for seats and a prayer altar and two wooden crates covered by a cheap cloth became the pulpit.
From this humble location, the Pentecostal truth was spread around the world. Visitors came from locations both far and near to be part of the great revival at the Apostolic Faith Mission at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles.
On April 17, The Los Angeles Daily Times sent a reporter to the revival. In his article the next day, he baffooned the meeting and the pastor, calling the worshippers "a new sect of fanatics" and Seymour "an old exhorter." He mocked their glossolalia as "weird babel of tongues." More important than the critical opinions expressed by the reporter was the providential timing of his visit. The article was published on the same day as the great earthquake in San Fransciso. Southern Californians, already gripped with fear, learned of a revival where doomsday prophecies were common.
Immediately, Frank Bartleman, an itenerate evangelist and Azusa Street participant published a tract about the earthquake. Thousands of the tracts, filled with end-time prophecies, were distributed. Soon, multitudes gathered at Azusa Street. One attendee said more than a thousand at a time would crowd onto the property. Hundreds would fill the little building; others would watch from the boardwalk; and, more would overflow into the dirt street.
With the help of a stenographer and editor the mission began to publish a newspaper, The Aposotlic Faith. Seymour's sermons were transcribed and printed, along with news of the meetings and the many missionaries that were being sent forth. The papers literally spread the Pentecostal message across the globe. Circulation for the little paper passed 50,000. Services at the mission were conducted three times each day at 10 AM, noon and 7 PM. They often ran together until the entire day became one worship service. This schedule was continued seven days a week for more than three years.
It was common for the lost to be saved, sick healed, demonized delivered, and seekers to be baptized in the Spirit in almost every meeting. Many of the early leaders of the Pentecostal movement received their Holy Ghost baptism or worshipped at the Azusa "plank" altar.
In 1906 when there were more lynchings of black men then in any other year of America’s history, Seymour led an interracial worship service. At Azusa Street there were no preferences for age, gender, or race. One worshipper said, "The blood of Jesus washed the color line away."
Despite all of the success, the revival faced opposition from without and within. Charles Parham, insulted by the racial compositon of the meetings and emotionalism brought the first major split. Many others followed. When Seymour married Miss Jeanne Evans Moore on May 13, 1908 another group left the mission. Two ladies in the disscenters took the main mailing lists crippling The Apostolic Faith newspaper.
Denominational churches were vicious in their attacks.Not many years after the revival began only a skeleton crew, mostly black and mostly the Bonnie Brae group, kept the fire burning in the old mission.
Bishop Seymour continued to pastor the church until his death. Yet, his work was not limited to Los Angeles. He traveled extensively, establishing churches and preaching the good news. He even wrote and edited a book, The Doctrines and Discipline of the Apostolic Faith Mission to help govern the churches he had helped to birth .On September 28, 1922, Seymour experienced chest pains and shortness of breath. Although a doctor was called, the pilgrim passed to the Cellestial City.
Some say he died from a "broken heart." Faithful to the end, his last words were "I love my Jesus so." Seymour was laid to rest in Los Angeles' Evergreen Cemetery. His gravestone reads simply, "Our Pastor."
After his passing, his loving wife, Jennie, followed him as minister at the mission. Eventually, the mission was torn down by the city of Los Angeles and the property was lost, but what happened there will never be forgotten.
For many years the pivotal role of Seymour was almost ignored by church historians. Partially, no doubt, because he was an African American. This shameful neglect, however is finally ending as more and more students of Pentecostal history learn of the importance of William J. Seymour’s role in the formation of the Pentecostal movement.
One of the first significant church historians to recognize Seymour's importance was Sidney Ahlstrom, of Yale University. In 1972, he said that Seymour was "the most influential black leader in American religious history." The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary dedicated their new chapel to Seymour's memory in 1998. As the twentieth century closed, the Religion Newswriters Association named the Azusa Street Revival as one of the top ten events of the past millennium; Life Magazine listed Azusa Street as one of the top one hundred events of the millennium; and, Christian History magazine named William J. Seymour one of the top ten Christians of the 20th century.
To learn more about Bishop Seymour and the Azusa Street revival read The Life and Ministry of William J. Seymour by Larry Martin, available from our online bookstore. With 350 pages and over 100 illustrations, this is the most comprehensive book ever written on the great outpouring.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Unakumbuka hizi picha?

Siku Mzee Moses Kulola (Askofu mkuu wa EAGT) alipokumbatiana na Mzee Emmanuel Lazaro wa TAG pale kanisani Full Gospel kwa Askofu Kakobe.
Siku hii ilikuwa ni siku maalum ya kupatana kwa maaskofu wetu hawa wawili baada ya utengano wa muda mrefu wa kanisa la TAG na EAGT.Japokuwa siku hii watumishi hawa wa Mungu walisema hawakuwa kuwa na ugomvi wowote kati yao ila watu ndio walikuwa wakiwazushia.Walikumbatiana kwa furaha sana na hao wawili ni wake zao wakikumbatiana pia kwa furaha.

Picha hii hapa chini ni Mwimbaji wa injili wa siku nyingi Mtanzania anayeishi Kenya Faustin Munishi akiwa na Mchungaji Mwasota wakipiga picha na Askofu Moses Kulola enzi hizi injili ilikuwa si ya mzaha kama ilivyo sasa kuna wasanii wengi wamejiingiza makanisani.Picha hii ilipigwa miaka ya mwishoni mwa sabini au mwanzoni mwa themani.Mchungaji mwosota pia alikuwa ni mwimbaji maarufu hasa kwenye mikutano ya mzee kulola.Hata leo hii wote wawili Munishi na Mwasota bado wanaimba na niwachungaji.


A Protestant, state corrections chaplain told CRI that "one of the most popular TV evangelists at our institution is T. D. Jakes." He concluded by asking for clarification of Jakes's position on the Trinity. CRI has received two e-mails sent by T. D. Jakes Ministries to people inquiring about that subject. One e-mail response is that "Bishop T. D. Jakes and The Potter's House of Dallas believe there is one God who manifest [sic] Himself in the Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We have never denied the Trinity, and we are disappointed that anyone would misunderstand or misrepresent us."27
The meaning of the term Trinity, according to historic Christianity, is that within the nature of the one God co-exist three equal and eternal persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. T. D. Jakes Ministries and historic Christianity both use the word Trinity, but the meaning of the word appears to be different. Walter Martin taught us that we must scale the language barrier of the cults. We must recognize the reality that unless terms are defined, a semantic jungle will envelope us, making it difficult, if not impossible, to properly contrast orthodox Christianity with teachings outside it.28
On the T. D. Jakes Ministries Web site, an older but still accessible version of their Statement of Faith reads, "There is one God, creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and existing in three Manifestations: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."29 Their current doctrinal statement has been altered somewhat to read: "THREE DIMENSIONS OF ONE GOD (1 John 5:7, Matt. 28:19, 1 Tim. 3:16)" — "We believe in one God, who is eternal in His existence, Triune in His Manifestations, being both Father, Son and Holy Ghost AND that He is Sovereign and Absolute in His authority."30
The position taken by T. D. Jakes Ministries remains problematic. The problem lies in the word "manifestation." Manifestation is a modalistic term often used by Oneness Pentecostals. Modalism views Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as different modes of God's activity rather than three separate persons.31
Jakes was interviewed in August 1998 by Living by the Word (LBTW) ministry. This interview was aired on KKLA 99.5 FM in Los Angeles. During this interview, Jakes said, "We have one God, but He is Father in creation, Son in redemption, and Holy Spirit in regeneration."32 This wording is identical to the Oneness Pentecostal view as described by David K. Bernard, pastor of New Life United Pentecostal Church (UPC), in his book The Oneness of God: "A popular explanation of Father, Son and Holy Ghost is that there is one God who has revealed [ie., manifested] Himself as Father in Creation, Son in redemption and Holy Ghost in regeneration."33
In his interview with LBTW, Jakes also describes the Trinity as a complex issue, saying, "I'm not sure we can totally hold God to a numerical system."34 This statement is consistent with his book Anointing Fall on Me: "The concept of the Godhead is a mystery that has baffled Christians for years. With our limited minds we try to comprehend a limitless God. How can we explain one God but three distinct manifestations?"35 This idea also reflects Bernard's Oneness Pentecostal views: "We cannot confine God to three or any other number of specific roles and titles."36
CRI Coordinator of Research Sam Wall spoke over the telephone with Pastor Lawrence Robinson, Director of Ministry Affairs at the Potter's House, inquiring about their view of the Trinity. Robinson affirmed that Jakes denies the biblical position of the Trinity, at one point saying that the Roman Catholic Church introduced the concept of three gods. Robinson gave some modalistic illustrations of the Trinity and said that Jakes has always held this position.37 Twice after that, Wall e-mailed Pastor Robinson to confirm the content of their discussion. Robinson never responded. Wall noted in his e-mail, "Should I not hear from you by e-mail, I will assume that these statements by you are correct."38
In the 1998 Wall Street Journal article on Jakes, Lawrence Robinson speaks of knowing T. D. Jakes since he was a young man.39 According to T. D. Jakes Ministries Web site, Elder Lawrence Robinson has been attached to the heart of T. D. Jakes Ministries since 1985 as a faithful partner.40
Jakes's denial of the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity is further betrayed by his association with the Higher Ground Always Abounding Assembly. He is a leader and elected bishop of this group.41 CRI spoke with Elder Mike Pearson, an instructor at the Higher Ground Bible Institute. He confirmed that the Assembly has a Oneness view of the Trinity and that T. D. Jakes has been part of this association for about seven years.42
In order to appropriately discern and respond to modalism, it is vital for Christians to understand the Trinity as it is presented in the Bible. James R. White offers three suggestions:
First we need to do some major league education on what the doctrine actually teaches....In the second place, we have to impress on every believer the vital importance of understanding, accepting, and experiencing the truth that God has revealed Himself to be Triune: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit....Finally, we have to educate, NOT with arrogance or pride, but with a passion and fervor born of love for the truth....Concerned Christians need to voice their disapproval of television networks, ministries, or publishers who tolerate poor theology just to mollify a larger 'audience.'43
The Trinity is the primary truth of New Testament theology. In his book Oneness Pentecostals and The Trinity, former Oneness teacher Gregory A. Boyd convincingly argues that "the denial that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are eternally distinct 'persons' in the Godhead indirectly undermines the Christian view of God's character, God's revelation, and God's salvation by grace."44
Oneness believers beg to differ. As noted earlier, modalists, including T. D. Jakes, maintain the view of "one" God revealing Himself in three manifestations. This view has been known throughout history by several different names. One of them is modalistic monarchianism: "A movement which interpreted the Trinity as successive revelations of God — first as Father, then as Son, and finally as Holy Spirit. It began in the third century."45 Modalistic monarchianism emphasized the unqualified intrinsic oneness of God and the full deity of Christ.46
Denver Seminary's Dr. Gordon Lewis offered this response to T. D. Jakes's statement about God being Triune in His manifestation: "The revised statement on God revives Sabellian Modalism. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not merely three manifestations of one God in history, three different hats he wears."47
Whether it is called modalism, Sabellianism, Oneness, or "Jesus only," this view of the Trinity is heretical. As White observes, "Whatever its name might be, it is a denial of the Trinity based upon the denial of the distinction between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It accepts the truth that there is only one true God, and that the Father, Son, and Spirit are fully God, but it denies that the Bible differentiates between the persons."48
While the biggest concern with Jakes's teaching is the modalistic language he uses in regard to the Trinity, several aspects of his message and ministry are problematic. In a Wall Street Journal article, which described Jakes as a country preacher with a multimillion-dollar religious empire, he was quoted as saying, "I am the power and the kingdom and the glory, and I think I kind of like it that way."49 Even if he spoke these words in jest, he mocks God, who will not share His glory with another (Isa. 42:8).
Jakes's teaching on sin leaves much to be desired. In a three-hour video broadcast on TBN of his July 1999 WTAL conference in Atlanta, he addressed the women's immediate emotional and social needs, but nothing was said on the issue of sin and the need for a Savior, nor on the atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.50 In Loose That Man and Let Him Go! Jakes describes men who have extramarital affairs as doing what they do because they fear confronting unresolved issues with their spouses.51 He depicts men who carry weapons as living in fear that others will see the frightened little boy hiding behind the big gun.52 He characterizes men who beat their wives as little boys having a temper tantrum.53
Jesus goes straight to the heart when He describes adultery (Matt. 5:28) and evil thoughts, murder, fornication, stealing, lying, and blasphemy (Matt. 15:19) for what they are. Jakes teaches that we have problems because we are victims of our environment or circumstances and minimizes the concept of personal sin. Along with victimization, he emphasizes self-empowerment; we can find the power to pull ourselves out of our problems. Yet Paul taught that all have sinned and come up short before God (Rom. 3:23). The way out of our sins is Christ-empowerment, not self-empowerment (Phil. 4:13).
Prosperity teachings stand out more than other Word of Faith teachings in T. D. Jakes's ministry. Jakes is a very wealthy man and enjoys it. The 19 November 1998 People magazine describes his $1.7 million Dallas home, his blue BMW convertible, and his colorful expensive clothing.54 (He also drives a Mercedes.) He feels his financial success is a sign of growing economic empowerment for African-Americans. The Charleston Gazette published a story that focused on his $600,000, 16-room Charlotte mansion with its bowling alley and indoor swimming pool. The story didn't accuse him of any wrongdoing, but Jakes felt betrayed, saying that if he couldn't get better press coverage, he'd take his wealth elsewhere.55 This may be one reason Jakes moved from Charleston to Dallas.
It's not disturbing that Jakes is wealthy and has this lifestyle, but it's very disturbing that he portrays Jesus as being rich in order to justify his wealth. He describes Jesus as having been rich in order to support His disciples and their families during His ministry. Jakes says the myth of the poor Jesus has to be destroyed because it's holding people back.56 Indeed, Jesus Christ owns everything and possesses all power, authority, glory, honor, and majesty. In His earthly life, however, He became poor for our sakes (2 Cor. 8:9; Matt. 8:20). He laid aside His divine prerogatives and died on the cross, owning nothing, like a common criminal.57 In fact, archaeological excavations of Nazareth in the 1950s demonstrate that poor agricultural people occupied the village in Jesus' day.58
The ministry's doctrinal statement makes it clear that Jakes adheres not only to the doctrine of guaranteed wealth for the believer but also guaranteed health: "We believe that it is God's will to heal and deliver His people today as He did in the days of the first Apostles. It is by the stripes of Jesus that we are healed, delivered and made whole. We have authority over sickness, disease, demons, curses, and every circumstance in life."59 This belief is reflected in Woman Thou Art Loosed! "Jesus has promised to set you free from every curse of the past. If you have suffered abuse, please know that He will bring you complete healing."60 Biblically, however, our faith does not dictate God's will; God's sovereign will dictates our faith (1 John 5:13–14). Healing in the New Testament is not a guarantee, but a benefit of the Atonement. God sometimes answers our prayers with a yes and sometimes with a no. He always answers our prayers according to His will and for our best. Paul's thorn in the flesh was never removed, even after he asked God three times to remove it (2 Cor. 12:7–10).
In addition to teaching the unbiblical (1 Cor. 12:27–30) classical Pentecostal doctrine that the gift of tongues is the necessary sign of being baptized in the Holy Spirit,61 T. D. Jakes has been observed "slaying people in the Spirit" on a TBN program that was aired on 6 August 1998. Hank Hanegraaff, in his Counterfeit Revival, has written about being "slain in the Spirit": "Despite the pious attribution of this phenomenon to the Holy Spirit as well as the pragmatic addition of 'catchers,' multitudes continue to suffer spiritual, emotional and physical damage from this practice. Some have even died."62

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Kenya's secretive Mungiki sect

The grisly murders have shocked KenyansFollowers of Kenya's outlawed Mungiki sect were once known for tobacco sniffing, trademark dreadlocks and praying while facing Mount Kenya.
But the sect, which was banned in 2002, has undergone a metamorphosis since it first emerged in the 1980s.
It was inspired by the bloody Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s against British colonial rule.
Thousands of young Kenyans - mostly drawn from Kenya's largest tribe, the Kikuyu - flocked to the sect whose doctrines are based on traditional practices.
One theory has it that Mungiki was formed in 1988 with the aim of toppling the government of former President Daniel arap Moi. The sect was, at one time, associated with Mwakenya, an underground movement formed in 1979 to challenge the former Kanu regime.
However, the sect members have now turned to horrific crimes leaving behind mutilated corpses and a trail of blood and trauma.
In May, Mungiki followers are said to have brutally murdered six people in the country's central region, in what is said to be a revenge attack on people who had leaked information about their activities to the police.
For weeks, the outlawed sect members have been battling with public transport operators who refuse to pay protection fees to them.
Following the crisis, a crackdown on them was ordered by Security Minister John Michuki.
Police say the latest victims of the sect members were abducted and tortured before being hacked to death and their bodies dismembered.
Underworld gang
Today, Mungiki followers no longer sniff tobacco in public and have traded in the dreadlocks and unkempt appearance for neat haircuts and business suits.
The religious bit is just a camouflage. It's more like an army unit
Sociology lecturer Ken OukoThey extort, engage in fraud, robbery, murder and even kidnap their victims.
Media reports say the sect has evolved over the years into an organised and intimidating underworld gang with bases in the capital, Nairobi, and parts of Central and Rift Valley Provinces.
They control public transport routes and demand illegal levies from operators.
Mungiki followers reign supreme within city slums, notably Mathare in the east of the capital. Here they provide illegal water and electricity connections to hundreds of makeshift shacks.
Residents of the slums also have to pay a levy to the sect to be able to access communal toilets and for security during the night in the crime infested slums.
Political connections
Following the latest gruesome murders, the government has vowed to wipe out the group but many Kenyans feel there is a lukewarm approach to counter activities of the sect.

The Mungiki sect has a violent reputationIts leadership has openly claimed to have two million members around the country and to have infiltrated government offices, factories, schools and the armed forces.
"Mungiki is a politically motivated gang of youths," says Ken Ouko, a sociology lecturer at the University of Nairobi.
"The religious bit is just a camouflage. It's more like an army unit. During the previous regime, they seemed to be complementary to the government. But now they seem to be antagonistic."
Mr Ouko suggests that security forces should infiltrate Mungiki to be able to counter its growing influence in Kenya.
But the sect is known to operate in secrecy, a fact that is complicating efforts by the police to identify its members as the crackdown on them continues.