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Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

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Why You Cannot Be Cessationist and Claim to Restore the Biblical Church at the Same Time

In this video, I present my chapter “Charismatic Anabaptism: Combining Signs and Wonders with Peace and Justice”, which is included in the new anthology A Living Alternative. In the chapter I argue that Christians should use the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to promote nonviolence and economic equality. To defend this thesis, I use the Bible, church history as well as modern testimonies.

The church historical part can be a bit mind-blowing to some – not many Anabaptists know that their movement initially was very charismatic, with an emphasis on prophetic visions, healing and miracles. Likewise, most Pentecostals and charismatics are unaware of that the early Pentecostals were pacifists and criticised capitalism. Even though they are hardly connected historically, early Anabaptism and early Pentecostalism were extremely similar, which I interpret as the work of the Holy Spirit, whom both movements wanted to be influenced by.

Both Anabaptism and Pentecostalism are restorationist, that is, they want to restore the New Testament church. Now, Calvinism and Lutheranism – Protestant movements that also originated during the 16th century reformation just like Anabaptism, that were far more positive to violence, economic inequality and pesecution than the Anabaptists – also argued that they restored the Biblical church, basing their theology on “Scripture alone” instead of relying on Catholic unbiblical tradition. (more…)

Malala + Holy Spirit Revival = Pandita Ramabai

Ramabai on an Indian post stamp

Ramabai on an Indian post stamp

One of my favourite Pentecostal saints of all times is Pandita Ramabai (1858-1922), Indian activist, evangelist and holy roller. Over a hundred years before Malala she campaigned for women’s right to education, and she was extremely active in helping the poor and discriminated. Born in a Brahmite family in what is now the state of Karnataka, she started to study in an early age and learned Sanskrit along with sacred Hinduist texts, astronomy, physiology and more. This was controversial since she lacked a penis, but her father encouraged her as she learned more and more about society, religion and activism.

In 1883 she went to England and taught Sanskrit at an Anglican monastery in Wantage. There she was saved. “I realized,” she later wrote, “after reading the fourth chapter of St. John’s Gospel, that Christ was truly the Divine Saviour he claimed to be, and no one but He could transform and uplift the downtrodden women of India.”

As she returned to her home country, she bought a piece of land outside Pune and started a Christian social community for young widows called Mukti, Sanskrit for Liberation. She also helped people who were orphaned, disabled or homeless, and when a famine hit India in 1896, Ramabai rescued over a thousand people and brought many if them to the Mukti mission.

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The Top 5 Popular Posts on Holy Spirit Activism in 2014

Possibly a new logo for Holy Spirit Activism. Tell me if you like it!

Possibly a new logo for Holy Spirit Activism. Tell me if you like it!

As always, the WordPress “stats monkeys” has produced a summary of the past blog year that you can find here. I thank God that the blog is growing and pray that He will lead me and others to inspire more and more people to become radical, charismatic Jesus hippies, combining miracles with evangelism and activism.

Here’s the top five viewed posts during 2014:

1. The Kundalini Myth. This post was actually written in 2013, but people keeps finding it on Google, and it’s the most commented post on this blog as well as the most viewed one. Many Christians believe in Andrew Strom’s claim that large parts of the charismatic movement are influenced by the Hindu kundalini sect, but thankfully many are also questioning this ridiculous claim, and I hope that my blog post has convinced some that Strom’s Kundalini warning is a myth.

2. Compelled by Love Movie Review. This amazing documentary on the lives of Heidi and Rolland Baker and their ministry Iris Global was released in January, and although the audience may be somewhat limited thousands have found my movie review through Google. Maybe I should do some reviews more often? 🙂

3. Pope Francis: “The Charismatic Movement is Necessary”. I’ve written about Francis a couple of times, and even though I don’t agree with Catholic doctrine on several spots I think his passion for evangelism, poverty reduction, peacemaking and Spiritual gifts is absolutely awesome, since I’m also passionate about evangelism, poverty reduction, peacemaking and Spiritual gifts. In this post I highlighted his positive words about the charismatic movement in his famous meeting with journalists on the pope plane from Rio back to Rome, and the post sparked some controversy but also excitement. (more…)

Check Out the New Holy Spirit Activism YouTube Channel!

I’ve had YouTube for five years now, during which I have uploaded 400 videos that have been viewed 130 000 times. In total, people have watched 6800 hours of footage from my YouTube channel, which is like eight months of YouTube watching nonstop. Most of the videos are sermons, Bible studies, testimonies of miracles, teaching about radical discipleship and from time to time weird stuff like this clip.

Most of it is in Swedish, though, simply because most of the footage I record is in Swedish. I’ve tried to make sure that every fifth video or so is in English, but even then I understand that people who share the vision about Holy Spirit Activism – evangelism, miracles, peace and justice combined – and aren’t interesting in learning a weird Scandinavian language will be a bit bored if they subscribe to my YouTube channel.

HSA YouTube

So I made a second one! The Holy Spirit Activism YouTube channel will from now on be the home for all my English videos, while my old channel (simply called Micael Grenholm) will be in Swedish. Since I’ve already uploaded a bunch of nice English videos on the old channel, I’ve made a playlist on the new called Holy Spirit Activism Classics where you can find some of them, including a sermon by radical missionary Heidi Baker, testimonies about healing, the solution to global inequality, and more.

I also have a lot of videos on my harddrive to upload on the new channel, like insights in the community of goods that is being practiced by the Jesus Army, and an interview with Francis Shongwe who was raised from the dead. Here’s a teaser.

So feel free to follow the Holy Spirit Activism YouTube channel! Also, check out the new video section on this site, where I also have posted videos not published by me that I find very inspiring in my quest to follow Jesus. Blessings!

Book Release: A Living Alternative

a living alternative book

I am a MennoNerd, and we MennoNerds have just published a book! It’s called A Living Alternative and is about Anabaptist Christianity in a Post-Christendom world. Listen to what Christian activist Shane Claiborne has to say about it:

The world is poised to receive the wisdom of the Anabaptists. We are fat with consumerism. We are tired of war. We are hungry for community. We need an excuse to slow down, turn off the noise, and simplify our lives again. For many of us, progress has also meant disgress. This chorus of wise voices will stir you to imagine what it means to be the peculiar people of God in the 21st century.

Jesus Feminist Sarah Bessey says:

Even though I’m not an Anabaptist by chosen label or tradition, I found so much richness and truth in this book. Deep, challenging, prophetic and conversation-starting, I loved A Living Alternative. If you’ve wondered what your life would look like if you really lived like Jesus, this book will give you an accesible theological foundation for the practical living out of your discipleship particularly in a post-Christian context.

And hipster pastor, apologist and fellow MennoNerd Greg Boyd says:

In this splendid collection of essays readers will find a wonderfully diverse group of people wrestling with an amazingly diverse set of issues sorrounding what it means to be a faithful follower of Jesus in a post-Christendom world. Perhaps even more importantly, in each of these essays readers will sense the refreshing vibrancy and beauty of the kingdom vision that has captured the imaginations of these authros, and this can’t help but pull readers further into this vision. So, whether you already identify with this kingdom movement or don’t yet know what I’m even talking about, I’d like to challenge you to thoroughly digest this book!

Sounds good, right? My chapter is about combining signs and wonders with peace and justice, Deborah-Ruth Ferber covers singleness, Drew Hart writes about anablacktivism, and so on. You can get the book at American Amazon or British Amazon if you’re interested, and my dear Swedish countrymen and -women can get it on Adlibris. Peace out!

Francis – the Charismatic Hippie Pope

Pope Francis, in a Brazilian favela

Pope Francis, in a Brazilian favela

Who would have thought that a Jesus freak would become pope? The main focus of this blog has always been that signs and wonders need to be combined with peace and justice – charismatic Christians need to be activists and activist Christians need to be charismatic – since this is what Jesus taught to His disciples and Holy Spirit activism has the power to transform lives and bring hope in even greater ways that non-supernatural activism. Unfortunately, a lot of times charismatic and evangelical Christians are not huge fans of peace and justice – something that is painfully obvious when you see what many of them write about the Gaza war – and many Christian activists are not very charismatic or evangelical.

But there is, I believe, a growing movement within Christianity that realizes that a charismatic life in the Spirit should be combined with activism for a better world; a movement that crosses all denominations, places and cultures. And by God’s grace we have a sympathizer among the leader of the biggest church in the world: pope Francis.

Few have missed that Francis is a passionate advocate for peace and justice: he has criticized capitalism for neglecting the poor, he lives simply and promotes economic equality, he has prayed for peace in the Middle East both at the Western wall and at the West Bank wall. But what not as many know is that Francis also is a charismatic pope, who believes in Spiritual gifts and who blesses both the Catholic charismatic renewal and Pentecostals.

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Resurrecting Pentecost and other Jesus Hippie Songs!

Here’s a song I wrote, it’s called Resurrecting Pentecost!

In a world where all magic is rationalized
And our skeptical doubt make us suffer and die
We need a supernatural healing fire explosion

Let’s go out on the streets with the power of God
Let us empty the prisons and hospitals
Let us birth revival and total transformation

By the power of His Name
We will never be the same

‘Cause we are
Resurrecting Pentecost
Raising up at any cost
Acts in modern times
Healing people eagerly
Sharing all things equally
Proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord
Jesus Christ is Lord!

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Why Do I Call Myself a Jesus “Hippie”?

I took this photo just a week ago when me and some friends were preparing some evangelism at a music festival. See what we look like?

I took this photo just a week ago when me and some friends were preparing some evangelism at a music festival. See what we look like?

Hippies aren’t always popular among evangelical Christians. Mark Driscoll has famously said: “Some emergent types want to recast Jesus as a limp-wrist hippie in a dress with a lot of product in His hair, who drank decaf and made pithy zen statements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes. […] I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.” I do agree that Jesus wouldn’t shop shoes or be a Buddhist, but He surely would be able to beat up. In fact, that’s what they actually did with Him on Easter.

The hippie movement emerged in the 60’s and 70’s in the United States and spread quickly to Europe and other parts of the world. It was a youth movement with international influences that emphasized love, peace and understanding, freedom and environmentalism, music, sex and drugs. It was influenced by eastern religions and sparked both new age occultism and the sexual revolution. These latter bits make it understandable why Dricoll doesn’t like hippies very much.

However, in the early 70’s thousands of hippies were saved in what is simply called the Jesus Movement, or the Jesus People Revival. They protested against both drugs and occultism, saying that we should “get high on Jesus” and be baptized in the Holy Spirit instead, but they preserved the hippie passion for peace, justice and a simple lifestyle. Over 100 000 Jesus hippies lived together in communal houses, they were preaching the Gospel in the streets and on the beaches, and many miracles happened as they prayed for the sick and prophesied.

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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.

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Free E-Book: God vs Inequality

IMAG2406-1

My blog series God vs Wealth has been quite popular, partly because it’s a bit controverisal, partly because I think many share my ideas about economic equality. In a world where the richer get richer while the poor are dying, many Christians realize that Jesus was critical towards the rich and modeled something that would both abolish poverty and wealth, since the two are dependent upon each other. I have returned to this topic several times on this blog, and a couple of weeks ago I got the idea that I perhaps should collect these texts in one volume. Today, I can present to you my first e-book ever: God vs Inequality!

You can download the whole book as a PDF right here: God vs Inequality. It contains all ten parts in the God vs Wealth series, as well as its sequal God vs Poverty and several other texts published on this blog like Should Christians Wear “Formal” in Church?, It’s Time for All Christians to Become Vegetarians and Seven Reasons Why Inequality Sucks. Everything is illustrated by some beautiful photos I captured when I was in South Africa last year (or, to be honest, random stuff I’ve taken from Google Images) and put into an amazing layout by my dear friend Andreas Lundström.

Feel free to spread the document on, print it out and copy-and-paste, I claim no copyright. If you want it in iBook-format, which is what Andreas used to create it with, just send me an e-mail to micael.grenholm(a)gmail.com. If you discover some typos or have general comments about the content, feel free to comment below.

Also I’m very excited about the “real” book A Living Alternative that I have co-authored together with my MennoNerd friends, which will be released this fall. For now though, enjoy God vs Inequality!

Revival and Community Transformation

The Iris Revival in Mozambique

The Iris Revival in Mozambique

Charismatics like myself love to talk about revival. Revival is usually defined as an “awakening” of the church, when it goes back to it’s original state. If the church doesn’t look like the book of Acts – where a lot of miracles happened, thousands were saved and Christians were living a holy, passionate life – it’s basically sleeping and needs to be revived.

Half a year ago, a girl from Switzerland contacted me via this blog and said that she wanted to visit Sweden “and the revival there”. We were honored and welcomed her, but we gently said that it would be wrong to say that it’s a revival in Sweden. Even when a lot of people do get healed here and many are saved when we prophesy for them, revival is the wrong word, at least yet. Revival is something more, revival is community transformation.

During the Welsh revival in the beginning of the 20th century, the prisons, bars and stadiums were emptied a like – everyone were storming the churches to seek God. Norwegian revivalist Hans Nielsen Hauge transformed his country not just spiritually but also socially and economically, so that one of Europe’s poorest nations started to flourish. And Mozambique is right now totally transformed by the Iris revival, that brings thousands of children out of poverty and plant thousands of churches in the power of healing and miracles.

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Lonnie Frisbee and his Charismatic Hippie Communal Houses

Lonnie Frisbee, 1949-1993

Lonnie Frisbee, 1949-1993

Lonnie Frisbee was an amazing Jesus freak. Being a key figure and informal leader of the Jesus People Movement in the 60’s and 70’s, his impact on Western Christianity is huge. With his long hair and beard he tried to look like Jesus himself “because there’s no one else I want to look like”, he preached on the beaches to his hippie friends that the Holy Spirit is even better than LSD and brought thousands of them to church.

The Jesus movement spread rapidly across California, US and the world, but most churches closed the door for them – after all, they were hippies. A church that did welcome them though was Calvary Chapel led by Chuck Smith, not because he was a hippie, nor because he wanted to become one, but because he liked them.

While Chuck emphasized Bible studying and evangelical values (which Lonnie thought was awesome) Lonnie himself was a holy roller. He cast out demons, spoke in tongues, healed the sick and prophesied loudly. He proclaimed himself to be a prophet and a mystic, and the whole Jesus Movement became a radical charismatic movement.

In 1980 he visited John Wimber‘s Vineyard church and released the youth into full scale charismatic renewal, which had a huge impact on Wimber himself and the whole third wave charismatic renewal. In John Wimber: The Way it Was, John’s wife Carol Wimber shares how important Lonnie was for the Vineyard, and she has some awesome testimonies from a trip to South Africa she, John and Lonnie made where they literally saw the blind and lame being totally healed when they imparted the power of the Holy Spirit to them.

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Kevin Daugherty: Beware the Wild Goose

My blog friend and fellow MennoNerd Kevin Daugherty wrote this excellent piece on his blog Koinonia Revolution the other day. It’s so good I simply want to repost it all here:

I come from a charismatic stream of Christianity. Most of the churches I have attended or been a member of have openly believed in the active presence of the Holy Spirit (the “Wild Goose“), a very personal relationship with Christ, faith healing, and active worship. This background developed in me a deep respect for religious experience, but unlike a stereotypical charismatic, I was quiet and contemplative, which caused me to develop a deep respect for the monastics, mystics, and Quakers. For the longest time, I had no idea I was part of the Charismatic movement (I was not really aware of the theological labels), but my background continues to influence me.

The Charismatic movement is a product of the 20th century and has its roots in Pentecostalism, but I find that Spirit-filled Christianity puts one in a large family of Christian traditions. I think Eberhard Arnold described this tradition well:

The life of love that arises from faith has been witnessed to over the centuries, especially by the Jewish prophets and later by the first Christians. We acknowledge Christ, the historical Jesus, and with him his entire message as proclaimed by his apostles and practiced by his followers. Therefore we stand as brothers and sisters together with all those who have lived in community through the long course of history: the Christians of the first century; the Montanists in the second; the monastics and Arnold of Brescia; the Waldensians; the itinerant followers of Francis of Assisi; the Bohemians and Moravians and the Brothers of the Common Life; the Beguines and Beghards; the Anabaptists of the sixteenth century; the early Quakers; the Labadists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; and many other denominations and movements down to the present day. (Eberhard Arnold: Writings Selected, pg. 158-159)

I wish I could add something more, but I really think Arnold says it perfectly. Spirit-filled faith is part of a long prophetic tradition going through many individuals and communities—the Hebrew prophets, early Christians, medieval mystics, “spiritualist” Anabaptists, Quakers, Pentecostals, and many others.

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Love, Power and Life: Understanding Missio Dei

Iris missionaries in Mozambique

Iris missionaries in Mozambique

The “Great Commission” is not so great. I mean, of course everything Jesus says is awesome, but we are making a huge error if we define missions only based on Matthew 28:18-20, basically because we are not given so much information about missions there. Jesus says: “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Now, to understand what “everything I have commanded you” means, we obviously have to read the rest of the gospels! Missions is not only about baptizing people and telling them what to believe, it’s about raising up a non-violent army of passionate disciples that are willing to do the stuff Jesus commanded us to do.

If we stick to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus starts teaching discipleship in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7). This is not a collection of random sayings of Jesus, it has a common theme: actions. Radical actions; love your enemies, give to the poor, do not store up treasures on earth, do not judge, do not look at someone with lust, etc. This is all part of the Great Commission – we are supposed to live like this, and those who we baptize are supposed to live like this. Thus, missions include peacemakting, social justice and holiness.

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The Average Christian: A Black Pentecostal

Worshipper at Iris Village of Joy, Pemba, Mozambique

Worshipper at Iris Village of Joy, Pemba, Mozambique

The course in dogmatics I’ve just taken at my seminary was, as I’ve previously written, lacking global perspectives in general and charismatic theology in particular, but our teacher was very aware of this. He stressed that charismatic theology becomes more and more important as a result of the spread of Pentecostalism in the global South while non-charismatic Christendom is dying in the North (West), and recommended us to check out Philip Jenkins’ The Next Christendom, a book that I’ve now have had a look at.

Jenkins argues that Christianity has never been just a Western religion but a global one, and that the privileged position of Western Christendom is about to fall down. Today, Christianity is basically growing everywhere except Europe: in Latin America, Africa, Asia and even the Middle East millions are being saved. With the help of statistical predictions, Jenkins argue that in 2050 only one Christian in five will be white, and that proportion will probably continue to shrink.

Now, charismatic theology is very dominant among the Southern churches. Recently, Christianity Today, which traditionally has not been a big fan of the charismatic movement, argued that most Africans aren’t charismatic, emphasizing that most of them belong to Catholic, Anglican, Reformed or independent churches. But Jenkins show that most Southern Christians within these traditions have charismatic theology, even if they don’t call themselves charismatics or Pentecostals.

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