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Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

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Hundreds of People Saved at Asbury Revival, According to Professor

Dr. Craig S. Keener, a highly respected New Testament scholar at Asbury Theological Seminary, is widely known for his work on the Bible’s background and his enormous books consisting of thousands of pages with tens of thousands of references. He’s not known to be a very emotional guy. And yet, during the Asbury revival, he proclaimed that he could feel the tangible presence of God just by walking near the chapel area.

The Asbury Revival, which took place at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, began on February 8, 2023, when a group of students spontaneously stayed in Hughes Auditorium after a regularly scheduled chapel service. Asbury President Kevin Brown sent out a brief email inviting others to join in the worship. News of the revival quickly spread through social media and Christian online publications, drawing thousands of people each day, with total visitors ranging between 50,000 and 70,000.

Dr. Keener, who joined the Asbury faculty in 2011 after teaching at Palmer Theological Seminary and Hood Theological Seminary, has authored 25 books and more than a million copies in circulation. He was an eyewitness to what went on during the revival meetings and has defended the outpouring against critics on YouTube. Recently, I had the honor of interviewing Dr. Keener about how the revival started, why the public phase eventually was shut down – and how the Holy Spirit impacted him personally:

It’s not every day that you see an accomplished New Testament scholar proclaim in all caps on social media: “I CAN FEEL THE TANGIBLE PRESENCE OF GOD”. But this was indeed what Dr. Keener experienced, and he hadn’t even got inside the building yet! Keener could tell me that a teacher he trusts reports that hundreds of people have been saved during the outpouring, including students who come from Christian families but have never taken the faith of their parents seriously. Additionally, there are many reports of healing as well as you can see in this video:

Dr. Craig Keener’s experience at the Asbury Revival serves as a powerful testimony to the profound impact that such events can have on individuals, regardless of their academic or spiritual background. It illustrates the importance of remaining open to the divine presence and the transformative power it can bring to our lives. As a testament to the power of faith and the presence of God, the revival demonstrates the potential for spiritual growth and transformation, even among those who approach their faith from a more intellectual perspective.

“Jesus Revolution” Movie Causes People to Worship in Theaters, with Some being Saved

The film Jesus Revolution about the youth revival in the 1970s has done much better than expected in US cinemas – and now there are reports that some have even given their lives to Jesus after seeing the film. At a movie theater in Miami, a prayer and praise meeting arose after the film was over where some made the decision to become Christians.

Here I have made a video where I have collected clips from the revival meeting at the cinema:

People were saved even during filming. When Jonathan Roumie, who plays the hippie preacher Lonnie Frisbee in the film (and who also plays Jesus in the series The Chosen) filmed a scene where Lonnie baptized hundreds of people in the sea, some of the extras said that they had never been baptized but wanted to be born again in the name of Jesus. Thus, some of the baptisms that made it into the movie are not staged, but the cameras filmed people being baptized for real! 🙌

The film’s producer also said that many in the studio and on the production team who were not Christians were moved to tears when they saw the film and wanted to know more about Jesus. This is truly no ordinary Hollywood movie!

It’s amazing to see how the Holy Spirit is impacting people’s lives through this movie. Now sadly, I haven’t been able to watch the movie myself since I live in Sweden, but a Swedish friend of mine, Anders-Petter Sjödin, went to the premiere in Los Angeles and said that it was amazing. If you have the opportunity to see it, you should definitely take it.

The Prayer that Started the Asbury Revival

Right now, an amazing renewal is taking place at Asbury University in Kentucky – a prayer meeting that usually lasts for 15 minutes has instead been going on with uninterrupted prayer and worship for over a week. Thousands have made their way to the meeting, with students and teachers worshiping together with family members and strangers. Classes and assignments have been cancelled to be replaced with tearful prayers for God’s power and love.

“Revive us by your love”, pastor Zach Meerkreebs prayed at the chapel meeting of Asbury University on February 8th, 2023. Since then, the prayer and worship of that meeting hasn’t ceased and thousands have come to be blessed, healed, saved and transformed by the power of God. In this video, you can hear Zach’s full prayer as well as some testimonies about what God has done to them:

Jason Vickers, one of the teachers, wrote: “The peacefulness in that place is so palpable that a mere ten minutes had made an impression that will last the remainder of my lifetime.”

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Holiness, Healing and Helping the Poor: The Ministry of Nelly Hall

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Originally posted at PCPJ.

In a time where it was controversial at best and impossible at worst for a woman to preach, Swedish evangelist Nelly Hall (1848-1916) gathered crowds of thousands of people as she preached about salvation, holiness and discipleship.

She was part of the holiness movement, and according to church historian David Bundy, the Holiness Union of Sweden would probably not have existed without her (1).

After being inspired by the preaching of American Methodist evangelist William E. Boardman, and after visiting the Salvation Army’s headquarters in London, Hall decided to become a full-time preacher (2). (more…)

Shane Claiborne: The Gospel of Trump vs the Gospel of Jesus

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Originally posted on PCPJ.

This weekend, activist theologian Shane Claiborne and his friends at Red Letter Christians will arrange a Red Letter Revival in Lynchburg, Virginia. That’s right, the town where Liberty University, the world’s biggest Christian university whose president Jerry Falwell Jr. is a passionate Trump supporter.

The Revival will be themed “Jesus and Justice” and include sermons, worship and workshops on how to fight Trumpism by going back to the Sermon on the Mount. I got the chance to speak with Shane Claiborne on this historic event.

– The reason we do the Lynchburg Revival is that Christianity and Republicanism have been fused together, Shane Claiborne says. They have become almost indistinguishable from each other. When you have the First Baptist Church in Dallas singing ”Make America Great Again” as if it was a hymn in worship, when the American flag is bigger than the cross, what happens is that you begin to see a discrepancy between the values of America and the values inherent to the Gospel. (more…)

Nine Common Beliefs about Pentecostals & Charismatics that are Totally False

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Originally published at pcpj.org.

Ever since rev. Campbell Morgan called Pentecostalism “the last vomit of Satan” and the Los Angeles Times warned the public about the “new sect of fanatics [that] is breaking loose” from Azusa Street, Spirit-filled Christians have had a bad rap. Other Christians as well as non-Christians oftentimes find us weird, and sometimes a bit dangerous. A lot of those perceptions are based on myths and misconceptions. Here are nine common beliefs about Pentecostals and Charismatics that are totally wrong.

1. It’s a small movement

Depending on where you’re located, the Pentecostal and Charismatic (P&C) movement might seem pretty small. But when you look at it on a global level, it turns out that 600 million people are P&Cs. 200 million are Pentecostals, 100 million are charismatic Catholics, and 300 million are charismatics in a big variety of denominations and churches. Since the number of P&Cs amounted to around zero in the beginning of the 20th century, the P&C movement is commonly described as the fastest growing religious movement in the world.

2. It’s a Cult

I’ve heard surprisingly many casually state “All of Pentecostalism is a cult”, to which I like to respond “That’s about as true as the statement ‘The moon is a tomato’.” Cult is not synonymous with “religion I don’t like”, it has an academic meaning of an isolated group with an authoritarian leader, and while there surely are several sad examples of charismatic churches that have developed into cults it is simply ridiculous to claim that we all would be part of some sort of Jonestown. At least that’s what my Leader tells me and he’s always infallible when he drinks goat blood.

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Why Are Second Generation Christians So Lame?

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It’s painful to see a church that I love almost completely abandon evangelism, becoming spiritually dry and question the very radicality and community principles that made it so uniquely biblical in the first place. Second and third generation members are the ones that to the largest part try to “reform” the church into a normal, mainline, un-challenging pudding. In fact, I’ve spoken to older church members who were surprised that I was both young and radical – in their context it’s usually either or!

As I’ve spoken to friends about this many have pointed out that this is the usual course of events: revival strikes, people gather around on the blazing cross, a generation passes, their kids think it’s boring, and so revival ceases and has to stir up somewhere else. And yes, I am aware that this is a common pattern. This very thing has happened in the Vineyard, where signs and wonders once used to be normal but nowadays are exotic and sometimes even unwanted. Christy Wimber, the daughter-in-law of Vineyard founder John Wimber, wrote a few years ago:

I have been in service after service throughout the world these past few years where miracles are taking place and the response of the people is one of surprise, not expectation. In fact, I heard a Vineyard pastor say not that long ago that he didn’t really know John, and his model and influence comes from a different Movement. He in fact said he doesn’t particularly like the whole signs and wonders part. And I know this Movement that’s influencing him doesn’t move in the gifts.

That’s fine to me, except it left me wondering as to why he is a pastor and leader in the Vineyard Movement? What is happening now in the Vineyard that he signed up for and bought into?

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Sex in the Pews

Today I’m starting a new series on my YouTube channel called Radical Bible which aims to do Bible study in a prophetic, profound and a bit provoking way. The first episode is about people having sex in church pews and what to do when ministry gets messy.

Why Heidi Baker and Bill Johnson Love Azusa

My newest video on the HSA Youtube channel is about the Azusa Now event in Los Angeles last month and how the Lord put the Azusa Street revival on my heart six years ago. What the Lord did there is absolutely amazing. Just take a look at this testimony from the first issue of the Azusa magazine Apostolic Faith, published in September 1906:

A Mohammedan, a Soudanese by birth, a man who is an interpreter and speaks sixteen languages, came into the meetings at Azusa Street and the Lord gave him messages which non but himself could understand. he identified, interpreted and wrote in a number of the languages.

Not only were the miracles at Azusa astonishing but its still ongoing global impact is breathtaking. In the video I refer to my PCPJ interview with Jennifer Miskov who has written a book called Ignite Azusa together with Baker, Johnson and Lou Engle. She argues that a new revival greater than that of Azusa will birth a new Jesus Movement that combines miracles with community living and total reconciliation between people.

Amen to that!

Azusa Now: Massive Miracles and Radical Reconciliation

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On Saturday, over 100,000 people will gather in Los Angeles to celebrate the 110’th anniversary of the Azusa Street revival and passionately pray for a new revival to break lose. The event is called Azusa Now and is arranged by TheCall. Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson and Daniel Kolenda will speak at the event, so expect it to be huge! It will be streamed online for those who can’t attend.

Jennifer Miskov has been laying the ground for the event by authoring a book called Ignite Azusa: Positioning for a New Jesus Revolution. Being a Vineyarder from John Wimber’s own church in Anaheim, she has a heart to combine charismatic fire with worship and compassion. She knows Heidi Baker and Bill Johnson well and she has founded an amazing charismatic intentional community called Destiny House in Redding.

Last weekend I got the opportunity to interview Dr. Miskov for Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice. Here’s an excerpt:

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Swedish Miraculous Jesus Hippies

Jesus March in Stockholm, 1974. Photo: Jan-Gunnar Jansson

Jesus March in Stockholm, 1974. Photo: Jan-Gunnar Jansson

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 SwĂ€rd 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…)

Language Miracles

The Bible describes how the early Christians were able to speak new existing languages when the Holy Spirit baptized them. There are reports of this happening in modern times as well.

J.W. Hutchins was baptised by the Holy Spirit at the Asuza Street revival in Los Angeles in 1906, and when she spoke in tongues a man who had been a missionary to Uganda exclaimed that she spoke the Luganda language. She also heard the external, audible voice of God telling her to go to Africa, so she became a missionary.

My pastor Hans Sundberg experienced something similar when he was evangelizing on the streets of Uppsala, Sweden, in the 70’s. He was debating with a man from Iran who believed in BahĂĄ’Ă­, when his friend Maria came and prayed for him silently. She prayed louder and louder, and Hans realized that she was praying in tongues. The Iranian man dropped his jaw and stared at Maria, understanding every word. She was speaking in Farsi about Jesus, although she didn’t know farsi.

In 2011, Hans was visiting Nepal to teach at a Bible school run by Touching Asia. During a prayer session before class, a man at the front spoke loudly in tongues. Afterwards, another student came to him and asked him some questions, and everyone became really excited. hans asked them what was going on, and they explained that there are over 20 languages in Nepal, and when the man had spoken in tongues he had been unknowingly prophesying to the other man in his own language, that wasn’t spoken by so many, about a coming revival to his village. (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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Heidi and Rolland Baker’s Extremely Inspiring Christmas Greeting!

Praise God for Heidi and Rolland Baker! These wonderful missionaries in Mozambique are so passionate about the love of the Father, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit, and their missionary organization Iris Global has experienced glorious revival for the last 20 years. Their Christmas greeting above was published a few days after Christmas (probably because of the amazingly beautiful editing) but who cares about that when the video is a masterpiece when it comes to inspiration, passion and faith?

Heidi shares how 2014 has been a challenge for Iris because of the horrible floods in Mozambique, but she is amazed by how God used countless radical disciples to serve, encourage and relieve the suffering population and bring the Gospel of hope and life. As I’ve written before on this blog, Iris experiences amazing miracles like the blind seeing and the deaf hearing while helping the poor and vulnerable with good, serious development assistance.

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Since I’m a monthly donor to Iris I also got a physical Christmas greeting from the Bakers, this postcard with a nice worship CD. The reason they send their supporters worship music is so that their love for Jesus may increase, they say. I love it. They’re just great. God bless them!

Fire in the Desert

From Jesus Army’s excellent Radical Christian History blog:
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In the 4th Century, an astonishing movement of revolutionary Christianity was started – in the desert.

IN OCTOBER 312, the Roman Emperor, Constantine, claimed that the Christians’ God had helped him crush his enemies and secure power at the Battle of Milvian Bridge. This marked the end of persecution and the apparent promotion of the Church to a privileged position in society. “Christendom” was born – the Church was wedded to the political power of the day.

In reality, Christendom was a dreadful deception. The Church for the most part abandoned its call to be a countercultural embodiment of the Kingdom of Jesus – which He had described as “not of this world”. Empire and Church were mingled. The proclamation of the gospel was largely drowned out in the clamour of the marching feet of imperial armies. “Love your enemies” morphed into “slay the barbarian”.

Some, however, resisted this development. Men such as Antony, Pachomius and Macarius and other Desert Fathers forsook wealth and influence and moved to the desert. Here they formed radical communities, a quiet but powerful alternative to the political Christianity of the empire.

Antony

StAnthonyAntony was a true pioneer, whose influence is still felt today. Born in Egypt about AD 251, his parents died when he was young, leaving him a small fortune. One day he heard a Christian quote Jesus’ words: If you would be perfect, go sell all you have, give to the poor, and come follow Me (Matt.19:21). They cut him like a knife. He sold his estate and became the disciple of a godly pastor.Yet his heart grew restless. He didn’t belong to the world he saw around him. He felt a strong pull to the desert beyond the Nile. Here hot and cold, flood and drought engaged men in a daily, physical battle for life itself. To Antony, this mirrored the human soul in its battle between flesh and spirit, love for God and love of self. Here too was a pioneering adventure, where only the real would make it. (more…)