Delivered!
~a newsletter for former Pentecostals/Charismatics everywhere~
edited by The Association of Former Pentecostals
http://ex-pentecostals.org


Affiliated with " Ex-Apostolics: The Association of Former Pentecostals "
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ex-apostolics
© 2002. The Association of Former Pentecostals  All Rights Reserved.
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                                                                         Volume 1, Issue 2
                                                                            April 15, 2002
Table of Contents
         1.  Welcome
         2.  Pentecostals In the News. . .
         3.  Cover Story
         4.  Famous Pentecostals
         5.  Spotlight On. . .
         6.  Letters to the Editor
         7.  Editorial
         8.  Prayer

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                                                      ~Welcome~

Welcome, subscribers, to the second edition of "Delivered!" newsletter!  In preparing for the May newsletter, I had collected so much more information than I really needed that  I decided to stop, clean it up, and release the newsletter a month earlier.  As of now, I'm backing off calling it a quarterly; ffrom now on, I'll refer to it as a "periodical" with the short term goal of putting out five a year, instead of four.  However, this is only a temporary goal.  If the information flow continues, my current personal schedule would allow me to publish one every other month -- making it a bimonthly.  This is my long-term goal, but I'll wait until the next issue is out (tentatively June or July at this rate) before making such a commitment.

I actually had more items than I could fit in this newsletter, so I'll have to postpone an article concerning church growth among Pentecostal and Charismatic churches.  I'll include this in a later issue.  This issue has eight news stories, two profiles, and commentary on modern spiritual gifts.

We hope you enjoy it, and will send it to other friends in your e-mail address book!

God Bless!
The Association of Former Pentecostals
Editor___________________________________________________________________
                                      ~PENTECOSTALS IN THE NEWS*~
                                                 © 2002. The Association of Former Pentecostals  All Rights Reserved.

TWO AG MISSIONARIES INJURED IN PAKISTAN BLAST

Most of us heard the news recently of the terrorist bombing at the Protestant International Church in Islamabad, Pakistan.  A total of five people were killed, along with two Americans; as many as 43 were injured.  The Assemblies of God News Service announced recently that two of the injured were members of AG affiliated churches.  These missionaries had returned to Pakistan after the 9/11 incident to complete their unfinished work.
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MINISTERIAL SEXUAL ABUSE CASES

The Catholic church is reeling from international accusations about child molestation from its priests.  Many dioceses face stark financial futures as they sort out how they will pay for the sins of the predators wearing their priestly robes.  At least one is facing complete liquidation of their assets in this growing scandal that is shaking the entire Roman Catholic Church.  But are they alone?

The Christian Science Monitor recently published an article citing a report on child molestation by religious figures that dates back to 1985.  They state that the number of crimes in this subcategory are increasing, but are by no means isolated to the Roman Catholic Church within the United States.  As the largest Christian church in America, they do account for about half of the cases, but the rest are composed of the following Protestant denominations: Baptist, Methodists, Episcopal priests, and . . . Pentecostals.
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CELINE'S HUSBAND SUED FOR RAPING A FULL-GOSPEL MINISTER

In another story of sexual misconduct, a civil lawsuit was filed in March against singer Celine Dion's husband and manager Rene Angelil for allegedly raping a female Full Gospel minister, the Rev'd Yun Kyeong Sung Kwon, after following her back to her hotel room from Caesar's Palace.  Angelil had settled with the woman earlier due to a fondling claim the woman made before concerning the same alleged incident, but has stated that he agreed to a settlement only because he was too sick with throat cancer to fight her at the time.  He has stated that this time, he will not be afraid to meet her in court to challenge her alleged claims.
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TULSA PASTOR LOSES MAYORAL BID DUE TO CONTROVERSY

Bishop Carlton Pearson, pastor of the 4,500 member Higher Dimensions Family Church, was unsuccessful in his bid to be Tulsa's first black, Republican mayor after losing last month's primary.  The Pentecostal minister, a graduate of Oral Roberts University, told Charisma News Service recently that the loss was due to a controversial doctrine he has been teaching lately called "The Gospel of Inclusion," which sparked a controversy he was unable to overcome despite a well planned campaign that included TV commercials with Deion Sanders and Kathy Lee Gifford.

This "doctrine" focuses on salvation through Jesus Christ, which has saved everyone since Calvary (though not necessarily to their knowledge), and contradicts what many mainstream Christian faiths teach about "original sin" and salvation through an active belief in Christ.  He stated that his opponents used this to ensure that Tulsa's Christians would vote against him in the Republican primary.
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MAYOR, COG PASTOR BANISH SATAN FROM TOWN

Last Halloween, the Mayor of Inglis, Florida, Carolyn Risher, was distressed about the dressing habits of the youth in her town and decided to do something about it.  To her, it seemed the workings of Satan were afoot in her small, tranquil town of less than 1,400, so she sat down and wrote a mayoral proclamation banning Satan from her town, henceforth!

A preacher friend of hers, the Rev'd Richard Moore of Yankeetown Church of God had had a similar idea before, and wanted to place hollow posts on each of the town's entranceways with prayers tucked inside.  The mayor improved the plan by adding the proclamation.

Some in the town support her as they see Satan's handiwork in the calamities of everyday life, but some feel she is embarrassing the town through the international attention this story has brought to their town.  Even the ACLU has stepped in threatening lawsuit feeling that this violates church-state separation.

While Inglis ponders its newfound attention, demonic forces must now ponder her proclamation that includes such lines as "Satan is hereby declared powerless, no longer ruling over, nor influencing, our citizens. . .," or "By that authority, and through His Blessed Name, we command all Satanic and demonic forces to cease their activities and depart the town of Inglis."
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AG PASTOR PREACHES TO THE . . . SENATE?

When Colorado State Senator Dave Owen (R-Greeley) invited a local pastor to be the guest chaplain and open his chamber with prayer one morning, he and his colleagues in the Upper House received quite a surprise.  Pastor David Meek of Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Greeley was supposed to deliver a nonsectarian prayer, but instead did as he "felt led in the spirit."

In his prayer, Pastor Meek prayed that they would "reverse the Roe vs. Wade so we can stop the killing and murder of the innocent little babies," urged female Senators model themselves after Esther, invited them to accept Jesus, and prayed for a Holy Ghost revival within the Senate and the state of Colorado.  Many female Senators left the room mid-prayer, as did others offended by his remarks.  The pastor had been told to be respectful of other cultures prior to the prayer, but did as he pleased leaving his Senator to apologize later "for any that were offended."

Many, including the preacher's wife, have stated that such is to be expected when a Pentecostal minister is invited to pray at such an event.
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AG CHURCH SUED OVER EXORCISM

In Tarrant County, Texas, a judge has awarded one Laura Schubert $300,000 in a civil case that charged the pastor and several members of Colleyvilles's Pleasant Glade Assembly of God with abuse and false imprisonment.  Ms. Schubert successfully claimed in court that on two occasions, members of this church attempted to "exorcise" her after anointing the church with holy oil, and propping up a cross against the door to keep demonic forces out, according to a report by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  These attempts were particularly abusive to Ms. Schubert, spurring this lawsuit; however the church claims in a statement that "We are a Bible-believing, Pentecostal church.  For this we make no apologies."
Our thanks to Lois Gibson for bringing this story to our attention!
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FOURSQUARE PASTOR OUSTED FOR ABUSE-RELATED OFFENSE

Associate Pastor Paul Ilger of Hope Chapel of the Valley didn't get fired for molesting four students while he had been a second-grade teacher.  The church leadership of this congregation associated with the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel already knew of his checkered past, and gave him duties that limited his access to children, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.  The members of this Pentecostal church did not know; however, and when the pastor explained his jail time to one member as being due to his environmental activism, the member became suspicious, did a little detective work, and discovered the truth.

The truth did not set the pastor free, however.  In this course of this being brought to light, the church discovered that that pastor was not registered at his new residence as a sex offender, which is required by law.  The whole truth being known, the pastor has been relieved of his duties at the church, and is facing California's famed Three Strikes punishment since his failure to register offense is his third crime in the state.
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TAMMY FAYE BLINKS AGAIN*!
The Many Lives of the Former Televangelist
Cover Story

© 2002. The Association of Former Pentecostals  All Rights Reserved.
Regardless of what you feel about the former Queen of Christian Television, one can't help but respect her tenacity, her courage, and her longevity.  Raised in a strict Assemblies of God home, she eventually married the young minister whose evangelism on television would make her a household name.  After marrying young Jim Bakker, they set about on their journey, creating "The 700 Club" for Pat Robertson's ministry, starting TBN with Paul and Jan Crouch and eventually settled down to create "PTL," or "Praise the Lord."  Their ministry would outshine their previous work, creating a large Charismatic empire that rivaled any at that time, and even still many today.  At the pinnacle of their career, their ministry had built a theme park, Heritage-USA, whose annual attendance rate at its peak was only surpassed by the two Walt Disney parks.  And yet, because of her husband's mortal tendencies, their combined lavish lifestyle, and the blind ambition of the Rev'd. Jimmy Falwell, their empire crashed faster than Enron's stock value.

One would think that with her husband's marital betrayal, the ensuing moral and financial scandals, and her public humiliation, that she would simply dissolve and go away; but, she survived it indeed, and still feels there's more work for her to do.

Since the scandals, she's abandoned much of the evangelical intolerance she had preached before, almost as quickly as the Charismatic community had abandoned her.  She divorced Jim Bakker while he was in prison, and married Roe Messner -- who had been a contractor with Heritage-USA -- a man she claims to let her be herself.  In a recent Larry King interview on CNN (March 6, 2002), she claims to not even watch current Christian programming due to all the pain that had happened in the past.

Though she still claims to be an ordained minister, her recent work is mostly that of an entertainment sort, or marketing her own wares.  Her recent forays include a failed talk show, "The Jim J. and Tammy Faye Show," and a recent documentary on her life and life after the ministry, "The Eyes of Tammy Faye."  She has a new book out: "Tammy: Telling It My Way," and an intermittent one woman show.  She also states that she has a new television show in the works, possibly a cartoon.

Though her previous ministry robbed many of their finances and perhaps their faith, her new life is one of love, entertainment (often at her own expense), and acceptance; characteristics that even Tammy would agree are often lacking in the popular Evangelical Charismatic movements of today.
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Famous (Ex) Pentecostals
EX-APOSTOLIC TURNS POP STAR DIVA*!
A Profile On Toni Braxton

© 2002. The Association of Former Pentecostals  All Rights Reserved.
A few years ago, fans of pop star diva Toni Braxton were shocked to see the beautiful songstress posed nude and seminude (albeit with limbs strategically placed) in the pages of a popular magazine.  Although it was all for the sake of promoting her album at the time, most of her fans thought that her voice alone was advertisement enough to sell her music.

No one has held this against her though; each of her albums do very well in record sales, and provide several hit singles for pop and R&B radio stations around the world.  One would think with her sultry alto voice, and her soulful styling, that she came from a rich, musical tradition perhaps similar to a family so involved in the music industry like that of Whitney Houston whose mother was a backup singer for Elvis, and whose cousin Dione Warwick was a top popular singer herself.

Toni wasn't so fortunate.  She was raised in a large family in Maryland, one of five children in her household.  There were no famous relatives; her father was an Apostolic minister who forbade her and her siblings to even listen to popular music, much less aspire to work in that industry.  Their lifestyle was very strict, as are the lives of all of this particular Pentecostal faith.  Unlike many congregations in this faith, television wasn't forbidden (though some programs were), so when her parents were away or asleep, Toni and her sisters would sneak into a room (or perhaps at a friends house) and watch popular music programs, especially Soul Train.  They would also sing in the choir at church.

In later years, their father lightened up, and in the very early nineties, she formed a singing group with her sisters, The Braxtons.  They were discovered by Arista Records who promptly signed them to a contract.  They made one single, "The Good Life," which never materialized into a hit, but it attracted them to her longtime producers, Babyface, and L.A. Reid.  They saw quite a bit of potential in Toni as a solo act, and produced her first album, "Toni Braxton," in 1993, which sold over 2 million records in the US alone, and earned her a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1993.

Since then, she has gone on to make two more pop/R&B albums, a holiday album, and countless hit singles.  A new album, now untitled, is scheduled to be released this year, and is her first under a new label and new producer.  It promises to be a hit as the singer herself has shown herself to more than a "one-hit-wonder," and has moved into the rank of Pop Diva with fellow singers Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, and Mariah Carey.

Albums:
Snowflake (Arista)- 2001
The Heat (Arista) - 2000
Secrets (LaFace) - 1996
Toni Braxton (LaFace) - 1993

Hit Singles include:
Just Be A Man About It (Arista Records) 2000
Unbreak My Heart (LaFace) 1996
Breathe Again (LaFace) 1993
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SPOTLIGHT ON. . .                    ~Ex-Pentecostals~

As most of you know, this newsletter was an outgrowth of another ministry started earlier, a e-mail support group for Oneness Pentecostals called "Ex-Apostolics."  In that group, many joined from other Pentecostal sects, and to my surprise, many shared experiences of spiritual abuse very similar to those that group was formed for.  I was planning to create a newsletter for this particular group, but was inspired to make it for the "broader" growing group of Ex-Pentecostals and former Charismatics due to this.

This month, I'm pleased to announce the creation of a new e-mail support and discussion group simply called "Ex-Pentecostals."  It is aimed at this larger group (along with this newsletter), and will serve to provide a medium of communication, fellowship, and support for all who've left (or are considering leaving) any Pentecostal faith, or a Charismatic congregation.  It is open to all former Pentecostals, including current members of "Ex-Apostolics" (though this is not an attempt to replace that first group).

To join, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ex-pentecostals and choose the "join" command, or simply send a blank e-mail to Ex-Pentecostals-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.
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                                               ~Letters to the Editor**~

Dear Editor,
I wish to make a comment on the article by Karen (Vol. 1, Issue 1, Feb 15, 2002) regarding her personal experience with the Islamic priest or "Imam." As much as I appreciate her encounter of a loving person of different faith, I must stress that it is not the same God that she heard. I am from Malaysia and the majority of the population are Muslim. Although we enjoy freedom of worship, but we also are fully aware that we pray to a different God. To this people of Ishmael lineage, we are infidels and at most only tolerated. We are treated as second or no class people. We can be removed to serve their higher cost if necessary. Certainly their Allah is not our God. Sorry to differ with you Karen, but the love they project to you is not Calvary's love. I was a victim of spiritual abuse in my former church, but that is another story which I hope to share another time.
Thank you.

Alan Phua, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Karen shared with our group later that communications with this gentleman eventually turned into a more dogmatic, doctrinal direction, and that they no longer communicate.  The reason I printed the story was to show how we can see God in many things, though all things are not necessarily of or within the Will of God. - AFoP Editor
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EDITORIAL
"All That Glitters*. . ."

© 2002. The Association of Former Pentecostals  All Rights Reserved.
For this editorial, I'd like to start a special series of articles focusing on unusual gifts of the spirit.  This series won't appear in each newsletter, but as I gather enough information to present.

The "gift" I would like to focus on in this issue is a strange phenomenon of gold dust and gold fillings that "miraculously" appear in many Charismatic churches and revivals today.  The first I had heard of this was shortly after moving to my current town of residence, and starting a new place of employment.  One of my supervisors told me about the church she was attending -- a former UPCI church -- where gold dust appeared on everyone in the audience during a special service held by an evangelist who is "known" to preside over such "miracles."

After hearing this, I did further research, and discovered these occurrences have been claimed for several years in churches in South America and South Africa, and became popular in the States and in Europe after their prominence in the infamous Toronto Blessing movement and the "revivals" this group inspired.

With the gold dust issue, apparently it is supposed to happen as I mentioned, and there are claims that state that it is actual gold either miraculously appearing on worshippers, or descending from the air.  With the so-called dental miracles, there have been claims that plain amalgam fillings have been turned to gold (or sometimes silver or platinum), often happening to dozens of people within a single service.

After these "occurrences" took place in many American churches, some investigations were done, and some startling results were found -- even when the "research" was done by these churches to bolster their "miracle" ministries.  In some churches, the gold dust was discovered to simply be gold colored plastic flakes, or glitter; many churches refused to have the "dust" analyzed and simply took the issue "on faith."  With the dental "miracles," some claimants simply forgot their dentist had already given them gold fillings, while other gold claims were simply discovered to be "shiny," but not gold.  One lady became disturbed and doubted her faith in God as the "gold" coloring on her teeth faded after a period of time.

No research I have found has proved that overt fraud was involved by a church or individual in creating these "miracles," but often these claims come up short and have perfectly reasonable scientific explanations.  It seems that these claims have the potential to do more harm that good when, as one critic claimed, that instead of stopping wars or ending hunger, it would give the impression that God is more concerned with changing dental work.

One minister remarked in one report after it was suggested that some of these "miracles" did not involve actual gold, and I paraphrase, that it didn't matter what it really was, just as long as God was involved in the actual miracle.  'Nuff said!
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                                                    ~A Prayer~

DAILY PRAYER

Holy Creator, Who dwells in Heaven,
Yet surrounds us with Your eternal Presence;
Your name alone brings us hope, peace and love.

Bring to us today these promises;
And from our hearts remove doubt, despair, fear and hatred.
Let your presence and dominion come down and
Be felt by our hearts and our souls.

Help us to fulfill in our lives
The potential you have planned for us.
And give us the guidance to walk that path;
And the faith to see us through.

Forgive us for our shortcomings, Lord,
And help us to understand, forgive, and then love
Those whose actions have caused us to remove our eyes from You.

We know that You would never lead us astray;
So, help us, Lord, to leave selfishness behind and embrace love.
For you know the path our souls seek to find;
Your Love and Spirit encompass all Eternity.
We Love You, O Lord!
Amen.

- by The Association of Former Pentecostals Inspired by the Lords Prayer.  Not copyrighted.
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About Delivered!
Delivered! is a FREE periodical newsletter for former Pentecostals/Charismatics everywhere, distributed by e-mail only.  It is affiliated with a e-mail group called "Ex-Apostolics: The Association of Former Pentecostals."  The next publication date is June or July, 2002.  To subscribe to Delivered! or to join Ex-Apostolics, please use the links below.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/delivered
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http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ex-pentecostals
 
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Comments? Submissions?
Do you have a news story, poem, essay, critical review, song lyrics, short short story, original prayer, factoid or any other literary item that you wish to share with the subscribers of this newsletter?  All contributions from former Pentecostals are welcome for consideration!  If interested, go to Delivered! newsletter's main website, click "files," and download "Submission Rules."

All other submissions (Letters to the Editor, complaints, compliments, other comments) must be sent to the contact@ex-pentecostals.org with: COMMENTS in the title space.  The editor reserves the right to publish any comments in future issues of this newsletter ~Anon Editor
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©2001-2002. The Association of Former Pentecostals  All Rights Reserved.  All stories, opinions, and other text in this newsletter, Delivered!, are the personal copyrighted property of The Association of Former Pentecostals, unless otherwise noted. No portion of this newsletter may be reproduced by any means without the expressed permission of the author(s).  To request permission for reproducing materials contained within this newsletter, please e-mail The Association of Former Pentecostals at contact@ex-pentecostals.org for more information.

*each news item and profile is compiled from several media sources, and as such is considered public knowledge and not copyright infringement.  When only one source is used, every effort is given to give proper credit to the news source.
**contributions and experiences by former Pentecostals do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editor of this newsletter.
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