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Charismatic Leaders Fellowship 2018

I was somewhat disappointed in the fact that her presentation covered only the Catholic perspective on exorcism. I wondered if this is how she teaches the seminarians. In the question and answer session, I asked her if she was familiar with the Pentecostal contribution by Frank and Ida Mae Hammond, Pigs in the Parlor, with its revolutionary contribution to ministering to schizophrenics. She acknowledged she was aware of it, but did not indicate it was part of her program for seminarians or that the Pentecostal contributions mattered much.

The next presenter was from the Alleluia Community, Chuck Hornsby, an elder and one of its original founders. He presented “tidbits” or various incidents of prayer and spiritual warfare that the Alleluia Community had done in its corporate life. For instance, when they first settled in Faith Village, their cluster of homes, they had a number of break-ins. This was stopped when the members got together and performed a prayer walk around the perimeter of the community.

After that came a presentation by Fr. Timothy Cremeens, a priest of the Orthodox Church and regular attendee of the CLF. He gave a description of Eastern Orthodox liturgy and worship as spiritual protection and warfare. Most of the attendees found this interesting, as few Americans know much about Eastern Orthodoxy. But I found the presentation lacking specifics about spiritual warfare. For instance, when I asked Fr. Cremeens about how the Eastern Orthodox tradition handles ghost hauntings, he described how Orthodox homes are always blessed with holy water – not a very satisfying response. When I pressed further, he responded that on one occasion he had used holy water plus a prayer from one of the Fathers to discharge a ghost. I commented on how the false Gospel of Nicodemus had confused “sheol” with hell and muddled the possibility of our understanding of ghosts.[1] He replied that the Gospel of Nicodemus was loved by many of the Church Fathers, a reply I found puzzling.

Very significant was what transpired the next day, when time was given for mutual prayer and ministry. Fr. Cremeens came to the podium and shared his sorrow (and despair) over the state of Orthodoxy today. He lamented that after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe (1989), the various Orthodox Churches had fallen into a form of “demonic nationalism.” This has resulted in rivalry and non-cooperation among the various Orthodox churches. For instance, Russian bishops and priests bless the men, weapons and bullets of Russian volunteers sent to fight in the Ukraine against Ukrainian Orthodox soldiers. The Russian Orthodox Church boycotted last year’s Orthodox Ecumenical meeting when it appeared it could not get its way [Editor’s note: Pentecostal historian Harold D. Hunter discusses this in his review essay, “Journey with the Orthodox: Biography of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew”]. In America, the various Orthodox churches (Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, etc.) are all losing members and most priests welcome into their parishes only those members who share their ethnic origins. In other words, there is no evangelism at all. Naturally, Orthodox churches are mostly graying and decaying.

As he went on with his, Bob Garrett went to his side and started to pray for him and the Orthodox Churches, and invited all of us to do the same. It was a touching sight, but also a negation of his presentation. Splendid liturgy, incense, vestments, and classical theology are not enough in themselves to prevent serious demonic confusion and destruction in the churches.

The sub-text to all of this is equally tragic. The Orthodox Churches in this country and abroad are contemptuous of the Western churches and their wreckage made by liberal theologies of various sorts, as in acceptance of homosexuality. They will not listen to anything that comes out of American or Western Christendom, such as the splendid literature on spiritual warfare and territorial spirits that has developed in recent decades and could be so helpful to their present situation.

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Category: Ministry, Winter 2018

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include Quenching the Spirit: Discover the Real Spirit Behind the Charismatic Controversy (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015), and The Public Prayer Station: Taking Healing Prayer to the Streets and Evangelizing the Nones (Emeth Press, 2018). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He continues in his healing, teaching and writing ministry and is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook

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