February 19, 2016
Thinking about centuries of tradition within the church world, you understand that the terms, “apostle” or “prophet,” were neglected and even frowned upon when referring to certain leaders who were particularly anointed by the Lord to accomplish things and lay foundations in areas where there were none.
Growing up with parents whose lives manifested everything the Word describes as “apostolic,” the cessationist doctrines that have permeated the body of Christ since the fourth century were baffling to me. Dad would have cringed if someone had referred to him as an apostle (the term, “missionary” was the only thing he could refer to or relate to as his calling) and yet he was the epitome of an apostle. He laid foundations where no one else had gone. Though things have changed in the years since, the denomination Dad was with could not comprehend the realm of the apostolic, and twice thought they could enforce mandates on him that would have violated everything God was instructing him to do.
His travels and ministry throughout the arctic, laying foundations in the lives of a people who knew little of the Lord Jesus Christ (other than religious tradition which blinded them to the truth) and even less of Holy Spirit became a pattern for the generations of ministers who have followed. Many would-be “missionaries” or pastors who thought they could step into the ministries he established soon discovered otherwise, and a few even abandoned the communities where the denomination had sent them. Their Bible College training did little to prepare them for the reality of building on the foundations that Dad had laid, along with some of the others who followed in his foundational footsteps, like Arvin Glandon, Paul Bills, or Dwain McKenzie – just to name a few.
Having an evangelist like Howard Anderson traveling the coastline with Dad in this journey increased the effectiveness of the ministry as they traversed the arctic coastline. Jesus never sent any of His disciples out by themselves. They traveled two-by-two. It increased the manifestation of Holy Spirit’s working in their midst, and the two of them reinforced one another.
By the time they reached Barter Island, the villagers in Kaktovik were expecting them. Incidentally, word spreads very quickly in the arctic whether you have telephone or radio or nothing. We used to refer to it as "Mukluk Telegraph." You never know how word manages to travel so quickly, but it does!
By the time Dad and Howard had wrapped up their ministry at Barter Island and prepared to head back, there was a fairly decent contingent of folks there who wanted their own church, so preparations were made to build a church in Kaktovik. Although I didn't participate in the building of that church, my brother did.
In the next few years to come, churches similar to the ones we built at Wainwright and Point Hope would be erected at Nuiqsut and Atqasuk. Out of that one missionary journey from Kotzebue to Barter Island came the core of the people who were the foundation of five churches: (from east to west) the church at Barter Island (Kaktovik), Nuiqsut, Wainwright, Atqasuk and Point Hope. Nuiqsut and Atqasuk did not have their churches until the late 1960's or early 1970's (sorry, but I've forgotten those dates) when those communities became official towns in Alaska.
By that time, I was pastoring in Salt Lake City, and then in Long Beach, California with Dwain McKenzie, so I was not part of building them. Nevertheless, when the time came, Dad was supervising all of the churches in the arctic, and when requests came for new churches to be added in those communities, he had already been through this exercise many times. He provided the people in those villages with the building plans and the bill of materials, along with making the contacts for them to purchase all of their necessary supplies and get them shipped.
David Frankson was the postmaster at Point Hope. I'm not sure how long he had filled that position, but I suspect he was likely only the third or fourth postmaster in the village's whole history. A wizened sort of a guy, he was the perfect caricature of a hunter and trapper -- and he certainly did his fair share of both in order to keep meat on the table for his rather large family.
David was also a longtime Episcopalian and a solid member of the Episcopal church at Point Hope. Those early Episcopal missionaries had the spiritual goods when they established that church many decades earlier, and the next two or three generations of ministers who followed them did their best to lay some decent foundations in the people of the village. What they and the more recent generations did not have was an understanding of spiritual warfare, nor any concept of how evil spirits capitalize on ancient traditions to hold people in captivity.
Tradition is one of the greatest snares to spiritual advancement and growth in one's walk with Jesus Christ. If that tradition happens to be founded in what folks so glibly refer to as "mother nature," animism (the belief that certain animals embody spiritual power and authority, and are due reverence and worship), and shamanism.
So that you better understand shamanism, let me cite a paragraph or two from the Encarta Encyclopedia's definition: [A Shaman is a] religious specialist, originally found in hunting-gathering cultures, which are loosely structured, technologically simple, and homogeneous. The word shaman is derived from a word in the Tungusic language of Siberia, one of the areas in which the classical form of shamanism is found.
Although a shaman can achieve religious status by heredity, personal quest, or vocation, the recognition and call of the individual is always an essential part of that individual's elevation to the new status. The shaman, usually a man, is essentially a medium, a mouthpiece of the spirits who became his familiars at his initiation, during which he frequently undergoes prolonged fasts, seclusion, and other ordeals leading to dreams and visions. Training by experienced shamans follows.
The main religious tasks of a shaman are healing and divination.
Both are achieved either by spirit possession or by the departure of the
shaman's soul to heaven or to the underworld. Shamans also divine the
whereabouts of game, the position of the enemy, and the best way of
safeguarding and increasing the food supply. Shamans may occupy an elevated
social and economic position, especially if they are successful healers. © 1993-2003
Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.]
Shamans have been a part of Eskimo and Indian culture for many centuries, and shamanistic tradition was certainly ingrained in the Inupiat culture of the arctic coasts of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. Encarta's description incorporates several words all Christians should find extremely enlightening -- particularly in light of God's command to His people.
In Deuteronomy 18:10-21, we are told, "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
"Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the LORD said unto me, They have well-spoken that which they have spoken.
"I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
“But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
"And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."
Now, I may be a bit long in my quotation from Deuteronomy 18, but I wanted to draw the complete picture for you so you can understand the bondage of people who live under shamans, witches, fortune tellers, astrologers, mediums and the like. Encarta's description of a shaman includes "divination" and "a consulter with familiar spirits."
That description also incorporates the fact that the shaman accomplishes his purposes by "spirit possession" -- meaning that the shaman is possessed by evil spirits.
The shaman certainly does not accomplish his goals and purposes by and through the Holy Spirit, and God's Word makes very clear the fact that He directs His people through a prophet whom He calls, commissions and anoints to speak only what He says. The consequence under the Law of Moses for the person who dared speak as an oracle or mouthpiece of God words that did not come from Him was death.
You see, God's purpose is to direct His people to health, to strength, to prosperity, to abundant living -- all in stark contrast to those who listen to the voices of evil spirits.
One of Encarta's descriptions of the shaman is that he occupies an elevated social and economic position. You may recall the story I shared with you in the series of Coffee Breaks titled, 15 STEPS, of the young man -- "Johnny" -- who had been being prepared and "anointed" to become the next shaman in Barrow, and the disastrous outcome of his life when he failed to receive the deliverance he needed from those evil spirits.
The shaman in Point Hope certainly occupied an elevated social position in the minds of the villagers, and -- like all shamans -- parlayed his position for control over and in the lives of those people who revered the power and authority he was perceived to possess. To a large extent, the local shaman's influence in the community had been largely lost to the message of Jesus Christ and previous Episcopal priests who genuinely preached the Gospel.
When we arrived in Point Hope, however, the community had been through a period of declining influence of the Gospel due to watered-down preaching from priests who did not know the Lord personally, and simply held their titles and positions for political and personal reasons. Correspondingly, the power and influence of the shaman had been increasing, and he had played his position and perceived authority for all it was worth.
The extent of his "divination" of where the best hunting was for the villagers was more hype than reality, and his use of incantations, spells, potions and the like to create an aura of "healing" for sick people was more deception than reality. The "healed" people often began to suffer from recurrence of their illnesses, diseases or afflictions, and because they had experienced momentary relief during their previous "healing" episodes with the shaman, they would return for more of the same. Through this repetitious cycle of perceived "healing" the shaman gained in influence and perceived spiritual power. What no one seemed to see (and in truth their eyes had been blinded by evil spirits) was that no real healing was taking place. The people were simply being kept in bondage to the shaman.
The priest who was serving the Episcopal church at Point Hope when we arrived found himself in a battle of wills and a continual vying for power and influence. Because he lacked any real spiritual authority, those who continued their attendance in the church did so more out of tradition and habit than out of receiving any real ministry.
The priest found himself having to play the same manipulative games the shaman used, often deploying fear as a tactic, along with threats that if the people did not follow his direction, when they died they would not be buried in the "sacred" cemetery with the rest of the Christians. Sorry for the long preface to today's story, but I wanted you to see the spiritual darkness that prevailed in Point Hope when we arrived.
David Frankson was among those villagers who had experienced genuine salvation when Dad and Howard Andersen had pitched their tent and held their evangelistic meetings during their coastal journey. His near-lifetime attachment to the Episcopal church, however, kept him faithful in his attendance and that of his family; and when we opened the doors of the new church for the first time, the Frankson family was not there.
There were curiosity-seekers who came to find out what we were doing and saying for the first few weeks, but apart from two or three families who decided to break from their traditions and become a part of the new church, attendance and participation was pretty sparse to begin with.
It was a stark contrast to Barrow and Wainwright, and harked back to the early days of Dad's ministry in Nome. A group of young teenage girls in the village took to Mom, however, and though they were afraid (because of peer pressure and family pressure) to come to the regular church services, they gladly participated in a club that Mom decided to call "The Esthers." Patterned after Esther in Old Testament times, Mom used the opportunity to train these young girls in social graces while at the same time drawing a picture of the call of Jesus Christ as King to his bride-in-preparation.
One of the young girls who was drawn to the message of Jesus Christ was David Frankson's daughter, Rosa. One day as Mom was sharing, Rosa and a couple of her friends responded to the quickening of the Holy Spirit and made Jesus Christ Lord of their lives. Not long thereafter, Rosa was baptized in the Holy Spirit.
The change in this 12-year-old girl was nothing short of spectacular. She changed from being a timid youngster to a bold and outspoken preacher of the Gospel, testifying to her friends and peers of the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
Next week I’ll share with you the story of the first Eskimo martyr – the 12-year-old Rosa Frankson – who refused to give up her testimony in the face of threats and persecution.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call takes place on Mondays at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Our call-in number has changed to (712) 775-7035. The new Access Code is: 323859#. For Canadians who have difficulty getting in to this number, you can call(559) 546-1400. If someone answers and asks what your original call-in number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (605) 562-3140, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
Sunnyside, Washington 98944
Email Contact: Admin@RiverWorshipCenter.org
Coffee Break articles are copyright by Regner A. Capener, but authorization for
reprinting, reposting, copying or re-use, in whole or in part, is granted
–provided proper attribution and this notice are included intact. Older Coffee
Break archives are available at http://www.RegnersMorningCoffee.com. Coffee Break
articles are normally published weekly.
If you would like to have these articles arrive each morning in your email, please send a blank email to: Subscribe@AnotherCoffeeBreak.com.To remove yourself from the mailing list, please send a blank email to Unsubscribe@AnotherCoffeeBreak.com.
CAPENER MINISTRIES is a tax-exempt church ministry. Should you desire to participate and covenant with us as partners in this ministry, please contact us at either of the above email or physical addresses, or visit: http://www.RiverWorshipCenter.org.