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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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."
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."
description also incorporates the fact that the shaman accomplishes his
purposes by "spirit possession" -- meaning that the shaman is
possessed by evil spirits.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Sunnyside, Washington 98944
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