Shalom and grace in the name of Yeshua of Nazareth our Messiah. This is Teddy Chadwick, I’m an American living in Jerusalem, currently on a speaking tour in Sweden, my mom’s homeland. I want to let folks know what’s going on over here so we can join together in prayer for the Kingdom of YHVH to advance. For six weeks so far (since June 15) I have been crisscrossing the land of Sverige ministering the Kingdom of Heaven through preaching, teaching, prayer, and singing. I’ve shared among other things that Jesus’ real name is Yeshua, which in Hebrew/Aramaic means “YHVH has become Salvation.” Of course, I do miss Israel, but the work here is a tough groundbreaking and plowing job that needs to be done.
Sweden prides itself at being the most secular state in the West, and a self-styled leader in secularism. In my travels among the congregations and people I find that the Gospel is viewed as something irrelevant to the general public. I have found some school programs where believers are going into the schools to provide some life as a cultural presentation of Christianity. I did find a couple of outreach programs through outdoor cafe-type activities that seek to strike up conversations with unbelievers and bring them to repentance from things like alcoholism and such things, which is great. I talked to some young people who have an active testimony which they’re willing to share with others, and that’s exciting. Until recently most people were born as automatic members of the State Church of Sweden; yet, the actual percentage of the population which is actively seeking to be disciples is around 3 percent, I’m told. Still, I have found this 3 percent to be quite devoted as they certainly feel like “the minority.”
There is a Church of Sweden (Lutheran) which was the official State Church until a few years ago, but still retains most of the trappings of a government-organized system. There are three movements within this; one towards more tradition, one towards charismaticism (like pentecostals but without any real fire), and one middle-ground movement. I ministered in prayer and worship at a conference of the pentecostal branch of the Church of Sweden and became quite convinced that if there’s no repentance the whole authority structure there is top-heavy control and manipulation that effectively quenches any true move of the Ruach haKodesh. Further, I see clear signs that the pentecostal branch is moving towards Rome, having adopted the adoration of icons and the Roman version of the Nicene Creed (in the conference which I attended) which differs slightly from the Lutheran version of the creed. During one meeting of the conference (which they called a "Mass") they had several "testimonies" related to miracles revolving around icons in some fashion. They had a time of singing in the Spirit which felt like it was written into the program, which is not to say that it was illegitimate. I kept asking people whether the doctrine states that the bread and wine are symbols or that they switch into the actual body and blood of Messiah, and since I couldn’t get any definite answers, I was reticent about partaking in communion. However, as I observed the parade of joyless bearing a burning censer along with a "Jesus Pole," soon finding out the meeting was called a "Mass," and especially getting the creeps during the testimonies related to icons and the reading of the Creed, I decided that we were going to make a prophetic act and walk out before the communion. There are many dear souls who attended that meeting who, I feel, have true hearts that are seeking the Father; however, we just did not feel clear in the Spirit to join in at such a level of intimacy.
There is also a free-church movement in Sweden, some pentecostal and some missions churches. There seems to be quite a bit more freedom there. However, the pentecostal churches are viewed as a single denomination rather than a bunch of sovereign assemblies. The missions churches are also a denomination.
I spent most of my time in free assemblies which are not attached to any denominations at all. There is a move of the prophetic in these groups which is refreshing, with corporate and individual words of prophecy being given out, in some case only by the leader, in other cases by the members which are encouraged by the leader to stretch and stir up this gift. It is these type of groups that the Father has brought me into closest contact with on this trip. I have found the people to be helpful and eager to listen to such a one from Israel, as they differ from the mainstream society in their support for Israel. However, the amount of Christian support is absolutely nothing like that of Norway or Finland, for example. A Swedish Prime Minister in the 60’s became buddies with Yassir Arafat after the Six Days’ War and ever since, Israel can do no good in the eyes of the Swedish public.
I found these small groups to be rather open to hear from the Word, yet, they seem conditioned to accept mainly a preacher vs. audience style delivery, even though these groups are normally less than twenty people. As I sought to teach with a responsive/interactive style, asking questions and forcing people to look at the Bible verses and come up with some answers, I usually found it was like pulling teeth at first. Swedes are fairly conditioned to never share their opinion about things, and generally, all "controversial" topics are immediately dropped without notice, in private conversations. However I found that with a little lovin’ care these small groups could be coaxed to respond a little, but it was tough at first. There is almost zero Berean culture here; that of searching the Scriptures to find if anything is true. I found that some of the things that I taught were soon nullified by the group leader through cell phone calls with the members, or perhaps small comments in the meeting, with barely any Scriptural backing. Because these leaders are "prophetic," there seems to be no need for them to support their traditions with the Bible. I am believing that the planted seeds will grow eventually, but I am a bit disheartened that all my hours and hours of Scripture-based teaching can be undone in such a lame way.
There is also a fledgeling Messianic movement here, with which I have very little contact so far. However I have quickly become aware that the non-divinity of Yeshua HERESY is already taking root. I hope to visit with a Hebrew-roots style pentecostal group one of these days to soundly dispel this myth. This group happens to be in the same town where the leader of a Messianic association of congregations resides, who has this belief, so I hope to make Scripture bandages and stop the bleeding if possible. 1 Corinthians 12:3 is particularly helpful in this, as in the Aramaic it states clearly that Yeshua is YHVH.
The most popular Bible translation here seems to be the "Folk Bibeln," a decent Greek-based translation; however, there is also the "Bibeln 2000" which is a horrendous slash and burn parody which was commissioned by the State in order to present a Book which is nonoffensive to Christians, Muslims, Seculars, homosexuals, you get the idea. It’s quite a poor portrayal of YHVH. I picked up a Gideon’s Swedish/English diglot which pairs the Swedish Bibeln 2000 together with the English NKJV; Within seconds I can see that many verses of the Bibeln 2000 are truncated or completely removed, on practically every page. This is an NT with Psalms and Proverbs. I am actually aghast that such a printing ever got off the presses; but again, the culture here strongly discourages voicing any opinions so this is fertile ground for such a travesty. I’ve also met with some folks from the Bible Society of Sweden and found that they are promoting the Bibleln 2000 as well, in various printed versions.
My goal is to insert the Aramaic English New Testament into this situation here to help restore the true Scriptures to the people. I am hoping it will prompt a lively discussion and searching in the Word. As such, I have introduced the AENT to many people here, and set up a web page for Swedes (and Scandinavians) to place orders:
Bible orders shipping to the USA here:
I have travelled through towns with streets and squares named after pagan Viking false dieties, and one city name refers to trolls, mythical beings of pagan lore. Many of the traditional Church of Sweden buildings are erected on the former sites of pagan rituals, so as to make smooth transition. When an early king of Sweden converted to Christianity, he used a good amount of pressure to force the people to likewise convert, although not as much as in Norway, I’m told. So what I think I’m dealing with here is a nation which has never truly separated from paganism, except in a superficial way.
With all this, I am hopeful. I have met with prayer warriors, preachers, and intercessors who are tuned into the Ruach who have taken me on prayer missions and appointments which have been powerful and fruitful; yet I do not feel I should go into detail here. On the west coast of Sweden I came across a town named "Gravene" which means "Graves." The reason being, the locals used to place false light signals along the coast in order to disturb the navigation of the passing cargo ships. In the storms, the ships would wreck on the rocky coast, and the people would grab all the loot. The bodies of the ships’ crew would wash up on the shore of the town which became known as "Graves." Currently, the town has been renamed "Kungsholm" (King’s Home). Let’s believe together that a mighty move of YHVH would break out across Sweden, bringing in a solid harvest into the Kingdom of Heaven, with a deep revelation of our true Divine Messiah, Yeshua of Nazareth.
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