Jonestown II

Lead: By 1977, hundreds of followers of Jim Jones had moved to an agricultural commune in Guyana on the northeastern coast of South America. Jonestown, however, would be for them no paradise on earth.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Complaints from former members and several burgeoning investigations revealed financial fraud, mistreatment and abuse of members at the cultish People’s Temple of San Francisco during the mid 1970s. To escape the growing scrutiny, Pastor Jim Jones led about 1,000 followers to Guyana. It didn’t take too long for Jones’ promises of an agricultural Utopia to grow quite stale. Deborah Layton Blakey, a former trusted and key member, part of the inner circle, defected. In June 1978 she signed a 37 point affidavit indicting Jones and Jonestown for inhumane living conditions, drug addiction, coercion, armed guards, torture, brainwashing and most disturbing of all - the threat of a revolutionary mass suicide.

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Jonestown III

Lead: On November 18, 1978, Congressman Leo Ryan of California was assassinated in Guyana by followers of cult leader Jim Jones. At the same time Jones was leading his followers in the largest known mass suicide of the twentieth century.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: A day earlier Ryan and a delegation of thirteen arrived at the Jonestown compound, an agricultural commune near the coast of this northeast South American country, the home of the People’s Temple. Ryan was disturbed by reports and allegations he had heard about Jonestown and went in person to investigate.

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John Wesley – II

Lead: John Wesley returned from America in 1737 deeply dissatisfied with his performance as a clergyman and missionary. He was seeking something deeper and said he found it in a heart strangely warmed.

               

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Wesley was a typical orthodox, apparently devout Anglican clergyman in 1737, but his purely intellectual commitment to Christianity and his failed performance as a missionary to the colony of Georgia in the previous two years, awakened in him a powerful sense of despair and spiritual collapse. While in Georgia he had a chance meeting with a group of Moravians, a pietistic sect founded by German Count Nickolaus Zinzendorf. When Wesley returned to London he began to meet with the Moravians and in 1738 during a meeting in Aldersgate Street, had a spiritual encounter he later described as transformative. He recalled his intellectual conviction of the faith confirmed by a strangely warmed heart and a personal religious experience of grace.

John Wesley – I

Lead: In 1738 a little known and skeptical Anglican clergyman, freshly returned from a failed mission to America, encountered what he later described as divine assurance of salvation. From that point, John Wesley’s life was changed.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: John Wesley’s father was a pastor, rector of the small congregation at Epworth not far from the town of Doncaster in east central England. He was the ninth of thirteen children.  Educated at the Charterhouse School in London and Christ Church College, Oxford he assisted his father for several years and entered the Anglican priesthood in 1728. The following year he returned to Oxford to teach and there with his brother Charles and two companions formed a religious study group, which came to be known as the Holy Club. Their methodical approach to study and piety also earned them the uncomplimentary name, “methodists.” The group studied the Bible, visited and counseled prisoners in the castle jail, and distributed food and clothing to the poor. For this activity their fellow students hounded them, but under John Wesley’s leadership the group had modest growth.

Shabbatai Sevi – III: Lurianic Kabbalah

Lead: In the 1600s an explosive upsurge in messianic Judaism laid the groundwork for the claims of a pseudo-messiah, Shabbatai Sevi. His rise was part of a spiritual revival known as Lurianic Kabbalism.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Traditional Judaism, while anticipating the coming of the Messiah, has not placed great emphasis on messianism as a dominant part of religious life. This began to shift in the 16th century when profound spiritual changes emerged from the region around Safed, the northern-most prominent village in Palestinian Gallilee which is also the home of that part of mystical Judaism commonly referred to as the Kabbalah. By the 1630s a new form of mystical spiritualism, indeed a spiritual revival, known Lurianic Kabbalah, was rising to a powerful position in world-wide Jewish life.

Shabbetai Zevi – Jewish Messiah – I

Lead: In 1665 Shabbetai Zevi, (‘shabatite say ve), a Jewish rabbi from Smyrna on the western coast of present-day Turkey, claimed to be the long anticipated messiah. The explosive devotion he inspired was made possible because the way had been prepared.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


Content: Of the three great religions which look back to Abraham as founder, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, two have powerful messianic traditions. The Messiah is that person whose arrival will restore harmony to the universe lost at the time of the Fall and affect reconciliation between God and man. Christians believe that Jesus was the promised messiah and that his death and resurrection and imminent return will signify the end of human history.