Pastor’s Olympic ‘vision’ spurs debate
Aug. 3, 2004
Gunhild Ring Olsen
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Thursday August 5, 2004
An Oslo pastor from an evangelical Christian movement claims he had a vision in May that the upcoming Summer Olympics in Athens would result in a “bloodbath.” The pastor’s remarks have sparked criticism from other Christian leaders and even a local bishop.
The pastor, Jan-Aage Torp of the movement called “Oslochurch Apostolic Generation” (Oslokirken), claims he initially kept quiet about the vision he had that there would be a “bloodbath” at the Olympics. But then he changed his mind and called Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) to share it.
He wound up on a newscast over the weekend, saying he needed to “warn” people about what he thinks may happen. Torp already is involved in an international prayer action aimed at halting the Summer Olympics in Athens because of their foundation in Greek mythology.
Torp earlier called for “prayer warriors” to band together in an effort to get the Olympics cancelled, fearing the Greek mythology would have a “bad spiritual effect” on both spectators, TV audiences and the athletes themselves.
He says his vision came during a prayer session with 11 others one day in May, and he regretted not speaking up about it at once. “Clearly, any warning can mean that those who believe in it can become afraid,” Torp said. “But I didn’t dare keep quiet.”
Other Christian leaders in Norway wish he had, suggesting Torp is misusing his alleged vision. Pastor Per Anders Nordengen, for example, says too many people take on the authority that only visions described in the Bible are supposed to yield.
“I don’t think anyone can predict anything, not Torp either,” Nordengen said. “This is something he’s interpreting as a product of our times and the terror threat, and then he should refer to that and not talk about visions.”
Tunsberg Bishop Laila Riksaasen Dal also criticized Torp’s remarks. “He must be convinced that he had to go public with this to try to prevent something from happening,” she said, “but it gives people a slanted understanding of the main message in Christianity.”
A top theologian at the University of Oslo thinks most people are merely shrugging their shoulders over Torp’s remarks, calling them “overly dramatic.”
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