News: Annual SPS meeting experiences "Knowledge on Fire"
Dr. Mark Cartledge, senior lecturer in Pentecostal and Charismatic Theology and director of the Centre for Pentecostal & Charismatic Studies, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, presents at the SPS Friday morning plenary session.
View a photo gallery featuring AGTS and EU participants.
View the official SPS 2014 photo gallery.
Aker honored at SPS
Dr. Benny Aker (above, left), professor emeritus of New
Testament Exegesis at AGTS, was honored at a special session featuring a book written in his
honor by several SPS members — including AG educators — But These are
Written: Essays on Johannine Literature in Honor of Professor Benny
Foreword: Del Tarr, AGTS president
Biography: Lois E. Olena ('06)
1. Craig Keener ('85, '87)
2. Jeremy S. Crenshaw ('10)
3. Jordan Daniel May
4. Robert P. Menzies
5. John W. Wyckoff
6. Timothy P. Jenney ('80)
7. Bruce E. Rosdahl ('97)
8. Edward W. Watson
9. Paul Alexander ('95)
10. John Christopher Thomas
11. Frank Macchia
12. Warren Carter
13. Phillip L. Mayo
14. Robert A. Berg, EU professor
15. James D. Hernando ('78),
16. Robby Waddell
17. Michael C. McKeever
Spirit Breakout: Unexpectedly Encountering God at an Academic Conference
Jennifer Miskov (center), Ph.D., wrote an account of her experience at SPS this year which has been published by Ministry Today:
Jennifer is the history interest group leader for the SPS, founding director of Destiny House and author of several books, including Life on Wings: The Forgotten Life and Theology of Carrie Judd Montgomery, Spirit Flood: Rebirth of Spirit Baptism for the 21st Century, Silver to Gold: A Journey of Young Revolutionaries and others.
More than 300 of the world's leading Pentecostal and Charismatic
scholars recently gathered at Evangel University in Springfield,
Missouri, for the 43rd annual meeting of the Society for Pentecostal
Studies (SPS) held March 6-8.
As SPS Executive Director, Dr. Lois Olena, associate professor at
the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, explains, "Our annual
meeting is more than a gathering of academics presenting papers. SPS
provides a rare blending of ages, genders, ethnicities and nearly
200 different academic institutions and 100 denominations sharing
not only their scholarship, but times of worship as well."
"But what we experienced this year was what we at AGTS call
knowledge on fire," Olena says of the event she and SPS first vice
president and program chair Dr. Kenneth J. Archer of Southeastern
University have been planning for two years. "On Thursday night,
following a powerful plenary session, there was a message in tongues
and interpretation. Then on Friday, there was a sovereign move of
God. We experienced a moment of brokenness together where a wave of
God's Spirit washed over us — professors weeping, side by side, in
the presence of God — reminding us of His healing, purposeful work
in us. A strong sense of God's presence permeated the entire meeting
this year — including during Dr. Lee Roy Martin's presidential
address — and even the business meeting!"
"It is exciting to see those who have such an influence on
Pentecostal and charismatic believers experiencing the presence of
God in such a powerful way," states Dr. George O. Wood, general
superintendent of the Assemblies of God. "I pray the power of the
Spirit will continue to flow through them, anointing their writings,
and be a catalyst for revival throughout the Pentecostal world."
"Hermeneutics and the Spirit: Identities, Communities, and Making of
Meaning" was the theme set by Archer for this year's SPS meeting.
Speakers examined how the Holy Spirit works within the various
academic disciplines to help believers form theological communities
and interpret communal practices. Given the diversity of SPS members
and the greater Pentecostal world, of particular focus was the role
that ethnicity, gender and culture play on interpreting Scripture
and the Pentecostal practices of Christianity. The program's plenary
sessions intentionally reflected theological, ethnic and gender
diversity, which Archer observed, God honored with a sense of His
"What occurs during SPS meetings has significant impact upon the
global Pentecostal and charismatic world, including the local
church," Olena emphasizes. "SPS meetings are designed to cultivate
our [scholars'] minds, understand ourselves as Pentecostals, and
understand the Pentecostal world. But significant to the church
world is that what we do here ultimately influences what is
communicated through books, blogs, journals, articles, papers and
other resources to ministers, students and people in the pew. Often,
what SPS scholars research, write, and present in these sessions
today is what you read tomorrow concerning the Pentecostal and
charismatic understanding of the Holy Spirit and His work in the
world. That's why we bathe this event in prayer every year."
"It is also important to understand," observes Jennifer Hall,
promotions coordinator for AGTS, "that there is such a thing as
serious Pentecostal scholarship happening across denominations and
around the world. And the influential participation of AG people
ensures that the AG has a significant role in the shaping of written
Pentecostal theology and thought."
Olena says that nearly 40 AG scholars, including representatives
from AGTS/Evangel, Global University, North Central University,
Northwest University, Southeastern University, Southwestern
Assemblies of God University, Trinity Bible College, Valley Forge
Christian College, Vanguard University, and the Flower Pentecostal
Heritage Center presented or served as panelists in this year's SPS,
allowing numerous Assemblies of God scholars to speak into the
purposes of the Society. In addition, this was the first year for
SPS to have a Student Caucus, with 30 graduate students interacting
with scholars, engaging in workshops, and offering their vision for
"I experienced God in a profound way at SPS again this year," states
SPS student member Justin Gottuso in a post. "I received clarity on
my vocation and ministry calling into Pentecostal and charismatic
scholarship, witnessed 'history' at the first [SPS] Student Caucus
event, met so many amazing scholars and students, and received
sage-like wisdom from two pre-eminent P/C [Pentecostal/charismatic]
As part of the SPS annual meeting, several prestigious awards were
presented. Included among them was The Foundation for Pentecostal
Scholarship's 2014 Award of Excellence, awarded to AG Missionary
Robert P. Menzies for his book, Pentecost: This Story Is Our Story,
published by Gospel Publishing House.
Dr. Trevor Grizzle, professor of New Testament at Oral Roberts University, in a Q&A session.
"The Pentecostal academic community honored one of its own for
authoring a compelling book that provides an introduction to
Pentecostal theology and identity," says Darrin Rodgers, SPS member
and director of the AG Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. "Menzies'
… heart for the church led him to make … Pentecostal theology
accessible to the people in the pew."
Dr. Randy Hedlun, vice provost of Global University, was also
honored during the SPS meeting. He was presented with a Declaration
of Excellence award by The Foundation for Pentecostal Scholarship
for an article he recently authored titled, "Rethinking Luke's
Purpose: The Effect of First-Century Social Conflict."
Also honored by SPS was Dr. Benny Aker, professor emeritus of New
Testament Exegesis at AGTS, on the occasion of a book written in his
honor by several SPS members—including AG educators — But These are
Written: Essays on Johannine Literature in Honor of Professor Benny
This is the fourth time in the 44-year history of the SPS for the
event to be hosted in Springfield. Olena explains that AGTS and
Evangel were selected for this year's event in light of the 100th
anniversary of the Assemblies of God, celebrated at the SPS closing
banquet. Since the annual meeting rotates to various geographical
regions of the country, next year's meeting will be held at
Southeastern University (AG) in Lakeland, Florida.
For more information on the Society for Pentecostal Studies, see its
website at http://www.sps-usa.org.
Written by Dan Van Veen
Thursday, March 27, 2014 4:47 PM