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AGTS News: AGTS professor Lois E. Olena co-edits collection of essays in honor of scholars Stanley and Ruth Burgess

TarrSPRINGFIELD, Mo.–– Not often does one find a volume dedicated to two scholars, much less to a married couple who possess equally impressive academic credentials. Yet, that was exactly what co-editors Lois E. Olena, AGTS professor, and Eric Newberg, Oral Roberts University professor, intended with their recently released book, Children of the Calling: Essays in Honor of Stanley M. Burgess and Ruth V. Burgess.

Dr. Stanley M. Burgess taught at Evangel from 1959 to 1976, serving as chair of the Social Studies Department. In the seventies, Stan also taught at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary as an adjunct faculty member. He then served at Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University), Springfield, Mo. for twenty-eight years, eventually serving as chair of the Department of Religious Studies, and taught at Regent University, Virginia Beach, Va. from 2003 to 2011. He has written sixteen professional books, including a multi-volume history of the Holy Spirit in various branches of the Christian Church, and three award-winning encyclopedias on the modern Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements.

Dr. Ruth Burgess served as assistant professor of speech at Evangel College (now Evangel University) from 1968 to 1976 and as professor of education and psychology in the School of Teacher Education at SMSU 1976 to 2004,? and taught at Regent University from 2004 to 2011. She authored the biography of her mentor Professor Reuven Feuerstein, founding director of the Center for Learning Enrichment, under whom she studied in Jerusalem.

The Burgesses’ lives were shaped through a number of shared experiences, beginning with them both being born to missionaries in India, where they became childhood friends at the same boarding school. After they were married, they both earned Ph.D.s at the University of Missouri and went on to have simultaneous tenured faculty service at universities they served in Missouri and Virginia. As Russell P. Spittler, provost emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary, describes in his foreword, “Stanley and Ruth Burgess have formed an admirable and productive duet over a period that bridges five decades.“

Dr. Olena first met the Burgesses through their extensive involvement with the Society for Pentecostal Studies (of which Olena is executive director). When the couple retired to Missouri, their friendship with Lois grew through a shared Sunday school class and reading group. In her preface, Dr. Olena recalls being impressed by their “unique mixture of scholarship and kindness and desirous of telling their remarkable life stories.”

Olena approached the Burgesses about the idea of a Festschrift, a collection of essays, in their honor, only to discover that Dr. Eric Nelson Newberg, associate professor of theological and historical studies at Oral Roberts University, had first come to the Burgesses with the same idea in 2008. Following Dr. Olena’s proposal, the Burgesses conferred with Dr. Newberg about a co-editing partnership, and the Festschrift went full steam ahead in 2012.

Written by colleagues and former students, Children of the Calling consists of three sections: The first narrates the major highlights of the Burgesses’ personal and academic biographies, the second presents pioneering studies of biblical studies and church history, and the third offers application-based research and personal reminiscences.

Contributions range from biblical exegesis, theological nuancing, mission history and demographics, personal recollections, maps of mind-shifts, seasoned with pleas for gender equity and social justice.

Regarding the collection, AGTS president Byron Klaus remarked, “This Festschrift honoring Stan and Ruth Burgess reveals the breadth and depth of cultural and scholarly life that the Burgesses have experienced. Here is a celebration of an adventure with two people who have called villages in India their home, knelt at the altars of Pentecostal revival, felt at ease in the halls of academia, and been refreshed by the richness of ecumenical conversations.”Tarr

Olena notes, “Not only have the Burgesses made remarkable contributions in their respective fields and in the lives of so many students over the decades, but here at AGTS we appreciate the investment they continue to make in the academic life of our doctoral programs as advisers and occasional lecturers.” 

AGTS will host a book signing and reception for the Burgesses in the Great Hall on February 13, beginning at 1:30 pm. (1435 N. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, Mo., 65802)

Pick up your copy of Children of the Calling.


Updated: Thursday, February 12, 2015 2:39 PM

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