Theological Perspectives: A CTS Colloquium on Pentecostal Theology
Well, the colloquium is now over, but we had a good two days together looking at some aspects of Pentecostal theology. Dr Michael Dusing (Senior Vice President & Dean of the College at Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, North Dakota) presented a paper on Thursday evening entitled Trophimus Have I Left at Miletus Sick: The Case for Those Who Are Not Healed. Dr Dusing pointed out the huge importance for Pentecostal theology of an adequate view of suffering and those who are not healed. He warned against the dangers of an implicit link between sickness/suffering and sin or lack of faith in popular pentecostal piety, contending that 'we in the Pentecostal-Charismatic world will never develop a thoroughly balanced perspective on divine healing until we can see the necessity of simultaneously complementing it with an equally thorough, accurate and balanced perspective on suffering.' Dr Dusing also pointed to the need for a pentecostal recognition that God works in the midst of suffering, and that our trust should be in our sovereign God who does all things well.
In Chapel on Friday Dr Dimitrov (President of CTS) preached from Acts 2 & 10 on being Biblical Pentecostals, reminding us that belonging to a Pentecostal denomination, being Pentecostal in name or having a feeling of excitement in our church services is not sufficient; only the filling of the Holy Spirit will do.
On Friday morning two of our MTh candidates presented their research. This was a highlight for me as it was incredibly encouraging to see the high standard of work carried out by our students, as well as their excellent ways of presenting it. Tamar Nyiransengiyumva read a paper entitled Women and Leadership in the Association des Eglises de Pentecote de Rwanda (ADEPR): A Contribution to an Inevitable Debate which combined examination of changes within Rwandan culture and society, Rwandan church history & New Testament exegesis. Johan de Joode presented his research on A Hermeneutic of Repetition and Redundancy: Toward a Concordance Method to Elucidate Large Amounts of Repetition in the Historiography of the Hebrew Bible, a combination of computer technology, mathematics and biblical Hebrew!
Finally, on Friday afternoon Tommy Davidsson (Chair, Old Testament Studies) and I presented our papers, with responses from Dr Dusing. I presented my paper entitled Toward the Possibility of a Pentecostal Ecclesiology: Some Lessons from the British Apostolics, looking primarily at the Breaking of Bread and the Headship of Christ. Tommy read a paper entitled No Mere 'Afterthought': The Ecclesiological Vision of Lewi Pethrus, signaling the importance of ecclesiology in the theology of the founder of Swedish pentecostalism. Tommy particularly examined the issue of Restorationism in Pethrus' thought. Tommy and I were both seeking to show that ecclesiology was in fact very important in the early years of Pentecostalism in our respective countries, contrary to the claims of many contemporary pentecostal theologians who claim that pentecostals have never paid much attention to ecclesiology.
All in all, it was a good few days which have left me with a lot to think about. Thanks to the CTS Deans and Chairs who hosted the conference, and especially to Dr Donovan Barron who worked so hard organizing and preparing.