Category Archives: Education

Finis Jennings Dake biography

Finis Jennings Dake: His Life and Ministry, by Leon Bible. Lawrenceville, GA: Dake Publishing, 2006.

Bible teacher Finis Jennings Dake (1902-87) is known throughout the Pentecostal world for his four-column Dake Annotated Reference Bible which contains numerous notes and commentaries on all the different verses of the Bible. In fact, Charisma Magazine has even referred to it as “the Pentecostal Study Bible.” A notable Pentecostal minister, Jimmy Swaggart, stated that “I owe my Bible education to this man” [Dake], whose works also include God’s Plan for Man (originally designed as a 3-year Bible course), Revelation Expounded, The Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ, and Bible Truths Unmasked among other publications.

Having been introduced to his various books in the early 1980s in Oslo, Norway, I was quite excited when I learned about Mr. Bible’s history on Dake’s life and ministry. The book contains more than 400 pages and is a gold mine of information pertaining to Dake’s life and ministry as an Assemblies of God, Church of God (Cleveland, TN) and independent Pentecostal pastor, as well as a Bible school teacher, radio minister and author.

Admittedly, this is no scholarly biography (despite footnotes and bibliography), but more of a devotional walk through the life of Dake as seen through the lenses of Dake himself and his immediate family. The author portrays himself as an avid Dake reader whose writings he has admired for more than 30 years, and the book is not only endorsed by but also published by Dake Publishing, Inc. However, due to Dake’s continued influence among Pentecostal and charismatic believers, he also deserves scholarly attention. I hope the author’s sympathetic presentation of Dake will spur contributions from the academic ranks to supplement this volume. Personally, I was intrigued to learn that Dake was so well schooled in E. W. Bullinger’s radical form of ultradispensationalism, and academic researchers might be interested in submitting the Dake writings to historical and theological scrutiny in order to find to what extent Dake has Pentecostalized dispensatonalist and ultradispensationalist writings and to what extent his writings might have an original flavor of their own.

Reviewed by Geir Lie, editor of Refleks : med karismatisk kristendom i fokus (Oslo, Norway)

Hardback, 441 pages, illustrated. $19.95 plus shipping. Order through Dake Publishing.

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COGIC Scholars Fellowship Academic Forum

COGIC shield

The COGIC Scholars Fellowship is sponsoring an Academic Forum at the Church of God in Christ’s annual AIM (Auxiliaries in Mission) Convention, to be held in Detroit, Michigan, June 30 through July 4, 2008.

The Academic Forum, located in Room 02-40 of Cobo Hall, will feature two presentations daily, 2:00-4:30 pm on Tuesday, July 1 through Thursday, July 3.

The impressive lineup of presenters is below:

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Review: Life and thought of Howard Ervin

Pilgrimage into Pentecost

Pilgrimage into Pentecost: The Pneumatological Legacy of Howard M. Ervin, by Daniel D. Isgrigg. Tulsa, OK: Word & Spirit Press, 2008.

In Pilgrimage into Pentecost, Daniel D. Isgrigg provides serious students of Pentecostalism two useful services. First, he gives the reader an interesting and detailed accounting of the life of Howard M. Ervin; and second, he outlines the main contours of Ervin’s theology of the Holy Spirit.

The study follows the journey of Baptist preacher/theologian Ervin from his early day as an agnostic through his encounter with God. It traces Ervin’s early pastoral days, and follows him on to his embracing of the Pentecostal message and experience. Isgrigg follows the long tenure of Ervin as a theology faculty member at Oral Roberts University into his current life of retirement. Pilgrimage then points out Ervin’s strong exegetical and theological defense of the classical Pentecostal message of Baptism in the Holy Spirit, as well as his loyalty to his American Baptist roots. The work shows how Ervin engaged in a spirited defense of his theology against a variety of critics and how the unity of the Spirit among Christians was foremost in Ervin’s desires. Isgrigg makes a strong case for the ecumenical ministry of Ervin over the years.

Pilgrimage into Pentecost highlights several key features of Ervin’s theology: Ervin argues persuasively for the “birthday of the Church” being in John 20, not Acts 2. He anchors his belief in evidential tongues for Spirit baptism in the models provided in the Book of Acts; and he departs from most Pentecostal scholars in his advocacy of “one Baptism; one filling.” In each of these issues, the author documents Ervin’s line of argumentation copiously.

It was more than 40 years ago, when I was a young student of Petecostalism, that I first encountered the writings of Howard M. Ervin. His persuasive apologetic for classical Pentecostal theology, even though he was a Charismatic Baptist, powerfully encouraged me. I have noted with pleasure the long years of faithful ministry and writing of Ervin, one who has not altered his views from his early days. He has been a strong advocate against those who would weaken the belief that God has wanted to empower His people for evangelism and missions with the empowerment of the Spirit in a crisis experience of Spirit baptism, accompanied by the sign of speaking in tongues.

In Pilgrimage to Pentecost, Daniel Isgrigg provides Pentecostals and Charismatics — and all interested in this burgeoning international movement of the Spirit — with a well-deserved study of the life and thought of one of its pioneers. Through this work, many can be grateful for the pioneering scholarly ministry of Dr. Ervin and understand his distinctive contribution.

Review by William W. Menzies (from Foreword)

Hardcover, 158 pages. $21.99 retail. Order from: amazon.com

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Emmanuel College history

The Miracle Continues: A Personal History of Emmanuel College: 1969-2005, by David R. Hopkins. Franklin Springs, GA: LifeSprings Resources, 2007.

The Miracle Continues: A Personal History of Emmanuel College: 1969-2005 is one man’s heartfelt account of a life given to build a Christian college. Hopkins is honest, clear, detailed, inspirational, and informative in his personal recollections of 36 years spent as faculty member, academic dean, and president of a small Christian campus. Even if one is not an alumnus of Emmanuel College, he or she may gain a sense of the personal struggles, challenges, trials, and triumphs of an administrator working in a private college setting.

This book is “must” reading for anyone who attended Emmanuel College, any member of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, or any other person who desires a better understanding of the enormity of the task of operating a small, private, church-related college in the 21st century. The Miracle Continues: A Personal History of Emmanuel College: 1969-2005 is a singular volume documenting the real story of a unique institution of higher education. It will be a valuable reference for future generations to read.

–Adapted from cover

Paperback, 255 pages, illustrated. $20.00 list price. Order from LifeSprings Resources.

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Review: Doris Dresselhaus Menzies Autobiography

Young at Heart

Young at Heart: The Story of a Heart Transplant Recipient, by Doris Dresselhaus Menzies. Springfield, MO: Celebration Publishing, 2007.

Doris Dresselhaus Menzies has had two famous last names. Her husband, Dr. William W. Menzies, is one of the most highly-regarded educators in the Assemblies of God. Her cousin, Dr. Richard Dresselhaus, served as the long-time pastor of San Diego (CA) First Assembly of God and continues to serve as an executive presbyter of the Assemblies of God. Few people can claim to be related to one statesman of their caliber, much less two!

But Doris Menzies has her own story to tell. In Young at Heart: The Story of a Heart Transplant Recipient, Menzies recounted her testimony — from her Assemblies of God upbringing in Iowa, to her years in the ministry with her husband, to her roles as wife and mother, to her recent medical triumphs as a heart transplant recipient and as a cancer survivor.

Born on a frigid December day in 1932 on an Iowa farm, Doris was reared in the sturdy Willard and Beatrice Dresselhaus family. Her mother taught Sunday school, and her father was the Sunday school superintendent of the Decorah Assembly of God. Willard, a farmer, served as Farm Bureau president for Winneshiek County, was involved in local politics, and owned his own plane. Young at Heart challenges the assumption, held by certain historians, that early Pentecostals were disinherited or socially uninvolved.

Doris met Bill Menzies, her future husband, at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Bill graduated in 1953 and accepted the pastorate of the little Assemblies of God church in Big Rapids, Michigan. They married soon after Doris’ 1955 graduation and settled into pastoral ministry. Continue reading

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Congregational Holiness Church

We BelieveThe Life Story of Rev. B. F. DuncanMy Earthly PilgrimageVision Caster

We Believe [2nd ed.]. Griffin, GA: Congregational Holiness Church, 2003.

The Life Story of Rev. B. F. Duncan, 1874-1949 [rev. ed.]. Griffin, GA: Congregational Holiness Church, 2004.

My Earthly Pilgrimage, by Cullen L. Hicks. Augusta, GA: Augusta Printing Center, 2004.

Vision Caster: The Story of Hugh B. Skelton, by E. Amelia Billingsley. Cleveland, TN: Pathway Press, 2000.

The Congregational Holiness Church (CHC) (www.CHChurch.com) made its entrance onto the Pentecostal scene in 1921, resulting from a disagreement within the Pentecostal Holiness Church (PHC) over the role of medicine in divine healing. Many early Pentecostals, including PHC leaders, eschewed human remedies (such as physicians or medicine) and instead encouraged believers to seek divine healing, which they taught was provided for in Christ’s atonement. This rejection of modern medicine was not universally held in the PHC. When evangelist Watson Sorrow and Hugh Bowling disagreed with the PHC on this and other issues, they were forced to leave the PHC in 1920. They — along with a handful of other ministers and churches — organized the CHC in High Shoals, Georgia in 1921. The CHC was organized along congregational lines, differing from the PHC’s episcopal polity, in an attempt to democratize church governance.

The CHC has grown from 12 churches in 1921 to over 5,200 churches in 12 states and 19 countries in 2007. The CHC’s growth reflects the growing importance of the emerging Pentecostal movement in non-Western contexts. Like the Assemblies of God, fewer than five percent of CHC churches and members are located in the United States. The CHC claims 25,000 adherents in 225 churches in the U.S. and almost one million adherents in about 5,000 churches outside the U.S. (primarily in Central and South America). Continue reading

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Review: Lithuanian Pentecostal History

Lithuanian Pentecostal History

Lietuvos Sekmininkų Bažnyčia: Istorine Apybraiza (The Pentecostal Church of Lithuania: Historical Sketch), edited by Rimantas Kupstys, et al. Vilnius, Lithuania: Apyausris, 2002.

Lietuvos Sekmininkų Bažnyčia: Istorine Apybraiza, published in 2002 upon the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Pentecostal church in Lithuania, provides a detailed grassroots account in the Lithuanian language of the development of Pentecostalism across the Baltic nation. The volume was assembled by an editorial committee headed by Rimantas Kupstys, Bishop of the Union of Pentecostal Churches of Lithuania.

The publisher notes the volume is not an exhaustive scientific study. However, this historical sketch is a valuable written account of a national history that, until now, was largely available only in scattered documents or in oral form. The work was based on archival materials, memories of eyewitnesses, published articles, and government documents.

Lietuvos Sekmininkų Bažnyčia begins by tracing Pentecostalism’s roots in the trans-Atlantic revivals of the 18th and 19th centuries, resulting in a significant evangelical and Holiness movement in England and America. The traditional version of Pentecostal origins is retold, identifying Charles Parham and the Azusa Street revival as central to the emerging movement. Thomas Ball Barratt, the Methodist minister from Oslo who received the Pentecostal message while visiting New York in 1906, is commended for, upon his return to Norway, helping to nurture Pentecostal leaders across Europe. Continue reading

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Review: Pentecostalism in Germany

Freikirchliche Pfingstbewegung in Deutschland

Freikirchliche Pfingstbewegung in Deutschland: Innenansichten 1945-1985 (Pentecostal Free Churches in Germany: Inside Story, 1945-1985), by Ludwig David Eisenlöffel. Kirche–Konfession–Religion Band 50. Göttingen, Germany: V&R Unipress, 2006.

Freikirchliche Pfingstbewegung in Deutschland: Innenansichten 1945-1985, an important study of the evolution of the Pentecostal movement in Germany, is one of the latest additions to the prestigious Kirche-Konfession-Religion series produced by Konfessionskundliches Institut des Evangelischen Bundes and Evangelischer Zentralstelle für Weltanschauungsfragen. Portions of the publication originally were submitted as the author’s doctoral work at Life Christian University in Tampa, Florida, which was completed in 2004.

The author, Ludwig Eisenlöffel, served as longtime director of the Beröa Bible School and Theological Seminary (an institution associated with the Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden, a German denomination which works with the Assemblies of God) and also was managing director of the Forums Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden (FFP). Furthermore, he has a considerable history with the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Christengemeinden (ACD), which was renamed Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden (BFP) in 1982. Continue reading

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Review: From Oslo to Berlin

From Oslo to Berlin! : European Pentecostalism

From Oslo to Berlin! : European Pentecostalism, by Paul Schmidgall. Erzhausen, Germany: Leuchter Publishing, 2003.

From Oslo to Berlin! : European Pentecostalism made its appearance just in time for the Pentecostal European Conference in Berlin during June 2003. As Director of the Church of God’s theological seminary in Germany and as an active participant in the European Pentecostal Fellowship, Paul Schmidgall has insight into past events and present happenings in European Pentecostalism. Due to his personal interaction with European Pentecostal leadership, Schmidgall’s work reflects much depth.

Schmidgall provides a scholarly overview of the historical developments of the Pentecostal movement in Europe on a country by country basis. He also presents current information on contemporary developments that effect Pentecostalism in a very diverse European setting. This book includes important bibliographical and statistical data that will greatly assist those who have a keen interest in Pentecostalism in the European context. At the end of the book there are helpful color maps showing the strength (or weakness) of Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism in Europe. Schmidgall’s book is a good starting point for those who desire a deeper understanding of the Pentecostal movement in any given European country.

Reviewed by Paul Clark, Assemblies of God missionary to Germany

Paperback, 204 pages, illustrated. Also published in German. To order, contact Leuchter Edition.

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Review: Prosperity Gospel in Norway

Det guddommeliggjorte menneske og den menneskeliggjorte GudDen nye reformasjonen

Det guddommeliggjorte menneske og den menneskeliggjorte Gud (The Deification of Humanity and the Humanization of Deity), by Kjell Olav Sannes. Oslo, Norway: REFLEKS-Publishing, 2005.

Den nye reformasjonen (The New Reformation), by Lars Olav Gjøra. Oslo, Norway: REFLEKS-Publishing, 2006.

While positive confession theology (also known by the monikers “prosperity gospel” or “word-faith”) originated in America, it has made significant inroads into many segments of the worldwide Christian church. Numerous American authors have attempted theological and historical assessments of this phenomenon. Now, two new books by Norwegian scholars offer critiques of the theologies and personalities involved in the prosperity gospel movement in their own context.

Kjell Olav Sannes, a professor at the Norwegian Lutheran School of Theology in Oslo, Norway, presents and discusses the views of Kenneth E. Hagin in his book, Det guddommeliggjorte menneske og den menneskeliggjorte Gud. Sannes offers a critical theological analysis of the interrelationship between humanity and God in the writings of Kenneth E. Hagin. The title, which in English translates as “The Deification of Humanity and the Humanization of Deity,” reflects the theological issue at hand. The volume’s central thesis is that Hagin “deifies” humanity and “humanizes” God. This confusion of identities, the author avers, leads to two errors: (1) humanity, in particular the “born again believer,” is given status, authority and possibilities which, according to scripture, are reserved for God; and (2) God is viewed as limited in His power and authority in a way that reflects humanity’s own limitations. Hagin’s God looks a lot like Hagin. Ironically, something similar happened when the Jesus Seminar, a group of liberal scholars, determined that Jesus was essentially a twentieth-century western liberal. Continue reading

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