Tag Archives: Pneumatology

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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Review: Encountering God at the Altar

Encountering God at the Altar

Encountering God at the Altar: The Sacraments in Pentecostal Worship, by Daniel Tomberlin. Cleveland, TN: Center for Pentecostal Leadership and Care, 2006.

Since the beginning of the Pentecostal movement, experiencing the Spirit of God has been central to Pentecostals in both private and corporate worship. When it comes to congregational worship, Pentecostals have critiqued what they deem to be dead ritualism devoid of a personal experience of the Holy Spirit. As a result, Pentecostals have questioned many traditional practices relating to the sacraments (often viewed as theologically or historically suspect because of their relation to the Roman Catholic Church) and have opted for the term “ordinances” instead. The latter is often seen to be more of a faith-based means rather then a works-based means of experiencing the Spirit.

Daniel Tomberlin, pastor of Bainbridge Church of God (Bainbridge, GA) and chairman of Ministerial Development for the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) in South Georgia, has authored a book that will raise some eyebrows. In it, Tomberlin claims that Pentecostalism and sacramental worship are not mutually exclusive. Rather, he provides a stimulating discussion of how he believes Pentecostal worship is sacramental. This volume, which aims to provide an introduction to the subject for Pentecostal church leaders, is possibly one of the first educational resources of its kind published by a classical Pentecostal denomination.

Encountering God at the Altar touches on topics such as Pentecostal worship and spirituality. Tomberlin develops a Pentecostal theology of the sacraments and also explores the practice of the sacraments in Pentecostal worship.In following Church of God theologian Kenneth Archer, Tomberlin argues for the retrieval of the term sacrament over the term ordinance, claiming that the ordinances are sacramental — a “means of grace” where one encounters the Holy Spirit (p. 24). The author rightly points out that Pentecostal spirituality is centered on encountering the Holy Spirit. “Therefore,” Tomberlin states, “the center and focus of Pentecostal worship is the altar” (p. 19).

When addressing whether life in the church and the sacraments are essential to salvation, Tomberlin identifies the church and sacraments as “secondary salvific gifts,” compared to the Son and Spirit as “primary salvific gifts” from the Father. At the same time he ultimately admits “that participation in the sacramental life of the church may not be absolutely essential to salvation due to God’s prevenient grace” (p. 27). Continue reading


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Review: Java and Justice

Java and Justice

Java and Justice: Journeys in Pentecostal Missions Education, edited by B. Brenneman, W. R. Brookman, and N. Muhovich. Minneapolis, MN: North Central University Press, 2006.

Sponsored by the Department of Intercultural Studies and Languages at North Central University, this handy volume presents foundational issues in educating students for missions in the 21st century by presenting 19 essays by 17 contributors.

Essays in this volume include:

  • The shame and the glory of being a Pentecostal: a personal journey / Bob Brenneman
  • A legacy of Pentecostal missions education at North Central University: 1936-2006 / Dan Notely
  • Story telling: a Biblical model of missions education / Nan J. Muhovich
  • Planting ethnic churches in urban America / Richard and Farella Shaka
  • Prepared in the fire: Argentine revival and missionary training / Rocky Grams
  • The explosion of spiritual gifts and fervor in Celtic missions / Carolyn Tennant
  • Spirit, mission, and the religions: toward a p(new)matological/Pentecostal theology of religions / Amos Yong
  • Biblical justice: caring for the poor and oppressed / Nan Muhovich
  • Ministry in hostile areas / Mark Hausfeld
  • The veil worn and the veil torn: reflections from the inside / Myra Crane
  • Sexual slavery and the gospel / Beth Grant
  • From Noah to Saddam: the story of the Kurds / Bob Brenneman Continue reading

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