Saving the Society for Pentecostal Studies

By: Wolfgang Vondey
Friday, March 1st, 2013

The Society for Pentecostal Studies (SPS) is entering a critical phase of its existence. At its annual meeting this March, the members of the Society will decide whether the SPS should change its “admission policy” and add a particular faith statement as requirement for membership. The nature of the faith statement does not concern me here. Neither am I interested in debating the need for a faith statement or its effects on the Society. Proponents of a faith statement wish to safeguard the Society from admitting non-Christians and non-Pentecostals; opponents to this move wish to protect the academic and ecumenical character of the Society. I consider both perspectives to be valid, even if I prefer one over the other. What does concern me is the manner in which proponents of a faith statement have abused the situation to rally support for their cause.

A number of advocates of a faith statement have voiced their opinion rather loudly, even on the internet (no, I am not providing a link). Some gather signatures, other personal support behind the scenes and among friends  for what seems to become a show-down business meeting of the Society. In the interest of “saving the Society for Pentecostal Studies,” these members contribute to the slow death of their own organization. Young and inexperienced members (some with no postgraduate degrees), who have not held any position of leadership in the Society, have the audacity to voice their opinions without respect for the well-being of the SPS, its diverse members, its history, and the opportunities created in recent years to expand the reach of Pentecostal scholarship. Denominational interests and personal persuasions steamroll over relationships, seniority, and scholarship. I certainly have my own opinion on the matter, but I do not believe that trumpeting my own convictions is in the best interest of the Society. And that is what really matters: not the faith statement, not its potential absence or revision, but the life and well-being of the SPS and Pentecostal scholarship. We should not change recommendations of the executive committee in public before these have been presented to the members of the Society and discussed by the body in its official gathering. We should not post our own proposals for a policy of the Society before others with more seniority, experience, and scholarship have had a chance to speak on behalf of the Society. And we should not rally support for our own agenda behind the scenes as if we are running for office before we have first offered our service and dedication to the Society.

The decision to be made at this year’s meeting will inevitably divide SPS. If we adopt a required faith statement, several members who cannot sign the statement (whether for confessional or academic reasons) will have to abstain from the meetings. If we do not adopt a faith statement as required for membership, those who advocate it currently will likely cease to attend the meetings in the future. So what do we need?

  1. SPS needs a strong, experienced, discerning, and dedicated leadership to face this crisis. The current praxis of a rotating executive committee is perhaps not the best way to give stability to the Society. We need to seek leadership from among those who are dedicated to the SPS and who can provide long-term stability. At the meeting, the members will also vote for a new second vice president who will lead the society in two years. This decision should not be taken lightly, those nominated should ask themselves if their commitment to SPS is sufficient to accept nomination, and those voting should vote not based on personal preference but on character, scholarship, and care for Pentecostal studies.
  2. Official discussions should always have priority over private opinion. We need a membership that engages in the business of the Society. To encourage such engagement, business meetings should not be the last agenda on the last day of the meeting but be given adequate time to discuss and resolve matters concerning the health of the SPS.
  3. Members need to keep a proper perspective on the Society and the care for those who call themselves Pentecostal scholars or scholars of Pentecostalism. This small group of perhaps 500 PhDs deserves to treat each other with respect and dignity. Denominationalism and divisions may be a part of Pentecostal history, but it should not divide Pentecostal scholarship–a young and fragile discipline. Pentecostalism deserves better!  Pentecostal scholarship deserves better!

The proposal on the table will have to be decided. We will have to take a stand. However, on whatever side we are, the first decision should be for the unity of the body. After almost 20 years with the Society, where I have found a home for my scholarship and many personal friends, I am ashamed of those who use SPS to advance their own agenda, denominational persuasion, or scholarship as much as of those who deny their institutions to attend SPS for confessional or doctrinal reasons. I am afraid of those who feel privileged to voice their opinion before seeking together the council of God and the well-being of the community. The Society for Pentecostal Studies now needs to be rescued. This salvation can only come from all of us, all who have come together year after year, who have developed friendships, scholarly bonds, new interests and passions. The SPS is worth saving! What matters is not a faith statement or the absence of a faith statement. What matters is the unity of its members! Repentance, forgiveness, and love may help bring about this unity. I am willing to stand up for this cause. We will have to see who else is …

 

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Wolfgang Vondey
This entry was posted by on Friday, March 1st, 2013 at 4:15 pm and is filed under Education, Faith & Culture, scholarship. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

16 Responses to “Saving the Society for Pentecostal Studies”

  1. Thanks Wolfgang for your comments. The society is required to inform the members of proposed changes to the constitution at least 30 days before the meeting. And this was done privately through email. The proponents of a faith statement shibboleth have gone beyond the bounds of propriety by using fear and and misdirection to convince members that there is a problem with any proposal that doesn’t require a faith statement. They have done this publicly, attempting to garner support for an “inevitable” fight at the business meeting. I don’t think the fight is inevitable, and we should follow Paul’s recommendation that everything be done decently and in order. The members who have made their worries public have lost much cultural capital over this. Their credibility has and will suffer with further breaches of protocol and politesse.

    As you say, the senior members should speak out first and do what they can to settle the issue. There is enough long-term experience in this society to calm fears of division. What’s fear got to do with being an academic society anyway. Open, honest, and well-researched discussion should be the order of the day. And though reason and experience are not all that is required for a decision to be made, it should not be set aside, no matter how petulant and strident the worries become.

    • Hi Doug,

      Since I am the only one who has publically provided a faith statement that is opposed to the current 2012 and 2013 proposals which would change the SPS constitution, can you cite anything I have said or written that has “gone beyond the bounds of propriety by using fear and misdirection to convince members that there is a problem with any proposal that doesn’t require a faith statement?”

      You and Dr. Vondey assert that I want a fight. Again, can you cite anything I have said or written that would support that assertion? I merely provided an alternative proposal in my open letter for the SPS membership to read, consider, and discuss.

      I don’t speak for everyone in SPS who desires a faith statement to be adopted. If you beef in not with me personally or my open letter to SPS (http://wmolenaar.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/sps2013/), then please don’t lump everyone in the same boat who desires a faith statement. Namely, those of us in SPS who desire SPS to remain an ecumenical & pentecostal academic society, and for there to be calm and clear dialog on this issue.

      Peace,
      William Molenaar

      • William, I cannot speak for Doug, but please be assured that I did not direct my post at a single person and not at your position alone. As I understand Doug, we perceive a vocal group among those who advocate a required faith statement. I understand that you do not stand for everyone in that group. At least in my post, I did not intend to address the content of the decision but the manner in which that group expresses its desires for the future of SPS. I regret if my writing came across as directed only at you. Perhaps your blog is very visible, but it is not the sole target of my attention.

    • Roger Armbruster says:

      Sometimes there is need for a healthy and open and transparent airing of different views such as took place at the Council of Jerusalem. Those who advocate such an open process are not fear-mongering, and are truly advocates of due process. They are only saying that the process should be an open one, and not one that by-passes a process that includes all members as to the direction that the SPS needs to take into the future. Are even minimal core values important for any organization or society? Our love and our prayers are with you all. Let’s remember that we have nothing to fear from the light, and from being transparent about what people really and actually believe. Let’s not suppress what is in people’s hearts in any way, shape or form. That what is in the hearts should come out is a good and a releasing thing, not something sinister or oppressive. Let freedom prevail!

  2. Dear Dr. Vondey,

    I would like to briefly respond to your comments, because many of your points appear to be directed to myself and my open letter to the members of SPS (since to my knowledge I am the only one who has publically opposed the current proposals to change the SPS constitution and put forth an alternative amendment): http://wmolenaar.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/sps2013/

    First of all, you wrote, “At its annual meeting this March, the members of the Society will decide whether the SPS should change its ‘admission policy’ and add a particular faith statement as requirement for membership.” This is simply incorrect. SPS executives have provided members with only two proposals for constitutional changes, which are on the agenda for discussion at the 2013 annual meeting: the 2012 Proposal (created by the SPS Taskforce on Identity and Purpose and the executive committee) and the 2013 Proposal (created by the executive committee). Both proposals remove the stated objective of SPS, first adopted in 1979, “To support fully, to the extent appropriate for an academic Society, the statement of purposes of the World Pentecostal Fellowship.” And, both proposals do not require any voting member to affirm a statement of faith.

    The first proposal (2012 Proposal), which arose from the SPS Taskforce on Identity and Purpose, was first discussed at the 2012 annual meeting. Members voted to table the 2012 Proposal. I explain the nature of this proposal and provide a negative evaluation in my letter: 1) it adds a weak statement of faith; and 2) it does not require voting members or leaders to affirm the statement. On February 15, 2013 the executive committee notified SPS members of another proposal (2013 Proposal) that eliminates the 2012 Proposal’s faith statement and does not require voting members and leaders to affirm anything. I also explain and evaluate the 2013 Proposal in my open letter.

    You wrote, “proponents of a faith statement wish to safeguard the Society from admitting non-Christians and non-Pentecostals; opponents to this move wish to protect the academic and ecumenical character of the Society.” This is false and confuses the issues. The only faith statement that is currently on the table is the 2012 Proposal, and that amendment doesn’t even require voting members to affirm the statement. In my open letter, I argued that both of these proposals, over time, would inevitably make SPS into a secular academic society by legally admitting non-Christians and non-Pentecostals as voting members and potentially leaders.

    This is the real issue: Will SPS continue to be an ecumenical Pentecostal academic society in service to the world, the academy, and the global Pentecostal movement? Or, will SPS be a secular academic society for Pentecostal studies? I am not against “secular” academic societies and I’m not using the term pejoratively here. These type of academic societies (AAR, SBL, etc.) have significant value. However, the historic DNA of SPS has never been that of a secular academic society. We still have worship services and prayer at our meetings, we engage in ecumenical dialogs, and we deal with serious issues in ministry and missions. Last year we held a joint conference with Empowered21 (whose mission statement is to “help shape the future of the Global Spirit-empowered movement throughout the world by focusing on crucial issues facing the movement and connecting generations for intergenerational blessing and impartation.”)! I completely agree with Dale Coulter’s statement in Pneuma last year in which he pointed out that SPS has a formative influence upon the Pentecostal movement and Pentecostal identity. SPS is not a purely “secular” (again, I use this term non-pejoratively) academic society. It has been and I hope it will continue to be an ecumenical “Pentecostal” academic society which will influence the global Pentecostal movement for good and not for ill.

    Second, I would like to address some of your concerns and misrepresentations about my open letter. I proposed: 1) a minimalistic, Pentecostal (in the broad and global sense of the term) faith statement; 2) that voting members be required to affirm the statement; and 3) to encourage those who can’t affirm such a faith statement to still participate in the annual meetings as members of SPS, but not as voting members.

    For over 40 years, SPS has been a meeting ground for faithful renewalists from Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, and other traditions, including both Trinitarian and Oneness believers. My open letter provides an alternate proposal that would maintain SPS’s historic identity as a Pentecostal academic society—namely, “an international community of scholars working within the Pentecostal and charismatic traditions,” as stated on the SPS website and Pneuma. Also, you implicitly charged (more than once) that such a proposal was advancing some sort of denominational interests. Please read my open letter and proposal. You will see that there is no mention of any particular denomination, nor the Classical Pentecostal’s so-called distinctive doctrine of initial evidence.

    Third, you attempted to personally discredit me by stating, “Young and inexperienced members (some with no postgraduate degrees), who have not held any position of leadership in the Society, have the audacity to voice their opinions without respect for the well-being of the SPS, its diverse members, its history, and the opportunities created in recent years to expand the reach of Pentecostal scholarship.” If you take time to look at those who support my alternative proposal, then you will find a past-President of SPS supports the alternate proposal that I provided! I’m sorry if you got the impression that I was a presumptuous, or didn’t respect the well-being of SPS, its diverse members, its history, and Pentecostal scholarship. Perhaps you attack me because you don’t know me personally, my intentions, or the work I have been engaged in over the last two years to write this proposal. I was surprised that you didn’t even attempt to come to me first to express your concerns, or to inquire about my open letter personally. Instead, you responded to my open letter publically (without naming me), attacking a misrepresentation of what I actually propose. You didn’t even critique any substance in my open letter, instead you opted to attack my age, my experience, my voice, and my concern for the well-being of SPS.

    I am a full-member of SPS and have been a member since 2007. I have attended every annual meeting over the past six years but for one. I care for the historic identity and purpose of SPS as a Pentecostal & ecumenical academic society, and I value and encourage the inclusion of those outside of the pentecostal/charismatic tradition in SPS membership and their participation in the annual meetings. This is all demonstrated in my open letter as well as my actual alternate proposal.

    When the SPS Taskforce on Identity and Purpose and the executive committee initially put forth the 2012 Proposal, I heard no response and no discussion among members about the amendment. As a result, I personally corresponded with members of both the Task Force and the Executive Committee. I shared my concerns and offered an alternative proposal back in 2012. The response I received was a polite, “thank you, but the members will be discussing this in the business session.” I went to the business session and found that most, if not the vast majority of members, were not prepared to deliberate or vote on the amendment, which they decided to table for the next year.

    I have had a whole year to refine, in dialog with others, my alternate proposal. And, like last year, I followed the procedures of due process and first submitted my alternate proposal to the leadership of SPS. After the SPS executives declined to act, I then shared this open letter with other veteran SPS members. I then made the letter public for all SPS members to read, consider, and discuss. In my open letter, 1) I reviewed the historic identity of SPS, 2) offered an evaluation of the current proposals made by the executive committee, and 3) I suggested an alternate as a draft needing the review and consideration of SPS members. Now, I find myself under your gaze as “having the audacity to voice their opinions,” being charged with not “seeking together the council [sic] of God and the well-being of the community.” In bold you stated, “We should not post recommendations of the executive committee online before these have been presented to the members of the Society and discussed among those who actually care about the future of the Society.” As you now know, I shared my open letter to the executive committee as well as several other leaders in SPS before making it public to all SPS members to consider and discuss openly and freely. And I followed this due process precisely because I actually care about the future of the Society! As for your comments about “rallying support,” I’m not running for office and I would much rather have a more “senior” member of SPS lead this discussion concerning the future of SPS. To my knowledge now one has stepped forward. And, since there has not been an open and free conversation about these proposals in any public venue for SPS members, I voiced my perspectives as one “offering of my service and dedication to the Society” (contrary to your suggestion that I don’t), which has already been recognized since I am a full-member of SPS. And, yes I did sound a rallying call to those who are against the executive committee proposals (2012 and 2013) because the only “discussion” or perspective that has been allowed to be expressed in official SPS venues (i.e., Pneuma) have been in favor of the 2012 Proposal. Isn’t it time to lay out the various directions that SPS can take and have an open and free conversation to listen to one another instead of restricting “dialog” to only one option?

    Fourth, I actually agree with all three points that you made concerning, “What do we need?”

    I submit to you and all of the members of SPS my open letter, which I recognize is not the definitive word or the end of discussion on the matter. Rather, I submit my open letter as a discussion starter, an alternate draft proposal. I fully recognize the membership will have to come together and dialog concerning whether they want SPS to be an ecumenical Pentecostal academic society or a secular academic society for Pentecostal studies. I also resonate with your call to unity, repentance, forgiveness, and love. I await for your call to be lived out in deeds and not just words!

    Respectfully,
    William Molenaar

    • Thank you, William, for your clarifying remarks. As you see in my post, I did not point fingers at anyone personally or any one individual. I can say, however, that I did not write the post directed at one attempt alone. That you are the only one who has publicly opposed the current proposals is not correct. There are a number of persons who have advocated their views and gathered support for a faith statement that is required of its members. Your blog does belong to that group, but you should not interpret everything I wrote as directed at you personally or at your blog alone. I wrote about what I see as a move supported by a broader basis in SPS. My letter was not intended to engage the substance of any proposal but the manner in which these proposals are put forward. Again, this does not concern your blog alone. I am glad to see that we agree on many things. That we can have this open exchange of ideas is important for the life of the SPS. Yet, you may recall that at the last business meeting, several young members (without postgraduate degrees and in their first year of membership) voiced their ideas before allowing the leadership or more seasoned members to speak first. I do not think you were among them, but I and many others expressed concern about what happened. I agree with you that veteran SPS members and official leadership need to make a move forward and lead this discussion. I applaud that you are thinking about these matters, even if I disagree with the way you put your proposal forward. But I suspect that under the current circumstances, this discussion takes place at the SPS meeting, and no SPS leadership has stepped outside of the meetings to address the issues. That leads to the heart of my concerns. I am quite happy to discuss my own views in personal conversation, but I would not advocate a new position on the current (new) proposal in public until the body has gathered to decide the matter of the 2012 and 2013 propositions. Here is perhaps where we disagree. My concerns continue only along these lines of fellowship. I am fine with your attempt to correct me; but please keep in mind that I may not be the only one who perceives the current situation in the way I describe it. We do need diversity in SPS, even on matters of politics. I just would prefer that these opinions are debated within the fellowship of the members of the Society. I look forward to discussing them privately with you or at the meeting and extend to you the hand of fellowship.

      • Dr. Vondey,

        I never said I was the only one to oppose the current proposals. I realize others have publically opposed the current proposals. But to my knowledge, no one else has PUBLICALLY put forth an alternative proposal, and this is what I in fact said, “to my knowledge I am the only one who has publically opposed the current proposals to change the SPS constitution AND put forth an alternative amendment.”

        I do recall that at the last business meeting there were a couple (not several) young members who voiced their support for the 2012 proposal. And no, I didn’t speak up in that meeting (although I would have spoken against the 2012 proposal).

        You may not have directed your post to my open letter alone, but you implicated my open letter in your critiques and that SPS should somehow be saved from members like me (young, inexperienced, PhD lacking, etc.). And you charged those who want a faith statement (including me) as “without respect of the well-being of the Society.” Your original post was simply an ad hominem attack. You may claim it was not personally directed towards me, but you already admit that my open letter and alternative proposal is part of the un-named group that you are decrying.

        All I ask is that members of SPS will not simply dismiss the alternative proposal that I have made public, and which has garnered support by both young and veteran members of SPS. I’m a full-member of SPS and expect to be treated as such. We must listen to all of God’s people (Acts 2:17), and discern what the Spirit is in fact really saying. Let me be clear, I’m not saying everything young members say is prophetic, nor am I using the “God-trump card” (as evident by my remarks above regarding some young members). This whole matter requires diligent prayer, and open conversation of all of the options for the future of SPS.

        I understand you disagree with my method of writing an open letter. Can we agree to disagree? The SPS executive committee is leading members in only one direction (2012 & 2013 proposals) without providing alternative possibilities for the members to decide for themselves. I provided such an alternative in my open letter. I don’t believe I have not spoken out of turn, since not one senior member has publically proposed an alternative to the current 2012 & 2013 proposals (they have over an entire year to do this). To this day not one senior full-member has publically put forth an alternative (other than the ones who support the proposal in my open letter) for other members to consider before going into the business meeting in in about 2 week from now). Also, SPS currently has no forum for genuine discussion for SPS members. As I stated before, I corresponded privately with a number of SPS members. I also posted my letter on the official SPS Facebook page, and it was removed by the admins (they had every right to do so, so no hard feelings). My only option seemed to be an open letter on my personal blog, to which SPS members could direct other members. I made every effort to follow the proper due process of respecting those in authority of SPS. Some veteran leaders of SPS (past and present executive committee members) who don’t support my alternative proposal still welcomed my contribution to the discussion, and encouraged me by saying, “your speaking out is important precisely so that the collaborative discernment of the society can be more broadly informed.”

        I realize that others in SPS may perceive the current situation in the way you describe it in your original post. I find that perspective very polarizing. I only ask for a calm, clear, and open discussion about the real possibilities and alternative proposals that SPS members can prayerfully consider, and vote upon themselves. I hope I have brought clarity to misunderstandings, and communicated a reasonable counter-perspective that is not hostile, but written in a spirit of grace and with sound argumentation.

        SPS doesn’t need to be saved from “other members” in SPS, SPS needs open and free dialog so that we as members can come to well-informed, prayerful agreement under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

        Peace,
        William Molenaar

      • William, SPS does not need to be saved from those who wish to require a faith statement. It needs salvation from disunity, quarrel, strife, and a potential lack of credibility (academic, ecumenical, you name it). That is why I did not charge “those who want a faith statement” as you say. My post is directed only at the way some, who wish to require a specific form of faith statement, have carried out their argument in public prior to our meeting. I did specifically take no position on my own in the post, even though I do hold a position. Whether I advocate a faith statement or not does matter, but it is of no consequence for my argument. I must therefore correct you in your accusation that my argument is ad hominem directed at you. An ad hominem argument is a logical error, in which someone attempts to discredit the argument of another person by appealing to that person’s character flaws. If you read my post carefully, you would notice that I did not discredit your argument or that of anyone else. I state clearly that both arguments are valid positions in my view. I have no intentions to engage the arguments in the first place, since that is precisely what I suggest should be reserved for the body. We are not opponents here, William! Most certainly, I consider neither side “my opponent” and I do not wish to discredit either position. As you recall, it is not the position on the proposal that I am concerned about but the way some have put forward their revisions and proposals in public and apart from the gathering of SPS members. In the case of your public proposal, for example, I would caution you not to use other SPS members, such as Amos Yong or Dale Coulter, in a manner that seems to imply support of your proposal. I would let the persons speak for themselves first, since they may or may not support your larger perspective or the particular proposal you have put forward. Perhaps this illustrates some of my concerns, although I explicitly chose not to point out particular proposals. I do so only now because you bravely stepped forward to engage the discussion from your perspective. I value that perspective, and I do not mind that SPS members make their position public, in general, as long as that does not involve the concerns I have raised. You may also not be fully aware of other existing public proposals, and I would suggest that you engage the executive committee in conversation about that. You charge the committee with declining to act. I would say that the committee declined to accept your (and other) proposals; not that they declined to act. They were involved throughout the past two years in discussion of a number of proposals and ideas (including my own, by the way). After doing so, they put forward one proposal to the membership for consideration. I cannot speak on behalf of the committee, but I can understand that they do not wish to engage in these debates in public. I am grateful to the executive committee for the time and energy they spend throughout the year with the business of the Society. Those who originally proposed the faith statement revision in 2012 also deserve our respect. I felt a lack of this respect at our last business meeting by some of members. I also disagree with your assessment that the “executive committee is leading members in only one direction.” The discussion and proposal of alternative proposals should take place within the body, and there is space for that discussion (although you may recall that I advocate a change of the meeting time and expansion for the purpose of facilitating such discussion). There can be a place for our disagreement at the meeting. That is why I suggest that we as members entertain debate and putting forward our own proposals only within the confines of the body. If we disagree here, then my concern remains for the future of our fellowship, the future of fellowship in the Society, and the way Pentecostal scholarship will be perceived by Pentecostal scholars, by those who wish to engage in the study of Pentecostalism, and by those who hold a hesitant or negative attitude toward Pentecostalism. If our discussion in two weeks leads to disunity, then the SPS may no longer be a place where the future of Pentecostal scholarship is decided. I for one want to avoid that we get to that point. I hope that our conversation contributes to other conversations among SPS members. They, too, may disagree with me or you, and the way we carry out our disagreement in public. But I agree with you in the hope that this conversation may clear the air for dialogue, mutual respect, and hopefully a swift business meeting in Seattle. Here is to the longevity of the Society for Pentecostal Studies!

  3. Roger Armbruster says:

    The web-site of the SPS states clearly that “The purpose of the Society is to stimulate, encourage, recognize and publicize the work of Pentecostal and Charismatic scholars; to study the implications of Pentecostal theology in relation to other academic disciplines, seeking a Pentecostal world and life view; and to support fully, to the extent appropriate for an academic society, the Statement of purposes for the World Pentecostal Fellowship.”

    The culminating purpose in this Statement is clearly said to be “to uphold and maintain those Pentecostal truths, most surely believed among us.’”

    My question, then would be, how can members sign up without an adherence to a minimal statement of faith of those Pentecostal truths, “most surely believed among us”? If so, do membership requirements have meaning and clarity? Or is ambiguity to be preferred in the light of the gospel message that we proclaim?

    • A good question, Roger, that SPS will surely discuss at the meeting. I suspect that “to the extent appropriate for an academic society” will play a role in this discussion. The proposal of the executive committee addresses this matter prudently, keeping in mind the diversity of the body…. My hope is that prudence and discernment will prevail…

      • Roger Armbruster says:

        When it comes to the need for prudence and discernment, I am sure that all sides would agree with those words, but our problem is that the same words can mean different things to different people. Some would say that we need a minimal statement of faith for the precise reason that we can then exercise prudence and discernment between worldviews and beliefs that are Christ-centred, and those that tend to be more self-centred, where theology becomes more of a social construct than a divine revelation. Is there not a need to discern between theology as a social construct (that starts with man, and projects man’s view on to God) and theology as a divine revelation which begins with God, and invites humans beings into a relationship that is a part of His redemptive plan, not a social construct of the human mind?

  4. Roger Armbruster says:

    What would be your take on this article on the SPS which has been on the Internet since last July?

    http://juicyecumenism.com/2012/07/14/queering-the-pentecostals/

    My perspective is that if the SPS is to be an open society to engage with other points of view, it is views and concerns like this that much be engaged with and publicly addressed.

    I distinguish PERSONS from BELIEFS. All persons are created in the image of God as male and female, and therefore have inherent dignity, worth and value. Not all beliefs, however, are equally valid, and when these beliefs come out into the open, they must be engaged with so that we can walk in the light together.

    My experience has been that some presenters at the SPS Annual Meeting present a provocative topic in order to engage discussion, but when engaged with, quickly want to silence discussion. This is unconscionable from a Christian worldview.

    • Jeremy S. Crenshaw says:

      And there you have it Roger!

      • Jeremy S. Crenshaw says:

        Interestingly, Roger, no one in current progressive camps would admit to or make the appropriate links that you have made here.

  5. Sam Lufi (@slufi) says:

    Dr. Vondey,

    You mention that the committee would have considered several options, then put forward a single option. “I cannot speak on behalf of the committee, but I can understand that they do not wish to engage in these debates in public.”

    If I am hearing Mr. Molenaar correctly, this is exactly his concern. The conversation and discussion is being held by a select few with their singular results being presented to the wider body.

    Can you help me understand why 1) an academic body would want to have a discussion about the nature of that society behind closed doors and 2) how you would reconcile your own call for open honest discussion with this particular criticism that you seem to substantiate?

    I care deeply about the future of SPS as I feel that my denomination is facing a crisis of cultures that may well determine the future unity of a movement marked by the clear evidence of the Spirit.

  6. Pam Holmes says:

    Wolfgang, I hope you were satisfied with the decorum. In my opinion, I think the membership of SPS not only exhibited, with the Executive’s most excellent leadership, professional academic ethics but Christlike behaviour. I, for one, was proud of us! Next year in Springfield where the discussion continues on a basis that has been well established. A HUGE THANK YOU to our SPS Executive for their sensitive, wise and Spirit filled leadership. All things were done decently and in order. Thanks be to God.