Author Archive for Antipas Harris

Antipas Harris
Profile
Antipas L. Harris has been an academic lecturer, itinerant preacher and speaker, pastor, panelist, youth director, motivational speaker, and Christian musician for nearly 25 years. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Practical Theology with emphasis on Youth & Urban Ministry at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Before joining the faculty at Regent School of Divinity, he was Adjunct Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT as served on the pastoral staff at Christ Chapel New Testament Church in New Haven, CT. Antipas holds a doctorate degree in practical theology (Church and Society) from Boston University, a masters of sacred theology from Yale University Divinity School, a masters of divinity from Candler School of Theology (Emory University), and a bachelor of arts in creative music technologies and religion from LaGrange College where he graduated with cum laude honors. He is married to the lovely Micah J. Barks of Virginia Beach. They have a lot in common as they both love performing arts: Antipas is a musician and Micah is a dancer.
Website
http://www.regent.edu/acad/schdiv/faculty_staff/harris.shtml

We Overcome by the Word of our Testimony… ‘Anybody Got a Testimony?’

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 by Antipas Harris

TS SS BannerLately, I have been thinking a lot about “Testimony Services” in the church where I grew up. Our church was one of the,  “sanctified churches.” As explained in Cheryl J. Sander’s Saints in Exile, basically the “sanctified churches” were the predominantly African American Classical Pentecostal Churches. But, we did not call them “Pentecostal” churches. We understood ourselves to be “holiness churches” or “sanctified churches.” I did not realize I was “Pentecostal” until I was a teenager. I just knew that I was supposed to get “saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost,”– as the pastors would often explain, “like the Bible says.” In other words, our self-understanding was that we were living out the experience of the New Testament Church. This experience was not only my upbringing but also one that was both spiritually and intellectually formational. I appreciate the emphasis on salvation, sanctification and the baptism of the Spirit. But also, I have come to realize that my reading of scripture as a scholar was formed (or my hermeneutic was shaped) by my early experience of African American Pentecostal Christianity — with emphasis on “African American” because in some ways it may have been different than the “European American” experience of Pentecostal Christianity.

Testimonies played a large role in both the church services and in faith formation. Recently, I lectured for the 2nd Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ of Virginia’s Worker’s Retreat. It took me back to those good ole days in Manchester, GA — both “across the mountain” at A House of the Living God, Church of Jesus Christ and at “Bridge Street” at the Bridge Street Church of God in Christ. As my dad was the pastor of the former but was saved in the latter, the worship experience was very similar. In most African American “sanctified churches,” testimony service was either before the sermon or after the sermon. I remember vividly that during testimony service, my mom or another mother would spontaneously start singing that ole song, “Believe I’ll testify, while I have a chance. I may not have this chance anymore.” The song spoke to a conviction that the Christian faith requires us to testify. But also, it presupposed that those testimonies were not only to be shared with unbelievers outside of the walls of the church, but also to be shared among the sisters and brothers of faith – ” the saints.”

In form, they had only a few ways to start-off: “I do honor the Lord, to the Spirit of Christ and to everybody here to make up this waiting congregation….”; or “I give honor to God, the head of my life, to the saints and friends. I just want to thank the Lord for….”; or some of them were as short as “Thank the Lord for my life.” Whether the testimony was long or short in length, testimonies were deemed essential to faith formation. So, they were not just another thing to do in the service. In fact, they were so important that as young boys and girls, the children were taught to get up and give their testimonies as well. It was part of how the “sanctified church” understood Proverbs 22:6, as recorded in the KJV, which states, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Read the rest of this entry »

‘Chile,’ We Don’t Even Know the Half!: A Reflection on African American History — The Soul of American History

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 by Antipas Harris

bhmFall 2013, I was blessed at the invitation of Archbishop Idem Ikon of Revival Valley Ministries International to travel Nigeria for the first time! The experience was  another life-changing one. In the picture to the lower right, I stood in a beautiful garden just off of the shores of  a river in Cross River.

This could be my ancestor’s home – I don’t know! That very area where I stood, gazing into the beautiful greenery is where, during the late 18th–early 19th centuries, many African people were forced to board slave ships to begin a 6 month (or more) journey to the Americas. Read the rest of this entry »

Concerning the Future of Theological Education: Disciplinary Integration in Curriculum

Monday, January 13th, 2014 by Antipas Harris

futureoftheologicaleducation“Practical” Theology as a discipline emerged, in part, as a result of critical concerns that “Systematic” and “Historical” Theology had distinguished themselves as academic disciplines with less and less concern for issues in everyday Christian practice. Stated differently, there was a need for a more serious engagement with matters that face the church and Christians’ everyday life.

In the late 1900s, the emergence of practical theology as a discipline seemed necessary. The theological methodologies within other academic approaches to theology seemed to work well within the academy for those traditional purposes of theological education at the time. Yet, as the 1994 Murdock Charitable Trust Report alarmed the need for changes in theological education. Partly, the report pointed towards the need for a greater connection between the theological academy, the local churches, and the everyday Christian life. The current theological education at the time had become an ivy tower of its own. The necessary relationship between the theological institution, including theological curriculum, and the church, including the everyday life of believers, seemed lacking. Read the rest of this entry »

“Train up a Child in the Way [S]/He Should Go:” Reflections on the Urban Youth Summer Academy 2013

Sunday, August 4th, 2013 by Antipas Harris

UYSA photo boyProverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way [s]/he should go; even when [s]/he is old he will not depart from it.”

“Training” is a broad term. Regent University Summer Urban Youth Academy takes “training” seriously. According to the United States Department of Education, “One out of every four students that walks through the schoolhouse doors on the first day of their freshmen year in high school will not graduate with their classmates, if at all. In minority communities, the numbers are even bleaker—it is closer to one out of every two. Every year, that’s 1.2 million students giving up. That’s a student dropping out every 26 seconds.” As I ponder these statistics, the passage in Proverbs gains epochal focus on the blight on early education in our country. Read the rest of this entry »

God Says, “Be Holy!”

Monday, August 6th, 2012 by Antipas Harris

 

Centuries of social, political, cultural, and religious diversity weigh heavily on expressions of Christianity. Party politics, greed, personality driven ministries, ministry as business, and denominational and non-denominational church struggles over members seem to be the order of the day.  These influences have moved Christians further and further away from divine principles to which Christians are called to live out before a world that is far from God. The Church is called to be holy; so Christians must pursue holiness amidst an unholy world. The world does not know God so the world cannot lead in holiness. The best way to win the world to faith in Christ is by bearing witness to Christ through the Christian’s lifestyle of holiness – a life that is indifferent of the world—and expressed love towards those who are not living that life.  Miller argues that a careful revisit of historical developments that have altered Christianity from its biblical form of indifference might be a meaningful way for the Church to regain its fervor in representing Christ in the world—a world that God expects for Christians to be in but not of. Read the rest of this entry »

Where are the Prophets — The Real Ones?

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 by Antipas Harris

Today is a very sad day in South Georgia. After a long fight to prove his innocence, Troy Davis faces the death penalty tonight. From my view of the television, largely Caucasian American Law Enforcement Officers are on post to maintain order outside the chambers with tons of people, appearing to be mostly  African Americans, standing in protest, awaiting the Supreme Court’s final decision whether to execute him or acquit him.

Then, word comes back — “The Supreme Court Denies Davis Appeal.” Gosh! The scene on the television screen is way too reminiscent of the scenes from the 1960′s Civil Rights Movement. Some scenes and situations need not be repeated — this is one of them!

Davis is accused of murdering a police officer is 1989. The evidence has been weak to prove that he is guilty. Yet, he has found it difficult to prove his innocence. It is not surprising that Davis is African American. Researchers like University of Iowa law professor, the late David C. Baldus  has proven that racism permeates the death penalty and has done so since it was re-instated in America.

I have no desire to protect the guilty at the expense of the violated. Yet, the death penalty is problematic on so many levels. I cannot address all of them here.  However, I will say that research proves that the practice of the death penalty represents strands in American fabric that are racist at the core. There are similar racist strands that seem to weave through the educational system, job markets, Plan Parenthood’s abortion clinics, and more. Read the rest of this entry »