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Summer 2004, Vol. 1, No. 1

Message from the President:

The Way I See It

Byron D. Klaus, D.Min.
President and Professor of Intercultural Leadership Studies, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary

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I have had the wonderful privilege of being taught and influenced by Russ Spittler, a brilliant New Testament scholar and significant Pentecostal leader. He gave me my first opportunity to teach at the college level many years ago and he sat on my doctoral committee. His steady demeanor and keen insights have been an inspiration to me for 30 years.

Russ speaks about theological education as being an exercise in the “right to enquire and the might to believe.” That statement has challenged me continually in my years in ministry, particularly the last two decades in theological education.

This journal is offered to the various publics of AGTS as a concrete example of Spittler’s poignant affirmation. We enter aggressively into the world of Pentecostal ministry, seeking information that will help us to be more effective. We do not undertake such an enquiry motivated by the American tendency toward the novel or by the “bigger is better or slicker is cooler” addictions that tempt so many ministers. We believe this journal is enquiry, investigation, critique and analysis that allow such research to be an enabler of Pentecostal ministers in serving the kingdom of God within whose jurisdiction we labor.  

The right to enquire need not be self-serving nor merely the accumulation of more information. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to discern clearly research’s role in serving the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ that continues intact to this very day by the guarantee of Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit’s role in giving us the might to believe is crucial to our effectiveness. If we believe that eternal business is transacted only when eternal power facilitates such a transaction, then our reliance on the Spirit is something we do because, without it, all our efforts are merely human devised substitutes for God’s redemptive empowerment.   

I envision this journal’s enquiry to be motivated by the serious challenges of grass-roots ministry. As an academic institution, we live in a tradition that proceeds from medieval times and carries long-standing affinities to information that serves a guild that is distinct and limited. This journal will not take its cues from the agendas of academic guilds but from the challenging realities of grass-roots ministry. Some may view such a lofty goal as naive or even presumptively elitist. I view it as a reasonable effort by a seminary, sponsored by the Assemblies of God, to rigorously bring to bear the hard work of research and make it available in a dialect that allows its broadest usage by ministers who need in-depth analysis, not sound bite novelty.

Certainly, the jury is out as to whether we will accomplish such an integration of vigorous research and intentional commitment to the trenches of ministry. We are committed to such a task and offer this journal to our various publics as a way of affirming our institutional mission and Russ Spittler’s reminder that we need to create more communities where we foster “the right to enquire and the might to believe.”

Updated: Friday, June 16, 2006 10:22 AM