Dr. Thomas Presents Azusa Lecture On Apocalypse

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dr. John Christopher Thomas will present the seventh annual Azusa Lecture, “‘In the Spirit on the Lord’s Day’: The Holy Spirit in the Book of Revelation.”  The lecture will be Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the North Cleveland Church of God’s Bryant Fellowship Hall. 

Following Dr. Thomas’ presentation, Dr. French L. Arrington will receive the Spirit of Azusa Award for his life-long contribution to the Pentecostal movement as a scholar and teacher of the Bible. 

Dr. Thomas is the Abbott Professor of Biblical Studies at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary and serves as associate pastor of the Woodward Avenue Church of God in Athens, Tn.  A founding editor of the “Journal of Pentecostal Theology,” Dr. Thomas edits the journal’s supplemental series of books and is general editor of the Pentecostal Commentary Series. 

Dr. Thomas regularly contributes articles and chapters to books and periodicals about the New Testament and its application to the contemporary church.  Among the seven books he has authored is his newly released commentary on the Book of Revelation, “The Apocalypse.”

 Dr. Thomas’ earned his  PhD from University of Sheffield (England) where he studied New Testament, a ThM from Princeton Theological Seminary (New Testament), an MDiv from Ashland Theological Seminary (Old and New Testament), his MA from Church of God School of Theology (Christian Ministries), and a BA from Lee College (Biblical Studies).

Both Ashland Theological Seminary and Church of God Theological Seminary honored him with their Alumnus of the Year award, and the Church of God Theological Seminary presented him with their Distinguished Faculty Award in 1998. 

An internationally recognized Bible scholar, Dr. Thomas directs the Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies at Bangor University in Wales as well as the Centre for Pentecostal Theology in Cleveland. 

In addition to numerous colleges and universities in the United States, he has lectured in Canada, Ecuador, Germany, Guatemala, Korea, Philippines, Romania, and England, including Cambridge University on four occasions. 

Following the lecture, the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center will honor Biblical scholar Dr. Arrington with the Spirit of Azusa Award and a reception. Arrington is Professor Emeritus of New Testament Greek and Exegesis at the PTS, having served for 21 years on that faculty as well as 17 years at Lee College. 

While at Lee, Dr. Arrington was chairman of the Bible and Theology Department and honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award. A former pastor, he has written extensively for ministerial and lay enrichment in the local church.  His latest book is “The Greatest Letter Ever Written: A Study of Romans.”

The Azusa Lecture is sponsored by the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center in partnership with the North Cleveland Church of God.  This year’s lecture is also being supported by the Pentecostal Theological Seminary as part of their annual Heritage Week. 

Dr. Henry Hawthorne Knight will speak Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 11 a.m. at the seminary. 

Dr. Knight is the Pearl Wright Professor of Wesleyan Studies at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City.  On Tuesday and Wednesday his lectures will be “Heaven Below: From Aldersgate to Azusa Street” and “What does it mean to be Wesleyan?”  During the seminary’s chapel service on Thursday, he will preach on the topic “Reaching God’s Destination: The Means of Grace.”

Founded by Charles W. Conn on the campus of Lee University, the DPRC is one of the world’s most significant collections of Pentecostal materials as well as the archives of the Church of God.  In addition to students at Lee University and the PTS, numerous scholars visit the center to study about the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement.  Dr. David G. Roebuck is director of the DPRC. 

North Cleveland Church of God is host of the Azusa Lecture.  Established in 1906, the congregation has served as a “mother church” to the denomination and provides ministries for worship, evangelism, education and service. The congregation’s International Prayer Center is a witness to the importance and power of prayer. Mitchell Maloney serves as Senior Pastor.

The purpose of the Azusa Lecture is to highlight the rich heritage of the Pentecostal movement and to provide the Cleveland community an opportunity to celebrate the legacy of the Pentecostal revival.  The Dixon Pentecostal Research Center launched the annual lecture in 2006 on the occasion of the centennial of the revival at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles. 

Dr. Conn, a Church of God Historian, noted that the Los Angeles revival, which lasted from 1906 to 1909, “is universally regarded as the beginning of the modern Pentecostal movement.”  The revival began when the African-American preacher William J. Seymour preached a message of Spirit baptism following salvation.  What started as a home prayer meeting attracted throngs of seekers and was moved to an abandoned church building at 312 Azusa Street.  Hundreds traveled to the Azusa Street Mission, received a personal baptism of the Holy Spirit, and took that message to their homes, churches and communities.  The Pentecostal movement quickly became a great missionary movement, and the twentieth century came to be called the “Century of the Holy Spirit.”

The lecture and a reception for Dr. Arrington are free and open to the public.

For more information about the Azusa Lecture contact the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center at 614-8576.

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