For your prayerful remembrance (see the section below on how you can pray and help), I would like to update you that in January this year, I received a formal admission offer from the University of Birmingham (UK), to begin in this coming October through a long distance arrangement, the PhD programme through their Centre of Pentecostal Charismatic Studies. You can view the Admissions Offer at the following link:
God willing, once I start in October this year, I would have four years to write the dissertation. There will be no course work; just dissertation writing under my supervisor’s monthly supervision, and a yearly trip to Birmingham (covered under the yearly tuition fees).
Overview of the Department of Theology & Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies
Let me briefly describe the institution’s global stature, along with how my dissertation falls within its concerns. While statistics vary, the University of Birmingham’s Department of Theology and Philosophy often ranks as the 24th top theology department worldwide. Under this department falls the Centre for Pentecostal and Christian Studies, which is the world’s first Pentecostal/Charismatic Studies centre, created in the 1970’s by the late founder of “Pentecostal Studies,” Walter J. Hollenweger.
For more information, you can visit the following link: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/ptr/departments/theologyandreligion/research/pentecostal.aspx]
My Supervisor: Dr Wolfgang Vondey
Dr Wolfgang Vondey is one of the world’s premier Pentecostal theologians. One of his focuses is Pentecostal liturgical theology; meaning, focus on how Pentecostal worship practices shape Pentecostal belief and spirituality. This directly relates to my dissertation research, which I next describe. At the following link, you can view his profile:
Summary of my dissertation project
I have titled my dissertation project as, “Towards a Pentecostal Theology of Epiclesis: Ascetic Spirituality in Pentecostal Liturgical Theology.” For those needing clarity here, “epiclesis” refers Spirit-invoking prayer, and “ascetic” to bodily practices in spirituality. At the following link, you can view a brief summary (about 500 words) of my dissertation research project:
My dissertation will thus specifically focus on assessing emerging Pentecostal liturgical theologies worldwide, particularly to how they attend to the notion of Pentecostal “oral” liturgy (e.g., Pentecostal “oral”-based practices of worship).
Some have asked me what would be some practical implications of the dissertation. Well, it is really all about constructing a Pentecostal theology of prayer. So it is all about retrieving the relevant themes from Pentecostal spirituality and appropriating them towards the life of prayer; especially prayer that calls on the Father for renewed comings of the Spirit of Jesus, to renew the church in behalf of the world’s healing.
How I came into Birmingham route
As many of you may recall, in 2017 I was not able to go forward with my PhD programme with Bangor University (Wales, UK) due to financial constraints. Around May last year, I pretty much concluded that circumstances have virtually closed once for all, this aspiration for me. Yet then by June, Dr Vondey, Director of the PhD programme for the Centre of Pentecostal Charismatic Studies at Birmingham, invited me to apply for their programme.
He expressed two reasons that prompted him. First was having sat in on my presentation on a similar theme at the March 2018 Annual Meeting for the Society for Pentecostal Studies, he took an interest in my intended research on Pentecostal liturgical theologies, as it falls within his own work and interests. Incidentally, the Journal for Pentecostal Theology published that paper in their fall 2018 issue. Second was awareness that I could not go earlier forward due to financial constraints. He suggested there may be scholarships within Birmingham that might substantially enable me to forward with their own PhD programme. So I followed through with his suggestions for revising my doctoral proposal, completed all the application procedures by early August last year, and finally received a formal admissions offer in early January this year.
I remain increasingly passionate about one thing:
To preach the Pentecostal Full Gospel of Christ for renewing the Church worldwide, discipling the nations, and healing creation.
This sustained mission continually impassions with the desire to help foster Pentecostal spirituality and its theological tradition worldwide—for the unifying renewal of the global Church and the greater glory of God. This vision thus clarifies my identity as an ecumenical Pentecostal. I believe it is the cause that should navigate the ongoing outcome of my life.
Now if it does not come together, I am ok with that, for to the best my conscience, I have strove to keep this long-held aspiration on the altar. Yet for now, I feel strongly obliged to follow through with these steps before me— while leaving the outcome in God’s hands and best for our future. I perhaps should also say that Jee Fong is fully behind me in this, and praying with me through the journey. Therefore, my posture is this: if it all comes together, thank God; and if it does not it— thanks be to God! Blessed be the name of the Lord!
How you can pray, and help
I have recently applied for a Birmingham-offered scholarship that I was qualified to apply for. The outcome will be known at some point from mid to the end of May. If approved, it may cover more than half of my first year’s tuition fees. However, that means I would still need to raise another substantial sum to just begin the programme. The bottom line is that beginning and finishing the programme, would require— a lot of miracles, all the way through.
Yet, I believe in miracles. And I believe in the power of prayer.
I am therefore asking for your prayerful intercession, towards this aspiration.
And I also ask and value your involvement in any way possible, towards any new ministerial, church, organisational, or collaborative relations that may help foster these aspirations. If you feel prompted to share or initiate with me any new relations, networks, or platforms that can help bring this great endeavour to pass— please contact me. I would be glad to hear from you.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s love, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit— increase and equip you with all good gifts of Heaven, that you may labour with God in His mission to heal the world.
The peace of Christ be yours through the power of God’s Spirit,
The Spirit of Jesus is filling
Sons and daughters of Pentecost
Who know their home at the altar of sacrifice.
From there they go, receiving from the Father
Many gifts for healing the world.
For the heart of God is an altar, where the burns the most flammable substance in all creation: His unfailing love. And this love generates— the fires of Pentecost.