Through the Spirit of God who proclaims the healing of Jesus to all creation— grace, peace, and joy be yours in increasing fullness!
For your prayerful remembrance, I would like to update you on a new development that transpired over the past several months regarding my aspired PhD endeavours.
As many of you may recall, last year I was not able to go forward with my PhD programme with Bangor University (Wales, UK) due to financial constraints. By around May this year, I pretty much concluded that circumstances have virtually closed once for all, this aspiration for me. Yet then by June Dr Wolfgang Vondey, Director of the PhD programme for the Centre of Pentecostal Charismatic Studies (CPCS) under the University of Birmingham (UK), invited me to apply for their programme.
Vondey basically expressed two main reasons that prompted him. First was awareness that I could not go forward with the Bangor programme dues to financial constraints. He stated that there may be scholarships within the University of Birmingham that might substantially cover me through their programme. The other reason was having sat in on my paper delivery on a similar theme last March at the 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.
So I followed through with his suggestions for revising my doctoral proposal, and completed all the application procedures by early August. Then by mid-October, the admissions office finally sent me an Admissions Offer, to begin the programme in October 2019, one year from now. Once started, I would have four years to write the dissertation. There will be no course work; just dissertation writing under Vondey’s monthly supervision, and a yearly trip to Birmingham (covered under the tuition fees).
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 (under which falls the CPCS) often ranks as the 24th top theology department worldwide. The CPCS 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%5D
Meanwhile, Dr Vondey is presently one of the world’s premier Pentecostal theologians. His main expertise is Pentecostal liturgical theology; meaning, focus on how Pentecostal worship practices shape Pentecostal belief and spirituality. My dissertation would 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.
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.
Prayer requests / How you can help
I understand that at some point this month, the University of Birmingham will begin publicising their own sponsored scholarships and grants relevant to my programme. Once the university advertises these, I will start applying. Hence, for the next several months, I am now in something of a “race” to see if God willing, the means may all come together for this venture to begin next October.
Though the years go by, I remain passionate and increasingly passionate about one thing:
To preach the Pentecostal Full Gospel of Christ our Saviour, Sanctifier, Spirit Baptiser, Healer, and Coming King, and represent the Pentecostal tradition for the renewing of the Church worldwide, the saving of nations, and healing of creation.
Now ultimately, 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. Therefore, if it does not work, I do not see myself ever picking this up again. Yet for now, I fully feel prompted by God to follow through these steps before me— while also 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 postures 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!
Either way, I appreciate and solicit your prayer towards these matters and endeavours. And on a practical note, I value your involvement in any way possible, towards any new ministerial, church, organisational, or collaborative relations that may help foster these aspirations. So that together— we may seek and serve the up-building of the Church, the coming Kingdom, and the greater glory of God.
Let me share some thoughts from a message I recently preached from Ezekiel 37 titled, “Rattling Bones, Rising Hope, and Restoring Breath of Jesus”: Friends, your latter days are promising. For the glory of the latter house, shall be greater than the former house. Hope is rising, for reviving winds of God are blowing, and miracles are coming. For the one who runs before us – Jesus – pioneer and perfecter of our faith, is doing a new thing in and through us. The Spirit of Jesus shall raise your fallen seed a hundredfold, birthing for all nations— a harvest of peace, joy, and overflowing blessing. For this aim, the Lord blesses the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land, and the work of your hands. Only believe, receive, and sow for the coming harvest.
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,