Tag Archives: Pentecostal spirituality

Have received formal admission offer: PhD programme – University of Birmingham Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies

Dear Friends

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.
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Reflections from SPS 2018 meeting

Through the relational encounters, stimulating sessions, and hospitable ethos, I have departed from the 2018 Society for Pentecostal Studies meeting with renewed passion towards serving the Pentecostal tradition— for the unifying renewal of the global Church.
While this was my seventh consecutively attended conference, I find myself again renewed in conviction that I am a son of the Pentecostal Full Gospel, a steward entrusted with its saving grace for the whole world, and servant to its message of Christ our Saviour, Sanctifier, Spirit-baptiser, Healer, and Coming King.
From varied sessions, several themes sustain my departing reflection:
“Church, where is your good news for the poor? Have we traded our prophetic voice for a seat at the table at the privileged?”
“Where the margins are, Pentecost explodes.”
“Let us pray for those who cannot pray, for ours is simple and humble faith.”
“Let us listen to the questions the Majority World is asking, and let their questions shape our answers.” (paraphrase from Carlos Cardoza Orlandi’s plenary session on “The Breath of the Spirit and Our Theological Vocation”)
Pentecostal spirituality envisions and fosters:
A way of salvation, where through Christ the Spirit grows us into God’s loving presence, healing us by re-ordering their affections towards His kingdom, and sending them us in mission with God in behalf of its coming.
A holy way that forms a new people who embody and enact holy love.
An apostolic way of life within the mission of God for the renewal of all creation.
Paraphrased points from Dale Coulter’s plenary session on “Recovering a Wesleyan Vision of Pentecostalism: Five Theses”).

Sounds of the poor – Pentecostal oral liturgy as primary theology

I just turned in my paper for the 2018 S Conference (Society of Pentecostal Studies / http://www.sps-usa.org).  This meeting (8-10 March, 2018) will be held at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, Cleveland, Tennessee, USA.  The conference theme is one that strikes deep in my heart: “The Good News of the Kingdom and the Poor in the Land.”  The conference will address pentecostal/charismatic responses to issues of poverty worldwide.

To be presented under the Ecumenical Interest Group, I have titled my presentation: “‘Sounds of the Poor that Deify the Rich’: Pentecostal Oral Liturgy as Primary Theology.”  The paper reflects themes I earlier developed for the first chapter of my dissertation proposal that was early last year approved for the Center for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies under Bangor University, Wales, UK (For more information on this, see my web-page: https://monteleerice.wordpress.com)

Let me share some brief lines evoking themes from the paper, followed by a few quotes from it that more expansively summarise those themes.

Paper themes:

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about sounds learned in poverty

Groans spoke in prayer too deep for words.

But these are the sounds of Jubilee

Empowering the poor by restoring voices

Releasing captives by healing bodies

Making them instruments of worship

Recovering sight to the blind

Through give dreams, visions, and prophecies.


Training us in the priestly ministry

Of Christ the Spirit Baptizer

Restoring to us historical purpose

And apostolic destiny

Foregrounding the poor as prophets of God’s coming kingdom.

For the ascetics of Pentecostal oral liturgy

Deify the poor as partakers of Christ’s reign

For theirs is the kingdom of God.

Yet these sounds can also deify the rich

When they too embrace, learn, and speak the tongues of Pentecost.


I’m talking about the Lord’s Prayer

Praying for the coming of God’s kingdom

That His Spirit may renew the earth.


I am talking about the base meaning of theology, as prayer.

And primary theologians— people growing in communion with God through the practices of prayer.

The Christian faith is really a prayer movement that continues the priestly ministry of Jesus by daily invoking the Spirit for the renewing of creation.  Pentecostalism is a renewal movement calling the greater Church to her priestly vocation.  As Steven Land argued in his 1993 ground-breaking monograph, Pentecostal Spirituality, A Passion for the Kingdom: “Pentecostal theology-as-spirituality” is “theologia” being “restored to its ancient meaning” as prayer.  And “prayer . . . . is at the heart” of Pentecostal “spirituality.”

Some quotes from the Introduction and conclusion


“An ongoing task in Pentecostal studies is identifying theological categories that articulate Pentecostal theology in manners congruent to the spirituality that underwrites Pentecostalism as a gifted theological tradition. . . .

I suggest as a more promising rubric, though perhaps more reminiscent of ancient Christian monastic asceticism.  The rubric I refer to is the patristic era’s monastic and thus ascetically rooted, Evagrian notion of prayer as theology (theologia).  This doctrine has deeply funded what we may call the contemporary liturgy as primary theology movement (LAPT).  Later I will demonstrate how two notions can be coalesced as what I shall call the Evagrian-LAPT grammar of prayer/liturgy.

In this paper, I suggest that the Evagrian-LAPT grammar provides us apt theological categories for theologically articulating Pentecostal spirituality, in manners methodically congruent to its intensely embodied oral liturgy, and practices of primary theologizing.  I thus believe that this grammar may prove especially helpful towards the growing focus in Pentecostal studies on the liturgical life of Pentecostalism.  I shall also suggest this as an apt orientation for articulating Pentecostal notions of liturgical theology, and theologically assessing current developments in Pentecostal liturgical studies, including construction of Pentecostal theology in manners that retrieve resources from the liturgical life of Pentecostalism. . . .

In Part One I will survey three historic warrants that substantiate the Evagrian-LAPT grammar as an apt language for theologically articulating Pentecostal spirituality, specifically attending to its liturgical practices.  I will first briefly summarize Evagrius’ prayer as theology doctrine.  I will then demonstrate how this doctrine funded the LAPT movement, and review its main themes.  I will then analyze Steven Land’s ground-breaking 1993 monograph titled, Pentecostal Spirituality, A Passion for the Kingdom.  I shall demonstrate that his monograph substantiates the grammar by showing how it was a direct by-product of the LAPT movement, thus describing Pentecostal spirituality through the Evagrian-LAPT grammar.  In Part Two I will retrieve from LAPT proponent and Roman Catholic liturgical theologian David W. Fagerberg, three important LAPT terms: primary theology, liturgy, and ascetics, to suggest ways that the Evagrian-LAPT grammar proves helpful towards research in Pentecostal liturgical theology.  I will thus suggest how this grammar helps clarify the meaning of pertinent foci within Pentecostal spirituality; specifically: Pentecostal primary theology, liturgy, and liturgical ascetics.

In Part Three, drawing on Walter Hollenweger’s work on Pentecostal orality and oral liturgy, along with Jesuit priest and anthropologist Walter Ong’s seminal work in orality studies, I shall delineate the shalomic efficacy of pentecostal oral liturgy and the oral epistemology operative through its liturgical practices.  More specifically, I shall argue that an important moral warrant for understanding Pentecostal orality as the liturgical ascetics of Pentecostalism, lies in their observed efficacy towards empowering the poor and lower social-economic people into higher levels of shalomic flourishing.  Yet as Hollenweger similarly argued, I shall also show how the primary oral-literacy of the world’s poor in contrast to the print-literacy and evolving IT secondary orality of the world’s rich, raises an important ecumenical task for today’s world Pentecostalism.  Namely, the task of reconciling these contrasting gifts and the people they represent as requisite towards the Christian vision of true shalomic flourishing.


In Part Three, I delineated the shalomic efficacy of Pentecostal oral liturgy and the oral epistemology operative through its liturgical practices.  I thus argued how these ascetics empower the world’s poor into higher levels of shalomic flourishing.  I also argued that when the rich embrace the poor and their primary orality epistemological giftedness, they too become empowered towards shalomic flourishing and true humanity.  Hence, I also argued that an important ecumenical task for today’s world Pentecostalism is the task of reconciling these contrasting gifts of rich and poor, not only for the uplift of the poor but that the rich be humanized through the primary oral epistemological giftedness of the world’s poor.

Therefore, the liturgical ascetics of Pentecostal oral liturgy prophetically signify, and efficaciously function, as the sounds of Jubilee.  For the orality that characterizes Pentecostal liturgical ascetics are sounds proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favour (Luke 4:18-19).  They are the sounds of good news empowering the poor, by restoring their voices, releasing captives by healing their bodies as instruments of worship, and recovering sight to the blind through the giving of eschatological hope through dreams, visions, and prophecies.

Pentecostal liturgical asceticism thus liminalizes the world’s poor into the riches of God’s coming kingdom.  Training them in the priestly ministry of Christ the Spirit Baptizer, it capacitates them with restored eschatological horizon and apostolic destiny, foregrounding them as prophets of His coming kingdom.  For the ascetics of Pentecostal oral liturgy, deify the poor as partakers of Christ’s reign, for theirs is the kingdom of God.  Learned in poverty, there are groans spoke in prayer too deep for words.  Yet the sounds of the poor deify the rich, as they too embrace, learn, and speak the tongues of Pentecost.








Praying / for funding / to begin / PhD programme 2017

My vision and passion

Several weeks ago I re-visited the “life-mission” concept. So I tried stating in one sentence, what seems to be the gripping passion that drives my soul, imagination, and aspirations.

Here’s what I wrote:

To preach the Gospel for all creation, fostering Pentecostal spirituality and its theological tradition worldwide— for the unifying renewal of the global Church.

I am an ecumenical Pentecostal. For me, this means three things.

First, through these past months I have found my Pentecostal identity renewed, as one called by God to represent this tradition.  Hence, to minister the Gospel, out of the resources that define this tradition.

Second, it is a tradition God has entrusted me with. It is a “trust” given to me.  A “trust” that shapes my reading of the Gospel (Jesus as Saviour / Sanctifier, Spirit Baptiser, Healer, Coming King), and how I am obliged to preach the Gospel.

Third, I am called to discharge this trust in ecumenical service to the greater global Church. This means I recognise all church traditions as gifted, with unique gifts of the Holy Spirit. I believe that God desires us to acknowledge that these gifts reside within our diverse traditions, and through the Spirit of fellowship, share them with one another. We do so for the global and unifying renewal of the one, holy, catholic, apostolic Church. I believe I have a part to play in this great cause. I believe that this should define and navigate the ongoing outcome of my life.

Empowered by this passion and in wanting to do God’s will as best as I am discerning it, I am aspiring towards beginning a PhD project in 2017. This is not something new.  It is an aspiration I have held for nearly three decades. Yet my past five years of SPS (Society for Pentecostal Studies) participation has strongly joined this desire to an awakened sense of destiny within the global Pentecostal tradition, in ecumenical service for the greater Church of God.

Towards this aim, I have been dialoguing over the past year with two different institutional routes. Both hope I can begin in 2017. One route would go in the direction of Pentecostal ecumenical theology, and the other towards Pentecostal mission theology.

Over the past several weeks, another factor filtered into these reflections.  This factor was remembrance on how many years ago, my early missionary commissioning has effected two plus decades of life lived beyond my homeland. Hence, I have sensed that this notion of global availability should help steer our navigation through the challenges that lie before my wife and I.

One hindering factor that stands before us and this PhD aspiration, is the financial costs. It presently remains beyond our social-economic reach. Hence, the one thing that holds us back right now, is financially initiating the PhD programme, and perhaps demonstrating that we can financially see it through to its completion.

Therefore, late last March on a countryside walk, I shared the following realisation with my wife Jee Fong.  What I shared is this.  That perhaps for the funding of this aspired PhD programme to emerge, we must now foster complete openness to God and His whole world.  We should do so, presuming that this may be prerequisite for moving into His best for our lives. I am thus sensing that this venture may evoke entirely new ministry/placement opportunities anywhere worldwide.  And hence, that we must be ready for re-location anywhere worldwide, and willing to travel wherever the Lord would send us in convergence to this aspiration.

Therefore, I am believing that it may be best to frame this aspired endeavour within a freshly fostered openness towards God’s will at this life-stage.  This is an openness that avails towards anywhere worldwide that God may see as best fitting, towards engaging this PhD project. We believe we are ready to move forward, wherever this may take us, in order to fulfil this task and maximise its purpose, potential outcomes, for the good of the global Pentecostal tradition, and the worldwide Church of God.

I am therefore seeking prayer for God’s miraculous provisions. Prayer towards any help towards establishing:

  1. Funding that can initiate this PhD venture.
  2. Long-term strategies for meeting the yearly PhD expenses.
  3. Any new ministerial, church, organisational, or collaborative relations that may likewise help towards the short or long-term funding of this venture.

To reiterate, my aim is to help:

The global renewing of Pentecostal spirituality

The growing renaissance of this tradition’s theological tradition

In ecumenical service for the unifying renewal of the Church of God worldwide, and the greater glory of God.

The peace of Christ be yours through the power of God’s Spirit,


For the healing of our Father’s world,

May we of many tongues

Through Pentecost—

Be made one

In Christ.