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A Short Review of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 2018 Conference

Rick Wadholm Jr. shares his highlights and reflections from the Society for Pentecostal Studies 2018 Annual Conference held at Pentecostal Theological Seminary, on the campus it shares with Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.

The day before the meetings officially commenced for SPS in Cleveland, Tennessee, I took four of my students from Trinity Bible College & Graduate School in Ellendale, ND, on a historical tour of Church of God sites organized by the The Dixon Pentecostal Research Center and led by Dr. Henry Smith.
We traced the early history of the Church of God beginning with the organization of the Christian Union in 1886 at Barney Creek. A mill used to be present at the site and functioned to fund the ministry of R. G. Spurling. We then found ourselves at the site of the Shearer Schoolhouse where an early holiness revival contributed to the growth in 1896. Another site that is marked (though not at the original location even as it is near) is the log church site where worshippers experienced Spirit baptism and opponents eventually succeeded in burning the church to the ground. We also toured the Fields of the Wood Biblical Park ( where the Holiness Church at Camp Creek was organized in the home of W.F. Bryant (1902) and where A.J. Tomlinson joined (1903). There we saw the world’s largest 10 Commandments and traveled the trail of markers dedicated to the doctrines and teachings of the Church of God of Prophecy. From that location we traveled to the house where the first General Assembly met (1906) and I posed for preaching (it seemed a fitting pose). To wrap up the tour we visited R.G. Spurling’s gravesite and then A.J. Tomlinson’s home in Cleveland. It was a welcome learning experience for myself and the students I brought along to discover Pentecostal stories outside of our own specific fellowship (Assemblies of God).

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Category: In Depth, Spring 2018

About the Author: Rick Wadholm Jr., Ph.D. (Bangor University, Wales, UK), is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. Rick has pastored several rural congregations in North Dakota and Minnesota for 22 years and is ordained with the Assemblies of God (USA). He is a regular speaker for churches, camps and conferences. He enjoys reading and discussing theology and Biblical Studies, most particularly the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth. Rick is an active member of the Institute for Biblical Research, the International Bonhoeffer Society, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Society for Pentecostal Studies, and was the Executive Editor of The Pentecostal Educator published by the World Alliance for Pentecostal Theological Education (2013-2019). Rick is author and editor of numerous articles and books. He has helped found the Society for Pentecostal Studies Student Caucus. He also enjoys blogging on topics of translation, Biblical studies, pastoring and theology by contributing to four different blogs—his personal blogging adventures hosted at Facebook. Twitter.

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