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Pentecost and Harvard

Pentecost and Harvard. Sounds odd, doesn’t it?

If we allow stereotypes to prevail, the two seem to be in direct contradiction to each other. Harvard has a reputation of being a very wealthy school with high academic standards. Pentecostals, on the other hand, at least in the past, were viewed largely as uneducated and from the poorer class. While one may be accused of having a full head but an empty heart, the other may be accused of the opposite. Of course, stereotypes are never really accurate and are frequently filled with misconceptions and prejudices. I am happy to report that Pentecostalism and Harvard have crossed paths both in the classroom and experience. Amid all that there is to study in the world, the Pentecostal movement has not gone unnoticed at Harvard. It is being given some attention at Harvard Divinity School, and not just a few passing comments in some class. There is a full semester course devoted to Pentecostalism (see “Fire From Heaven: an interview with Harvey Cox”).

But the outpouring of the Spirit is being experienced as well as examined at Harvard. At Harvard Law School there is a Christian fellowship. This group is an evangelical student organization. It is nondenominational and is attended by students from various church backgrounds: Methodists, Baptists and Pentecostals to name a few. I am reliably informed by Jeff Feldham, leader of the Law School Christian Fellowship during the ’93-’94 school year, that during that time, seven or eight people in that group received a Pentecostal experience. This seven or eight new recipients is out of a group that had regular attendance of about 35, some of whom were already Pentecostal. Jeff said, “It was not something that we (the fellowship) pushed, it just happened.” One member of the fellowship, a graduate student from Singapore, was used greatly by God to bring Harvard Law School its Pentecost.

It has happened. May it happen again, and again, and again.


This brief article first appeared in the March-April 1996 issue of Vista Magazine, which is the official publication of the Christian Church of North America which is now known as the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. Used with permission.

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Category: Church History, Summer 2015

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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