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Pilgrimage Into Pentecost: The Pneumatological Legacy of Howard M. Ervin

 

A Legacy of Lukan Pneumatology

The explosion of scholarship in the modern era produced some fine New Testament scholars. Among them are a number of scholars who have done their studies on Luke-Acts in an attempt to clarify Pentecostal pneumatology. This era of scholarship has produced profound developments in the area of pneumatology. Howard M. Ervin was one of the first to argue for a unique Lukan pneumatology. Ervin’s thesis was ground breaking work for the area of New Testament studies that would lead to a whole field of New Testament studies in the area of Luke-Acts. Pentecostals have benefited greatly from these insights. As scholars like Roger Stronstad and James Shelton have added to this discussion, these men have also stood on Ervin’s shoulders. Issues of subsequence, evidence and empowerment all find their particular support in the view of a unique Lukan pneumatology. This is the core of Ervin’s arguments against the evangelical views of conversion-initiation and Pauline theology.

 

Conclusion

Howard M. Ervin’s pilgrimage into Pentecost has produced a legacy of influence that reaches from the university to the local church. He is respected by Pentecostals, evangelicals and Sacramentalists. His work with FGBMFI and ORU has brought the message of Pentecost to people from all backgrounds who desired to experience the reality of the Holy Spirit in their lives. His scholarly works are recognized by Pentecostals as groundbreaking exegetical defenses of Pentecostal theology and exegesis. His influence on the students and faculty of Oral Roberts University has spanned 40 years. These students have brought the message of Pentecost all around the world. Thousands were lead into the baptism in the Holy Spirit through the many years of Oral Roberts Ministry Partners Seminars.51 Howard Ervin’s presence has truly been felt by people around the world.

Howard Ervin was at the cutting edge of Pentecostal apologetics. Yet his works did not have a broad or lasting effect on Pentecostal scholarship. Ervin wrote in a time when many Pentecostals focused on the practical and experiential and were not necessarily interested in the exegesis of Pentecost. Ervin helped pave the way for the explosion of work in the area of pneumatology and Luke-Acts in particular. In this way, his books may have come before their time.

Perhaps Ervin’s greatest contribution was in the lives of the people that he ministered to. From parishioners, to members of mainline denominations, to students, to faculty, Howard Ervin’s legacy is the impact his life and ministry had on individuals. This author was greatly impacted by Dr. Ervin’s commitment to scholarship with a pastor’s heart. His Pneumatology class showed this author that one can be both Pentecostal and sound in one’s theology and exegesis. Ervin exemplifies the commitment to the Word and Spirit. His pilgrimage into Pentecost demonstrates an example of how the Holy Spirit can truly change one’s life. But Dr. Ervin did not allow these experiences to be just for his own personal edification. From the beginning he knew that what he found in his relationship with God was to be shared with others. He broke down the usual barriers between denominations with the unifying experience of the fullness of the Spirit. This will be his legacy when he stands before the Savior that he so faithfully served.

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Category: Fall 2009, Spirit

About the Author: Daniel Isgrigg, B.A. and M.A. (Oral Roberts University), is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Bangor University in Wales working on the origins of Assemblies of God eschatology. He is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God, a member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, and is the Director of the Holy Spirit Research Center at Oral Roberts University. Daniel is also the author of Pilgrimage Into Pentecost: The Pneumatological Legacy of Howard M. Ervin (Word & Spirit Press, 2008) and Why I Want To Be Left Behind (Word & Spirit Press, 2008). Facebook

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