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Robert Graves speaks with about Strangers to Fire What are some of the things you learned while assembling this timely anthology?

Robert Graves: I had already read all but a couple of the contributions when we decided to embark on this venture, so it’s not like I learned anything new in regard to cessationism or continuationism. However, due to Keener’s second article, I did learn of other well-known and highly regarded scholars who aren’t thought of as Pentecostal or Charismatic but who are continuationists; these include N. T. Wright, Gregory Boyd, Paul Copan, Lyle Dorsett, Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, Peter Kuzmic, Mareque Steele Ireland, Gerald McDermott, Dallas Willard, Craig Blomberg and many others. What has the reception to Strangers to Fire been like so far?

Robert Graves: It’s only been available since the end of August (plus it’s 600 pages long), so I’m still waiting to hear from cessationists. From the continuationist side, of course I’ve heard nothing but praise to this point. But still, it’s early. And I’m sure there will be some constructive criticism—at least, I hope so. A number of scholars and leaders received review copies and supplied us with comments that we were able to use as promotional blurbs. One came from George O. Wood, the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God (A/G). The anthology also received praise from Greek scholars French Arrington (Church of God, Cleveland) and Anthony Palma (A/G) and theologians and historians such as Derek Morphew (Vineyard), Michael L. Brown (Messianic Jew/Charismatic), R. T. Kendall (Nazarene/Reformed/Charismatic), and Vinson Synan (Pentecostal-Holiness). What is the Foundation for Pentecostal Scholarship? In particular, what does “Pentecostal” mean in the name? Does TFFPS work only with classical Pentecostals?

Robert Graves: The purpose of The Foundation for Pentecostal Scholarship is to advance biblical scholarship within the Pentecostal family. We do this in a number of ways, such as providing funding for Pentecostal scholars working on projects relevant to Pentecostalism, funding translation projects (see Gonzalo Haya-Prats’ The Empowered Believer: The Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts, translated from the Spanish dissertation defended at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and Odette Mainville’s forthcoming The Spirit in the Works of Luke, defended at the University of Montreal, which is being translated from the French); we’ve also participated in distributing Pentecostal works in the Chinese language to Chinese-speaking bible colleges and seminaries; we’ve provided grants that have allowed Chinese-speaking Pentecostal scholars to attend the Society for Pentecostal Studies conference; every year we grant awards of excellence in scholarship to the best Pentecostal book as well as the best Pentecostal essays (up to three). The word “Pentecostal” in our name should be considered to include Pentecostals and Charismatics, or anyone who believes that all of the gifts of the Spirit are available to the church today and there is a baptism in the Spirit that may be subsequent to salvation and results in an enduement of prophetic power for witness and service.



Strangers to Fire CreateSpace page:

The Foundation for Pentecostal Scholarship page:


Further Reading:

Read the reviews of Strangers to Fire from: Tony Richie, John Lathrop, and further reflections by Jon Ruthven.

Are Pentecostals offering Strange Fire?” The panel discussion at about John MacArthur’s Strange Fire.

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Category: Fall 2014, Spirit

About the Author: Robert W. Graves, M. A. (Literary Studies, Georgia State University), is the co-founder and president of The Foundation for Pentecostal Scholarship, Inc., a non-profit organization supporting Pentecostal scholarship through research grants. He is a Christian educator and a former faculty member of Southwestern Assemblies of God College in Waxahachie, Texas, and Kennesaw State University (adjunct). He edited and contributed to Strangers to Fire: When Tradition Trumps Scripture and is the author of Increasing Your Theological Vocabulary, Praying in the Spirit (1987 and Second Edition, 2017) and The Gospel According to Angels (Chosen Books, 1998).

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