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Tribute to Professor Ervin: Interview with Daniel Isgrigg

Pastor Daniel Isgrigg speaks with Pneuma Review about his tribute to Dr. Howard Ervin, “Pilgrimage Into Pentecost: The Pneumatological Legacy of Howard M. Ervin” and his book of the same title.

 

Pneuma Review: In what ways has Dr. Ervin had an influence on your life?

Daniel Isgrigg: The book and paper came about after I took Dr. Ervin’s famous Pneumatology class that he taught every year of his forty year teaching career at ORU. Prior to this, I was not familiar with him and didn’t understand how important he was to Pentecostal theology. Once I heard him teach and was exposed to his class material and books, I knew I had found something special. As a young aspiring Pentecostal scholar, I had not yet found an example that I could follow of being both academic and Pentecostal. Most scholars to me were either not academic enough or not Pentecostal enough. Dr. Ervin was able to articulate for me a reasonable Classical Pentecostal theology with unquestionable excellence in theology and exegesis that I could call my own. Though he was thoroughly Pentecostal, he exemplified scholarship, dignity and reverence for God. He became the standard to me of what a scholar should be.

 

Pneuma Review: How is this paper different from your book?

Daniel Isgrigg: The SPS paper was written to draw attention to Dr. Ervin and the basic scope of the book. It talks about his pilgrimage into Pentecost from his time as a Baptist Pastor to his retirement from forty years of teaching. The paper contains selected excerpts of his biography, his works and his impact on the Pentecostal and charismatic world. Many of the biographical details were glossed over in favor of highlighting Dr. Ervin’s ecumenical impact on the Pentecostal/charismatic movement. The book goes on to offer comprehensive look at Ervin’s pneumatology; presenting his view of Spirit baptism, tongues as evidence, spiritual gifts and other related matters. The book also offers a rebuttal to Ervin’s critics over his view of Spirit baptism which is not in the paper. The goal of the both the paper and the book is to offer to young Pentecostals, like this author, an advocate of Classical Pentecostal theology to help inform and shape the next generation of scholars.

 

Pneuma Review: What have you learned writing and presenting this tribute?

Daniel Isgrigg: First of all, Dr. Ervin taught me that “your theology is only as good as your exegesis.” Many in Pentecostal scholarship are busy moving on to grander ideas in pneumatology, but they have failed to comprehend the basics of good exegesis from Luke-Acts. I have also learned that each generation has a responsibility to stand on the shoulders of those who went before us. Dr. Ervin provided a strong apologetic for Pentecost; one that Pentecostals can build on to bring a greater understanding of Pentecostal theology. Finally, I have learned the value of Pentecostal and charismatic history. Dr. Ervin not only wrote about the Holy Spirit, he led thousands into that experience. His life was more than ideas; it was changed lives. I continue to get letters from people who say how much Dr. Ervin has impacted their lives. His story needed to be told. His story inspires me as a minister to help people find the freedom and power of being baptized in the Spirit. His theology gives me confidence that this experience is grounded in the Word of God and sound theologically. Because he was able to minister to Protestants and Catholics, his life shows me that Pentecost is the vehicle that God wants to use to truly bring unity to the body of Christ.

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Category: Fall 2009, In Depth

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 serves as Pastor of New Life Center Assembly of God in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. 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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