Heath 109 filled on April 25 for the Lewis Wilson Institute’s (LWI) last gathering for the semester. With 2014 marking the 100th anniversary of the Assemblies of God (AG), LWI hosted its final speaker to explore another piece of the AG’s rich history.
Young and old filled the lecture hall on Friday to hear one of the world’s leading Pentecostal historians, Dr. Cecil M. Robeck, Jr., speak on “The Formation of the Assemblies of God as a National Fellowship.” Several students and community members attended along with many of LWI’s regular event attendees. LWI Director Derrick Rosenior, Ph.D., introduced Dr. Robeck as a friend and as “one of the most preeminent Pentecostal scholars in the world.”
For the Seminar, Dr. Robeck focused on the crucial role of publications in recording the history of the AG. Digging through the thousands of pages of recorded history in the periodicals and other AG publications turns out to be “an incredibly complex thing,” he said. However, from hours of research and perseverance, Pentecostal historians continue to piece the account together.
When talking about the important role of publications in the growth and development of the AG, Dr. Robeck said they gave readers “the opportunity to watch the movement grow.” AG publications also helped to create a desire among AG churches across the nation “to move beyond independence to interdependence,” he added. In his lecture, Dr. Robeck also mentioned the history that led to the formation of the Pentecostal Evangel, which is the main AG publication today.
After a short break following the end of the lecture, attendees gathered back in the room for a Q&A session. Questions arose about women in the AG, what the AG looks like throughout the globe and the work of God in AG churches outside the U.S. in comparison to in the U.S. When addressing the issues about the AG on a global level, Dr. Robeck said: “I think we’re really interlocked with each other.” And when describing the similarities and differences between the AG churches globally, he said that he is blessed to be able to travel often outside the U.S. and see the life of God and the Spirit’s movement around the world.
Dr. Robeck is the director of the David J. DuPlessis Center for Christian Spirituality and a professor of church history at Fuller Theological Seminary. Also, he is a best-selling author and an ordained AG minister who has received several awards and has numerous academic publications. Read more about him in his Fuller professor profile, by clicking here.