An Anthropologist’s Perspective

By Dr. Vince Gil, Professor of Medical Anthropology at Vanguard University

Classroom

In April 2014, the Assemblies of God will be 100 years old!
Over the next 3 issues, we will present a look at our impact as seen by an anthropologist,
a theologian, and a missionary, all Vanguard University professors with a life-time in our fellowship.

 

Vince Gil, Ph.D., Professor of Medical Anthropology, writes this -

From the Hot Springs, Arkansas 1914 days forward, the Assemblies of God ushered in an era of evangelical, Pentecostal communitarianism reminiscent of the church in Acts 15: Men, women, brethren of all races and ethnic profiles feeling that the most important aspect of their ‘community’ was that they were all the same in God’s eyes, all called to be evangelists and indwellers of the Holy Spirit.

To me as a social scientist, one of the A/G’s greatest accomplishments from early on has been the tearing down of ethnic, and in particular gender barriers – from that which existed at the time. A re- definition of ‘eligibility’, first for God’s service, but as well towards and for each other. This change laid a solid foundation for the future: We now have significant numbers of women and ethnic groups as part of the ministerial and servant fellowship. At last count there were 21 Ethnic Fellowships registered nation-wide. On the gender side, however, we still need to see more elected females as Presbyters…

Finally, since this space is limited to a short commentary, I see the Assemblies of God global outreach – its missional component and its now well established trend to cultivate ‘local leadership’ as an important cultural element: Respecting cultures while addressing spiritual and social needs of communities world-wide. This is the backbone of collaborative, socioculturally appropriate evangelism, us doing God’s work together.

 

To explore these issues more fully, contact Dr. Vince Gil at vgil@vanguard.edu

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