Keys to Explaining Pentecost to Evangelicals

Dr. Gary Tyra’s recent book, The Holy Spirit in Mission (IVP Academic), encourages readers to open themselves to being used by the Holy Spirit to speak and act prophetically. He writes here about lessons learned teaching a Pentecostal doctrine of the Spirit among evangelicals:

  1. Be biblical. Evangelicals and Pentecostals share a common commitment to the authority of Scripture. Many evangelicals will acknowledge a connection between the coming of the Spirit and prophetic (Spirit-inspired) speech and action once they realize it enjoys broad biblical support (not just from the book of Acts).
  2. Avoid coming off as confrontational. Many Pentecostals use “filled with the Spirit” and “baptized in the Spirit” inter-changeably. Most evangelicals, on the other hand, use these phrases differently. If we aren’t careful, we can communicate the idea that unless our dialogue partners have spoken in tongues, they aren’t saved. It’s amazing how many evangelicals assume that this is precisely what most Pentecostals believe.
  3. Make it missional. Evangelicals and Pentecostals also share a common commitment to mission. A missional approach to ministry asks: What is the Spirit up to in this ministry context and how can we cooperate with him? Prominent evangelicals tell me privately that the Pentecostal perspective is needed as we think about the mission of the Church.
  4. Point out the practical. I recently received an email from an adult student in our SPS program thanking me for the way I articulated the personal, real-life benefits of “praying in the Spirit.” Too often Pentecostal doctrine and practice comes off as weird and/or impractical to evangelicals. We can do better at indicating what praying in the Spirit actually accomplishes in our lives.
  5. Keep it real. Most evangelicals, despite their wariness about basing doctrine on experience, are really eager to connect with God. Let’s do more than talk about the benefits of a Pentecostal spirituality. Let’s exemplify it!

In conclusion, I want to suggest that there are two types of Pentecostals in the world: those who simply want to be different from other Christians, and those who desperately want to make a difference in the world for Christ. Let’s be that second kind!

Gary Tyra, D.Min., a veteran pastor, author and leader, is Professor of Biblical and Practical Theology at VU, and available for local church ministry. Contact Dr. Tyra at gtyra@vanguard.edu, or visit his website: www.garytyra.com

Because of You

Meet Ashley Armendariz:

I have heard about Vanguard University all my life. I grew up in an Assemblies of God church, participated in A/G Fine Arts competitions, and am a part of an Alumni Legacy family, so as one would expect, Vanguard has been a part of my story before I ever arrived on campus. But was it where I wanted to go to college? It wasn’t until I attended PreVU that this question was answered. YES! I decided that Vanguard University was the place for me.

The feeling of community that I received while visiting the campus helped me dream big and envision myself being a student here. This comforted me in knowing that Vanguard would be a safe place where I could grow not only academically, but spiritually and individually as well.

I adore the people at Vanguard. Peers and professors alike, the people here are what makes it. As a senior Psychology major, I look back on my Vanguard experience and realize that I wouldn’t trade my time here for anything. I had many amazingly deep conversations with fellow students, was challenged and cared for as an individual by professors, and had the opportunity to confide in staff members who I look up to as role models.

However, I would not be here without the financial support of donors and Alumni. The assistance from scholarships has provided me ways to grow beyond what I could have ever imagined and form those memories that I had hoped. I am so thankful.

This past weekend I graduated. I’ll be moving back to my hometown in El Centro, CA and will begin working in the ever-growing field of Special Education. I hope to pursue a Master’s degree so that I can have a career as a Behavioral Therapist for children with disabilities such as Autism. I also hope to start a family so that I can share stories with my future children about the wonderful people and great lessons learned at my Alma Mater, Vanguard University.

To God, my family, and the many donors who have helped make my story possible. THANK YOU!

Community of Sorrow

Community of Sorrow

Chase Wayne Kelch only lived an hour and eighteen minutes.

Born 16 weeks premature, his body wasn’t developed enough to survive outside of the womb. A first child, he had parents and grandparents eagerly waiting his arrival. Now they were left with the task of coming to terms with an emptiness.

The death of an infant brings its own special sorrow. The immense effort that should result in new life ends with the usual physical and emotional struggle, but a trip home with just adults in the car, and an empty baby bedroom.

VU grads Calvin (‘05) and Bettina (Helms, ‘04) Kelch, now of Fresno, faced this. Their first response was for Calvin and grandfather, Lynn Helms, to work on the construction of a beautiful little casket. Made of polished oak, and fitted to a perfect size, with wood handles, it had a quiet elegance to fit the quality of their dreams for their son. They tucked a top and a screwdriver into it (it’s a “guy” thing: every boy needs a toy and a tool).

They called family and friends together to mark little Chase’s passing with an open invitation: “…we celebrate in community, and we mourn in community.” Near the town of Exeter, in a country cemetery, with snowcapped Sierras shining on a sunny spring morning, they gathered for the burial.

Then came the creative and the unusual. Calvin’s idea. When they were ready to have the casket brought from the hearse to the grave, they risked a call for involvement. They asked all those present who, for any reason, had lost a child, to form a line from the hearse to the tiny grave, and become the pallbearers to pass the casket along.

Around 30 people stepped forward. Some as couples, some without spouse present. Some whose grief was well-known, others who had never been known to share this experience. In silence, except for tears, Chase’s earthly remains went down the line of loving hands. In remembrance of past pain, and in solidarity with a newly grieving family, they held and passed the small shiny container to its final resting place.

A grief shared is a grief lightened. There is power in community. Calvin and Bettina learned it, and found a way to turn to community when in sorrow.

Dave Gable, Director of Church Relations

Welcome to Our New Website!

Welcome to Vanguard University’s new Church Relations website!  We look forward to connecting with you and providing information about various ways that Vanguard is striving to partner with churches.   Please let us know about your thoughts by contacting us or leaving a comment below…