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At a time when Pentecostals are stereotyped as insular and anti-intellectual, Amos Yong may seem like a fresh wind.

He's not the only Pentecostal with a Ph.D. (from Boston University) or two master's degrees. Other Pentecostals, too, publish and speak at a high level of scholarship to a wide spectrum of academics. Yet few Pentecostals have established themselves as such prolific and productive scholars by age 40, and fewer yet have explored such a range of subjects. Yong's work tackles science, ethics, world religions, language, nature, and a host of other contemporary issues. He also endeavors to work beyond the academy, making a point to engage in formal dialogues with Buddhists and other non-Christian groups.

What ties most of Yong's scholarship together is the common thread of pneumatology (the doctrine of the Holy Spirit), which he believes Christian theology has too long neglected. Even Pentecostalism has not produced a sufficiently developed vision of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Yong's passion is to expand interest in and understanding of the wider activity of the Spirit in the world beyond its traditional scope.

Beyond Common Grace

Yong, who last year left Bethel College in Minnesota to help establish the Ph.D. program in renewal studies at Regent University School of Divinity in Virginia, distinguishes classical, primarily Western "Pentecostalism" from the "pentecostalism" that is the largest and fastest-growing branch of Christianity in the world. He is a product of both.

Yong's Chinese parents, Assemblies of God pastors in Malaysia, moved to California when he was 10 to pastor a Chinese church. Yong dutifully attended Bethany, the ag college in Santa Cruz, where courses in theology inspired him. During ...

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A Wind that Swirls Everywhere
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March 2006

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