Alum Profile: Amos Yong, Ph.D. 1999
Amos Yong is one of the most prolific and active Pentecostal theologians in the academy. He was born in Malaysia, but immigrated to the U.S.A. when he was ten years old. He received an undergraduate degree from Bethany University of the Assemblies of God (1987), and master’s degrees from Western Evangelical Seminary (1993) and Portland State University (1995).
In 1999, Yong received a Ph.D. from Boston University in religion and theology under the guidance of Professor Robert Neville. His dissertation topic was “Discerning the Spirit(s): A Pentecostal-Charismatic Contribution to Christian Theology of Religions” In this in-depth work, he offered a three-fold thesis: First, he argues that the Pentecostal-Charismatic experience of the Holy Spirit instigates “Pneumatological imagination.” Secondly, he claims that this imagination facilitates phenomenological, symbolic, and doctrinal comparisons across different religious traditions, allowing theological space for Christian participation in interreligious dialogue. By doing so, he encourages Pentecostals and Charismatics to engage in wider ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. However, he never forgets that the crucial task in Pneumatology should be discernment. Thus, he argues, thirdly, that norms for discerning the Holy Spirit from other spirits in the religions are intrinsic to the Penumatological categories themselves.
Yong was just appointed Dean of the School of Divinity at Regent University (Virginia Beach, VA). He formerly served as the J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology and as the director of the divinity school’s Ph.D. program. Yong is also a member of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies, the American Academy of Religion, the Christian Theological Research Fellowship, and the Society for Pentecostal Studies. In addition, he is working as a co-editor of PNEUMA and is co-editor of two monograph series: Pentecostal Manifestos (Eerdmans); and Studies in Religion, Theology and Disability (Baylor). He was also a president of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (2008–9) and the founding co-chair for the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements Group for the American Academy of Religion (2006–2011).
His academic interest is not limited to global Pentecostalism and Pentecostal theology. It includes interreligious dialogue and comparative theology, theology of disability, political theology, dialogue between science and religion, and theology of love, etc.
He is an incredibly prolific writer: He published as many as 10 books in the last two years (2011 and 2012). Here is the list of those books. Spirit of Love: A Trinitarian Theology of Grace (Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 2012), The Science and Theology of Godly Love (DeKalb, Ill., Northern Illinois University Press, 2012), Godly Love: Impediments and Possibilities (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2012), Pneumatology and the Christian-Buddhist Dialogue, Does the Spirit Blow through the Middle Way? Studies in Systematic Theology 11 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012), The Cosmic Breath: Spirit and Nature in the Christianity-Buddhism-Science Trialogue, Philosophical Studies in Science & Religion 4 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012), Pentecostalism and Prosperity: The Socioeconomics of the Global Charismatic Movement, Christianities of the World 1 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), The Bible, Disability, and the Church: A New Vision of the People of God (Grand Rapids and Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011), The Spirit of Creation: Modern Science and Divine Action in the Pentecostal-Charismatic Imagination,Pentecostal Manifestos 4 (Grand Rapids and Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011), Who is the Holy Spirit? A Walk with the Apostles (Brewster, Mass.: Paraclete Press, 2011), Afro-Pentecostalism: Black Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in History and Culture, Religion, Race, and Ethnicity Series (New York: New York University Press, 2011).
By Hye Jin Lee