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School of Divinity Celebrates 10 Years of Ph.D. in Renewal Studies

By Brett Wilson | July 5, 2013

This summer marks the 10-year anniversary of the Ph.D. in Renewal Studies program in Regent University's School of Divinity. The groundbreaking program offers the world's first non-residential, modular Ph.D. program with a strong focus on the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements in the Church.

"The future of renewal studies as it enters into its second decade will continue to engage, as our definition suggests, not only the Church in all of its renewed diversity, but also the academy and the world," said Dr. Amos Yong, dean of the School of Divinity. "The future is bright and the work is plenty; but the laborers—the renewalist scholars, researchers, teachers and theological educators—are motivated by the opportunities before them."

The Ph.D. program—accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and by the Association of Theological Schools—gives students the opportunity to focus their studies on the areas of renewal theology and history. It emphasizes the impact of the ecumenical work of the Holy Spirit as it bridges spiritual gaps within the context of the Church, and the world.

"In the School of Divinity, our niche is to study this vast, huge movement," said visiting professor and dean emeritus of the School of Divinity, Dr. Vinson Synan. "We feel like our role at Regent is to study and contribute to the field from the academic perspective."

Synan explained the opportunities for the students who graduate from this particular program are quite extensive, as they are equipped to produce sound, scholarly research and become educators with expertise in their field.

"Lots of research and so many books have been published by the program's graduates, and I think it's really helped build respect for Regent," said Synan. "To me, that is the ultimate fruit of the program."

Synan spearheaded the genesis of the program in 1999 at the request of eight other seminaries in the country. Synan explained that with support from the Board of Trustees and founder and chancellor Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson, the program was able to accept its first cohort in the summer of 2003. Ten years later, the program boasts a stellar faculty and diverse body of students.

"We want this to continue to be an excellent program that will help fulfill our vision," said Synan. "We want to produce the best research and writing that will renew the Church and change the world."

Synan's scholarly peers have claimed that despite the 19 books he has written on the Pentecostal movement, the creation of the Renewal Studies program is the "true capstone" of his entire academic career.

"It's one of the most fulfilling things in my whole life," said Synan. "In a way, it's the icing on the cake."

Learn more about the School of Divinity.


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