Faculty Focus – Dr. Hal Knight

Henry Knight

What I am teaching

Pentecost and Charismatic Theology
In a single century Pentecostals and Charismatics have grown from non-existence to encompass one fourth of all Christians. We are reading books by a new generation of Pentecostal theologians who are providing theological grounding for Pentecostal identity as well as engaging the entire church globally and ecumenically.

Dr. Frank MacchiaEspecially exciting is that one of those authors, Dr. Frank Macchia, will be visiting the class on April 14, the evening prior to his giving the Evangelical Society Lecture. There are also two class sessions on the difference these theologies make in ministry: one led by Jeff Kirby from the Church of the Resurrection on healing ministries, and one consisting of a panel of three United Methodists and a Pentecostal.

United Methodist Doctrine
This continues to be my favorite class, and although I’ve taught versions of it for three decades it never gets old. There is nothing more exciting than the theology of John Wesley and its optimism of grace! While as in all my classes we keep ministry in mind, in this class I am devoting three sessions specifically on the shape of Wesley on ministry: two led by Chuck Russell of the UM Church of the Resurrection, and one with a panel of very Wesleyan United Methodist pastors.

Funerals and Memorial Services Practicum
Practicums are perhaps the most exciting part of our new curriculum. In this one I have a supporting role. Reverend Karen Lampe and her team at UM Church of the Resurrection will involve about a dozen students in caring for grieving families, and planning and leading the services.

What I am reading

Kenda Creasy Dean, Almost Christian
Drawing on a survey of teens in the church, Dean presents a disturbing portrait of the faith of youth in mainline Protestant churches. Termed Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, this pale alternative to authentic Christianity posits a God uninvolved in our lives except in times of trouble, and whose basic concern if for us to be “nice,” and nice people go to heaven when they die. Where would teens get such a religion? The study is clear: they get it from their parents and the church itself.

Matthew T. Lee, Margaret M. Poloma, and Stephen S. Post, The Heart of Religion
Three sociologists show how encountering God’s love transforms and empowers persons, leading them to lives devoted to serving others. It is fascinating to see the variety of ways people encounter God’s love, and the equally various kinds of ministry produced. To varying degrees these persons have become much more aware of God’s acting in the world. Reading this right after reading the book by Dean was an especially powerful experience!

Frank Macchia, Justified in the Spirit
The most recent book by this leading Pentecostal theologian, Macchia uses recent New Testament scholarship to expand the meaning of justification from forgiveness only to participation in God, and ultimately the promise of new creation. Justification then is not only the result of the cross but Easter and Pentecost; it is a Trinitarian work necessarily involving the Holy Spirit. Indeed life in the Spirit, both personal and communal, is at the heart of justification.

Sammy Alfaro, Divine Compañero: Toward a Hispanic Pentecostal Christianity
This impressive young theologian proposes a Spirit Christology as most appropriate for Hispanic Pentecostalism. Jesus is the Spirit-anointed Divine Companion who travels with those who follow him.

What I am writing

My most recent book is Anticipating Heaven Below: Optimism of Grace from Wesley to Pentecostals (2014). In it I argue that Wesleyanism is a theology of hope, leading the overlapping Methodist, Holiness and Pentecostal movements to pray and work with the expectancy that the love and power of God will transform hearts and lives, renew the church, and bring compassion, healing, and justice to a suffering world.

I have two new book projects underway. Doug Powe and I are writing Transforming Community, a kind of sequel to our earlier Transforming Evangelism, for Discipleship Resources.  I am writing a short book introducing John Wesley’s theology for Wipf and Stock’s Cascade Companion series.

I continue to write the Consider Wesley article for Catalyst, now found online at www.catalystresources.org. I also write a monthly “Wesley and World Today” article for The Missouri Methodists, available both in printed and online here.

Four Full Ride Scholarships Available in 2015!

Saint Paul FellowsSaint Paul is excited to announce a collaborative Fellows Program with the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection and the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference.

The Fellows Program is a first-of-its-kind pastoral program designed to eliminate student loan debt, immerses students in varied church settings.

Four Full Ride Scholarships

Saint Paul School of Theology will award four full-ride scholarships to seminary students commencing study in 2015. “The three-year Fellows program offers a groundbreaking opportunity to equip candidates called to full-time ministry with excellent academic formation and real-life pastoral experience while reducing the need for student loans,” Saint Paul President H. Sharon Howell announced.

Application Deadline

The application deadline for prospective students interested in the Saint Paul Fellows at Oklahoma City University-Oklahoma Conference or the Saint Paul Fellows at Church of the Resurrection is March 15, 2015. A total of eight finalists will be invited for on-site interviews in March, and Saint Paul will announce scholarship recipients on April 15, 2015.

More Details

“Saint Paul is one seminary on two campuses. Applicants for our Fellows program can choose between two very different church settings to prepare for leadership in the church and in the world,” Howell said. “Whether it is serving on staff at the country’s largest United Methodist congregation or assuming pastoral duties in a rural or small church setting, these select Saint Paul Fellows will receive intentional practical experience combined with rigorous scholarship.”

The awards will be granted to two students at each campus and will cover tuition, books and fees for three years. The Oklahoma Conference Fellows will receive a student appointment to pastor a small church, including a parsonage and salary to cover living expenses; the Church of the Resurrection Fellows will receive a stipend to cover living expenses while serving at the 21,000-member congregation’s suburban campus in Leawood, Kansas within the Great Plains Annual Conference.

The Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation provided the lead gift to “kick start” the Fellows Program. Bill Junk, President, believes providing scholarships while students are in seminary not only assists them financially, but also demonstrates an investment in the future leadership of The United Methodist Church.

Rev. Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor at Church of the Resurrection, called the collaboration between Saint Paul and the Church of the Resurrection exciting: “Students will serve on our team, learning from our lead staff and exploring nearly every dimension of Resurrection’s ministry. They will graduate with experiences and tools few seminary students have when beginning their full-time ministry.”

Nationally, average seminary student loan debt is $45,000. Combining salary, stipend and scholarship money ensures Saint Paul Fellows will receive the finest theological education and formation for the least amount of out-of-pocket expense. Saint Paul and its collaborative partners are committed to coming along side seminary students to help them focus on their formation experience without the burden of debt.

“These awards are open to United Methodist men and women of any age seeking their Masters of Divinity who will be first year students at Saint Paul in the Fall 2015. We are seeking students who will lead and serve an ever-changing church in a broken and hungry world,” Howell said. “Selected Fellows will show exemplary leadership and promise for creative and faithful ministry.”

Saint Paul Academy: New Testament Classes for Laity

Dr. Israel KinclassDr. Israel Kamudzandu will teach the first Saint Paul Academy classes in New Testament on February 24 and March 3.

The Saint Paul Academy

Saint Paul Academy offers non-degree classes for clergy and laity who would like to deepen their faith, better understand theology, and grow in ministry and leadership skills. These opportunities for continuing education and personal enrichment allow participants to engage at their own pace and are taught by Saint Paul School of Theology faculty.

About the Course
The two-day course provides lay Christian believers, and Sunday school teachers with historical, cultural, and social contexts of the New Testament with emphasis on the origins of Christianity, concentrating on Four Gospels, selected Pauline Letters and the Book of Revelation. Although theological themes of each book will occupy much of the study, attention will be on the New Testament as Scripture as a source of Revelation of the Triune God. The course will equip participants with new methods of reading and interpreting both the Old and New Testament.

Books for the Course:
Participants are to bring a Bible they understand and a notebook for taking notes and doing course activities in groups or individually.

To Register:

Earn a Certificate in Lay Theology
There are six basic courses that lead to a Certificate in Lay Theology.

The six (taken in any order) are:

  • Introduction to Hebrew Bible
  • Introduction to New Testament
  • Introduction to Church History
  • Introduction to Christian Theology
  • Introduction to Worship
  • United Methodist Heritage (Polity/History/Doctrine)


eUpdate Letter from the President – 2/17/2015

Dear Saint Paul Community,

Last week was full to overflowing!

Holy Conversations

Holy ConversationsHoly Conversations continued with a gathering at Central United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri. Rev. Dr. Jim Simpson, ’77/’81 and his staff provided warm hospitality. Saint Paul faculty both current and retired were present: Dr. Israel Kamudzandu and Rev. Ed Kail. Israel has just returned from his fall semester research leave and reports he is thrilled to be back in the classroom with such amazing and energizing students.

Global AIDS Fund Committee

Global Aids FundThe Global AIDS Fund Committee: A program of the United Methodist Global Health  Initiative met at Trinity Community Church in Kansas City, KS. Several of the members of the committee attended worship, community meal and participated in an informative panel discussion at Saint Paul. On Thursday, February 12, they hosted an evening program at Trinity. Rev. Dr. Mark Holland ’09 and his staff welcomed the Global AIDS Fund Committee (GAFC) and those of us who joined them for the evening.

The GAFC announced their new health initiative: Just Save One: Saving newborns from HIV. The cost of therapies to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to infant is $10. As you read this eUpdate 900 babies are being born with HIV every 24 hours.

Renewing Relationships and Connections

It’s impossible to attend a United Methodist event without making or renewing relationships and connections. Retired Bishop Fritz ’75 and Etta Mae Mutti reminded us of their journey when two of their three sons were diagnosed and died from HIV/AIDS. I am moved to tears each time I am reminded of the fear and secrecy which paralyzed our understanding and compassion for so many years.

Schaunta James-Boyd, Executive Director of the E.C. Tyree Health & Dental Clinic at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas has been educating and promoting community health for over 12 years. She described several examples of educational moments used in the midst of worship at St. Mark.

Yvette Richards is the national president of United Methodist Women and an active member of St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri. When she isn’t traveling the world on behalf of United Methodist Women (UMW), she works for State Farm. She announced a new collaboration between UMW and United Methodist Committee of Relief (UMCOR) to reduce the mother-to-child transmission of HIV with effective interventions. Yvette had her own cheering section with the table of UMW members from St. James.

Annual Conferences

The advancement and recruitment staff of Saint Paul have selected the Annual Conference meetings where we will be in May and June: Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Louisiana, Great Plains, Great Rivers, Northwest Texas, Arkansas and the Pacific Northwest. Announcements will follow about the Saint Paul meal and meetings for alums, students, and friends at each annual conference session. If you are reading this and would like for us to be in your annual conference next year, please let me know.

I offer prayers as we prepare for Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent.

On the journey with you,

President Sharon HowellRev. H. Sharon Howell, President
Saint Paul School of Theology

Truman Road Campus and the Guadalupe Centers, Inc.

Exerpts from the President Report given by Saint Paul President H. Sharon Howell  Report at the Awards Dinner on November 10.

Saint Paul School of Theology is a seminary of the United Methodist Church. It is a seminary of collaborations. We are in our 7th year of a collaboration with Oklahoma City University and the Oklahoma Annual Conference. We are in our 2nd year of a collaboration with Church of the Resurrection of the Great Plains Annual Conference. Collaboration is really a theological term for “bold, cutting edge, visionary, faithful and faith-filled” creative relationships with United Methodist institutions.     

Saint Paul was birthed in the heartland out of a need for theologically educated and practically trained pastors. We are still that seminary. Saint Paul pitched its tent with National College at Truman Road and Van Brunt.

Read more

Saint Paul Board to Go Through Strategic Planning Process

The Saint Paul Board of Trustees met at Church of the Resurrection October 13-14.

The Board worked under the leadership of Dr. William (Bill) C. Miller who served in theological education for more than 35 years.

Bill served at our neighbor institution Nazarene Theological Seminary for 27 years where he was library director, professor, director of institutional research and assessment and Dean for Administration (COO and CFO).

He later worked for the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) as a director for Institutional Evaluation and Assessment. Read more

Spiritual Formation and Class Work

Students and faculty were renewed by participating in the Fall Spiritual Formation Retreat in Olathe, Kansas. During Reading Week students and faculty have an opportunity to read, write and take a deep breath before returning to class on Monday, October 20.

This summer I sat with a table full of Master of Divinity students for lunch and conversation. After asking them what class they were taking, I learned that they were all in Dr. Jim Brandt’s Atonement course.

For the next 15 minutes I sat and listened as they all talked about the class content and the current applications of what they were reading. The model of the class was fascinating. Every morning they focused on a single theologian and his/her writings on atonement. Read more