Howard M. Ervin was an American Baptist pastor, Pentecostal scholar, and one of the founding faculty of Oral Roberts University. Ervin’s work, These Are Not Drunken as Ye Suppose (1968), was one of the first scholarly defenses of classical Pentecostal theology. During the next decade, several noted evangelical scholars, such as Anthony Hoekema and James D. G. Dunn, critiqued Ervin’s book and the Pentecostal position. In 1984, Ervin responded to James Dunn by writing Conversion-Initiation and Baptism in the Holy Spirit, in which he defended the Pentecostal position. He is among ORU’s most published theologians and scholars, writing six books on pneumatological topics such as Spirit-baptism, charismatic gifts, and healing over a span of 34 years.
Shortly after receiving his ThD from Princeton Theological Seminary, Ervin became the pastor of Central Baptist Church and later Emmanuel Baptist Church in New Jersey. It was during this time that Ervin was introduced to baptism in the Holy Spirit at a Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International (FGBMFI) meeting. After several years of investigating, he was baptized in the Spirit and quickly became a leader in the Charismatic Renewal.
In 1964, Ervin was invited by Oral Roberts to give his testimony at a Holy Spirit conference in Tulsa. As a pastor, scholar, and recognized leader in the renewal, Ervin attracted Oral Roberts' interest, and he recruited Ervin to advise him in the creation of the School of Theology at the newly founded University. Oral commented, “God knew I needed Howard Ervin.” Because of his impressive credentials, he was quickly drawn into leadership and in 1967 served as the Associate Dean of the School of Theology. Ervin helped designed an excellent academic undergraduate program and served as its chair from 1969 through 1978. In 1978 the Graduate School of Theology and Missions opened, and Ervin became the Professor of Old Testament and the seminary’s senior professor. Dr. Ervin taught classes in his two areas of expertise, Old Testament and Pneumatology. "GTHE 692: Pneumatology" became known as his signature class, which he taught each of his forty years as an ORU professor.
The legacy of Howard M. Ervin’s pilgrimage into Pentecost is influence that reaches from the university to the local church. He was respected by Pentecostals, evangelicals, and sacramentalists. His work with the FGBMFI, the Catholic charismatic movement, and ORU has brought the message of Pentecost to thousands of people. He influenced students and faculty of Oral Roberts University for 40 years. These students have spread the message of Pentecost around the world. His scholarly works continue to be valued by Pentecostals as groundbreaking exegetical support for Pentecostal theology.
Adapted from Daniel D. Isgrigg's Pilgrimage into Pentecost: The Pneumatological Legacy of Howard M. Ervin. Used with permission.
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