About the Center
The Center for Renewal Studies is a bridge between the academic world, the church, and the broader public. It is a cross-over organization that promotes the mutual exchange of ideas from a biblical, theological, and global perspective and with interdisciplinary focus on the growing significance of the worldwide renewal movements. The operation of the Center is an extension of the Regent University School of Divinity's emphasis on Renewal Studies, which pursues a methodological approach to global Christian engagement with discourses in the academy, church, and world as informed by critical reflection derived from charismatic movements and their practices throughout the history of God's people. Taking seriously this approach, the Center extends the intentions of the programs and the mission of the School of Divinity beyond the academic realm, including a resource center, a public blog, public lecture series, seminars, exchange of visiting scholars from various disciplines, and sponsorship of other professional events and other venues related to the promotion of renewal (see figure 1).
The Center affirms the vision of Regent University to provide Christian leadership in transforming society by affirming and teaching principles of truth, justice, and love as described in the Holy Scriptures, embodied in the person of Jesus Christ and enabled through the power of the Holy Spirit. The mission of the University is to provide excellent graduate and undergraduate education from a global, biblical perspective in pivotal professions to equip Christian leaders to change the world, and to be a leading center of Christian thought and action. The Center emphasizes the global significance of this vision by accentuating the extension of education for the purpose of mutual dialogue between disciplines.
The principles of this interdisciplinary dialogue are rooted in the mission of the School of Divinity to provide theological education faithful to the Scriptures and emphasizing the renewing work of the Holy Spirit in order to form men and women who will bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ in the church, the academy, and the world. The primary purpose of the Center is to support this mission of the School of Divinity by functioning as a bridge-builder and catalyst in the discussion of the academic, ecclesial, and public experiences of renewal (see figure 2).
The mission of the Center is to provide venues for understanding and pursuit of the renewing work of the Holy Spirit that extend beyond the traditional confines of academic education and engage the church and broader public in the discussion and formation of the contemporary understanding of renewal.
The establishment of the Center is motivated by the worldwide phenomenon of renewal that has created global interest in an understanding of God's work in the world and is widely discussed in the academy, the church, and the broader public arena. The programs at the Regent University School of Divinity bear witness to the increasing interest in aspects related to renewal. However, several demands of the nature of "renewal" cannot be met by the academic program alone.
- Renewal is a phenomenon not limited to the academic world. Whereas the focus of the graduate and postgraduate programs of the School of Divinity are on education in the areas of biblical, historical, and systematic theology, the motivation of the Center is to provide a bridge from the pedagogical and academic world to the church and the larger public.
- Renewal is not exclusively a theological phenomenon. Whereas the primary focus of academic programs is their theological perspectives, non-theological disciplines need to be implemented in the discipline of renewal studies, particularly the natural sciences as well as political, economic, environmental, medical, and socio-cultural considerations. The motivation of the Center is to sustain an open forum for scholars from various disciplines and to provide mutual interaction with the theological perspectives of the Pentecostal and Charismatic communities.
- The diversity of disciplines pertaining to renewal calls for a structural organization that offers interaction and the exchange of ideas. The motivation for the Center is to provide motivation for scholars, researchers, and writers to promote the scholarship of their respective disciplines and to expose its contributions to the gaining of knowledge.
- The diversity of communities and individuals related to the study of renewal represents the primary obstacle in pursuing a unified knowledge of renewal. The motivation for the CRS is to represent a leading center on the East coast of the United States that offers significant relations with national and international communities.
- The various publications, scholarly writings, and presentations made in the renewal communities are often not designated specifically as related to renewal studies or show a lack of awareness of a common cause. The motivation for the Center is to provide seminars, lectures, and publications (online and in-print) that offer a unified arena and sustained awareness for the pursuit of renewal studies.