(Oral Roberts University/Facebook)

Oral Roberts University has taken a critical step forward in becoming a premier research institution for the global Spirit-empowered movement, as the University's new Ph.D. in theology program has received approvals from the University's two accreditors: the Higher Learning Commission and the Association of Theological Schools in the U.S. and Canada.

"A theology Ph.D. program has been the unrelenting pursuit of ORU from its very early years," said ORU President Dr. William M. Wilson. "We have been working diligently over the past couple of years to develop this program with the undergirding values of world Christianity and the Spirit-empowered movement."

Renowned Pentecostal historian, Dr. Vinson Synan, will lead the program with Dr. Eric Newberg, professor of theological and historical studies, serving as associate director.

"It's vital that we understand the connections and interactions between theological studies and the global explosion of Spirit-empowered Christianity," said Dr. Wonsuk Ma, dean of ORU's College of Theology and Ministry. "The program will equip our doctoral practitioners to develop original research, teach in higher education and engage the world with the message of Christ."

The first track of the program explores the contextual theologies of global Christianity. Contextual theology utilizes a method of theological practice that takes into account four facets of theological reflection: the Spirit and message of the gospel, historical and theological orthodoxy, the religions and cultures of a nation or region and the global trends in Spirit-empowered Christianity.

"The program's coursework will be modular, utilizing online technology and minimizing the need for practitioners to live in Tulsa," said Dr. Ma. "This will allow full-time Christian leaders to undertake this research program."

The international Ph.D. program, utilizing global experts as advisers, is expected to launch fully in August of 2019.

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