Sterling College Professor of Theology and Missions Dr. Henry Lederle Publishes "Theology with Spirit"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sterling College Professor Dr. Henry Lederle can pinpoint the exact moment his interest in pneumatology (the study of the Holy Spirit) became intensely personal. That moment, which happened nearly 30 years ago, has most recently resulted in his book “Theology with Spirit: the Future of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements in the 21st Century,” published by Word and Spirit Press earlier this year.

“As I grew up in South Africa,” said Dr. Lederle, “I noticed a groundswell of ‘Spirit’ churches. While I was teaching at the University of South Africa, I went to a ‘Spirit’ conference to observe, but during worship I had what I call a doxological experience of the glory of God. I was worshipping God from the very center of my being. It was a very fulfilling moment of my life.”

From that time on, Dr. Lederle, an evangelical Presbyterian, had more than an academic interest in Pentecostal and Charismatic theologies. He began work on a doctoral dissertation in pneumatology in 1982. In 1984 he traveled in the U.S., visiting Charismatic communities. This research allowed him to complete his project, and he finished “Treasures Old and New,” a theological study of the movements of ‘Spirit-led’ churches, in October 1985. It was published by Hendrickson Publishers in Massachusetts and the full run of 3,500 copies was sold.

In the years since, Lederle has continued his studies, publishing multiple papers and leading numerous workshops and courses. His most recent book, “Theology with Spirit,” brings his observations of the Charismatic movement and its doctrines up to date.

“The title of my new book represents a protest against the ‘absence’ of a developed theology of the Holy Spirit,” said Lederle. “This is a phenomenon that has been widespread for many centuries in mainline and evangelical Christian circles, which have often operated as if there were only ‘two,’ instead of ‘three,’ persons in the divine Trinity. I have a passion for the unity of the body of Christ. The church must become fully Trinitarian, not neglecting nor over-emphasizing the Holy Spirit.”

Dr. Jon Mark Ruthven, professor emeritus at Regent University, wrote the foreword to the book. He said, “’Theology with Spirit’ is a unique and thoroughly reliable historical and theological map of a movement that now probably has the largest share of active members in Christendom. … I taught contemporary theology for many years in a course for aspiring PhD students. This book would definitely have been a required text for this class and certainly on the reading list for my other theology courses. (Dr. Lederle’s) insightful balance and clarity express his callings not only as a scholar with academic brilliance but also a pastor with the gift of discerning, Charismatic warmth.”

“Theology with Spirit” is available at and is also sold at the Sterling College bookstore.