Biosketch: Allan Heaton Anderson


Allan was raised, educated and worked in southern Africa for 43 years, and is now Professor of Global Pentecostal Studies in the College of Arts and Law of the University of Birmingham. He was in  Elmfield House on the Selly Oak campus from October 1995, when it was part of the Selly Oak Colleges, until December 2009, when he moved to the main campus in Edgbaston. From 1995-2002 he was responsible for overseeing the Harold Turner Collection for New Religious Movements housed in the Orchard Learning Resources Centre on the Selly Oak campus and now housed in the Cadbury Archives at the University of Birmingham. He began the Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies in 2004. From 2005-08 he was Director of the Graduate Institute for Theology and Religion, and from 2009-11 Head of the School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion.

Allan was born in London, England to Salvation Army officers Keith and Gwen Anderson, a Zimbabwean father and an English mother. Allan lived with them in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia, with two years in Zambia) for seventeen years and later was in South Africa (when he went to theological college) for twenty-five years until October 1995, the time he moved with his family to Birmingham, England. His father was son of a fourth generation London Missionary Society (Congregational) minister in Southern Africa, of Scottish and Cape Dutch descent, and his mother was born in Sheffield, England, the daughter of Salvation Army officers originally from South Yorkshire. Allan's parents lived in a nursing and residential home in Birmingham from 1999 until their death in May and December 2006, having served the Salvation Army in England (1946-53, 1983-86), Zimbabwe (1953-60, 1962-70), Zambia (1960-62, 70-72), St Helena (1985) and South Africa (1972-83, retired 1986-99).

Allan worked as a minister in various parts of Southern Africa, firstly as a 'classical Pentecostal' (1973-83), later (1983-88) as a Charismatic Baptist, and then as associate pastor in an independent African Charismatic church (1988-95). He was founder and principal of Tshwane Theological College, near Soshanguve, Tshwane, Gauteng (north of Pretoria) from 1988-1995, where he was also executive secretary of Tshwane Christian Ministries, an educational and childcare organization. He worked part-time as researcher at the University of South Africa (Pretoria) in the Pentecostalism Project of the Research Institute for Theology and Religions from 1989-1995. Since October 1995 he worked in the Graduate Institute for Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham (formerly Selly Oak Colleges) directing postgraduate programmes and research in Pentecostal and Charismatic studies. He became Director of the Graduate Institute in April 2006, a post he gave up in August 2008 when the department was restructured and became part of the School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion.

Allan's secondary school education was at Gilbert Rennie School in Lusaka (Zambia), Prince Edward School in Harare (then Salisbury) and Milton School, Bulawayo (Zimbabwe). He attended Bethel Bible College, a Pentecostal college in Vereeniging, South Africa from 1971-1973, completed a ministerial diploma and received probation followed by ordination in 1975. He studied part-time at the University of South Africa from 1976, obtaining a BTh (distinctions in two majors: Missiology/ Science of Religion and Church History) in 1983, Hons BTh in Missiology in 1985 (with distinction, a one year taught postgraduate degree), MTh (a two year research degree) in 1990, and graduated DTh in September 1992. His master's thesis was entitled 'Pneumatology from an African Perspective' (published in 1991 as Moya: The Holy Spirit in an African Context), and his doctoral dissertation was 'African Pentecostalism in South Africa: A Missiological Evaluation'. Among his teachers were David Bosch, Marthinus (Inus) L Daneel (his main doctoral promoter) and Willem Saayman (co-promotor).

Allan's main research is in the areas of Pentecostal history and intercultural theology. He has written eight monographs on African Christianity and global Pentecostalism, the latest being To the Ends of the Earth: Pentecostalism and the Transformation of World Christianity (Oxford, forthcoming 2012), Spreading Fires: The Missionary Nature of Early Pentecostalism (London: SCM & Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2007), An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity (Cambridge University Press, 2004), African Reformation: African Initiated Christianity in the Twentieth Century (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2001), and Zion and Pentecost: The Spirituality and Experience of Pentecostal and Zionist/Apostolic Churches in South Africa (Tshwane: University of South Africa Press, 2000). He has edited (with Walter J Hollenweger) and written three chapters of a volume entitled Pentecostals After a Century: Global Perspectives on a Movement in Transition (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999). With Edmond Tang, he has edited a volume on Asian Pentecostalism entitled Asian and Pentecostal: The Charismatic Face of Asian Christianity (Oxford: Regnum & Baguio City, Philippines: APTS Press, 2005). See Publications for further information.

Allan's Work page gives a description of his job, and a list of his academic publications is on the Publications pages.

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