Delbert H Tarr, Jr (Del) born in 1934 is still active in ministry at home in Sacramento, where he is currently the Missions Pastor of Capital Christian Center (Pastor Rick Cole – Senior pastor) of the 6000 member church very active in The Mission of the Church. This congregation is helping to support over 300 missionaries and ministries from a broad ecumenical spectrum. He brings to this position 50 years of missionary experience having lived or ministered in 70 countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe with his wife Dolly.
Del’s BA is from North Central University, Minneapolis, MN. Both his MA and PhD are from the University of Minnesota with concentrations in Cultural Anthropology and Cross Cultural Communications. Del teaches and preaches in French, Mori of Burkina Faso, and Eve of Togo West Africa, besides English, of course.
Del is Professor emeritus at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in MO where he previously served as president for 9 years. In Africa the Tarrs directed the Mossiland Bible School in Burkina Faso and later co-founded Faculte Theologique de l’Afrique Occidentale in Lome, Togo in the 1970s where they prepared African ministers from 12 countries before he became the founding president of California Theological Seminary in Fresno, CA (nine years) prior to being called to the presidency of the denomination’s Seminary in MO.
Del and Dolly, though “officially” retired, spend 5-6 months each year in Africa, Europe and Asia training 2/3rd world ministers in cultural sensitivity where these churches have now become missionary sending movements in their own right. Del was a member of the International Roman Catholic/Pentecostal Dialogue team for 10 years.
He has written numerous articles in religious journals. His books include: Cross-Cultural Communications: ICI, Bruxelles, Belgium; and Double Image: Biblical Insights from African Parables, Paulist Press, New Jersey. Just published is The Foolishness of God: A Linguist Looks at the Mystery of Tongues by Access Publishers. This book, 8 years in preparation and consulting over 400 sources shows Del’s deep concern for the weakening of the importance of the Pentecostal experience in North America at the same time the growth of the charismatic theological persuasion is burgeoning around the world and represents the fastest growing segment of the Church of Jesus Christ. Del and Dolly have 3 children and 5 grandchildren.
AGTS Commencement- May 2012
“KNOWLEDGE ON FIRE”
THE FOOLISHNESS OF GOD: A Linguist Looks at the Mystery of Tongues
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”
I Corinthians 1: 25.
From the Bible and the words of the great apostle Paul, comes the title of this work about one of the most controversial forms of communications: Glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, seen through the lens of Communications Theory.
From obscure and pejoratively judged beginnings at the turn of the last century, the largest and fastest extending theological block of Christian believers, apart from the Roman Catholic Church, has grown to an estimated 650,000,000 souls in the space of less than 100 years. The missionary outreach of this multi-denominational movement is unprecedented in modern times. A burgeoning number of martyrs held this religious persuasion.
Because the first recipients of this book of Acts phenomenon were put out of their respective churches as irrational, Pentecostals and later Charismatics have tried to defend this outpouring of New Testament spirituality on the basis of reason. One should not be surprised, as the evangelical world is the epitome of literalism and what is rational.
This author believes that the most effective empowerment of the Spirit of God to be a gospel witness at Christ’s command is as unreasonable for the witnessing Christian today as the cross of Christ has always been in the eyes of an unbelieving world. And, in the plan of God– He has so designed them.
The framework of traditional theological argumentation has been the matrix of hundreds of books on the topic of “tongues” and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Here is a different perspective: that of the social sciences of Communications and Cultural Anthropology. The author has used four living languages to communicate in 70 countries over a 40+ year period. His terminal degree is in Cross-cultural Communications and as an ordained Pentecostal minister has experienced pastoral and educational ministry from a broad perspective. The work will follow a rigorous academic mode but not in a pedantic style so as to attract less the academician as the layperson/minister who is searching to understand this widely acclaimed spiritual phenomenon of our day. Pastors as well as laypersons will find this book a resource for the constant questions regarding glossolalia today.
Inside the broad matrix of Communications Theory (with its own major chapter) will be separate chapters including the Critics of the phenomenon of “tongues” both outside and inside the movement; a brief Historical sketch; Testimonials of past and current recipients of the gift of tongues; the element of Risk and Loss demonstrated throughout the Scriptures and in the opinion of the author, necessary for the gift; the biblical Case for tongues; the Thesis chapter highlighting the incarnational aspect of God’s plan to partner with mankind; and a chapter on the role of tongues in Unity of the Body of Christ. Appendices are available for the academic researcher in Communications as well as one on What Tongues is Not.
A full bibliography of over 350 sources used in the work is included as well as three indices. Endnotes after each chapter will “unencumber” the reading.
All the chapters relating to theology, criticism and history contain numerous Communications Insight sidebars relating the topic to the context of Communications Theory which is the distinctive characteristic of the book.