Paul Alexander is a Pentecostal farm boy from Kansas who attended his local Assembly of God at least three times a week while growing up and never missed a summer church camp. All four of his grandparents were Pentecostal, and he has a four generation heritage that reaches back to the years right after the Azusa Street Revival (Los Angeles, 1906-1909). He was "saved" repeatedly and baptized in the Spirit at the age of twelve and began praying in tongues.
As a freshman Cross-Cultural Missions major at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas, he cheered and sang "bomb, bomb, bomb . . . bomb, bomb, Iraq" during the Gulf War in 1991. After serving as Student Congress president and Missions Association president, marrying Deborah, being named Mr. Southwestern, and graduating summa cum laude, Alexander attended the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri as the recipient of the full tuition "Distinguished Assemblies of God Scholar" award. While in Springfield, Alexanders favorite three hours of each weekday was listening to Rush Limbaugh; he even tried to sell anti-Bill Clinton t-shirts that said "Dont blame me, I didnt vote for the dope smoking, womanizing, draft dodging governor of a backwater state." He also preached regularly and worked with Deborah in the Peanut Butter and Jelly Preschool at their church.
After graduating with his M.Div. at age twenty-three, Alexander was hired as an Assistant Professor at Southwestern to teach Bible and theology classes. The following year he started his Ph.D. in Religion (Theological Ethics) at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. While at Baylor he day-traded stocks with borrowed money and invested in real estate. He also accidentally found out that the Assemblies of God had been a peace church full of conscientious objectors (as had most other early Pentecostal denominations). Although such a position made no sense to him, he decided to devote his dissertation to exploring the story. Along the way he discovered that his grandfather (as a conscientious objector) and his wife Deborahs grandfather (as a noncombatant) had both followed the Assemblies of God teaching on nonviolence during World War II. He also studied with John Howard Yoder in summer 1997 and began reading Anabaptist theology alongside his Pentecostal history.
In 1998 Alexander went back to Southwestern to teach full time and write his dissertation, which years later has become this book. After working through almost one hundred years of Assemblies of God history, theology, and ethics regarding peace, war, and nation, Alexander realized he needed friends to talk with about these identity shattering and life transforming issues. He scoured the web and couldnt find an organization of Pentecostals or Charismatics devoted to peacemaking and justice, so in July 2001 he proposed the formation of what is now Pentecostals and Charismatics for Peace and Justice (www.pcpj.org).
Alexander continued to preach and teach Sunday school classes at his local Assembly of God and taught Greek, biblical studies, theology, and ethics at Southwestern. He and others have worked together and slowly followed the leading of the Spirit to raise a voice for Jesus way of peace with justice. In 2006 his alma mater did not renew his faculty contract, but Azusa Pacific University welcomed him, so he and his family moved to southern California, where he serves as Professor of Theology and Ethics and Director of the Doctor of Ministry program.
Alexander is a licensed Assemblies of God minister and also serves as an editor for the Pentecostals, Peacemaking, and Social Justice series with Wipf & Stock Publishers.
© 2008 by Cascadia Publishing House LLC