DAVID MICHEL, PhD
"An excellent and quite accurate discourse on the victories, triumphs and challenges of the African Americans... in the Church of God of Cleveland, Tennessee. Michel is both articulate and well informed."
Dr. Wayne C. Solomon,
Adjunct Professor of Religion and Sociology, Lee University
Review of David Michel, Telling the Story: Black Pentecostals in the Church of God (2000) taken from http://amazon.com
Michel is an independent scholar of Haitian descent. He enjoyed working as an adjunct faculty at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (CUME- Boston) and Palmer Theological Seminary (formerly Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary) of Eastern University. He also served as a teaching assistant or teaching fellow at Palmer Theological Seminary and The Chicago Theological Seminary.
Michel is an emerging theologian and revisionist historian who uses new approaches or alternative interpretations of historical events while constructing theology to address contemporary issues in context. His mentors in the field of history were Dr. Horace Orlando Russell, Dr. Eric Ohlman, Dr. David Roebuck, and Dr. Julia Speller. His historical scholarship is grounded on a fresh reading of primary sources, and not interpretations of interpretations, and appeals to cognate social sciences (such as social history, sociology, anthropology, etc.) and critical tools in order to locate and control ideologies in both primary sources and scholarly interpretations. While it is a practice to understand black history in the United States as history of African Americans, Michel wrote Telling the Story: Black Pentecostals in the Church of God(2000), a multi-ethnic popular history of African Descent people who contributed to the growth and economic vitality of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN).Telling the Story has been the source of discussion about black issues within the Church of God and used as a textbook by instructors seeking to remove black contributions and concerns from being relegated to archives. Telling the Story has been used or cited by numerous ministers and scholars in England, the United States, and the Caribbean. Michel’s interest in African American Studies yielded more than thirty contributions, including about a dozen entries on Black Pentecostals, in reference works such as Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography, The African American National Biography, Encyclopedia of African American History, and FCH Annals: Journal of the Florida Conference of Historians. His cutting-edge historical scholarship earned him the Thomas M. Campbell Award for Best Paper published in the Selected Annual Proceedings of the 2004 Florida Conference of Historians. Michel has served as an informal consultant to several scholars investigating African Diaspora Pentecostalism in North America and the Caribbean.
Michel’s sterling research on the questionable strength of the Wesleyan background of American Pentecostalism has been published in Methodist History(July 2003), and subsequently listed in Christopher J. Anderson, United Methodist Studies: Basic Bibliographies(2014), and Charles Edwin Jones, The Holiness Pentecostal Movement: A Comprehensive Guide(2008) and The Wesleyan Holiness Movement: A Comprehensive Guide, vol. 1 (2005). He contributed, “Aimee Semple McPherson and the Reconfiguration of Methodism in America,” in Winds from the North: Canadian Contributions to the Pentecostal Movement(2010), a seminal essay on the Methodist roots of McPherson, the founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. His seminal research challenges the conventional cliché of Azusa as just a revival for blacks and whites and dependent on an outdated binary (black/white framework. Instead Michel sets the record straight by claiming that Azusa functioned as a multiracial church with an ecclesiology of reconciliation, highlighting the role of doctrine and liturgy in molding blacks, whites, and Latinos of Mexican descent, for example.
Michel was privileged to receive Biblical training under outstanding New Testament scholars Dr. Craig Keener and Dr. Albert Harrill, who helped shape his view that constructive theology must pay close attention to the Jewish and Greco-Roman backgrounds of New Testament writings. His theological and liturgical formation was shaped by critical theological scholars JoAnne Terrell, Scott Haldeman, and Bo Myung Seo. Michel’s forthcoming book, “Toward an Ecclesiology of Racial Reconciliation: A Critical Pentecostal Perspective based on the Azusa Mission,” is a major theological proposal for an alternative type of local church ready to address the tendency of the mainstream congregation to predominantly seek members of one race in America. Michel is probably the first theologian to use Azusa as a local church model in light of American social history, ritual studies, and sociology, and not for the reconfiguration of parachurch organizations that often yield little or no impact on race relations within Pentecostal congregations. Avoiding the trap of enduring myths about Pastor William Seymour and Azusa, he locates and integrates ecclesiological insights from Azusa through the lens of Critical Race Theory, sociology, American social history, and anthropology, and integrates them into a creative Pentecostal theology of the local church. To receive a personal announcement when the forthcoming book is published or to contact Dr. Michel, please send a message on the contact form.
Michel has lectured in numerous forums sponsored by the Evangelical Theological Society, the American Academy of Religion, the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals (Wheaton College), the National Research Conference on Human Rights (Samford University), the Symposium on Religion and Politics (Calvin College), and the Florida Conference of Historians, and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.
Michel served as youth minister, associate minister, and Bible teacher. He is now active as a local preacher, and has ministered as an invited guest speaker in numerous Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal churches. He takes pleasure in advising young ministers and preachers contemplating seminary studies and in speaking on Biblical issues on radio and television.