Yong is a native of West Malaysia, but his family moved to the United States where his parents worked as missionaries among the Chinese people of California. Yong has lived and worked on both coasts, and is now on the faculty of Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn.
“When we think of interreligious dialogue, we usually think of dialogue between Christians and Jews or Muslims or Buddhists, but in many ways the dialogue between different interpretations of Christianity is the more difficult and more interesting conversation,” says James Buchanan, director for the Brueggeman center. “Yong brings a unique perspective to his work, in that, unlike many Pentecostals, he both understands the importance of interreligious dialogue and embraces it.”
Yong received a bachelor's degree in ministry from Bethany College in Santa Cruz, Calif., a master's degree in historical theology from Western Evangelical Seminary in Portland and a master's degree in history of philosophy from Portland State University. He received a doctorate in religion and theology in 1999 from Boston University.
When asked to explain a bit about the Christian Pentecostal tradition for an interview in Xavier magazine, Yong said: “Pentecostals came out of the Fundamentalist and Holiness movement at the turn of the 20th century in reaction to two things: liberalism and an intra-fundamentalist struggle. Both Pentecostals and Fundamentalists are fairly literalist in how they look at scripture. But Fundamentalists think certain gifts of Holy Spirit and miracles are limited to the apostolic age. Pentecostals are experientialist insofar as they think that these things continue. Fundamentalists say Pentecostals are liberal.”
This event is free and open to the public.