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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


AGTV video
Connections: Del Tarr

The Foolishness of God

Del Tarr has a rich history in the Assemblies of God. He spent three decades serving as a missionary in West Africa, and also held the office of president of Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Mo. Currently, Del and his wife, Dolly, minister at Capital Christian Center in Sacramento, Calif., where he serves as missions pastor. Editor Ken Horn recently spoke with Dr. Tarr.

evangel: Tell us a little bit about your missionary calling and ministry.

TARR: It started when I was filled with the Spirit at 11 years of age. The Lord told me I would serve Him in Africa, and that I should begin preparing immediately. Whenever I had a choice of subjects in school, I chose the harder one.

Out of high school, I went to North Central Bible Institute (Minneapolis), where I met Dolly. I said, “There’s no future for us together unless you’re willing to go to Africa.” I learned God had called her to be a missionary when she was 14.

In Africa, we were involved in missions work and academics, ultimately co-founding the West Africa Advanced School of Theology. It’s the only Assemblies of God school in Africa offering a doctorate.

evangel: Your new book, The Foolishness of God, represents a number of years of work.

TARR: Yes. As our Movement has gotten older, I feel that our people know less and less about the Holy Spirit. The title of the book comes from 1 Corinthians 1:25, which teaches that the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men.

As a boy growing up, I was marginalized, like most Pentecostals. We were called foolish, ridiculous and divisive. Why would God use something like this? I was determined to explain why I believe God chose something as unreasonable as Pentecost and made that His filter to receive His empowerment. I devoted an entire chapter to answer the critics of Pentecost.

evangel: The critics who say speaking in tongues is not for today?

TARR: Yes. Those who say we don’t need the supernatural. Those who claim that when the disciples died, all the gifts of the Spirit were finished. These are people we call cessationists. But Pentecostals know differently, and we need to tell the message of why God is still doing incredible things through the Holy Spirit.

evangel: And you don’t have to be uneducated to be a Pentecostal …

TARR: That’s right. Now, there was a day when Pentecostals looked at education in that way. And there is danger in education. I don’t doubt that. But there’s also great profit. The most well-educated man in the Old Testament, Moses, wrote the most books. The best-educated man in the New Testament, the apostle Paul, wrote the most books. God uses the educated person on fire as one of the most effective instruments there is.

evangel: You go beyond the academic. Tell us how you integrate experience into the book.

TARR: There’s a chapter on testimonials. These are people who didn’t believe in tongues — Anglicans, Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists and evangelicals. They didn’t believe in tongues, but they have come to experience it. They write excerpts on what God did for them.

evangel: So, the Holy Spirit is not about labels.

TARR: Absolutely not. I believe in the Assemblies of God, but I also don’t confuse the Assemblies of God with the kingdom of God. He has a great diversity in His Church.

I’ve just spent two years in Ethiopia, where 80 percent of the Lutherans and 70 percent of the Presbyterians are Spirit-filled. Pentecost is the move of the future. God is working in the world in incredible ways.

Dr. Tarr’s book, The Foolishness of God, is available through Gospel Publishing House. For more information, visit


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