Board of Trustees

VINSON SYNAN, Ph. D.

Harold Vinson Synan serves as Dean Emeritus and Visiting Professor of Church History at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia where he previously served as Dean of the School of Divinity. An historian and author within the Pentecostal movement, Synan has published many articles and nineteen books on Pentecostal and Charismatic themes.

Synan holds the B.A. degree in American History (1958) from the University of Richmond, the M.A. degree in American History (1965) and the Ph.D. (1967) in American Social and Intellectual History, both from the University of Georgia. His dissertation, The Holiness-Pentecostal Movement in the United States, became a major textbook for Pentecostal studies.

As the son of a Pentecostal pastor, in his youth he helped found and pastor four Pentecostal Holiness Churches in Virginia and Georgia. In 1970, Synan was co-founder and organizer in the birth of the Society for Pentecostal Studies where he was elected as the first General Secretary. From 1973 to 1977, Synan served as the General Secretary for the Pentecostal Holiness Church while also teaching at Oklahoma City Southwestern College where he served as the acting president in 1980. He was elected as Assistant General Superintendent of his denomination in 1977 and served until 1981 when he became the Director of Evangelism, a position which he held for the next four years.

During these years Synan also served as an ecumenical leader of the world Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. As Chairman of the North American Renewal Service Committee, he led major Charismatic conferences in New Orleans, Orlando, Indianapolis, and St. Louis from 1986 to 2000.

During the years of 1990 and 1994, Synan was professor of Pentecostal and Charismatic History and served as the Director of the Holy Spirit Research Center at Oral Roberts University. For twelve years, from 1994 to 2006, he served as the Dean of the Regent University School of Divinity. Under his leadership the School of Divinity implemented both a Doctorate of Ministry and a non-residential and on-line Ph.D. program in Renewal Studies, which was the first of its kind in the world.

The numerous publications of Dr. Synan include Emmanuel College: The First Fifty Years; The Old Time Power: History of the Pentecostal Holiness Church; The Twentieth-Century Pentecostal Explosion; The Century of the Holy Spirit: 100 Years of Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal, 1901-2001; An Eyewitness Remembers the Century of the Holy Spirit; Spirit-Empowered Christianity in the 21st Century, and William J. Seymour: Pioneer of the Azusa Street Revival.

Synan has become a frequently invited guest on such television programs as The PTL Club, Trinity Broadcasting Network, and The 700 Club.

Dr. Synan and his wife Carol have been married 53 years and have four children: Mary Carol, Virginia Lee, Harold Vinson Jr., and Joseph Alexander III; eight grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.