A Panegyric to Pecota
Introduction to the Series “Seeking the Face of God”
by Peter W. Dunn
Friday, May 17, 2002
This week I have busied myself by editing a series of taped messages by Dr. Daniel B. Pecota, entitled “Seeking the Face of God”. At my invitation, Dr. Pecota delivered this series on January 6-9, 1989, at a retreat of the University Christian Ministries of British Columbia, Canada.
Daniel Bruce Pecota, DMin, was my favorite professor at Northwest College of the Assemblies of God in Kirkland, Washington, where I attended from 1982-85. He taught Greek, Systematic Theology, and Principles of Interpretation. I was profoundly marked by his commitment both to academic excellence and to deep Christian piety. At the age of eighteen, I took with him “Basic Christian Doctrine”. Before this course, I had been exposed to both flaky and sound theology, and I was not always sure how to sort out the difference between the two. Pecota’s teaching presented a much needed plumb line of biblical truth, sorting through most of the bad doctrine ever so present in the church, especially in the Pentecostal churches that I had attended. Not only so, but “Doc”—as we affectionately called him—demonstrated to us that Christianity was also a religion that made sense to the mind—it was not something that had to be accepted by blind faith, but it could be investigated and shown to be reasonable to an open mind. Thus, through this one course, he formed in me a foundation for both theology and apologetics. Dr. Pecota so impressed me with the need to study that I later attended Regent College (1986-91) and then University of Cambridge, England (1991-96).
Doc Pecota used to joke by asking, “What is the definition of a theologian? Someone who can take a drop of simple truth and make of it a dense fog.” But in contrast to many theologians whose writings make you shake your head in bewilderment, Dr. Pecota taught his courses clearly and effectively. He was like the Gospel of John, about which it has been said that its truths are simple enough that a child could wade in them yet so profound that an elephant could drown in them. Christian theology in his courses was always highly practical for church and family life. Doctrine affected behavior. So if you want to have good behavior, you have to have good theology.
I have gone back to Dr. Pecota in these last few days because the church today falls so short of what God calls it to be. Recently, a Christian asked me quite seriously, “Why do we need theology?” Although she had been in the church several years, nobody had taught her the importance of theology. I had another conversation in which a Christian treated “theology” as a bad word. Dr. Pecota taught rightly that we are all theologians—some of us are good ones, and others are bad. For our theology is our view of God, of Christ, of the Bible and of truth. Thus, I affirm that we can no more dispense with theology as Christians than we could stop breathing. And we have a choice. We can have good, true and pure theology based upon a sound interpretation of the Scriptures, or we can have faulty or heretical theology based upon an ignorance or misinterpretation of the Bible. But we cannot have no theology at all. Good theology is product of serious work, through seeking God’s face, through acts of brotherly love, and through committed study of God’s revelation; it is the narrow road that leads to life. On the other hand, bad theology is often facile and easily obtained; it is the broad road that leads to destruction.
The series, “Seeking the Face of God”, is the pièce de résistance of Dr. Pecota’s teaching, culminating over thirty-five years of studying and teaching theology. Dr. Pecota explains that the title “Seeking the Face of God” could have two possible accents. The first would be on the “seeking”, in which case we would be focusing on what we must do in order to seek God. Such an accent would be anthropocentric. The second would be to focus on the “face of God”, in which case we fix our eyes on God himself, and thus, the accent would be theocentric. Dr. Pecota chooses the second option. He expounds upon various emotional aspects of God’s face as revealed in Scripture. The Bible says that God winks, weeps, scowls, blushes and laughs. These emotions of God reveal much about His nature and character.
I am sad to say that Dr. Daniel Pecota died July 1, 1997, shortly after his retirement from Northwest College in 1996. I will miss him greatly.
Daniel Pecota Was An Institution At Kirkland’s Northwest College, by Carole Beers (Seattle Times)
Esther Pecota Remembered, Northwest News
Tyler James Pecota Memorial Scholarship (If this teaching series is a blessing to you, please make a donation to this scholarship fund at Northwest University)
Now may I present to you Daniel Pecota’s series, “Seeking the Face of God”, in five messages. This is in three parts that can each fit onto a single audio CD or downloaded into an MP3 plaer.
SEEKING THE FACE OF GOD, Dr. Daniel Pecota, January 6-9, 1989 (all rights reserved; used with permission)
Audio CD 1 (74 minutes)
Introduction to Series
The God who Winks
The God who Scowls, part 1
Audio CD 2 (70 minutes)
The God who Scowls, part 2
The God who Weeps
Audio CD 3 (80 minutes)
The God who Blushes
The God who Laughs