My story is told briefly and selectively.
I am James Malcolm. I have been part of the Pentecostal, Charismatic and Neocharismatic Renewals since my conversion in the Jesus Movement in the 1970s at a little Assembly of God church in Oregon, USA, in my mid-teens. At my age I knew very little about denominations or the Jesus Movement, though I thought getting one’s prayer language (commonly and archaically called ‘tongues’) was normal. I was never prejudiced against it. When I went down front in tears for salvation, and the pastor prayed for me, I instantly and unexpectedly got God’s prayer language, without prejudging it. And now I see that it is perfectly biblical.
I did not know, further, that I was part of the Jesus Movement. I just lived it. I was never part of the hippy-and-drug subculture, but I saw firsthand the salvation and deliverance that came to the hippies.
I moved to Southern California to attend Melodyland School of Theology (long ago defunct), where I got a B.A. in Theology, and attended Melodyland Christian Center for a few years, where numerous leaders from the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements were guest speakers. I often went to the Friday Night (or Saturday night?) concerts at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, where innovative music was being introduced to Christian churches for the first time. It was exciting to be at the hub of the overlapping Charismatic Renewal and the Jesus Movement.
After I graduated, I went to Paris, France, to do missions, where I helped a French charismatic Baptist church, pastored at that time by Jules Thobois, a charismatic, and St. Michael’s Anglican church, pastored at that time by Englishman Rev. Peter Sertin, himself an Anglican charismatic who introduced many people to the fullness of the Spirit and their Spirit-inspired prayer languages.
I particularly remember meeting Englishwoman Jackie Pullinger, missionary to Hong Kong, who visited St. Michael’s for a few days and who also introduced people to the fullness of the Spirit and their prayer languages.
I traveled around Europe with the Christian music group Like Living Stones, though my musical abilities were (and are) minimal (I could barely carry a tune).
While spending sixteen fun and productive months in Paris, I realized, when talking with Europeans, who did not know the Bible, that I could not communicate with them about life, other than that ancient book. There was a mutual impasse. I was much too uneducated. My ignorance was showing. I had to rectify the gap.
I returned to Southern California, but soon went to Lubbock, Texas, to attend Texas Tech University and got a B.S. in Education at this state university that would not go defunct. I then went back to Southern California and earned an M.A. in Religion at Vanguard University of Southern California (Assembly of God).
From there I earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at UC Riverside (1994), majoring in Religious Studies and Classical and Hellenistic Greek, in conjunction with the Classics Department at UC Irvine and the History and Classics Departments at UCLA, where I took graduate Greek classes. I specialized in early Christianity at UCLA and in the Religion Department at UCR. Hendrickson Publishers published my dissertation: Women, Class, and Society in Early Christianity: Models from Luke-Acts (now out of print).
During this time, I attended various Vineyard churches (Neocharismatic) in Southern California for many years, but I currently go to another church in Orange County, California.
I have written over 600 (substantial) articles, most of which have been posted at my first website Live as Free People, which gets about 50,000-100,000 visits per year (and over 50% views), without ever receiving national or local TV or radio media attention. I have also written an (unpublished) novel about exorcism.
My full name is James Malcolm Arlandson, but I prefer my first and middle names–less complicated.
If you need a category for me, I am a Jesus follower (who loved the pejorative “Jesus freak”), Christian believer, and Neocharismatic, with an M.A and Ph.D.
Written by James Malcolm