Dr. Ma is a Korean Pentecostal scholar who spent most of his career life in four countries. His first theological study was at Hansei University (then, Full Gospel Theological College), during which he spent two years in Vietnam as a soldier. His first ministry was at an Assembly of God church at the original place where David Yonggi Cho had opened his first tent church. During this short 2.5 year period, he ministered among youths, married his wife Julie, and received ordination.
Then the family began a new life as missionaries to the Philippines from 1979 to 2006. They engaged in various ministries, including evangelism and church planting among mountain tribal groups and theological education at Asia Pacific Theological Seminary, Baguio City. They developed a strong sense of “Mission in the Spirit” both practically and theoretically. He chose his PhD dissertation title, “The Spirit of God in Isaiah,” to enrich his understanding of the Spirit in mission. In addition, he developed “Asian Pentecostal Studies” as a discipline. He established the Asian Pentecostal Society and served as Founding President (1998-2000), and founded Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies. Besides his tribal ministry and teaching, he also served in various administrative responsibilities, including Vice President for Academic Affairs. He participated in various international mission and ecumenical meetings as an Asian Pentecostal.
From 2006 to 2016, he served as Executive Director and David Yonggi Cho Research Tutor of Global Christianity at Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, Oxford, United Kingdom. During this decade, the school grew to offer the largest PhD program in mission studies throughout Europe. He also directed Regnum Books International, which has published, among others, the 35-volume Regnum Edinburgh Centenary Series. At the same time, he and his wife enjoyed walking along The Thames and British countryside, as well as city-hopping throughout Europe.
Now at ORU, he feels that he has come “home” to teach and research on the Holy Spirit and Global Christianity. His desire is to bring together 1) the theological richness of the OT, 2) local theologies of Pentecostalism (as experienced in Asia), 3) the bigger global picture of the Spirit’s work in our time, and 4) God’s unchanging mission in human history. He feels privileged to serves as Distinguished Professor of Global Christianity at this spiritually and academically committed university community.
He and his wife, Julie, who also teaches at ORU, have two sons. The elder one has been serving as a missionary to the Philippines, while the younger son teaches English in Seoul, Korea. They are proud grandparents to adorable grandchildren who live in Manila.