Theological News Dec 1998 Vol 28


Editor: Dr. David Parker

Excerpts from this issue

An interview with Dr. Jim Stamoolis

1. What aspirations do you have for your work as you join WEF TC?

In one sense, I see WEF as the priority area for my rninistry. In partnership with the other TC members, we will attempt to influence evangelical theology at all levels. What is necessary is that Biblical Christianity be promoted and disseminated to both the grassroots and the theology academies.

In so many theological institutions around the world, doubt is cast on the Biblical record. Learned theologians pronounce as fact their theories about the person of Jesus, the formation of the Scriptures and the miraculous in the Church. In many cases, these are old heresies, especially on the person of Christ, that were alternative representations of the Christianity in the first six centuries.

At the same time, there is a lack of biblical knowledge in the Churches. The level of Biblical literacy is very low in the United States and I am afraid that the situation is not much better in the developing churches.

The one thing that encourages me about the church in the 2/3 World is that they still believe in God's power to act. Prayer is real to our brothers and sisters. Theologians should appreciate that and assist them in going deeper into the faith. As noted above, that is a problem for some theologians, which is why we need to promote evangelical theology at the level of the academy. It is a battle both for the souls and minds of men and women.

2. The TC is an international ministry. Do you believe you are prepared for this?

I am not as much attracted to the TC, as much as responding to what my wife and I believe is God's call to work with the church around the world. What I see the TC able to do is the burden that God has put into my heart. It is a blessing to be able to work in the areas where God's word is desperately needed.

I worked for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students for eight years as Theological Secretary. In that capacity I organized conferences, gave lectures in theological colleges in many parts of the world, and spoke with theological students and professors in over 40 countries. I learned many things from listening to my brothers and sisters of other cultures and backgrounds. My wife and I were missionaries in South Africa where we worked with all the different population groups. Some of my best friends are located in other continents from where I now reside.

3. What are your priorities for theology in the TC?

It is not as important what my priorities are for theologising, as much as what are the issues that Christians are facing that need to be addressed by an application of Biblical truth and theological understanding. My experience has shown me the folly of addressing theological questions that are interesting to the person presenting but which do not answer the heart question of the persons listening. This was brought home to me early in my time in South Africa when I stumbled on the real area of fear that the people I was working with had. Through cooperation in conferences, we should work out the concrete strategic plans for the study units, plans for producing literature for theologians and lay people, as well as continue the work of our two publications, Evangelical Review of Theology and Theological News.

Therefore, it is my plan to listen to the regional and national TCs as well as the national fellowships to see what problems and questions are important for the churches. For some, it will be issues of the uniqueness of Christ, for others, it will be questions of materialism, for others it will be the question of fear of elemental spirits.

4. What special gifts are you bringing to the TC?

I bring to the TC a listening ear, and open heart and a willingness to work. As noted above, I have considerable overseas experience. I want to serve the TC and together with the TC serve the larger world of WEF and the churches.

I have been blessed with relational and organisation gifts. I will work together and also work on linking together people around the world. I think I can put the structures in place to allow the TC to work effectively.

A Message from the Chairman of the WEF Theological Commission, Dr Rolf Hille

Greetings for a blessed Christmas and a happy, healthy, and blessed New Year in 1999! May our Lord bless each one of you personally as you continue to serve Him!

I returned last week from England where I participated in the Lausanne Movement's Conference on Nominalism. I delivered two lectures there on German Nominalism and the situation of the churches in Germany, and was able to represent our work in the TC.

During our Executive Committee meetings here in Tuebingen last May 1998, we took some good steps forward with our main proposals to reconstruct the whole TC and in finding a full-time Executive Director who has since joined the TC officially. Dr. Jim Stamoolis comes to us with rich experience.

Concerning our TC structure, we have an Executive Committee (ExCom) consisting of the following persons: Rolf Hille (Chairrnan), Ken Gnanakan (Vice-Chairman), Ward Gasque (Secretary/Treasurer), Isaac Zokoue, Tito Paredes, and Jim Stamoolis as the new Executive Director will be ex officio member. Jun Vencer WEF Director also serves as an ex-oficio member of the ExCom.

This ExCom will continue to work in cooperation with the new Executive Director. I think this will help us to work effectively with an international perspective. In conjunction with the working ExCom in carrying out an on-going process for continued theological work and study, we have appointed a Core Group.

We will soon be writing to each member of the Core Group to ask if they are ready to join in this continuous process of theological work with every continent represented. The idea is to have well-known evangelical theologians from each region working with us. The ExCom meets annually and will handle the administrative aspects and make any policy decisions of the TC.

The Core Group should meet biennially, dealing with the burning theological issues of our day. In conjunction with these biennial meetings, we will hold joint conferences with other bodies around the world, next time with the Fraternity of Latin American Evangelical Theologians, and later with a conference of African theologians and Asian theologians, etc.

Such meetings would have two advantages:

  1. they would stimulate the Core Group to continue in research, and
  2. as an international body offer the continental/regional bodies a more international perspective about what is happening on various continents.
    Along this line, the TC has also been invited to a meeting with the Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians (FEET) at their conference in Woelmersen (near Cologne), Germany in August 2002. Professor Howard Marshall, chairman of the FEET has invited me as a representative of the TC to join him in the preparation and planning meetings for the 2002 conference in Woelmersen.

In the long term, we can plan where we could meet in 2004 to do solid advance planning. My understanding is, after decisions are made concerning where conferences will be held in the future, that we will ask our Executive Director to travel there to prepare detailed logistics and planning with the regional people at least two years in advance. the TC will move ahead well, I am sure.

New Theology Handbook for Africa

A major new text book for African Theological Schools has just been published. Issues in African Christian Theology , edited by Samuel Ngewa, Mark Shaw, and Tite Tienou, consists of essays by prominent African scholars on the foundations and task of African Christian theology, and on the themes of Christ, Salvation, the Spirit, the Church, and the Future from the perspective of African Christian theology.

Contributors include: Eshetu Abate, Tokunboh Adeyemo, Victor Cole, Byang Kato, Danfulani Kore, Julius Muthengi, Samuel Ngewa, Sam Oleka, Cornelius Olowola, Watson Omulokole, Mark Shaw, and Tite Tienou. Distribution of this milestone publication is being facilitated by Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, where two of the editors serve as lecturers.

Most theological libraries will consider purchase of the book mandatory and many theological colleges may want to use it as a regular text in theology courses.

The cost is US$6 per copy (postage not included).

Address inquiries to: Issues in African Christian Theology , Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, P.O. Box 24686, Nairobi, Kenya .