Theological News Jul 2001 Vol 30 No 3


Editor: Dr. David Parker

Excerpts from this issue

Personnel and Administrative Changes to TC

The WEF Theological Commission announces changes to its organization and administration as a consequence of the May 2001 Executive meeting. Dr. Roif Hille once again takes up the role of Executive Chair following the conclusion of the service of Dr. James Stamoolis as Executive Director. All general enquiries about the work of the Theological Commission should now be directed to Dr. Rolf Hille.

Enquiries about TC publications which include this newsletter and Evangelical Review of Theology continue to be handled by the editor, Dr. David Parker.

New members were also added to the TC Executive Committee at the May meeting in Kuala Lumpur. The Executive now consists of Dr. Rolf Hille (Germany) Chair; Dr. Ken Gnanakan (India), Vice-chair; Dr. David Parker (Australia) Editor; Dr. David Hilborn (UK), and Dr. George Vandervelde (Canada). Other names are under consideration to expand this core group and they will be announced when their appointment is confirmed.

Previously the Theological Commission consisted of a group of about fifty members representing all areas of the world, but this arrangement has not been operative for some years and is now in abeyance pending finalisation of a restructure of the Commission which has been under consideration for some time. It is hoped that a much larger group of theologians will be set up in association with the Commission, thus extending its activities and scope considerably. At the present time, the Commission works largely through its specially appointed task forces and study groups, as well as its regular publications and consultations. As well as the Ecumenical Issues Task Force and the planned Environmental Stewardship project, it is expected that groups will be set up to work on the WEF Statement of Faith, Ecclesiology, Salvation and Islam and the Authority of Scripture.

Dr. James Stamoolis was appointed as Executive Director of the Theological Commission in mid-1998 after previously serving as Dean of Wheaton Graduate School and Associate Professor of Missions. He had also seen service as Theological Students' Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES).

During his term with the Theological Commission, Dr. Stamoolis has been particularly involved with some international consultations, including Amsterdam 2000 and in producing the WEF Theological Resources CD-ROM . This CD contains all of the TC's publications, including Evangelical Review of Theology and its various monographs and books, as well as other WEF publications, Bibles and standard theological texts. It is available direct from the WEF North American office.

Dr. Stamoolis also organized the recent mini-consultation of the TC at the WEF General Assembly meetings.

Italian City Honours Protestant Reformer

The City of Padova in north west Italy has honoured the memory of the 16th century reformer, Peter Martyr Vermigli, by naming a new street after him. 'Via Pietro Martire Vermigli' was officially opened by a representative of the City Council of Padova on 8th Feb 2001. This action resulted from a conference held two years ago by IFED and the local University which drew attention to the work of the reformer.

'Peter Martyr' as he is known in English was born in Florence in 1500, the son of a follower of Savonarola. As an Augustinian, he became a keen student of the Bible and was impressed by the works of Bucer and Zwingli, which led to a ban on his preaching, and departure from Ialy. He became Professor of Theology at Strassburg and then Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford. After further opposition under Mary's reign, he left England and moved to Strassburg again and finally to Zurich. He died in 1562.

IFED Director, Dr. Pietro Bolognesi, expressing delight at the new street name, said, "As far as we know, this is the only street which bears Vermigli's name in Italy and we are proud of that. Padova was the place where, as a young man, Vermigli spent 9 years studying theology (1517-1526) and is the same town where IFED has been working since 1988 to raise the academic and cultural profile of the evangelical witness in Italy."

"For the first time ever, an Italian city has now a street which pays tribute to this evangelical exiled of the past. While Vermigli was forced to escape five centuries ago, his memory is finally, though partially, honoured. This is a significant recognition of the quality of the work done by IFED and an encouragement to pursue its vision further. 'Via Pietro Martire Vermigli' will become a visible signpost for all those who have a passion for the progress of gospel in the country."

"What is even more thrilling is that the newly named street will also be the address of the study centre that IFED is building right there. In fact the activities of the Institute are so rapidly expanding that the present premises are no longer adequate to carry them out. The new centre will host the library, the auditorium, lecture halls and many rooms to accommodate students. The construction has started and will be hopefully completed in a year's time. This new study centre will have a strategic address ('Via Pietro Martire Vermigli') and will faithfully do what was neglected towards the Italian reformer!"

Dr Bolognesi said, "While rejoicing in this significant development, more prayers and funds are needed so that IFED may be used of God for the same cause of the gospel in Italy which was on Vermigli's heart." Contact IFED by email .

AIDS and Theological Education

A recent TIME magazine article described AIDS in Africa using words such as these: 'Nightmare. ..humanity's deadliest cataclysm...the fiercest trial Africa has ever faced.. .living in Africa there are 70% of all those living with HIV/AIDS.'

There is important help for African theological colleges in equipping their students for ministry in AIDS-affected contexts. MAP-Africa has produced a handbook for just this purpose: 'Choosing Hope: The Christian Response to the HIV/AIDS Epidemic-Curriculum Modules for Theological and Pastoral Training Institutions.' The publication includes eight lesson modules presented in a loose-leaf binder, plus several supplementary manuals, all professionally produced. The lesson modules may be individually incorporated into existing courses, or may in combination provide a comprehensive course on the topic. A video is also available. The curriculum is available in English and French.

Pricing is very reasonable. The Choosing Hope curriculum (inclusive of four supporting manuals) is US$20. Accompanying video, Springs of Life is US$13.50. Inquiries and orders should be addressed to: Mike Wamae, lilY and AIDS Programme Director, MAP-Africa, P0 Box 21663, Nairobi, Kenya. email: Enews)