Theological News Oct 2002 Vol 31 No 4


Editor: Dr. David Parker

Excerpts from this issue


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WEA Theological News has been published now for more than twenty years and we thank those who have supported us during this time. Our aim is to provide information about theological work around the world and to bring you news of the work of our Commission. We welcome feedback and especially contributions of news.

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Expanded 'New Look' TC lays plans for development

The Executive of the WEA Theological Commission, meeting in Germany Aug 20-22 for its annual discussion, laid substantial plans for its future development. After a number of years of consideration, the future shape of the Commission was determined. It will consist of about ten people representative of its core activities and be spread regionally, denominationally and by gender. The WEA Secretary-General would be a member ex-officio. The Executive will consist of the chair, publications director, secretary-treasurer and a future Executive Director.

The main work of the Commission would be carried out as in the past by Study Units and ad hoc task forces, including a 'rapid-response' unit to address breaking issues of concern. In addition, it was planned to set up a Council of Reference of prominent evangelicals on a global basis to give endorsement to the work of the Commission.

Implementing the plan, two extra members were appointed to the Commission for four year terms. They are Dr Brian Edgar of Melbourne, Australia who is convenor of the Australian Evangelical Alliance Theological Commission, and Dr Tom Oden of Madison, NJ, USA. Other names will be added in the near future. It was also decided to establish a search for an Executive Director to lead the work of the Commission. It was expected that other staff would also be appointed in the future to extend the work of the Commission in regional areas.

Dr Rolf Hille was confirmed in his position as Chair. Other members of the Commission are Dr Ken Gnanakan (India) Vice-Chair, Dr David Parker (Publications), Dr George Vandervelde (Canada) and Dr David Hilborn (UK).

Reports before the Commission reflected lengthy negotiations with the World Evangelical Alliance over relations between the two organizations, and discussions with the Lausanne Theology Working Group on possible joint activity, especially focused on a consultation planned for Sept-Oct 2004 at Pattya. Dr Rolf Hille serves as vice-chair of the Lausanne group.

Other reports and future planning dealt with on-going conversations with other faith bodies (under the leadership of Dr George Vandervelde), the development of the publications program of the Commission and the work of various study units. Decisions were taken to work in areas of religious conflict, tolerance, trends in evangelical theology and exegesis, ecclesiology and statements of faith.

The next meeting of the Theological Commission was set down to be held in August 2003 association with the Consultation in Kiev of the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE). This follows on the successful joint conference of the TC and the Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians (FEET) held prior to the TC Executive meetings (see elsewhere in this issue for a report).

There were also successful discussions between ICETE and the WEA TC Chair prior to main TC/FEET conference during which the cooperative understanding between the two bodies was re-confirmed.

It was recognised in the meetings that the major obstacle to the successful implementation of this planning was the question of finance. Considerable time was spent in the consideration of ways to overcome this problem. The prayerful assistance of supporters of the Commission is urgently requested. Dr Rolf Hille, Executive Chair pointed that until finances are greatly improved, the Commission would be forced to operate still on a reduced level of activity. Those interested in the work of the TC are invited to join prayerfully and practically in support for its work in the future. For more information, contact Dr Rolf Hille.

Latest issues of ERT available on CD

Recent issues of the premier publication of the WEA Theological Commission, Evangelical Review of Theology, covering 2001 and 2002 are now available on CD ROM. All the issues from the initial volume (1977) to Volume 24 (2000) inclusive were made available in a fully searchable and indexed digital form on the well known WEF Theological Resource Library. Now the last two volumes have been placed on a supplementary CD in the simplified PDF Acrobat format.

Editor of ERT, Dr David Parker, said, 'The demand for ERT on disk has been very good, so we are using this budget process to ensure that the recent issues are available as quickly as possible without having to wait for another full production.'

The cost for a single CD is $US 10.00 (or equivalent) including package and postage, with reduced rates for bulk supplies. Cheques etc should be made out to 'Theological Commission.' Orders may be sent to ERT CD, c/- 17 Disraeli St, Indooroopilly. Q 4068 Australia.

European Theologians join with WEA Theological Commission to think globally TC's First Joint Conference with a Regional Theological Association

'European Theology in World Perspective' was theme when about one hundred theologians met for the 2002 conference of the Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians (FEET) held at Woelmersen Germany August 16-20, 2002 ( It was a special joint conference with the WEA Theological Commission, the first of its kind, and featured speakers from Europe and from several other countries around the world. It is the policy of the WEA Theological Commission to be associated with regional theological associations in this way and it is hoped that such meetings will become a regular feature.

In his keynote address, Dr Rolf Hille, Executive Chair of the WEA Theological Commission, focused on the identity of Europe and way the contextualisation of the gospel and its theological developments had played a key role in world history. He also drew attention to the challenge of 're-evangelization' of Europe in the light of recent changes and how there could be mutual learning in dialogue with global Christianity.

Dr Thomas Oden, speaking on 'The theological heritage of the Church Fathers', presented a forceful application for his now well known emphasis on the 'common ancient ecumenical exegetical consensus.' A range of other international speakers helped to fill out the global perspective of the theme.

Dr Dieumeme Noelliste, President of the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology, developed a highly nuanced position on 'The relevance and effects of European denominational divisions on worldwide Christianity.' In an erudite address.

Dr Vinoth Ramachandra (IFES, Sri Lanka) reflected on positive opportunities presented to third world churches by modern and post-modern secularism of European theology that would help them develop 'authentic Christian discipleship and mission.'

This approach was complemented by Brazilian, Dr Valdir Steuernagel (Director of The Center for Pastoral Ministry and Mission and Chair, World Vision International Board) with an emphasis on the 'effects of European Academic Theology on Theological Education in the Third World.'

The European perspective of the theme was addressed by Dr Craig Bartholomew (University of Gloucestershire, UK) with the topic, 'What can Europe learn from missionary churches about preaching the Gospel in a multicultural society.' Other aspects of the European historical context were handled in a series of seminars, some of which involved full length lectures, covering the period from the Reformation onwards to the present time. Other seminarsfocused on cross cultural communication through theological and church exchanges.

Reports of Conferences and Documents welcome .