Theological News Oct 2003 Vol 32 No 4


Editor: Dr. David Parker

Excerpts from this issue

WEA Theological Commission Takes the Initiative at Annual Meeting in UK

The WEA Theological Commission met August 15-18, 2003 for its annual business meeting at The Wycliffe Centre, near High Wycombe, UK. The meeting was held prior to the 12th Consultation of its partner organisation, ICETE in which members participated, especially in the 'Theology of Theological Education' track (see separate stories). Since its recent re-organisation, the Theological Commission, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2004, consists of seven members from Europe, UK, USA, Canada, Asia, and Australia. There are vacancies for members from East Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Secretary-General of the World Evangelical Alliance, Mr. Gary Edmonds, attended TC business meetings for the first time since his appointment to the post in 2002. He is an ex-officio member of the Commission, and was able to contribute significantly with information and insights from the perspective of the Commission's parent body. In addition, two representatives from the Korean Evangelical Theological Society, Dr. Young Tae Han (Seoul Theological University, President) and Dr. Jae Sung Kim ( Hapdong Theological Seminary, co-secretary) were present as guests. As a result of this visit, Dr. Jae Sung Kim has been appointed as a member of the TC with the full support of KETS. Others present at the 2003 meeting were Dr. Rolf Hille (Chair), Dr. Ken Gnanakan (Vice-Chair), Dr. David Parker (Director of Publications), Dr. Brian Edgar, Dr. David Hilborn, and Dr. Tom Oden.

Reports presented to the TC by its Chair and Director of Publications indicated considerable activity and progress during the year, despite several difficulties, and very limited funding. Plans were developed for on-going programs and for several new initiatives.

Task Force Plans

Perhaps the most important of these was the new unit set up under the leadership of Dr. David Hilborn to prepare short statements on issue of urgent concern facing evangelicals around the world. Called the 'Rapid Response Unit', this group will draw on the expertise of people in various countries when major, immediate, theological matters of relevance to evangelicals on the global scale surface, especially in the form of requests from the WEA constituency or its leadership. Matters of concern should be addressed to the WEA International Office in the first instance. Offers and nominations of names of people with suitable expertise, interest and ability in this kind of work are invited. (Please contact Dr. Hilborn direct at the UK Evangelical Alliance)

Dr. Ken Gnanakan reported good progress on the Environmental Stewardship program that has been in hand for some time. It is expected to be finalised in the next few months with the publication of a study guide book.

It was also decided that Dr. Gnanakan would work with the Secretary-General of the WEA, Mr. Gary Edmonds, to develop some large scale study projects which would be integrated with other parts of the WEA constituency to meet pressing needs around the world. The TC plans to make initial submissions from its perspective which would then, under the leadership of Mr. Edmonds, be coordinated with other groups. Mr. Edmonds will also coordinate the considerable fund raising efforts needed for such projects.

Other ideas for study projects were also discussed and will be developed as opportunities become available. One of these is the concept of position papers on key issues of concern to be prepared by TC members and other interested people and be published in the TC's journal, Evangelical Review of Theology. The Editor, Dr. David Parker, invites expressions of interest from readers for this venture.

Structures and Consultations

Dr. David Parker was appointed as Director of Administration in addition to his existing work at Director of Publications. It is hoped that this appointment will enhance the work of the TC and relieve some of the load on the TC Chair, Dr. Rolf Hille who serves a dual role as Executive Chair in the absence of a full time Executive Director. This position is vacant for reasons of funding and personnel. Dr. Parker will represent the TC at a theological consultation in South Africa in November 2003 sponsored by ACTEA.

The TC also made plans for further meetings and consultations. Next year it will meet in conjunction with the Lausanne Pattya 2004 Forum for World Evangelization (Sept 28â€"Oct 6), and also participate in this event. For the 2005 meeting, the TC has accepted an invitation of Korea Evangelical Theological Society to participate in a theological consultation in Seoul. Plans are to be developed for a major theological consultation to be sponsored by the Theological Consultation in 2006.

Considerable progress was made during the sessions at High Wycombe on the revision of the WEA Statement of Faith, under the leadership of Dr. David Hilborn (EA UK).

Environmental Stewardship Project

Dr. Ken Gnanakan, Vice-Chair of the WEA TC, who has been leading a project on Evironmental Stewardship for some time, reports that first phase of the project involving the writing of the book has almost concluded. Some appropriate case studies and practical work assignments are being incorporated. Once this is done, 1000 copies for India, and 2000 copies for other developing world countries will be printed.

The second phase of the project (aimed for January 2004) will involve the various national theological commissions or the Evangelical Alliances themselves who will be invited to organise study groups in their area. 50 to 100 copies of the book will be made available to the study coordinator assigned by the national alliance.

A one year study will be planned and results will be submitted to a dedicated website that is to be developed. Where internet connectivity is poor, interaction will take place by means of normal mail channels. Findings from the project will be put together into a proposed action plan, with an agenda for environmental action for the church all over the world.

Those interested in participating in this project, contact Dr. Gnanakan .

Reports of Conferences and Documents welcome.