Theological News Jan 2005 Vol 34 No 1




Dr. Carver Yu

The WEA Theological Commission has added new members, and still has vacancies for more. One of the new members is Dr. Carver Yu of Hong Kong, who was appointed in September 2004 to replace his colleague, Dr. Wilson Chow, a former vice-chairman. Dr. Chow, who had served recently again after a break of a few years, was associated with the TC and its related bodies from quite early in the history of the movement.

Dr. Carver Yu is Vice President and Professor in Dogmatic Theology at the China Graduate School of Theology of Hong Kong. He graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary with M. Div. and Th. M. degrees before returning to Hong Kong to join the founding faculty of CGST in 1975. He later studied at Oxford University and was conferred the D. Phil. degree in 1981.

For ten years from 1984 to 1994, he was seconded to Hong Kong Baptist University to serve as the Head of the Religion and Philosophy Department. He was elected as Member of the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, in 1991-93. Dr. Yu is an ordained minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. His wife serves as General Secretary of the Hong Kong Presbytery of the denomination. They have a son and a daughter.

Dr. Yu is a theologian deeply concerned with the present condition of our culture. He has been actively engaged in discussions on the Christian critique of both the modern and postmodern culture. His book, Being and Relation-A Theological Critique of Dualism and Individualism in the West (Edinburgh,1987), is an attempt to get to the ontological roots of the spiritual predicament of our present age. He is also deeply concerned with the relevance of the Christian faith to the reconstruction of Chinese culture.

Studying Christianity in the Post-Communist Central Eastern Europe

The Protestant Institute for Mission Studies in Budapest, Hungary is offering an International Masters Program in Missiology focusing on the dynamics of Christianity in the post-communist Central Eastern Europe. In conjunction with PMTI and UNISA, this program will encourage students to 'learn to think systematically and critically about the different ways in which Christians could make an impact to transform the world'. Special attention will be given to the complex missiological issues related to the "post-communist" environment.

Covering four to six semesters, the course will be offered annually in three blocks of two intensive weeks of teaching, and will include fieldwork. The teaching modules include Introduction to Missiology, Theology and Context, Missionary Church Development and Church Planting, and Mission and Ministry. Topics include such areas as missionary church development, missiological education, cross cultural ministry, mission consultant work and mission among the Roma (Gypsy) people.

The Academic Dean is Prof. Dr. Anne-Marie Kool, chair of the department of Missiology at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Pápa, and Director of the Protestant Institute for Mission Studies, Budapest. For more information contact

The Book Shelf

InterVarsity Press (Downers Grove, Illinois USA and Leicester England) have released a one-volume version of their popular NT Dictionary series (sometimes known as the 'Black Dictionary'). It is called The IVP Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by D.G. Reid, 1174 pages in length, and well sub-titled: 'A one-Volume Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship!' The original series (both print and electronic versions) has consistently won awards and quickly become the standard for students and scholars alike-not just in English but in several other languages.

Potential readers of this new publication will be interested to discover that it is not a condensation of the original, but contains the full article-except for a few items such as omission of some foreign language references in the bibliographies, and omission of some material on the post-apostolic perspective, but there are some additional recently-published references. The selection of articles, 132 in all covering every NT book, key events and theological topics and historical background, has been made from the point of view of the classroom and specifically, courses in NT Introduction, with additional 'see also' references to other articles in the relevant volume of the original series that have not been included. Mostly, articles on the same topic from different original volumes have been preserved intact. A six-page glossary of terms is a new feature. It is fully indexed and all authors are identified, adding further to the value of yet another essential reference work.

Dr Chris Wright, International Ministries Director for Langham Partnership (previously principal of All Nations Christian College, Ware UK), has put us into his debt with the publication of Old Testament Ethics for the People of God (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 2004). This is a fully revised, updated and restructured version of the author's well known Living as the People of God (1983), also incorporating material from his collection of essays, Walking in the Ways of the Lord (1995) and with new surveys of historical and contemporary approaches to OT ethics. The book commences with a section on 'a structure of OT ethics' focusing on God's actions, nature and purposes, and the social and economic context of this divine revelation, to show that 'Biblical ethics flow from the reality of God' but not directly 'into the consciousness of individuals' or 'as a complete whole into a single monolithic, dictated rule-book' but rather indirectly. Thus, 'God created a people and entered into relationship with them. By this means, OT ethics could never be a matter of timeless and universal abstract principles, but rather were hammered out within the historical and cultural particularity of this people, this community, this society, this "house of Israel".' This relates to what the author refers to as 'the ethical triangle'-God, Israel and the land, or to put it another way, 'Old Testament ethics are built on Israel's worldview' and we need to 'put ourselves in Israel's position and understand how Israel perceived and experienced their relationship with God and how that experience affected their ethical ideals and practical living as a community.'

Once this framework is established, the book now addresses a wide range of specific topics, from ecology and economics to justice, law, culture and the individual, working from the original context to the understanding of God's call. The final section of the book, added in this revision especially for students and scholars, opens up methods of approach to OT ethics, covering the history of the church, recent books and especially the question of hermeneutics and the authority of the OT. This 520 page book, intended for the general reader as well as the student, is well indexed and there are extensive bibliographies at the end of each chapter.

The Westminster Theological Wordbook of the Bible (Westminster John Knox, 2003) edited by Donald Gowan is intended to provide a modest sized reference work with detailed articles for students and general readers, sharply focused on all the words in the NRSV which have 'any theological significance'. Giving an excellent coverage of topics in its 550 pages, it does not require knowledge of the biblical languages and restricts itself to the biblical material rather than moving into systematic theology or church history, thus filling an important gap in the field.

In a completely different field, 'The IVP Reference Collection' offers Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals (2003, edited by Timothy Larsen with D. W. Bebbington and M. A. Noll) a 788 page book with 400 entries covering people with a birth date up to 1935. The selection criteria are guided by Bebbington's quadrilateral definition of Evangelicalism in tandem with Noll's network orientation, and is angled towards those who would be the subject of interest to students of the English speaking movement. Extending from 'John Wycliffe to John Wimber', there is plenty of scope for the large team of international team of authors to provide a wealth of useful information about most of the favourite and not-so-well-known historic and contemporary figures, all well indexed and referenced.

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