Theological News Jan 2006 Vol 35 No 1




New Book Tackles Conversion in India

A new book tackles the problem of conversion in India from a theological perspective. Based on a M Phil dissertation at Andhra University, and published by ISPCK, it is titled The Phenomenon of Christian Conversion with Particular Reference to its Theology in the Indian Context . Written by James Chacko, Executive Director of New and Living Way Ministries, it investigates the subject from the Old and New Testament, and also examines relevant issues pertinent to the Indian context and the continued influence of this issue in the life and theology of the church.

Conversion is an emotive word, and is often misunderstood. In the Indian context, it is also often threatening due to deep-rooted historical and socio-political factors in the Indian context. The author claims that “Any open dialogue about conversion is possible only on the basis of the clear understanding of the theology of conversion in its Biblical and contemporary context”. The small book is noteworthy because of the comprehensive nature of its analysis, which avoids common stereotypes and thereby appeals for a wide-ranging approach to the issue. It is hoped that the research embodied in the book will ignite lively discussion on the issue, develop an attitude to conversion which will promote peace and harmony among followers of various religions and encourage further research in India.

The book may be obtained from New and Living Way PO Box 259 Ashley IN 46705, for a minimum contribution of $6 including postage, with proceeds being devoted to the equipping of church planters in India.

Missiologist’s claim: Millennium Development Goal Not Well-Grounded In the Bible

Professor Peter Beyerhaus, one of the best-known German missiologists, has urged Christians not to replace the proclamation of the Gospel with religious dialogue. “Evangelicals should seek dialogue without neglecting mission”, said Beyerhaus at a meeting of evangelical theologians in Blankenburg, Thuringia, in September, 2005.

It would be detrimental for the church to neglect or disregard the Great Commission, emphasized Beyerhaus. Christians should not bow to the pressure of popular expectations but rather preach an unabridged Biblical message. He criticized liberal theologians who reject the message of Christ’s atoning sacrifice as an affront to modern thinking. “It is inevitable”, said Beyerhaus, “that Christians meet with opposition. Jesus does not promise evangelistic success, but he takes responsibility for the fruit of evangelism”.

According to Beyerhaus the most important task of a missionary is to translate the Gospel message in such a way that it is clearly understood without harming the Biblical content. Missionaries should take care not to embrace unbiblical cultural or ideological concepts. Beyerhaus also sees the danger that the justified involvement in the alleviation of social need leads to a reduction of the Gospel message. As one example Beyerhaus mentioned the Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty by 2015. Some evangelical organizations had turned this into a missionary objective. But this is, according to Beyerhaus, not well grounded in the Bible.

Evangelical news agency - idea.

Leading Theologian and Churchman Gives Prestigious Lectures on Jesus

Dr Peter Jensen, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney and former Principal of Moore Theological College, delivered the prestigious Boyer Lectures on the Australian Broadcasting Commission national radio network late in 2005. The Boyer Lectures have been given by prominent Australians for over forty years, and they provide a platform for the speakers to discuss a wide range of subjects affecting the community. Dr Jensen chose the topic “The Future of Jesus”. In his introduction to the Lectures, Dr Jensen said, “The thesis is that Jesus is more important to the Australian values of ‘a fair go’ and ‘mateship’ than the stories of the Eureka Stockade and Gallipoli; in forgetting Him, as Australians we risk losing our core values now and in the future.” He added: “I want to provoke a national debate with the Jesus of the Gospels,” and he hopes to encourage people to read the Bible so that they can understand the importance of Jesus in the modern world.

The opening lecture was titled “Jesus the Prophet at the end of the World” and focused on bringing Jesus into discussion of values and how people need to examine their assumptions about the importance of Jesus. The second lecture, “Jesus, Religious Genius or Failed Prophet” examined the claims of Jesus and evaluations of him over history. Other topics were: “Jesus, was he Miraculous?”; “Jesus or Caesar, The Choice of Martyrs”; “Jesus and the Millennium Will He Never Come Back?” and “Jesus, Freedom and the Choices We Make?” The Lectures are given over six weeks. Details, transcripts of the lectures with related feature programs, and information about purchasing audio and printed versions of the series are available on the ABC website,

Dr Jensen has been Archbishop of Sydney, the largest Anglican Diocese in the country, since 2001 and is Chair of the Anglican General Synod Doctrine Commission. He was principal of Moore Theological College for 16 years. His books include The Revelation of God (IVP), At the Heart the Universe (IVP) and The Quest For Power In June 2005, he presented the inaugural TC Hammond Lectures in Ireland.