Commissions

Theological News Apr 2006 Vol 35 No 2

04.29.2006

Contents

Excerpts

Theological Commission to Meet in Africa for First Time - Featuring expanded membership and theological consultation

The annual planning and strategy meeting of the WEA Theological Commission for 2006 will be held in Kenya at the campus of Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School, Sept 20-24. This will be first time the TC has met in this way on African soil, even though some of its early founders and on-going leaders were from this continent. The event will feature a mini-consultation and opportunities for networking, fellowship and ministry with theologians, churches, missions and other bodies in the area. The consultation theme will be ‘Theological Perspectives on Global Religious Fundamentalism’. ‘Poverty and Social Responsibility’ will also be on the agenda during the event.

It will be the first opportunity for those interested in the newly expanded membership of the TC to participate. The new scheme, which was announced at the beginning of the year, allows for three new categories—Affiliates, Associates and Partners. Affiliates are Theological Commissions or like bodies affiliated with National and Regional Fellowships of the World Evangelical Alliance (or bodies nominated by such Fellowships to represent them). The other two groups, Associates and Partners, are drawn from a wider circle and consist of individuals or institutions interested in the work of the WEA Theological Commission and desirous of supporting its objectives and programs financially, prayerfully and practically. Individuals are known as Associates, while institutions such as seminaries, theological associations, churches, denominations, or mission bodies are known as Partners.

The TC has planned these new categories to allow for a much wider range of involvement in its work. A spokesman for the TC said that it was particularly keen to contact national theological commissions wherever they exist so that a closer bond could be established for the sharing of resources and networking of personnel. The TC is also committed to encouraging the formation of national and regional TCs in areas where they do not yet exist. National evangelical associations are specially invited to contact the TC so they can be part of the 2006 meeting.

The September event will provide an ideal opportunity to launch the new scheme and develop the TC global programme. The TC is particularly interested in making effective contact with evangelical theologians in the strategic area of Africa.

Further details will be announced as they are finalised. Details of the meeting, information about membership (and application forms) may be obtained from the TC Australian office (email: wef-tc@pacific.net.au)

Asian Baptist Theologians meet to discuss Church in Asian Society

From January 5-7, 2006 about 60 Asian Baptist theologians met at the Christian Guest House in Bangkok, Thailand for a symposium on Christian Higher Education. The theme of the symposium was "The Church in Asian Society." The conference was sponsored by the Asian Baptist Federation and the Asian Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary (ABGTS). Dr. Lilian Lim, until recently Academic Dean of the Singapore Baptist Theological Seminary, now serves as full time President of the ABGTS and Dr. Stephen Tam, Professor at the Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary is Administrative Dean.

The Asian Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary was originally formed as a consortium of those Baptist seminaries throughout Asia founded largely by the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. However, with the paradigm shift in missiological strategy, the ABTGS became independent and now is open to all Baptist seminaries in Asia. Baptist seminary professors and leaders came form the following countries: Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, and India.

The Asian Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary is making a significant contribution to theological education in Asia. ABGTS has more than 250 students engaged in post graduate studies. At present it has its own accrediting system, but its doctoral degree is equivalent to those offered in North America. Obviously with changing times in Asia and the Pacific Rim becoming the world's economic powerhouse, Asian Baptist seminaries will need to effectively train young men and women in the ministry. That is precisely the vision of ABGTS and what it is doing! Thank God for the visionary leadership of the Asian theological educators.

BWA News February 2006

The Revival of Alexandria School of Theology

by the Right Reverend Dr Mouneer Anis Bishop of Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt

Five years ago, Egypt started to rebuild Alexandria library which was burnt down in the 7th Century. This library was one of the wonders of the ancient world. The international community helped Egypt in this very important project. The library now stands as a magnificent building facing the Mediterranean Sea. This project was a great inspiration to the Episcopal Diocese of Egypt to revive the Alexandria School of Theology (AST) once again. The original Alexandria School of Theology was the first to be founded in the world in the 1st Century.

Our aim behind starting AST is to equip ministers and leaders for ministry. We adopt a very non-traditional way of teaching. It involves academic lectures and seminars over the weekends and practical placements of the students during the weekdays. These placements are in churches, hospitals, schools, prisons and community development centres. We want our students to be open-minded and have a better understanding of people from other faiths and denominations. Muslim Imams are invited to teach about Islamic faith and to respond to questions from the students. Bishops from the Orthodox and Catholic Church also lecture about their own traditions. This helps students to have respect for others and to understand better how they can dialogue with them.

The Episcopal Diocese of Egypt covers North Africa and the Horn of Africa. One of the objectives of the Diocese is to build bridges between different Christian denominations and other faiths. We also are keen to have a holistic approach towards ministry. This is why we have community development centres, schools, hospitals, clinics and other services. We hope that the AST will equip leaders who are capable of running such ministries.
In the future, we hope to provide short courses for overseas students in the area of Islamic studies, church history and Old Testament studies. Living in Egypt for the duration of these courses will help overseas students to understand the context of their subject matter better. We would appreciate your prayers and support for our new school of theology.

Level 6: Newsletter of Australian College of Theology Dec 2005 - Used with permission