Theological News Jan 2007 Vol 36 No 1




TC to Discuss Providence and Political Engagement in 2007

The WEA Theological Commission has announced plans for its 2007 Annual Session. It will be held from July 30 to Aug 3, 2007 in the Philadelphia area of the United States and will incorporate a mini-consultation on the theme: ‘How does faith in Providence affect our Political Involvement?’ The format will follow the same pattern as the successful 2006 meetings held in Nairobi Kenya. Monday July 30 will be arrival day, followed on Tuesday by the consultation; August 1 will be a symposium including networking with local seminaries and other theologians, church and mission leaders and interested people, with the annual planning and strategy sessions taking place on August 2. Participants will depart on Friday August 3.

It is hoped that the consultation will attract wide interest and will be able to draw on the considerable resources in the area. Submissions and expressions of interest are now invited for this part of the program. The TC is looking for key speakers who can address aspects of the topic from a local, regional and global perspective. It is planned that a summary statement will be made at the conclusion of the conference and that keynote addresses and other papers will be published.

The consultation will be open to a wide range of participants and those interested in attending are invited to contact the Theological Commission as soon as possible to register their names so they can be advised of full details which will be available at a later date. Those who are part of the TC’s extended Global Membership scheme (see below) are automatically invited to attend and are requested to indicate their interest as soon as possible to assist with planning.

For more information, submission of ideas and preliminary registration, contact Dr David Parker,

TC Global Membership Scheme Begins Second Year

The Theological Commission’s extended membership scheme is about to enter its second year. This scheme was inaugurated in January 2006 and attracted considerable interest with an encouraging number of people and institutions signing up. It is a means by which seminaries and similar institutions, national theological commissions and individual theologians and others interested in theological work at the global level can become an integral part of the life and work of the WEA TC by paying an annual subscription.

The annual fee covers a subscription to the TC’s flagship journal, Evangelical Review of Theology, its quarterly Theological News and other news media. It also entitles members to participate in the annual TC consultation, symposium and planning session and to be involved in the study units and other activities of the TC. In particular, it is a means by which national Theological Commissions can be directly and actively related to the WEA Theological Commission through the advisory body which those holding Affiliate status


Membership is on a calendar year basis, so renewals and new subscriptions are invited from January 2007. The three categories in the scheme are Affiliates—Theological Commissions or like bodies affiliated with National and Regional Fellowships of the World Evangelical Alliance; Partners—institutions such as seminaries, churches, missions and denominations; Associates—individual theologians.

The annual membership fee is US $75, $150 and $250 for personal and small, medium and large organizations respectively. For more details, an application form and information on payment methods, contact the Director of Administration

Theological Education in Israel and the West Bank

Leaders of the World Evangelical Alliance met in Israel Dec 1–5, 2006 to review the work of the Alliance and its many arms, and to plan for future developments. The Theological Commission was represented by Dr David Parker, Director of Administration and Publications. Reports indicated that the WEA has made considerable progress during the previous year, and has expanded its activities and consolidated its operations. Significant plans are in hand for development in the near future, including a General Assembly to be held late 2008.

A feature of the meeting was an excursion to Bethlehem and Jerusalem for learning about conditions in the West Bank and to share fellowship with evangelical Christians in the area. This event was highlighted by the formal reception into the WEA of its 128th national body, the Evangelical Local Council of Churches of the Holy Land (ELCCHL)

During his visit to Israel, Dr David Parker visited three theological institutions in the area. Bethlehem Bible College, <> the only such institution in the West Bank, is an interdenominational college preparing leaders for the churches and society within the Arab community, headed by Dr Bishara Awad, and with a strong faculty. It also serves the local community with a range of activities including a counselling centre, the Shepherd Society which meets humanitarian needs, Bethlehem’s first public library located at the college, a program for teaching English as a second language, a Tour Guide program and a Mass Media centre which trains students for this work and also present programs on the local media. The college also has a strong music ministry with an attractive choir. In operation since 1979, and located in Hebron Road since 1990, Bethlehem Bible College is accredited by the Palestinian Ministry for Higher Education and by MEATE (Middle East Association of Theological Education. It has an ambitious building program to allow it to fulfil its aims more effectively.

Israel College of the Bible <> established in 1990 (then under a different name), is located in the heart of West Jerusalem with extension campuses elsewhere in the country, and mainly serves the Israeli Messianic community, but it also has programs for international students. The current president is Dr. Erez Soref, a native Israeli from Haifa, with a Doctorate in clinical psychology. The college is accredited with both the Asia Theological Association and European Evangelical Accrediting Association. Its faculty of more than 30 is made up of full and part-time instructors, most being Israelis and covering a wide range of disciplines.

Jerusalem University College (The American Institute for Holy Land Studies) <> is located by the Old City of Jerusalem and specializes in programs which enable international students to study the Bible, its languages, cultures and contextual setting in the Holy Land itself. It acts as an extension campus of about 100 academic institutions in USA and elsewhere whose students attend courses of varying duration at JUC. It is also accredited by Asia Theological Association and is authorised to grant degrees in Israel. It was established in 1957 and is now headed by Dr Paul Wright, supported by an extensive faculty of local and visiting professors.

Bible Commentary Projects in Africa and Asia

Biblical scholarship and exposition is being advanced in Africa and Asia with two significant projects. In Africa, the first one-volume commentary, of almost 1600 pages, written exclusively by African theologians was launched on July 5, 2006 in Kenya. Edited by Dr Tokunboh Adeyemo, former General Secretary of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA), with nearly 70 contributors—all of them from Africa—it adopts a section by section approach geared to local needs and interests.

The main commentary is supplemented by more than 70 articles on biblical backgrounds, introduction, and especially on cultural issues facing the African church, such as HIV/AIDS, persecution, angels/demons/powers and funeral rites. There is also an extensive glossary of terms, and biographical details of contributors. The 7-year project was strongly supported by SIM and many Christians around the world. It is published in Africa in English and French by WordAlive, with another edition for the rest of the world by Zondervan []

Meanwhile work progresses on the ambitious Asia Bible Commentary Series. The 45 volume series sponsored by the Asia Theological Association with Dr Brian Wintle and Dr Bruce Nicholls as general editors, is aimed at providing high quality exegetical material interpreted in terms of local Asian cultures and presented in common English which is suitable for a wide readership. With each volume prepared by a team of at least two writers from Asian, Pacific and Middle East seminaries, the series is being made available in an Asian edition priced for wide circulation in the region and another edition for the global market.

Six volumes are already available, while five more are at an advanced stage of preparation. Some are prepared in local languages and will need translation. General Editor, Dr Bruce Nicholls, recently made an extensive tour of 18 participating seminaries, and expects steady progress by the time of the ATA General Assembly in August 2007.