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Theological News Apr 2011 Vol 40 No 2

03.14.2011

Contents

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Excerpts

(for a full copy of this issue, contact WEA TC on tc@worldevangelicals.org or download from this page)

New Executive Director for Theological Commission

The Chairman of the WEA Theological Commission, Dr Thomas Schirrmacher has released the following announcement about the appointment of an Executive Director of the WEA Theological Commission.

The Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance has a new Executive Director, C. Rosalee Velleso Ewell (BA, MA, PhD), from Brazil. After the consent of the Commission and a positive vote by the International Board, the highest authority of the WEA, the CEO of WEA, Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, installed her in her new office. We are glad to have the funds to pay a director for the TC again, even though we would be pleased to receive further donations. I will remain as Executive Chair, so that we run the day to day business together.

Rosalee was born into a pastor’s family in São Paulo in 1971. From 2003 to 2008 she was Professor of Ethics and Biblical Theology at the South American Theological Seminary, Londrina, Paraná, Brazil. Since 2008 she has served as New Testament editor of the Latin American Bible Commentary, working for the Comité Latinoamericano de Literatura Biblíca (San José, Costa Rica).

Lately she has been involved with Lausanne’s Theology Working Group and was on the Cape Town Commitment drafting team. She has published books and articles on Christian ethics and biblical theology. She is currently working on a book with a Brazilian publisher: Ethics and Brazilian Theology.

Dr Ewell is married to Samuel Ewell, who is doing doctoral work at the Uni-versity of Birmingham, UK. Rosalee is the mother of three children.

I have already had the chance to work together with Rosalee on WEA pro-jects as well as in discussions with the Vatican in Rome, the World Council of Churches in Geneva and other international conferences. I am convinced that we have made a good choice. Rosalee is deeply convinced of Evangelical val-ues, but open to learn from others. She has a clear stand point where needed, but is open to work together with the wide range of the Evangelical family.

Rosalee’s first task will be to connect to as many as possible of the theologi-cal commissions of national and regional alliances, or to the alliances them-selves, where there is no network of theologians as of yet.

Please pray for Rosalee and her ministry, that it would help us to work more closely together and together become more Christlike and true to Scripture

Jesus, Salvation and the Jewish People

Statement and Papers from Consultation on Jewish Evangelism now Available in Book Form

Papers and the statement from the consultation on Jewish evangelism sponsored by the WEA Theological Commission on August 2008 have been published by Paternoster. The 312 page book, Jesus, Salvation and the Jewish People (ISBN 978-1-84227-669-3 ) is edited by Rev Dr David Parker who was Executive Director of the TC at the time of the conference. The book contains the ‘Berlin Declaration’ issued by the conference, an preface and introductory chapter by the editor and thirteen papers delivered at or prepared for the conference. (http://www.authenticmedia.co.uk/promo/authentic-cat-2011.pdf)

Commending the book, Dr Ashley Crane, President of Harvest West Bible College, Western Australia said, ‘Occasionally a ‘must read’ eventuates; Jesus, Salvation and the Jewish People is such for anyone interested in Jewish outreach. The authors present solid researched outcomes, tackling the awkwardness of outreach to Jewish people from the shadow of Church persecution, culminating with the horror of the Holocaust. They answer the charge of Jewish outreach being tantamount to ‘spiritual genocide’, and challenge ‘two covenant’ theologies, showing these are in fact anti-Semitic. The authors expound how believers in Jesus should continue reaching out in love to our Jewish people, despite past horrific human actions, as God’s Word remains true with Jesus established as Messiah for both Jews and Gentiles.’

Some of the chapter titles are The Uniqueness of Christ for Salvation, Salvation in Early Christianity and Early Judaism, John’s Gospel and Jewish Monotheism, Martin Luther and the Jewish people, The Early Pietistic Movement and Jewish Evangelism. Contributors include Darrell Bock, Michael L Brown, Richard Harvey, Andreas J Kostenberger and Eckhard Schnabel. Former TC chair, Dr Rolf Hille is another contributor as is Dr Tuvla Zaretsky of Jews for Jesus.

The 1200 word conference statement, known as ‘The Berlin Declaration’ published originally at the conclusion of the conference calls for ‘Renewed commitment to the task of Jewish evangelism’ and ‘Recognition of the uniqueness of Christ as the crucified, resurrected and divine Messiah who alone can save from death and bring eternal life.’ It may be read at http://www.worldevangelicals.org/news/Berlin_2008_Statement_(1).pdf

The consultation, which was five years in planning, was called to address current concerns about the necessity and theological basis for Jewish evangelism especially in the setting of Germany and Europe as a whole. It involved scholars from the Theo-logical Commission, key seminaries and other organisations. It also included practitioners engaged in ministry amongst Jewish people, and Christians from Germany and Messianic Jews. A total of 13 papers were presented covering biblical, theological and practical matters which provided the background for the Declaration.

The Berlin Declaration followed in the wake of earlier documents produced by the WEA on Jewish evangelism. The first was the Willowbank Declaration of 1989 which was hailed at the time as a decisive statement and continues to be referred to as a landmark document. The second was a brief statement published and endorsedby the WEA reinforcing the validity and importance of Jewish evangelism which appeared in the New York Times in 2008, with 54 signatures (and more added later). Dr David Parker, said, “With the background of Willowbank and the NYT statement, it is our prayer that this book of papers and the Berlin Declaration 2008 will prove to be useful in supporting the work of taking the gospel ‘to the Jew first’ and also the rest of the world. We believe the European (and specifically German) setting of our statement is particularly significant. We hope that this declaration will encourage many Christians to see the importance and biblical warrant for this important ministry.”

The Cape Town Commitment by Rosemary Dowsett

Statements from conferences and congresses appear with overwhelming frequency, and most of them are soon forgotten. The Lausanne Covenant of 1974 was different. It has remained a defining document for evangelicals, and an evangelical apologia to other parts of the world church, and deservedly so. The Manila Manifesto has been less influential, and is less well known. How will the Cape Town Commitment fare?

It is a very different kind of document, long at nearly 22,000 words, and in two complementary parts. After a brief foreword, and a preamble that sets out some of the changes in our world and context, along with some unchanging realities, Part 1 is entitled ‘For the Lord we love: the Cape Town Confession of Faith’, and Part 2 ‘For the world we serve: the Cape Town call to action’. The former provides a theological framework, the latter focuses on responsive action. The two parts need to be held together: Part 1 on its own could leave us with theory but no action, and Part 2 on its own could lead us to unrooted and pragmatic action increasingly divergent from biblical accountability. The evangelical community has not been immune from divorcing theology and praxis in relation to mission, and it is crucial that we ensure the faithful marriage of the two, both locally and globally.  (for the rest of the article, see PDF available here)