Theological News Jul 2012 Vol 41 No 3



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TC Executive Secretary Addresses Evangelism Conference

On 24 March, the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission on World Mission and Evangelism pre-assembly event invoked renewed thinking and commitment on evangelism, disassociated from the forces of oppression, and grounded in humility and respect for all.

 The event took place in Manila, Philippines addressed the topic "Water of life: Speaking the truth in love" while debating evangelism among other themes. More than 200 participants in the event contributed to the discussions and developed a draft of the proposed WCC statement on "mission and evangelism" to be presented at the WCC upcoming 10th Assembly in Busan, Korea in 2013.

 "Too often evangelism has not been done in Christ's way with the effect that it has not been the vehicle for conveying good news, but rather bad news through being joined with forces of imperialism and the oppression of the poor and the weak by the rich and the strong," said Ronald Wallace, Presbyterian Church in Canada, in his presentation. "The evangelical gospel and the social gospel cannot be separated. They are two sides of the same coin," he added.  

Hopeful Start for Theology Task Force in Africa but More Help Needed

The newly appointed Executive Coordinator of the Theology Taskforce in Africa, Mr Mateso Akou (see April 2012 TN) reports a promising commencement to his ministry. As well as the Langham conference (see left panel), he has participated in a Regional Conference in Burkina Faso. This was organized by Window 4/14 Movement, for Francophone Africa, involving at least 300 delegates, most of them from Francophone Africa. It was a challenge for the church in Africa to consider investing more Children's Ministry and the Youth with the aim of seeing national transformation.

Another important engagement was an Easter seminar at Narok, Kenya, one of the main towns in Maasailand. Amongst the many topics, one of the most vital focues on "Preachers of a different Gospel." Mr Akou said, "As elsewhere in the country and the continent of Africa, pulpits in many local churches in Maasailand have started sending forth a strange Gospel. As Evangelicals we should give this a serious consideration."

While the first quarter of work has been encouraging with good financial support, Mr Akou has urgently called for more prayer and support for the future. Many plans have been made for the future, but they are all dependant on funding. Some of the future plans include efforts to develop integrity and effectiveness of Christian leaders in Kenya (July), a conference on national development in Madagascar (August), a focus on pastoral calling (August), and theological education (September).

Mr Akou may be contacted at and invites responses with prayer, finances and suggestions for the work of the AEA Theology Taskforce.

Bear with?

A review of The Intolerance of Tolerance by D.A. Carson (IVP, 200 pages. £12.99 ISBN 978 1 844 744 053) 
By Timothy Laurence, London Chairman, Lawyers' Christian Fellowship
Reproduced with permission from Evangelicals Now May 2012 page 25

This book is a 'must' for Christian leaders - especially those who hear that line all the time. Not because of its author—though Carson is always worth reading. It is a 'must' because of the staggering importance of its subject and because few evangelical scholars have Carson's competence to tackle it . 'Staggering' is actually one of Carson's own repeated words to describe what he's observing in Western culture. It is not just that we are destroying our freedoms, but that this self-destruction is now celebrated, and it is the one thing that no one must criticise. What is it? Tolerance.

Anyone familiar with Don Carson's writing knows that he is not an alarmist and does not make foolish generalisations. Instead, he carefully traces historical patterns, makes nuanced distinctions and engages with leading social commentators in the secular world. And yet he's still staggered by what he sees: how the championing of vacuous democracy is leading to democracy's demise; how the privatisation of religion is curbing the freedom of religion, and how that results in losing civil freedoms generally; how a mistaken moral high ground is removing morality from public life. And this hurts everyone.

Carson begins by making a distinction between what he calls the 'old' and the 'new' tolerance. From there his thesis is simple: the 'new tolerance' is intrinsically intolerant. It is therefore self-contradictory and self-destructive—and so is any public square built upon it. And yet, he argues, having rejected almost everything else, the 'new tolerance' is the only absolute 'good' the West now values.