Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Gill’s Promotion

Friday, May 12th, 2017

He is smiling now. We are pleased to announce the successful PhD defence and ‘Promotion’ of Gil Dueck at the Vrije Universiteit which took place on Wednesday 10th May. Gill’s Thesis was entitled: ‘A Transformative Moment:
Emerging Adult Faith Development in Conversation with the Theology of James E. Loder’. We extend our congratulation to Gil and to his family, his wife, parents, and children who traveled to be present.

We also congratulate his IBTSC supervisor Dr Parush Parushev and his Vrije Universiteit supervisor Prof. Dr Fernando Enns. Not present on the day we also extend our congratulations to his co-supervisor Prof. Dr Nancey Murphy.

A good day.

Visiting Scholar

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

We are pleased to welcome Prof. Louise Kretzschmar to IBTSC Amsterdam this week. Prof. L Kretzschmar3jpg (1)

Prof Kretzschmar is currently a Professor of Theological Ethics at the University of South Africa (Unisa). Her research interests are in: Christian Ethics, Christian Spirituality, Christian leadership, moral formation, spiritual formation, Baptist studies, Feminist Theology and Ethics, Business Ethics, Leadership within an African Context.

During her visit she will meet with the Rector at IBTSC and the Dutch Baptist Seminary. She will also deliver a short talk  on issues of “moral and spiritual leadership in church, society, and state” at a Departmental meeting of the Vrije Universiteit on Thursday and give a lecture on ‘The education of prospective ministers as an invitation to life: a process of moral formation’ to the staff at Baptist House on Friday.

We hope that opportunities for future collaboration, research, and the provision of courses related to ethical issues may be an outcome of her visist here as well as enabling her to develop her own research interests into the nature of moral formation through theological education.

 

Nordenhaug at Herdenkingskerk

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Nodenhaug

Nodenhaug

 

As mentioned in other posts, on Monday 2nd November 2015 the Nordenhaug lectures will take place. Josef Nordenhaug was between 1950 and 1960 the inspirational President of the first incarnation of this institution then located in Rüschlikon, Switzerland. These lectures are delivered in his memory.

Last year we were delighted to receive this Photographic Biography of Josef Nordenhaug from his daughter Karin Nordenhaug Ciholas. For those interested in the history of European Baptist Church life and indeed the Rüschlikon Seminary this is a fascinating and informative book. Yesterday a former volunteer at  Rüschlikon visiting the IBTS Centre looked through the book with great interest.

This year the lectures to be delivered by Dr David P. Gushee will be delivered in the Herdenkingskerk, a church building a two minute walk from the IBTS Centre in Amsterdam.

Originally we had planned to hold the lectures at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam but for some practical reasons we moved them to the church building. As I reflect upon this I am pleased about the change for a couple of reasons.

The first is that the tradition of this institution considers that academic theology is ‘secondary theology’, and that it exists to serve the Christian community in its life, worship and witness (primary theology). Insofar as these lectures represent ‘academic theology’ I think that there is something symbolically significant about them taking place as it were in the home of some local congregations rather than the ‘academy’.

The second reason, however, is one that was a pleasant surprise to me. IMG_0002For as my friend, sitting in our library, looked through the Nordenhaug book, she said: ‘Is that not the church along the road?’ So indeed on page 212 there is a picture of the opening of the Herdenkingskerk opened in 1964 – presumably an event at which Josef was present. I love the moments of connection, a former volunteer (originally from America now in Canada)  reading about a former President of Rüschlikon (a Norwegian) notices that a church building in Amsterdam is in the photographic biography of that President just a week before the lectures held in his honour and the tradition he represents are about to take place in that building! I have to say, it made me smile.

Call for Conference Papers

Friday, July 17th, 2015

IBTSC will host a Conference on ‘Conflicting Convictions’ on Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th of November 2015 in Baptist House, Amsterdam. This conference will explore disagreements among Christians on ‘matters that matter’ and responses to such.

Already a number of people have offered papers on topics of conflict indeed perhaps encouraging some debate on a number of contested issues.

We are also continuing to look for papers that will explore conflict among people who claim to hold to the same Christian ‘tradition’: its nature, causes, risks, opportunities and how such can be responded to and dealt with. Papers can be offered from a range of perspectives, biblical, theological, historical, practical. There is the opportunity following conference review to be published in our Journal, Baptistic Theologies.

We invite contributions from not only from more experienced writers and scholars but also from aspiring and developing scholars. For those who may wish to offer more provisional and developing work there is an opportunity for publication in the Journal of European Baptist Studies which as well as containing the work of more established writers was created to help young and new scholars publish in an English language European Journal.

To offer or to discuss the possibility of a paper please contact, Stuart Blythe, blythe@ibts.eu.

There is no charge to attend the conference although there will be a small fee to cover lunch provision and participants are responsible for their own travel, food, and accommodation.

At present, we have no bursaries to help people come but if  you would be willing to contribute towards another person being able to come please be in touch.

The Conference will follow the delivery of the Nordenhaug lectures on Monday 2nd November 2015. These will be delivered by Dr David P. Gushee who is the Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Director of the Centre for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University, Atlanta & Macon, Georgia. He will deliver three lectures on ‘What it means to say that human life is sacred?’. Gushee.jpg

 

Dr David P. Gushee who is the Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life Mercer University, Atlanta & Macon, Georgia.
Widely regarded as one of the leading moral voices in American Christianity, he is the author or editor of 20 books and hundreds of articles in his field, including Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust, Kingdom Ethics, The Sacredness of Human Life. He will deliver three lectures on the Monday on the theme of ‘What it means to say that human life is sacred’.

Different systems but same results

Friday, May 1st, 2015

George Graduation 3On Thursday 28th May 2015, George Bristow an IBTSC student successfully defended his PhD thesis in an event of promotion at the VU. In the Dutch system, a candidate’s work is submitted to at least 5 markers. It is marked and the markers decide whether the candidate is able to proceed to a public defence. This defence takes place on stage before the markers and a wider body of academics and teachers who make up the promotion committee, as well as members of the public. George Graduation 9Following a question and answer session of some 50 minutes the meeting goes into recess while the committee decide whether the thesis has been successfully defended. If the thesis has been successfully defended the candidate is awarded the title and degree of Dr. George successfully defended his thesis which was titled: ‘Abraham in Narrative Worldviews: Doing Comparative Theology Through Christian-Muslim Dialogue in Turkey’. George Graduation 8Congratulations go to George and his promotors: Prof Dr J.A. Kirk, Prof Dr P.A. van Doorn-Harder and Dr I.J. Glaser.George Graduation 2         Then on Friday 29th May 2015 at Baptist House we carried out a short service of ‘graduation’ to mark the successful achievement of the degree of PhD by IBTS student Mary Raber in conjunction with the University of Wales. This was carried out as part of morning worship at Baptist House and attended not only be present IBTSC staff but members from the Dutch Seminary, Dutch Union, and some of Mary’s friends.STA41962 In the British system a PhD is defended behind closed doors and although the award stated on the day a graduation service normally follows at a later date.  Traditionally IBTS held such a graduation service in its own campus. The changed situation has necessitated a different approach for the few remaining students who continue with the University of Wales and Magister programmes. Mary successfully defended her PhD in a viva voce in January 2015. It was titled: ‘Ministries of Compassion Among Russian Evangelicals 1905-1929’. Congratulations go to Mary and to her supervisors who have included: Dr Toivo Pilli, Dr W Sawatski  and previously Dr Ian Randall. In the past few months Frances Bloomberg also successfully defended her PhD awarded through the University of Wales with the title: ‘Forming and Sustaining Christian Community in a Consumer Culture: An Analysis of and Search for Appropriate Models’. Frances was supervised by Dr Andrew Kirk and Dr Tim Noble. News of successful Master students will be posted later in the month.

Six Months On…

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

We have now been operational in our Amsterdam for the past six months or so. The relocation of the library and set up of the offices taking place in August 2014. In the following months set up issues continued to demand a lot of time an attention. Simple things can suddenly become BIG – e.g. when you discover that the computers have been set up in a language you don’t speak! In some ways it seems longer than six months and at other times less.

Despite all that has been going on, building on the past with the support of previous and new colleagues a lot have been achieved in circumstances which can only be described as ‘complex change’.

Anna Robbins led the Acadia D Min teaching weeks in August 2014

Anna Robbins led the Acadia D Min teaching weeks in August 2014

Starting in August we first hosted the Acadia D Min intensive teaching weeks led by Anna Robbins.

This programme is one which we run in partnership with Acadia and offers high quality biblical, theological, and practical reflection suited to the tasks of ministry. The way which it is run also offers a genuine international experience. So it is worth making known. Please contact for information.

 

 

 

Following this we hosted in August/September a three week intensive teaching block for students undertaking our MA Degree with Manchester University or our Post-Graduate Certificate in preparation for PhD studies.

Students from Ghana, Cuba, Croatia.

Students from Ghana, Cuba, Croatia.

This MA programme has some considerable flexibility in delivery and while involving some intensive teaching block attendance also has some distance learning options. Please contact for information.

The second week of this teaching period included our first PhD graduation (Promotion) from the Free University (VU)a day in which several of us including the successful student Jon Hardin got dressed up for the occasion…

First IBTSC graduation at VU

First IBTSC graduation at VU

 

 

 

 

 

Curtis FreemanIn November we hosted the Hughey Lectures with Curtis Freeman followed by a well attended conference on Convictional Theologies. The Lectures were held at the VU and the conference in our own premises with lunch being provided for participants. Papers will follow later in the Spring/Summer published in our Journals in order to disseminate some of the research and thinking that is going on.

Nancey Murphy As well as Curtis Freeman we were please to welcome Nancey Murphy to this event as a contributor and were grateful for the of signed copies of the latest collections of McClendon’s works from which she read by way of recollection.

 

 

 

Then in January 2015 we held our annual research degrees colloquium attended by students and staff from around the world. Thinking HardThis included much valued input from Professor Pete Ward PeterWard01smallfrom Durham University .

 

 

 

 

With all these events the first six months has been fairly hectic. At times I am frustrated with a range of things we have not yet got done but when I stand back I am nothing but grateful to our colleagues, supporters, and God for all that has been achieved. The coming few months do not have quite the same intensity in terms of events but are required to allow us to develop supportive administrative systems and methods suited to our location and continue to sort out details like…who do you call when the mini-bus breaks down? In turn for me these months give the time to strategize beyond the immediate.

We are now moving firmly into our first full year of activity – January to December which will allow us to see what it is like to operate fully in our new context. Wwe remain grateful for your interest and support in IBTSC as we seek to provide research, researchers, and leaders which can aid the mission and ministry of churches in Europe and beyond.

 

 

CMU Ministers Conference

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Over the past week I have completed an introductory talk  https://politurgy.wordpress.com/2015/02/ and a series of three bible studies at the ministers conference hosted by the Canadian Mennonite University.

CMU Campus

CMU Campus

On the Tuesday night I  attended a fascinating panel discussion on “Where did we lose you?” which involved a panel discussion on the declining participation of ‘millennials’ in Canadian churches. The panel participants were all of this age group born some time after 1980 and represented a number of church traditions and indeed none in that one panel member was an avowed atheist but with a concern for the life of the church! A question which this posed for me is when and where in our Baptist contexts are we creating such space for discussion, including a variety of voices, and attracting such a large turn out of interest?

On Thursday I participated in an oral communication class to discuss issues of persuasion concerning when and where persuasion becomes manipulation and coercion and as such does violence to others. This was a followed by a radio interview for a programme on radical change in the church where I was questioned on some of the statements I had made in the bible studies and discussions. One such issue was whether it was more important that the Church understands what others think about God or whether it is more important that he Church knows what it thinks about God. Of course both are important but if one is to be given priority I think it is what the church thinks about God. This is the ‘ground’ from which we can evaluate other belief and in turn our own. I also think that it is our own beliefs which if they are convictions which will most shape our own behaviour and response…anyway that is something of the flavour.

Engaging in Discussion

Engaging in Discussion

On Friday I preached at chapel on the theme: “I don’t want to be good” … as for the sermon…we you had to be there…then I had a meeting with some of the theology faculty talking about IBSC programmes.

We have also been kindly hosted throughout this last week by friends and faculty members at CMU – so thanks to all…

Canada

Monday, February 9th, 2015

I am presently in Canada to participate in a ministers conference organised by the Canadian Mennonite University. It seems to me that there is a strong resonance in the reading of Baptist via McClendon/Stassen or just plain old anabaptist roots with Mennonites, although I am leaning what a varied group that they like we actually are.

As part of my trip I attended the launch of this book which offers some fascinating insights and may well make a contribution to the thinking of those who wish to come at issues from an Anabaptist (dare we say baptistic) perspective and yet engage with wider society and its institutions. I have bought a copy but know that both Parush and the library will want one also.

toward an anabptist political theology

We have a number of students presently studying with us at IBTSC who come from a Canadian Mennonite background. At present they are all Mennonite Brethren rather than the Mennonite Church. CMU serves both groups.

As part of the trip I will have the opportunity to meet with the theology faculty at CMU and I hope that in the future collaboration at various levels between IBTSC and CMU on a broad shared common ground of ‘baptist’  will be possible.

I have also been struck by the way in which “donors” will support specific research into issues of church ministry and mission providing the finances for CMU staff to carry out the research. I hope that this is something that IBTSC as a research centre will be able to encourage in the future – specific financed projects of relevance to the mission and ministry of the church, supported by those who think that such issues are important, and carried out with the skills and personnel and academic credentials that IBTSC can bring to the task. Such a linking of the interests of the church in practice and IBTSC as a research centre into practice is something I am very keen to develop. In turn the emphasis on ethnographic research as a theological project is one that can provide a theological as well as a sociological approach for such research. This potential excites me as part of the IBTSC vision of providing research, researchers, and leaders who can serve the church in Europe and beyond.

Dreaming – perhaps rather than us simply having students come to us with their ideas church based individuals, organisations, unions, would finance projects of interest to them where we could then seek out and support individuals who have already shown some ability in an area (perhaps through a Masters) to carry out specific research that becomes their PhD  project.

I know that sometimes people think that when ‘academics’ go on such trips that they are spending all their time at the beach rather than working – and I confess that this weekend I was on the beach at a lake near Winnipeg…STA41723