Archive for November, 2014

IBTSC Amsterdam hosts Convictional Theologies Conference

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Immediately following our Hughey Lecture series delivered by Curtis Freeman IBTSC Amsterdam hosted a conference on ‘Convictional Theology’. This conference sought to critically reflect upon the work of Baptist theologian James Wm. McClendon who has been described as ‘the preeminent progressive Baptist theologian of his era’.

McClendon 1Following the intentional trajectory of his 3 Volume Theology (should it be called systematic?) the contributors presented and discussed issues of Ethics, Doctrine, and Witness.

During the three day Conference which took place in November we were pleased to welcome visitors and contributors numbering between 20 and 40 people per day. Those who attended came from throughout Europe and America.

The conference was started by Professor Nancey Murphy, the late McClendon’s wifeNancey Murphy talking about McClendon’s life and work and reading from Volume 1 and 2 of the recently published Collected Works of James Wm. McClendon.  We were of course delighted to receive from Nancey copies of these volumes for the IBTS Centre library contributing further to our material on what can be described as ‘convictional theology’.

 

 

 

Two of our MA students in the Baptistic Histories and Theologies programme attended the conference and were able to integrate their learning and experience into the unit on Baptistic Theological Perspectives which they studied at the centre the following week.

For some attending ‘convictional theology’ represented a different ‘tradition’ to their own, for some it was something to contest, for others an introduction, and for many an opportunity to revisit not only the value of this tradition but its future potential.

Papers from the conference will be published in the future in the Journal of European Baptist Studies. This Journal and its sister Journal can be ordered from IBTS Centre.

 

Curtis Freeman gives Hughey Lectures

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Curtis Freeman gives Hughey Lectures

Curtis Freeman

IBTSC Amsterdam hosted Hughey Lectures 2014 at the Protestant University oval room at Free University. The event brought together scholars from IBTSC, Free University, Dutch Baptist Seminary as well as international guests. The speaker this year was Dr Curtis Freeman from Duke University. The lectures focussed on an intriguing topic: how dissent may lose its vigour and become ’domesticated’ and how creativity and visionary dimension may help to give new dynamic to dissenting spirit. Hence the title of the series: „Undomesticated Dissent“.

 

Curtis Freeman, a renown Baptist theologian and author of a recent major volume titled Contesting Catholicity, used three historical persons to present his topic: John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe and William Blake. All three have memorials in Bunhill Fields cemetery. The cemetery, where many other dissenters have been buried, locates an identifiable tradition, which is more about ’the living faith of the dead’ than ’the dead faith of the living’. „But for that living faith to be kept alive, it must be remembered,“ said Freeman.

 

The aim of the lectures was well summarised by the speaker: „These lectures focus on three narratives of dissent: Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, and Blake’s Jerusalem.  … The structure accounts for a diversity of voices… By telling the story in this way it will become clear that the voices of dissent are always subject to the forces of domestication, … by becoming „hand-tamed“ to the powers that be. At times the radical spirit slumbers away in uncomfortable dreams while the nations rage or becomes gentled to the touch and taste of polite culture, only to rise again unexpectedly in all its undomesticated fervor. Perhaps by remembering these stories of those memorialized in stone, the slumbering saints may be awakened and the voices of undomesticated dissent may arise yet again.“

 

The Hughey Memorial Lectures was the idea of professor Wayne Pipkin, an influential historian and a leading figure in Anabaptist research at IBTS in Rüschlikon during the 1980s. However, it was only in the 1990s when the idea was taken forward. The lectures honour the work of John David Hughey (1914-1984) who served as the president of IBTS, Rüschlikon, in 1960-1964, and who taught practical theology and church history. Since 1994 the Hughey Lectures are taking place every second year, constituting an important event in the IBTSC academic life, and exploring topics related to Baptist life and witness. Hughey Lectures 2014 will be published as a separate volume in Baptistic Theologies, a publication of IBTSC Amsterdam.

 

Toivo Pilli