Archive for February, 2017

What is the ‘theological’ in theological education?

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

In 2018 IBTSC Amsterdam will again take the lead in arranging a meeting of the Consortium of European Baptist Theological Schools. The final dates and venue have yet to be confirmed but it is likely to happen at the end of June 2018.

The theme of this conference gathering will be ‘What is the “theological” in theological education?’ This will be an invitation to think theologically about the practice.

It could be argued that at times it appears that the only thing that makes theological education ‘theological’ is the content, an emphasis which may or may not be accompanied by a focus on education.

The main question invites the potential for a range of trajectories, some perhaps provocative and the following only offered as examples…

‘Is talk of formation a myth, if not, how do we know that it has taken place, how does it take place, where does it take place, and how do we measure it?’

‘Is ministerial “training” different from theological “education”?’

‘Does the theological school need to be free from the Church as well as the State in order to serve the Church?’

‘In-church training is all the rage, is it a false panacea?’

‘How does the theological school serve the Church?’

‘Should and how can the theological school be prophetic?’

‘What has bread and wine got to do with books and seminars in a day and age when much education is distance and part-time?’

There will be a call for papers at the end of the year.

 

 

 

I guess they knew I’m a Baptist

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

The below  is part of a reconstruction from dozens of confessions given to FBI agents as recorded by Will Willimon in this book.

“So I drove myself to American Cab, checked my sheets with Mr. Norris and Mr.O. C. Berry. I went outside and I seen two Yellow Cabs pull up. One driven by Rector, the others by Marvin Fleming. They had gone and got whiskey at Poinsett and were liquored up good. I guessed. They knew I’m a Baptist. I don’t need to get drunk to do right’.

The ‘right’ which he was going to do was to take an untried and convicted ‘negro prisoner’ from prison and kill him.

This albeit reconstruction demonstrates a mind set which clearly appeared to be internally consistent including with the Christian faith: a faith in which liquor is bad but killing a man is okay. In the laboratory of history, this sort of mindset has been exposed as racist, ignorant, and woefully distant from any expression of the Christian faith which places, as does the Christian Scriptures itself, the person of Jesus at the centre of God’s revelation in history.

Here and there on social media a claim is currently made along the lines – ‘you are calling this racist to shut down freedom of speech’.

No, to name something racist is to call it out for what it is – to discriminate against a person on the basis of their race. Racism: ‘Showing or feeling discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or believing that a particular race is superior to another’.

To be sure some people may choose to so discriminate and indeed posture some sort of moral high ground by asserting their right to do so.

They may indeed feel that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights when it states that ‘Laws must not treat people differently because of their race, sex or way of life’ is just ‘liberal’ and requires to be pushed aside by a ‘conservative’ ‘saying it like it is’.

None of the above, however, makes the content or manner of expression right.

Rather with Willimon Christians centred on Jesus Christ are invited to see ‘racism as an opportunity for Christian to honestly name sin and engage in acts of “detoxification, renovation, and reparation”‘.

A fuller review of this book will appear in a future edition of one of our Journals, but there feels an urgency about its message…like the urgency of a man beaten on a road and needing a Samaritan to come past…

Stuart Blythe