Archive for May, 2017

Congratulations to IBTSC Alumnus

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

 

We are please to copy and carry this announcement from American Baptist Churches USA and to Congratulate a recent alumni of IBTSC Amsterdam.

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 5/9/17)—On Monday, May 8, the Board of General Ministries met at Springhill Suites in Chicago to elect Reverend Dr. Lee B. Spitzer to the position of General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA. Dr. Spitzer’s name was brought forward to the Board of General Ministries by the General Secretary Search Committee. Over the past several months the Search Committee had interviewed numerous candidates. After much prayer, discernment, and deep discussion, the committee identified Dr. Spitzer as the candidate best suited to lead American Baptists forward.

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.

America First

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

  ‘…our fundamental values …are not our policies’ – so said Rex Tillerson the US Secretary of State in his recent address to State Department employees.

At the heart of a speech that ranged over a wide range of contemporary world issues was the question of how to translate “America First” into foreign policy. Tillerson understands “America First” as a call to secure America’s national security and economic interests. He was at pains to stress that the American values around freedom, human dignity and the way people are treated never change but policy, in the pursuit of “America First”, may.

I think someone needs to point out to Mr Tillerson that this dualism doesn’t work. Values are evidenced by what we do, not what we say. What happens in practice betrays our values and convictions irrespective of whatever creeds, constitutions or value statements we print on paper. It’s not for nothing that theologian James McClendon argued that ‘…virtues have their home in connection with particular practices whose pursuit evokes exactly those virtues’ or, as Jesus put it so succinctly in the Sermon on the Mount, ‘by their fruit you will know them’.

Furthermore, “America First” is a value statement that of necessity puts the freedom and human dignity of non-Americans if not second, certainly of secondary consideration. Tillerson said that one of the most difficult things he’s thought about is how to advance all of these things – “America First” and the values of freedom and human dignity – simultaneously.  I’m not surprised.

It may be that the residual memory of the values of freedom and human dignity may ameliorate some of the ambitions of the present administration and the policies that emerge under “America First”. It may be that the realities of global interdependence and need for cooperation – which Tillerson acknowledges – act as a restraint on what might otherwise be a thoroughly myopic strategy, but make no mistake about it, “America First” is the new determinant value.

Every government has a responsibility to seek the welfare, wellbeing and safety of its people, including the American government. The level of abuse and exploitation of people by corrupt governments around the world signals the need for voices to call out evil and deploy resources to defend the weak.  But, it’s a short step from “America First” to “to hell with the rest”. When the irreconcilable nature of these competing values becomes clear, let’s pray that freedom and human dignity win out.

Contributed by David McMillan