Thanks to Richard and Jo-Anne

December 16th, 2015

Pieter, Richard, and Jo-Ann

Over the years IBTS in its various incarnations has benefited from the support of volunteers who in a variety of ways have contributed significantly to the institution and its students in many different ways. This year we were pleased to welcome the contribution of Richard and Jo-Ann Matiachuk from Canada. After a visit earlier in the year we were delighted when at their own expense they came back for two weeks in October/November. During this period they brought their expertise in specific areas such as the library and in editing material for a future Journal. In both areas work began that will have longer importance. In addition, however, they were quite simply willing and ready to help out as we hosted the Nordenhaug lectures and then held our conference. Their presence and personalities enriched our common lives.

Richard (here pictured with Jo-Ann and our librarian Pieter) writes:

‘As for why we came to help … well we have been aware of IBTSC (and its earlier iterations) for nearly 40 years. We had heard the “school” had moved and brought the library with it (a major undertaking) and we knew there was a new librarian on site. I was working in a theological library, have been actively involved in mentoring librarians, have participated in leadership on a library association board and, have been committed to “giving back” to the profession.

We have always wanted to be involved in Christian ministry outside Canada. Jo-Ann and I are now at a time and place in our lives and careers where we can help outside our local context. And so we wanted to use our time, gifts, training (and some of our financial resources) to ‘give back’ to (invest in) a Christian work.

With our knowledge about IBTSC, our availability and your willingness to have us come help it seemed like a door had opened to be able to serve God’s greater kingdom work outside our local community.’

Our thanks to them and all the volunteers over the years past and present who enable the work of theological thinking from a specifically baptistic and international perspective to happen.

Seminar on Biblical Interpretation

November 18th, 2015

file-page1We at IBTSC are happy to be supporting this seminar as part of the promotion events of one of our students.

First Manchester MA Graduate

October 26th, 2015

Kristina GraduationKristina Ece became the first student to graduate in our MA programme ‘Baptistic Histories and Theologies’ which we deliver as an approved partner of the University of Manchester. Her dissertation was:


As a consequence it was quite fitting that we arranged for her graduation to take place among family and friends at the YWAM base in Valdemarpils, Latvia.

The evening began with worship and prayer at the usual Sunday night open meeting at the centre and then involved some explanation by me of what was going on in relation to the drama, theatre, and ceremony of it. This included publicly getting ready to conduct the more formal part of graduation.Getting ready for graduation


Congratulations to Kristina and to all the staff at IBTS Prague and IBTSC Amsterdam who taught, supervised, and supported her. IMG_0968

Nordenhaug at Herdenkingskerk

October 21st, 2015




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.


October 9th, 2015

Attached are the full details of the forthcoming Nordenhaug lectures. Please note times and change of venue.


Monday 2nd November 2015


Herdenkingskerk op de Postjesweg 150 (hoek Jan Tooropstraat), 1061 AX Amsterdam.

(A one minute walk from Postjesweg Metro Station)


10.00 am ‘Sacredness and Christian Scripture’

11.30 am ‘Sacredness and Christian tradition’

2.00pm ‘Sacredness and contemporary application’

(Attendance is free and each lecture will be followed by an opportunity for questions and discussion)

If you plan to attend while not necessary it would be helpful if you have not already done so to contact in order to help with providing tea/coffee.

IBTSC is is a collaborative centre within the Faculty of Theology of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam & an approved partner of the University of Manchester

PhD Success

September 3rd, 2015

TimaWe are glad to announce that on Friday 28th August an Examining Board consisting of Dr Stuart Blythe – chair, Dr Maurice Dowling – external examiner and Dr Lina Toth (Andronoviene) as the internal examiner conducted viva voce examination of the doctoral work submitted by IBTS student Timofey Cheprasov for the award of UW PhD degree. The title of his work was: ‘Formative, Informative, Neither? Towards the understanding of the practice of proclamation, the core element of Russian Baptist Worship’. It was a successful examination. Congratulations to him, to Dr Keith Jones and Dr David Brown – the supervisors of the work for the positive outcome of years of hard research work.


We are also pleased to announceMike Pears Promotion that on Wednesday 2nd September that IBTSC student Mike PearsMike Promotion successfully publicly defended his PhD work entitled: ‘Towards a Theological Engagement with an Area of Multiple Deprivation: The Case of the Cornwall Estate’ in order to obtain the award of ‘Doctor’ from the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. Congratulations to Mike and his supervisors/promotors Prof. Dr. H.A. Baker, Dr J.A. Kirk, and Dr T.F.T. Noble.

In offering his praise to Mike, Mikes IBTSC promotor, renown missiologist Dr Andrew Kirk, praised both IBTSC and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam for seeking to maintain an emphasis on missiology as a distinct academic subject.


Call for Conference Papers

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,

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

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.