Here is a personal reflection on the recent visit to IBTSC Amsterdam of Prof. Louise Kretzschmar.
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.
We are pleased to announce the recent publication of the latest copy of the Journal of European Baptist Studies.
As Keith Jones indicates in A Dictionary of European Life and Thought one purpose for this Journal was to encourage the work of young and new scholars. With varying degrees of experience behind them all contributors to this edition are PhD research students with IBTSC. If you would like to know more about this Journal please visit our website here.
Encouraging and facilitating the publication of their research students is one of the features of the IBTSC PhD research studies programme. If you wish to know more about our PhD studies research programme please look here.
Here is the editorial from this current Journal edition.
This edition of JEBS contains three different but equally interesting articles related to distinct facets of Baptist life and work. These are produced by three of our current IBTSC PhD research students and represent aspects of their study and areas of ministry and mission.
Alex Kammon To presents something of a historical account of ‘Baptists meeting the Education Needs of Hong Kong between 1842 and 1970’. As such he gives fresh information of a location, situation, and subject which has hitherto received limited treatment. This description, however, also highlights areas of tension related to the provision of education as an expression of mission. These areas include the extent to which the churches should cooperate with the State, the extent to which evangelism rather than education should be regarded as the primary activity, and differences in perspective on these issues between the Hong Kong Baptists and the Southern Baptist Mission Board and missionaries.
Christopher Schelin in his article discusses the practice of ‘congregational hermeneutics’ as an expression of Anabaptist and Baptist polity. While sketching the historical antecedents of this practice, its demise, and rediscovery, his particular concern is with ‘how’ such hermeneutics can be facilitated. Schelin argues that the ‘circle process’ is particularly suited to this task as it is an approach which can ‘inoculate against both hierarchicalism and clericalism, on the one hand, and individualist anarchism on the other’. In this discussion of the suitability of the circle method for congregational hermeneutics connections are made with the idea of a ‘covenant’, the ‘magisterium-hood of all believers’, and the intriguing potential role of one named a ‘librarian’.
Rupen Das in his articles addresses theological and missiological issues related to the present refugee crisis although pointing out that such displacement is not a new phenomenon. In particular he explores why God has a particular concern for such ‘poor’ people. He argues that displacement is a result of structural evil and sin and dehumanises the individuals and families who experience it. God’s response, accordingly, is one of compassion with the concern to redeem them. From this perspective he then offers a number of missiological perspectives not least in relation to Christian witness to and among particularly Muslim refugees. These perspectives include an emphasis upon the importance of local congregations demonstrating the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.
Rev Dr Stuart Blythe (Rector IBTSC Amsterdam)
Marion Carson is a free lance Scottish theologian who is an adjunct supervisor with IBTSC. She is also secretary of the European Baptist Federation’s Anti-Trafficking Network. In this recent book she ‘sets out to answer the question, ‘What does the Bible say about human trafficking?’ Aimed at Christian anti-trafficking activists and church groups, the book offers an overview of the biblical material on slavery and the sex trade. Acknowledging that there is a difference between the biblical worldview and that of most Christians today with regard to slavery, it suggests that we can learn much from the Abolitionists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Following their example, it reads the biblical text through the lens of the law of love. each chapter provides study questions and the book is illustrated throughout’. (From the back cover)
Gathered are some of the authors of Volume 7 No 2 of the IBTSC Journal Baptistic Theologies. This particular edition was produced to honour Dr Parush Parushev and his work as a theologian through his years of academic service to IBTS Prague and IBTSC Amsterdam. The theme of this Journal was ‘Discipleship: In the Thick of Things’. The title was deliberately chosen as a play on words to reflect the influence of two of Parush’s theological mentors: the late James Wm. McClendon and the late Glen Stassen. In turn Parush has done much to promote, disseminate, and develop the ideas of ‘baptistic’ and ‘convictional’ theology throughout Europe.
Information about obtaining this edition or subscribing to our Journals can be found here.
We are pleased to announce the publication of this book. Dr. Rupen Das is employed as a part-time member of the IBTSC Amsterdam Faculty. This has become possible through a secondment from Canadian Baptist Ministries. In this role Rupen who has relocated with his wife to Amsterdam will work primarily in the area of missiology in relation to our MA programme. This role also allows him to participate in teaching and research activities related to partnership activities with the European Baptist Federation. We are deeply grateful to CBM for this gift and look forward to developing our partnership with them.
‘Then the good news of Christmas, the core good news (not the tinsel and the lights, not even the shepherds and the angels, but the heart of the matter) is this: “So the Word became flesh.” Which as we have seen, is to say
We can know God , for God knows us.
We can reclaim humanity’s birthright.
We are assigned the role of a witness people, living the life that Jesus brought to all.
This is the Christ present; that is the good news to all.’
James Wm. McClendon Jr. ‘Christmas Present: A Christmas Sermon’ in Making Sense to a Troubled Church (Cleveland, Ohio: Pilgrim Press, 1995).
This moment of drama in the theatre of the ‘Aula’ at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam marks the successful completion by another IBTSC research student of their PhD studies. Here Rosa Hunt receives her certificate of the award of ‘Doctor’. Rosa’s thesis was entitled: ‘The Self-Enclosing God. John Chrysostom and Ephrem Syrus on divine self-limitation as a gift of love in Genesis 1-3′.
Rosa’s promotion became the stimulus for a day long Biblical Interpretation, Patristics, and Systematic Theology seminar co-sponsored by IBTSC and held at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. This seminar included a lecture by Professor Frances M. Young a leading scholar in the field of Patristics on the theme of: ‘Scripture in the Economy of Revelation’. This was followed by several scholars from a variety of traditions explaining the way in which their ‘tradition’ interprets the Scripture.
Rosa’s success like that of all IBTSC students should be put in context. Most if not all of our students are part time and pursue their studies while being involved in a wide range of mission, ministry, and educational roles. As well as wife and mother Rosa is the pastor of Salem Baptist Chapel in Wales a bilingual church which is a member of both the Undeb Bedyddwyr Cymru (Cymanfa Dwyrain Morgannwg) and the South Wales Baptist Association.
The staff and other students at IBTSC will miss Rosa’s presence at our annual January gatherings. We wish, however, to congratulate her and her promotor’s and co-promotors: Prof. Dr. I. Noble, Dr. L. Kucová and Prof. Dr. W.T. van Peursen.