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.
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.
Kristina 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:
‘THE LONG TERM FORMATIVE IMPACT OF YWAM LATVIA DTS UPON THE MISSION ACTIVITIES OF THOSE WHO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM’.
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.
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. For 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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