Further PhD success in Amsterdam and Ukraine

November 6th, 2018

On Monday 5th November Grant Porter successfully defended his PhD thesis on Church Planting Practices among Muslim and Druze Communities in the Near East. Grant is the fourth IBTS Centre researcher to graduate in 2018 bringing the total of successful candidates to eleven since our relationship with the Vrije Universiteit was established and we relocated to the Netherlands in 2014.  Grant is pictured below with family members following his defense.

In September two other researchers from IBTS Centre, Alex To (Canada) and Henrikas Zukauskas (Lithuania) also successfully defended their PhD theses.  Alex’s dissertation charted the life and influence of Lam Chi-fung’s in shaping Hong Kong Baptist Life between 1950 and 1970.  Henrikas presented a thesis exploring the role of the Holy Spirit in the God-World relationship in the theology of Yves Congar. Both were well received and commended for the thoroughness of their research.

In a different context altogether we heard of the success of  Sergiy Sannikov in defending his post-doctoral habilitation thesis on the subject of “The Phenomenon of Water Baptism in the context of contemporary Baptist Sacramentology“.  Sergiy’s success marks only the second post-doctoral habilitation dissertation in Theology the history of Ukraine. This is another important milestone in the development and recognition of the significance of theological studies in Ukraine.

Our congratulations to all four, not just for their personal success but also for their contribution to the scope of theological investigation and learning.

Grant Porter with family members.

Henrikas and family.

Alex To with Professor Wim Janse

Sergiy Sannikov defending his thesis

Change of arrangements for Nordenhaug Lecture.

September 21st, 2018

Please note change of arrangements for Nordenhaug Lecture.

We are delighted that Dr Reggie Williams will deliver the Nordenhaug lectures on 19th November at the Baptist House, Amsterdam.

Dr Williams will deliver a lecture on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, exploring Bonhoeffer’s development from a proto-nationalist to Nazi opponent. Dr Williams lecture will speak to Christian leadership and responses in the context of resurgent European nationalisms. There is no charge for attendance at the lectures which will run from 10:30-11:30 with discussion from 11:30-12:00 (Amsterdam time).

From 13:30 on the same day Dr Willams will be the keynote speaker for the McClendon Lecture and will be joined by Professors Nancey Murhpy and Henk Bakker as respondents. In this lecture he will take the theme Reading Lives as Sacred Text: The Incarnational Ethics of Martin Luther King Jr., Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Harriet Tubman.

Dr Williams lectures in Christian Ethics at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. His research is mainly focused on the interpretation of Jesus, race, politics and the black church. He is also the author of Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance, which was selected as a Choice Outstanding Title in 2015.

To register, please email mcmillan@ibts.eu or call Marianne van Zwieten on +31 (0) 2021 030 25.

The Nordenhaug Memorial lectures” were established in memory of Dr. Josef Nordenhaug, one time President of the Baptist Theological Seminary, Rüschlikon (1950-1960) and a former Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance (1960-1969).

The first lecture was given in 1974 and the aim of the lectureship is to provide lectures given by specialists in their fields that are designed to engage with contemporary ethical and theological issues to assist pastors, teachers and scholars in their work of Christian ministry.

September 14th, 2018

We are delighted that Dr Reggie Williams will deliver the Nordenhaug lectures on 20th November at the Baptist House, Amsterdam.

Dr Williams will deliver two lectures on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, exploring Bonhoeffer’s development from a proto-nationalist to Nazi opponent.

The first lecture will provide an overview of Bonhoeffer’s theological anthropology in contrast to Nazi idealism.  The second lecture will focus on the development of Bonhoeffer’s thinking during his stay in in Harlem, 1930-31.

This series of lectures will speak to Christian leadership and responses in the context of resurgent European nationalisms. There is no charge for attendance at the lectures which will run from 10:00-10:45 and 11:30-12:15 (Amsterdam time) on Tuesday 20th November.

Dr Williams lectures in Christian Ethics at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. His research is mainly focused on the interpretation of Jesus, race, politics and the black church. He is also the author of Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance, which was selected as a Choice Outstanding Title in 2015.

To register, please email mcmillan@ibts.eu or call Marianne van Zwieten on +31 (0) 2021 030 25.

The Nordenhaug Memorial lectures” were established in memory of Dr. Josef Nordenhaug, one time President of the Baptist Theological Seminary, Rüschlikon (1950-1960) and a former Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance (1960-1969).

The first lecture was given in 1974 and the aim of the lectureship is to provide lectures given by specialists in their fields that are designed to engage with contemporary ethical and theological issues to assist pastors, teachers and scholars in their work of Christian ministry.

The Nordenhaug Lecturers since 2000 have been given by:

David Gushee (USA)

Cathy Ross (UK)

Glen H Stassen (USA)

Paul S Fiddes (UK)

Molly T Marshall (USA)

Michael Hugh Taylor (UK)

Nancey C Murphy (USA)

Miroslav Volf (Croatia and USA)

Recent lectures have been published in our Journal ‘Baptistic Theologies’.  The full list of contributors is on the website at http://www.ibts.eu/research/nordenhaug-lecture/

 

Nordenhaug Lectures November 2018

September 6th, 2018

Please note change of arrangements for Nordenhaug Lecture.

We are delighted that Dr Reggie Williams will deliver the Nordenhaug lectures on 19th November at the Baptist House, Amsterdam.

Dr Williams will deliver a lecture on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, exploring Bonhoeffer’s development from a proto-nationalist to Nazi opponent. Dr Williams lecture will speak to Christian leadership and responses in the context of resurgent European nationalisms. There is no charge for attendance at the lectures which will run from 10:30-11:30 with discussion from 11:30-12:00 (Amsterdam time).

From 13:30 on the same day Dr Willams will be the keynote speaker for the McClendon Lecture and will be joined by Professors Nancey Murhpy and Henk Bakker as respondents. In this lecture he will take the theme Reading Lives as Sacred Text: The Incarnational Ethics of Martin Luther King Jr., Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Harriet Tubman.

Dr Williams lectures in Christian Ethics at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. His research is mainly focused on the interpretation of Jesus, race, politics and the black church. He is also the author of Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance, which was selected as a Choice Outstanding Title in 2015.

To register, please email mcmillan@ibts.eu or call Marianne van Zwieten on +31 (0) 2021 030 25.

The Nordenhaug Memorial lectures” were established in memory of Dr. Josef Nordenhaug, one time President of the Baptist Theological Seminary, Rüschlikon (1950-1960) and a former Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance (1960-1969).

The first lecture was given in 1974 and the aim of the lectureship is to provide lectures given by specialists in their fields that are designed to engage with contemporary ethical and theological issues to assist pastors, teachers and scholars in their work of Christian ministry.

The Nordenhaug Lecturers since 2000 have been given by:

David Gushee (USA)

Cathy Ross (UK)

Glen H Stassen (USA)

Paul S Fiddes (UK)

Molly T Marshall (USA)

Michael Hugh Taylor (UK)

Nancey C Murphy (USA)

Miroslav Volf (Croatia and USA)

Recent lectures have been published in our Journal ‘Baptistic Theologies’.  The full list of contributors is on the website at http://www.ibts.eu/research/nordenhaug-lecture/

 

He’s Here!

August 23rd, 2018

We are pleased to announce that the new IBTSC Director Dr Mike Pears took up his post at the beginning of August. Mike and his wife Helen arrived in Amsterdam at the end of July. They are settling well into their temporary home at the Baptist House and getting acquainted with life and work here in the Netherlands. Staff have already been meeting to make plans for the year ahead, as well as to discuss strategy for the longer-term future. Mike’s conviction is that IBTSC is strategically situated, both culturally and geographically, to encourage research and learning of baptistic theology and spirituality across Europe, the Middle East and further afield. We all look forward to exciting days ahead.

Minecrafters, mapmakers and educated people: European Baptist teachers discuss trends in theological education in Europe

July 11th, 2018

“What should theological education be like? How does theological education for the 21st century work successfully?” Under these questions, 20 teachers from 11 different European countries and 13 different baptist schools met from 27th to 30th June in the Donauhof of the project church in Vienna. The Consortium of European Baptist Theological Schools (CEBTS) invited participants to give keynote addresses and discuss trends and perspectives in theological education.

Daniel Drost told how the Dutch Baptist Seminary (Netherlands) considered what a 2025 graduate should be able to do. They identified three basic tasks: prayer, explaining the Scriptures and giving spiritual direction. Therefore, the Dutch see the core tasks as: Following, Understanding and Leading. Einike Pilli of the Tartu Theological Seminary (Estonia) tried in a similar way to answer the question from the end: “What are the two or three most important things a school wants to see in its students at the end?” Working from the answers to this question, it is necessary to ask what methods of learning lead there. Since many goals relate to the personality of the graduate, the personal commitment of the teacher and the provision of feedback and mentoring to students become more and more important. In addition to the subject curriculum, the teacher him/herself is very important as a ‘curriculum’, namely what atmosphere of learning is made possible and which role model he/she gives.

Simon Jones of Spurgeon’s College (England) has years of experience in exit interviews with graduates and sees future pastors as ‘mapmakers’: “We do not give the students a map, they are put in the position to do it themselves, to create a map and navigate”. He also sees the pastors of the future as ‘entrepreneurs’, who take responsibility and take high risks. There was much debate among those present as to whether pastors should be bi-vocational in the future, that is, consider their vocation to pursue a secular profession alongside a pastoral profession, as many churches cannot offer full-time jobs and also added value could be seen in life experience.

Anthony Cross of the International Baptist Theological Study Centre (Amsterdam) took us on a journey through history, showing how necessary deep theological understanding is for sustainable pastoral ministry and how it has been fought over and won over against reservations about education. Cross says, “Parents sometimes give children not just what they want, but what they need, and as shepherds, we need to give communities not just what they want, but what they need.” He emphatically recommends to preach “not against Theology” from the pulpit “but always to refer to Jesus as a teacher who has not allowed shortcuts in thinking, but has gone into the depths”.

Marion Carson (Scotland) addressed the importance of responsible and empathic preaching, in the context of her personal life experiences. She proposed to increase the developmental stages of the faith (according to Fowler or others) in theological education. Jan Martijn Abrahamse (Netherlands) made a plea for more humour in theology, because the Bible itself is full of clowning and – like Jesus – vulnerable. Abrahamse says: “Theology has arrived at the university in the right place when it is laughed at.”

From Romania, Sorin Badragan reported that many students are able to participate in online studies and thus serve in the local community and study on the side. Henrik Holmgaard from Denmark described the new generation of students as ‘minecrafters’, who like to build something like the computer game of the same name and need resources and tools to do so. In his opinion, new pastors need good pastors to follow as mentors, just as Paul was mentor to Timothy. 

Against the backdrop of a large-scale study, Being Christian in Western Europe (the Pew Research Center), published in May 2018, theologians have discussed megatrends in all countries. In all the countries of Western Europe, except Italy, Christians who understand themselves as Christians but do not attend church (71%) are in the majority, compared to those who visit a church at least once a month (22%). One key finding of the survey was particularly discussed: that the majority of regular churchgoers are more strongly opposed to immigrants, Muslims and Jews and also more nationalistic than the rest of the population. In addition, attitudes to ethical issues such as legal abortion or homosexuality differ significantly between the majority society and the church-related minority. Michael Rohde (Germany) asked: “How can we prepare and empower students and communities to discuss these and future ‘hot potatoes ‘?”

Theological education is facing great challenges. The attendees are jointly convinced that theological depth in all disciplines is necessary and the learning of the biblical languages remains important. At the same time the demands on a pastor are diverse and therefore the learning methods must be more holistic.

Those present were impressed by the development of the Vienna project church, as it works with many young people – on the one hand theologically profound and at the same time initiating social and missionary projects that serve refugees and other people in Vienna.

Report by: Michael Rohde (member of the Comission of Theology and Education of the European Baptist Federation, Germany)

IBTSC Conference: Evangelicals and Oppression

May 30th, 2018

 From 18 to 20 April 2018 IBTSC Amsterdam hosted a conference on the topic of ’Evangelicals and Oppression: Eastern European Perspectives’. During the three days 13 papers were delivered, ranging from life stories of Siberian Baptist women under Stalinist pressures to the practice of religious freedom in the pre-World War 1 era in the Russian Empire. The papers were delivered by Ian Randall, Miriam Dobson, Constantine Prokhorov, Galina Prokhorova, Lydie Kucova, Koos-jan de Jager, Johannes Dyck and others. Professor Walter Sawatsky, Dr. Ian Randall and Dr. Constantine Prokhorov signed copies of their publications at the conference.

The keynote speaker, Professor Emeritus Walter Sawatsky, opened the conference with a wide-ranging overview of Eastern European Evangelicals, emphasising that suffering was a trait of identity for these believers. Today, there is an important lesson in Eastern European Evangelicals’ story, which leads to the way of life which calls for standing against what Sawatsky defined as “redemptive violence thinking“. The papers were followed with lively discussions. And last not least – during coffee breaks the participants were able to enjoy warm spring weather and engage in conversations. A selection of the conference papers will be published in IBTSC Amsterdam publications – Baptistic Theologies and Journal of European Baptist Studies.

Pictured above are Professor Walter Sawatsky, Dr. Ian Randall and Dr. Constantine Prokhorov who signed copies of their publications at the conference.

New Director for IBTS Centre Appointed

April 30th, 2018

 The Board of IBTS Centre are pleased to announce the appointment of Revd Dr Mike Pears as Director of IBTS Centre as of 1st August 2018.

Dr Mike Pears began his doctoral studies in Prague in 2011 and completed his doctorate in Amsterdam, being one of the first IBTS Centre students to graduate at the VU. His ongoing research interests include: the theology of place, especially as that relates to issues of power and inequality; the use of ethnography in relation to theology and mission; urban theology. Along with Prof. Paul Cloke (Exeter University), he is co-editing and authoring a series of six books entitled Mission in Marginal Places currently published by Paternoster.

In terms of both conviction and identity Mike is strongly baptistic. The core aspects of his faith have been shaped and enriched through a broad variety of ministry and mission contexts including significant involvements in inner-city London, Vancouver, Frankfurt, Sofia, and Bristol. This breadth of experience has deepened his appreciation of the way that Baptist identity is expressed and grounded in diverse contexts and how baptistic convictions are embodied in various cultures.

Mike’s view is that ‘IBTSC is strategically situated, both culturally and geographically, to encourage research and learning of baptistic theology and spirituality across Europe, the Middle East and further afield. At the same time its primary areas of research – identity, mission and practical theology – present a particular resonance with key contemporary themes both within the theology and mission of the church as well as in wider society.’

Chair of IBTS Centre Board Revd Dr John Weaver stated that ‘this appointment comes with the unanimous approval of the Board and with their enthusiastic appreciation of the gifts that Mike will bring to the post.’