Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Freedom and Person: Research Colloquium 2015

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

STA41705Over the past few days at the research colloquium in Amsterdam students have been presenting an update on their studies. Some are at the beginning of their studies seeking a focus and methodology to carry their work forward. Others are facing the challenges of writing and rewriting. All students are part time and doing their work while sustaining ministries in churches and colleges. The geographic range of students is wide. As part of the colloquium we also have various seminars for students and staff. Here Dr Tim Noble is presenting a piece of recent research on ‘Freedom’ drawing some theological links between Russian Orthodox Theology and Liberation Theology. The paper as ever was followed by questions, discussion, and a bit of debate. As the pictures will show Dr Andrew Kirk and Dr Jim Purves were ready to engage engage after thoughtful consideration!



Bursary Scheme

Friday, September 5th, 2014

175 At the IBTS Centre we are aiming to provide affordable and accessible post-graduate education in an international Baptist context.  We see such theological education as not simply informative but trans-formative. While some costs are higher for students in Amsterdam other costs of study are less expensive.

Be this as it may, the national and personal situations of students may mean that such education is simply unaffordable. We at present have two students for whom this is the case. They are already involved in significant ministries in their countries. They are supported by friends, family, and home churches for travel and accommodation but cannot pay for fees. The IBTS Centre can try and absorb some of these costs but our capacity to do this and make the programmes of study sustainable is very limited.

One way in which individuals, institutions and churches can help is by donating towards bursaries to help cover the fees of such students.

You can either make a one off, or a regular donation marked as:

an ‘unspecified bursary’ for allocation by IBTS Centre to most pressing present situations

a ‘specified bursary’ towards a particular individual

It may be as a Church or an individual you would like to support a particular student through a course of study and to receive information and be put in contact with such a student. This can be a rewarding experience for both creating lasting contacts and friendships. If you would like to know about the students who we have at present seeking bursaries please be in touch with me directly.

All donations marked as bursaries will only be used for paying the fees of students who cannot afford it and sums will be acknowledged. If we receive bursary donations beyond present needs we would gather those monies to make them available for future bursary use.

The IBTS Centre Amsterdam also still welcomes general donations towards our work in order to enable us to offer affordable and accessible post-graduate education to all in an international context. These can be marked simply as ‘donations’.

All donations can be made directly to our bank account:

Bank Account: IBTSC, (IBAN) NL34 RABO 0181 6602 02 (Swift: RABO NL2U)

Stuart Blythe.

IBTSC Amsterdam: Hughey Lectures and Convictional Theologies Conference

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

From November 3rd till November 6th 2014 the IBTS Centre Amsterdam will be hosting the Hughey Lectures and then a conference in Convictional Theology.

The Hughey Lectures will be delivered by Dr Curtis Freeman, Director and Research Professor at the Baptist House, Duke University. The title of the lectures is Undomesticated Dissent.

Curtis Freeman

Lecture 1: The Dissenting Conscience

Lecture 2: The Dissenting Church

Lecture 3: The Dissenting Christ

Prof Dr Freeman will examine these themes by looking at the Canon of Dissent in English Protestantism. Specifically, he will look at the way this canon has been memorialized in Bunhill Fields, the Dissenter burial grounds in London. By looking at the three memorials to three great voices of dissent in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, John Bunyan, Daniel Defoe, and William Blake, he will explore how they give voice to these major themes of Dissenters.

These lectures will be delivered at the Free University (VU) on the 3rd of November 2014.

The Hughey Lectures will be followed by the Conference on Convictional Theologies which will celebrate 90 years of James Wm McClendon’s life witness and theological thought.

It will engage in different streams of convictional theologising of Baptists, Mennonites, and other adherents of the Radical Reformation. Guided by the titles of McClendon’s three-volume Systematic Theology, the conference will be organised along the themes of Ethics, Doctrine, and Witness.

This conference will be held in Baptist House, Postjeweg 175 a short metro journey (and slightly longer cycle!) from the VU University. Both locations are easily accessible by public transport from the airport and Central Amsterdam.175

The lectures and conference are free although participants have to arrange own travel, food, and accommodation. Help on accommodation can be gained from contacting IBTS Centre with a block booking option at the nearby Student Hotel if you contact before the 1st September.

The option of presenting a paper at the conference with the possibility of later publication in an IBTS Journal remains open but please contact Parush Parushev before the 1 September at the latest

During this time participants will also get the opportunity to investigate the post-graduate study option at Masters and PhD level which are available at IBTSC Amsterdam.

Rector Update

Sunday, July 13th, 2014


On the 1st June 2014 I took over as the Rector of IBTS as it transitions to IBTS Centre Amsterdam. I come to this post after being a Scottish Baptist minister in two Churches over a fifteen year period and teaching at the Scottish Baptist College for the last nine.

DSC_0552 - Version 2 (1)

Since June I have managed to be in Prague for some important endings: the last graduation service, the last exam Board, the last shared prayers in the Chapel. I was grateful to be given the opportunity to offer the graduation address. Then as now I would suggest that worship, mission, and discipleship do not belong in one world whereas study, research, and academic rigour belongs in the other. Rather for those of us who study and those who teach in theological education our study, research, and academic rigour is an expression of,  and in service of,  worship, discipleship, and mission. In mentioning this service I express my thanks to all previous and existing staff and supporters of IBTS for that which has been built to this point and especially those for whom the present changes are especially hard.

I have also managed to be in Amsterdam for some beginnings such as the establishment of the library. I am pleased to say that I personally shelved some of them so when you visit and cannot find the book you want…it may be that I am to blame.


In turn in recent weeks I have had the opportunity to be at the CEBTS conference in Warsaw and the BWA annual gathering which took place this year in Ismir, Turkey. These have been opportunities to meet people, renew links, establish contacts. Some call this networking but I am a bit resistant to that idea. In networking a goal can be simply to serve ones own interests Rather I hope that in Christian community we form authentic partnership which are mutually beneficial, and established with common respect and purpose. This at least been my hope and experience of these two events. I have also been amazed at how many people in the EBF and indeed the BWA context claim IBTS as their educational home.

I am presently back in Amsterdam to participate in the beginning of our common life in Baptist House located for the coming years in 175 Postjeweg. Here I want to thank our Dutch partners for the help, support, encouragement, and welcome which they have given.

Although I am not yet fully relocated to Amsterdam which I hope to be by the 1st August one of the first things I did upon my arrival in June was buy a bike. To those who know me this was a bit of surprise! It has been a great decision, however, allowing me not only exercise but to learn my way about.Today I wanted to find out how long it would be to cycle between Baptist House in Postjeweg and the VU (the Free University) our collaborative partner for the awarding of PhD degrees. It is not too long a trip although a few wrong turns on this expeditionary journey meant that it took me a bit longer than would be expected normally!

It was a beautiful day. It made me aware as I cycled that while our new premises may not have the grandeur and glamour of either Rueschlikon or Prague that it is literally one minutes walk from the beautiful Rembrantpark. So for those who need the beauty to help with their theology we can still provide such.

Rembrantpark                                                               Rebrant spring

At the various conferences I have attended people have asked about my ‘vision’ for the future. To be sure I have ideas. I am both interested in learning and teaching and have a commitment to providing a good student experience. This said I think that a vision is reality filled with Christian hope and at the moment I simply learning the way things are in our new Amsterdam reality. Be this as it may I see the IBTS Centre Amsterdam at the very least continuing to aspire to bring a high quality Baptist theological education in an international context with an understanding of the gospel centred in Jesus Christ which emphasises the place of social care and justice as well as necessity for personal transformation. In this as ever I have the hope that we can make this education as affordable and accessible to as many people as possible.

In the middle of all that is happening in so many places in Europe I have at times been humbled and embarrassed when people have offered to pray for me and the future of IBTS. On the other hand the truth is that we need your prayer so we covet them and are grateful for them.

New Year, New Day, New Opportunities

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Happy New Year to all our blog readers!

Skander, our MTh graduate from Sweden, used to repeat this pretty much each morning: “new day, new opportunities”. I thought about him this morning when Norbert (who had studied together with Skander) led us in our morning prayers reflecting on what may be awaiting us all this year. May we all look to the coming days of 2014 with trust in God’s goodness and love, and with peace and excitement for the opportunities and challenges that may be awaiting us.

Here’s one opportunity you may be interested in:

We are looking for a volunteer (or two) to help us out for a few months (starting with the end of January-beginning of February). The work will involve different kinds of tasks, but will certainly require a good deal of manual work. Given how long getting a visa takes, it would probably have to be someone who doesn’t require one… So, if you would like to volunteer (yourself or perhaps someone else:)) – give us a shout!

Praying God’s blessings upon you all,

– Lina

In the land of Kafka

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

It’s some time since I last blogged on the theme of Czech bureaucracy, but yesterday I had another experience of the approach to life which comes out of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, re-interpreted by communism and now overlaid with a pedantic approach to doing things officially, for which the EU is blamed and all seen through the eyes of Franz Kafka.

The Czech postal services advised me I had four parcels safely in their care at their big Post Ofice near Smichov, in Prague. So, with Katka, my PA, I ventured out to recover this present from the USA courtesy of various postal authorities.

The big concrete and blue clad building (Czech Postal service has a blue colour scheme with a yellow posthorn) could only be entered by a covered ramp, designed as if to resist riots by the populace, anxious to get hold of their post. In the entrance hall it was not at all clear where to go. However, behind a smoked glass door there was an information booth with a stern-faced lady in uniform. Her enquiry window was firmly shut. Katka knocked at her door and she deigned to open it a little. After some questioning we were directed to the lifts (elevators) and told to go to the third floor. We eventually managed to summon a lift and went to the third floor. (more…)

Prague’s Golden Lane

Monday, June 6th, 2011

If you are currently in Prague, then you can visit it immediately, and for others, this is an activity for your next time in Prague/IBTS! Prague’s Golden Lane inside the Prague Castle has reopened after a major reconstruction. But whether you’re in Prague or not, you can enjoya really cool virtual tour with a 360-degree panorama of the Golden Lane here. Enjoy!

– Lina

What can we change?

Friday, October 29th, 2010

This week, we’ve started our Environment month – and being a month, it will run for four weeks, but this first week has been especially focused on environment for our CAT students as their lectures were all on creation care. We were glad to have Dr John Weaver of South Wales Baptist College with us for these lectures, and today the CATs shared some of their own reactions (very positive and enthusiastic – even more so than some other years) to what they’ve been exploring throughout the week.

Some of those reactions are ‘postable’ in terms of format, so we thought you may enjoy them too. Here comes the first one – a presentation prepared by Diana, our Lithuanian CAT. Click on Litle Change .