Archive for November, 2010

Advent surprise

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Ben and Denise have been sent this video – enjoy!.. A blessed Advent time to all.

Thank God for David Syme Russell CBE, DD DLitt

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

DSR belonged to that generation of young men who entered University to be formed for ministry and time and finance was on their side. His academic achievements are manifold MA BD Glasgow, MA MLitt Oxford,  Honorary DDs Glasgow and McMaster, DLitt Glasgow. He was an accomplished scholar and writer on Jewish apocalyptic. Well into retirement he came to IBTS in Prague in 2000 to help us celebrate 50 years of our European Seminary he cared about and supported and one special lecture was by that famous Johanine scholar, Gerry Borchert. Gerry dared to lecture on John the Divine’s Revelation with DSR sat in the front row. The normally sedate after lecture questions and answers turned into an amazing dialogue between two of our age’s leading Biblical scholars. DSR at 83 was bright and sparkling and up-to-date and gave Gerry a very good critique.

DSR was a great theological educator. He was the power house in bringing together Rawdon and Manchester Baptist Colleges in what we now know as the Northern Baptist Learning community, a great partner of IBTS.

DSR was a great Baptist statesman serving here as Co-Principal with an ailing Ken Dykes may not have been simple, but he did it, before being asked to serve in succession to E A Payne as BUGB General Secretary. A post he filled with aplomb. However, it was beyond BUGB where he is perhaps most warmly remembered. As President of the EBF, getting permission to visit countries and see Baptist leaders who had little contact with the world family. The Angelov family in Bulgaria. The Baptist leaders in Moscow. Working with Jimmy Carter for the release of Georgi Vins, the leader of the unregistered churches, whilst at the same time maintaining the confidence of the leadership of the All Union Council. Perhaps, in the opinion of this blogger, his greatest achievement was founding Eurolit with our IBTS colleague, Alec Gilmore and getting books and reading material to the pastors in the communist east. This is an abiding legacy of DSR –I have been in countless homes in the Ukraine, Russia, the Baltic States where pastors give pride of place to the William Barclay commentaries which DSR raised the funds for and oversaw the translation of. As our colleague Dr Toivo Pilli comments,

“My first New Testament commentary that I used in my ministry was William Barclay’s commentary in Russian, a set of volumes with orange covers. This was a very helpful tool for a young pastor of 25 who had no systematic theological education, as in Soviet system it was not possible to have systematic ministerial preparation. I used the volumes for many years as one of the main tools in my sermon preparation. Only later I learned that David Russell was one of the initiators and organisers behind this project. I am grateful for his vision. And today, when David has passed away, I am also thankful for the opportunity to meet him a year ago in Bristol, and briefly greet him in person.”

For many of us who knew him, his impish sense of humour was much valued. Several times in the 80’s, David and Marion came to our home in Rawdon and we entertained them. Sunday dinner was always a great laugh – his stories were endless. He could reduce the British Baptist Union Council to fits of laughter – with remarks, often self-deprecating, but highly amusing, to get himself out of some scrape when as General Secretary he was in the hot seat.

His 94th birthday would have been on 21 November. We thank God for every good memory of him.

– Keith

Chasing History in Moravia

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Another post from Josh and Alison:

Mikulov Castle

Last Thursday, Alison and I took our first out-of-Prague excursion with fellow students as part of an educational retreat. The mission was to trace Anabaptist roots throughout the south of Moravia into the northwest of Slovakia. In the 16th century, it was in these towns and under the various princes and rulers that a persecuted group of protestant Christians found sanctuary, albeit for only a limited time. IBTS traces their theological and historical roots in part to these various Anabaptist movements, and it was a treasure for us to participate in a very meaningful trip along with our friends here in the Czech Republic.

The crew outside the Anabaptist House, Sobotiste

The first town we explored, a place called Mikulov, is on the southern border of Moravia in what is now the southeastern part of the Czech Republic, right near Austria. Alison and I actually drove through this place on our way to Vienna a couple months back – I remember thinking how beautiful it looked from the road, and actually lamenting that there were so many places that I would never have a reason or opportunity to visit . Mikulov is the former seat of the line of Lichtenstein (now the tiny nation between Austria and Switzerland), and under the Lichtenstein princes a little Anabaptist community flourished here in the early 1500′s. One of the main reasons for visiting Mikulov is that it was the final residence of one of the most famous Anabaptist theologians, a man by the name of Balthasar Hubmaier. This was a theological nerd-out moment for me, because I studied Hubmaier a bit at Fuller and it was great to see a place connected with him and the movement in general. Aside from that, the place is just gorgeous! We walked around the towering castle and saw the old neighborhood the Anabaptists used to inhabit. (more…)

Two books

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

…And one more impression from the lectures of creation care – this time by Liudmila from Russia:

God gave us two books. The first one is the Bible. The second one is a specific  book which we can read independently of our age or our language, and we can read this book every day.  This book is the nature around us.

I am an ecologist and I studied biology and ecology at my university. I know the structure  of basic processes which run in plants and animals. When I studied  photosynthesis I was surprised how complicated this process is on the chemical side, although it goes on in every plant all the time. This process needs only water, carbon dioxide and sun light. As a result we receive organic matter and oxygen. But only plants can do it. It is only one example, but how many more interesting  things we can find in the environment!  

I want to say thank you for these lectures, because before for me, as a specialist, ecology was separate from the Bible and church and now  I can unite both of these concepts.

If you remember about the Lord, don’t stop telling it.


Monday, November 8th, 2010

Well, maybe not sparkling yet, but the campus is certainly cleaner after the last Friday’s community cleaning time (part of our Environment Month; last week’s theme was ‘CLEAN’). Lots of leaves in our garden next to the Chateau – and virtually no leaves left on the trees!..  (We didn’t clean the trees, no.)

Hello there!

As we said - lots of leaves!There was a reward - two kinds of yummy soup and a pie!

A determined company

Tools ready for the first batch of workers!There was a reward - two kinds of yummy soup and a pie!

There was a reward - two kinds of yummy soup and a pie!

Inscribe your words

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

And here’s yet another prayer from Denys, our student from Ukraine:

Lord, inscribe your words on my brow that I will remember your creation,
On my eyes that I will delight in your creation,
On my mouth that I will glorify You for your creation,
On my heart that I will love your creation,
On my hands that I will take care of your creation,
On my body that I will carry out my mission for your creation.

On this day

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

And here’s a prayer written by another CAT student, Alexander, from Russia:

On this day, I will strive to see the magical environment
that is everywhere and access the abundance of
beauty and joy coming from God.
It is the truth that I am part of nature.
I will strive to set aside everything I have learned
and presume to know
in order to allow new knowledge and new
experiences to change my approach
in taking care of the environment around me.
I will do everything in my power to clean dirt from nature .
I will create a new paradigm that helps me
to take better care of the environment.
I will fill my head with constructive thoughts and images
that will help me to take care of God’s creation.
I will learn something new on this day and discover
a place I have never before encountered.
That place is the Earth!