Theological News Jan 2012 – Theological Commission

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Future Plans for TC Announced

Dr Thomas Schirrmacher, Chair of the Theological Commission, and Dr C Rosalee V Ewell, Executive Director recently reported on developments in the Commission and announced plans for future activities.

Included in the immediate plans are the commencement of a new website, World of Theology with a weekly commentary and a blog of news from the world of evangelical theology; a CD with good theological content for worldwide distribution; a “Global Issues” series of publications; extend the circulation of the TC’s journal, Evangelical Review of Theology into the electronic mode; enlist a number of theological consultants and to re-establish the Global Membership scheme.

Many of the earlier activities of the TC have been on hold or were scaled down in the last two years and these new initiatives are intended to compensate. Dr Ewell will be planning new consultations, exploring joint interests with other WEA commissions and seeking to map national and regional theological bodies and seminaries with the idea of building relations with the TC.

The structure of the TC which has been seriously affected by events in the last two years will be re-organised in coming days. Those who were most recently involved in the organisational work of TC are being approached concerning their continuing participation. These and many other aspects of TC work have been the topic of discussion over recent times, and the plans have been formulated as a result of feedback received. These plans were finalised and adopted at a recent meeting of the WEA leadership held at Manado, Indonesia.

Dr Schirrmacher has reported that over the last two years the Commission has been involved in a wide range of activities including visits to conferences and consultation, members of delegations to church and civic leaders, preparing statements and providing advice on theological topics for the WEA, participation in the Lausanne Congress, and the TC’s publication activities which include this newsletter and Evangelical Review of Theology.

Christianity in Ancient Libya

Dr Thomas C Oden, who has close links with the WEA Theological Commission, has added a further volume to his ambitious project on Christianity in ancient North Africa by releasing a new work on Christianity in ancient Libya. A press release for the new book states, ‘Buried for more than a millennium beneath sand and the erosions of time are the remnants of a vital, formative Christian presence in Libya. From about A.D. 68 till the Muslim conquest of A.D. 643, Libya housed a vibrant, creative Christian community that contributed to the shape of the faith even as we know it today. By the mid-190s A.D., Cyrenaica could claim favourite sons as the Roman pontiff, Victor the African, and as the Roman emperor, Septimius Severus.

A rich and energetic community produced a wide variety of key players from early martyrs to great thinkers to archheretics. Tertullian, the great theologian, and Sabellius, the heretic, are relatively well known. Less well known are the martyrs Wasilla and Theodore and the great poet-philosopher-bishop Synesius of Cyrene.

Uncovering this North African tradition and offering it to a wide reading audience is the task that Tom Oden sets for himself in this fascinating tour de force. The book, originating as lectures delivered at the Islamic Da'wa University in Tripoli in 2008 and later expanded as the W. H. Griffith Thomas Lectures in 2009 at Dallas Theological Seminary, has been expanded and refined to provide additional insights and references, surveying the texts, architecture and landmarks of this important period of Christian history. It also serves as a valuable companion to Oden's earlier offerings in How Africa Shaped the Christian Mindand The African Memory of Mark.

The WEA TC welcomes this new volume and commends the work of his Center fo Early African Christianity. For more information, http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=3943 and [email protected]

Theologians without Borders Joins Langham

The founder of Theologians without Borders (TWB), Dr Geoff Pound, has announced the organization is becoming one of the ministry initiatives of LeaDev-Langham, a group that supports Christian Leadership Development in the Majority World. The new name of will be “Teachers Without Borders” will signify this transformation and new ownership.

Dr Pound, a New Zealander who has served also in Australia, founded TWB in 2006 to provide short term volunteer theological teachers. It has grown quickly and is now too much for one person to manage. TWB has also received enquiries about positions for other fields such as IT, librarianship, counseling and teaching of English. Dr Pound also said, “In recent days I have become increasingly aware that many of the seminaries and colleges that have requested help through TWB have also put out requests to LeaDev-Langham.”

As a result of discussions with Lea-Dev Langham about cooperation, it became apparent that the role of TWB could be enhanced greatly by becoming part of Lea-Dev Langham which is a larger organization with more resources.

Dr Pound said, “As I have become more acquainted with LeaDev-Langham I have been impressed with its strategic approach. It comes alongside at the invitation of a local seminary and it gets involved in a range of complementary ministries—faculty training, library and IT resources, campus development, preacher training, humanitarian aid and development, student scholarships and short term adventures.”

Volunteers participate in a wide range of short term adventure projects as Academic Administrators and Advisers, Computer Trainers, Educators, ESOL Teachers, Finance and Administration Specialists, Mentoring and Pastoral Specialists, Health Practitioners, IT Specialists, Librarians, Property Development and Maintenance Workers, TESOL Trainers as well as Visiting Faculty.

While it is based in Auckland, New Zealand its vision and mission encompass the Majority World (MW). It has appointed people to help in the coordination of work in several global hubs. It is working on ways that people can donate - including in the USA where Americans can easily invest in its work.

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After an initial period, Dr Pound will withdraw from the activities of TWB. He currently works as a writer, teacher and consultant based in the United Arab Emirates. For more information visit the LeaDev-Langham website (www.leadev-langham.org) or contact Tony Plews [email protected].