Theological News On-Line


Issue 34    December 2004

'Promoting Biblical Truth by Networking Theologians'

Published by Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance

Editor: David Parker
email distribution: Dr.Paul C. Murdoch

Welcome to WEA Theological News On-Line - this is the on-line version of our printed quarterly, WEA Theological News (ISSN 0260-3705). WEA TN On-Line is issued approximately monthly. The content of the printed and on-line versions overlap but are not identical. We also publish Evangelical Review of Theology. For more information, visit our website

We welcome news reports on theological matters for both versions - they can cover theological institutions, conferences, publications, faculty, trends and developments, etc. of interest to evangelical theologians around the world.

For more information on the work of the Theological Commission, contact the Executive Chair, Dr Rolf Hille at

In this issue:

Notice: This electronic version of WEA Theological News 
            will be published two times per quarter during 
            2005 - instead of the usual three.

We wish all our readers God's blessings for Christmas and the New Year!

'Pastors should be free for theological reflection'

Munich, November 26 (idea) ­ A leading management consultant advises clergy to concentrate on their commission to preach and counsel. Ministers should be relieved of management activities, says Peter F. Barrenstein, German director of McKinsey & Company. He recommends that local churches hire an executive to take care of managerial and administrative tasks. Pastors should be free for theological reflection and evangelism. Neither should they be restricted to serving a small 'core congregation' of faithful worshippers. 'They should develop a counter strategy to a shrinking church', Barrenstein emphasized in an interview with the German evangelical news agency idea.

Churches are surrounded by other missionary competitors, he explained. In Germany, for instance, Islam, cults and the recreation industry register continual growth, while most churches are losing members. Barrenstein rejects the notion that mission is a thing of the past. There are in fact many missionary opportunities, for example caring for the bereaved. If a pastor delivers an excellent funeral sermon and continues to visit and comfort the mourners, this could result in people re-joining a church. But, adds Barrenstein, he has often encountered incompetent and ill-prepared pastors at burials. In his experience commercial funeral home directors often do a better job. .

Barrenstein is an active Lutheran himself. On his initiative McKinsey conducted an extensive survey of Protestant churches in Munich about ten years ago. This started a lively debate about the question which management concepts could be helpful for churches. The management consultant makes one thing clear: 'The church is not a commercial venture.' The aim of bringing people to faith in Christ could never be achieved by management techniques. Barrenstein: 'That is the job of the Holy Spirit.'

Evangelical news agency idea. Wolfgang Polzer

Evangelical Theological Society 56th Annual meeting discusses the truth!

The Evangelical Theological Society held its 56th Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, November 17-19, 2004, with "What Is Truth?" as its principle theme for dealing with a so-called "post-modern culture" in which any truth claim is suspect. Affiliates of the ETS, the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the Near East Archaeological Society, and the Adventist Theological Society, held simultaneous sessions in conjunction with ETS. Twenty-one Study Groups besides "Parallel" programs and plenary sessions featured over 450 papers dealing with the Conference's theme and related issues. Forty-three speakers were from thirteen different countries representing Great Britain, Europe, South and Central Americas, Canada, Mexico, Korea, the Philippines and Israel were present. Among the international figures were N.T. Wright, Bruce Winter, and Gordon Wenham from England.

The most "spirited" discussion among the sessions occurred in a Study Group on the Synoptic Gospels when Leslie Keylock of Trinity College moderated between N.T. Wright and an invited guest, John Dominic Crossan, of DePaul University. Among respondents were Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary and Grant R. Osborne of Trinity Evangelical Seminary.

Other sessions of interest involved William Dembski of "Intelligent Design" fame, J.I. Packer of Regent College, Vancouver; James Charlesworth of Princeton Theological Seminary, known for his work in the Dead Seas Scrolls, and Bruce Winter and Gordon Wenham, both of England and known for their work in New Testament Studies.

Principal plenary speakers were Andreas Kostenberger, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, R. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, J.P. Moreland, Talbot School of Theology; and Kevin J. Vanhoozer of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Gregory K. Beale of Wheaton College Graduate School, outgoing president of ETS, delivered the Presidential address at the Banquet held on Thursday night, Nov. 18th. In this correspondent's biased opinion Mohler's "Truth and Contemporary Culture" and Vanhoozer's 'Lost in Interpretation?: Truth, Scripture, and Hermeneutics" were most outstanding and worth attention of the WEA Theological Commission.

In the business sessions the question of making the doctrinal basis of ETS more specific with respect to its stand on biblical inerrancy was discussed and debated. It was resolved to study the matter further, especially in relation to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, with a view to further consideration at the 57th Annual Meeting to be held November 16-18, 2005, at Valley Forge, PA.

Craig A. Blaising, the program chair and vice-president for the San Antonio meeting, assumed the presidency, at the close of the San Antonio "convention."

One of the Study Groups, of which this writer has been moderator for two years, "Other Voices of Biblical Interpretation", in its steering committee, expressed an interest in furthering a connection with the World Evangelical Association inasmuch many of its participants past and present are from India, Thailand, Africa, and elsewhere. ETS is also an international organization with members on all continents.

Contributed by Rev. Dr. Woodrow E. Walton, Prof. of Christian History and Practical Theology, American Christian College & Seminary, Moore, Oklahoma, 73153.

New Administrator for ACTEA

The ACTEA Council is pleased to announce the appointment of Rev Joe Simfukwe as its new Administrator. Rev Simfukwe succeeds Dr Douglas Carew, who has recently been appointed as Vice-Chancellor of the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology.

Rev Simfukwe also serves as Principal of the Theological College of Central Africa (TCCA), in Ndola, Zambia, a post he has held since 2001. His theological training was at Spurgeon's College (London) and Morling College (Australia), and he has had pastoral ministries on three continents: in UK, Zambia (Lusaka Baptist Church for over ten years), and Australia. Since the early 80's Rev Simfukwe has been involved in African leadership development and theological education, including contributions at TCCA and with ACTEA. He has served on three ACTEA Review Panels and two accreditation Visitation Teams, and was elected to the ACTEA Council in 2001. TCCA was first accredited by ACTEA in 1985 and continues to play an important role in ACTEA support and accreditation services under Rev Simfukwe's leadership.

Rev Simfukwe can be contacted at:

Environmental Stewardship Study Book Now Available

The book, Responsible Stewardship of God's Creation, which has been written by Dr. Ken Gnanakan of Bangalore India as a TC study project, is now available. The cost is US$5.00 and it may be ordered from Theological Book Trust PO Box 9529 Bangalore, India 560095 or from the TC office in Australia - 17 Disraeli St, Indooroopilly, Q 4068.. The book is a 'successful blend of spiritual, biblical, analytical, apologetic and practically oriented aspects' and is suitable for local church, individuals, action groups and students.

Studying Christianity in the post-communist Central Eastern Europe

The Protestant Institute for Mission Studies in Budapest, Hungary is offering an International Masters Program in Missiology at focusing on the dynamics of Christianity in the post-communist Central Eastern Europe. In conjunction with PMTI and UNISA, this program will encourage students to 'learn to think systematically and critically about the different ways in which Christians could make an impact to transform the world. Special attention will be given to the complex missiological issues related to the "post-communist" environment. Covering four to six semester, the course will be offered annually in three blocks of two intensive weeks of teaching, and will include fieldwork. The teaching modules include Introduction to Missiology, Theology and Context, Missionary Church Development and Church Planting, and Mission and Ministry. Topics include such areas as missionary church development, missiological education, cross cultural ministry, mission consultant work and mission among the Roma (Gypsy) people. The Academic Dean is Prof. Dr. Anne-Marie Kool, chair of the department of Missiology at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Pápa, and Director of the Protestant Institute for Mission Studies, Budapest.

For more information contact

Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology now on CD-ROM

The editor of the African Journal of Evangelical Theology is pleased to announce the release of all the articles published in 41 issues of AJET from 1982 to 2002 on one CD-ROM at a cost of US$20. The complete text of AJET for 21 years provides an in depth look into African Theology and the Church, an invaluable resource for your personal or institutional library. The cost is only US$20.

Send orders to Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology, c/o Scott Theological College, Box 49, Machakos, Kenya. For further information, contact:

Work Progressing on Online Training Database

Mark Orr of the WEA Missions Commission is working to produce a Global Share System which should help the global evangelical community share information on resources and activities. One aspect of this is the searchable online database of training courses. Ian Benson, Coordinator of the project said, 'We hope that this will be of help to all in the Theological Commission as well, and that all theological colleges and seminaries will be able to input information on their courses online, and that these should then be immediately searchable worldwide in all major languages. We value your prayers in this project, that it may serve the better preparation of the Lord's workers by enabling all to know what training is available.'

More details are available at and from

Reflection: Some Verse by Garry Harris, Australia

The Holy Family

Knowing the tyranny of families,
And their rapacious appetite for dysfunction,
God risked everything,
Entrusting Jesus to that couple from Nazareth.

Doubting (Matt.11: 2-6)

The new-Elijah, now uncertain,
Dungeon-gloom dims keenest vision.
Self-doubt obscures the view; questions discernment; distorts perception.
But new hope comes in glad rehearsal of kingdom-deeds
As seeing, walking, living respondents hear Good News proclamation.
And the faith of a giant is renewed.

WEA TC CD-ROM Set (new V 2.0 - 2004 available)

  •  WEA Theological Resource Library CD full text of Evangelical Review of Theology (ERT) up to Oct 2000, books and monographs from the TC, several other WEA publications and a number of Bibles and other resources. Now available in Version 2 (2004) with Libronix technology, and two additional resources. Same pricing as before but no special upgrade deals. Cost US$45 including shipping. (Payment may be made also in Sterling or Euro)
  •  Supplementary ERT CD with ERT for 2001-03 in PDF format. Cost US$10 including shipping.

Full details of the CD set are available on the WEA website -

Ordering/payment details - contact WEA TC Publications

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