Politics and Society

Detailed information about the 2015 Forum is not yet available but will be posted in the future. Please review the information from the 2014 Forum for a look at the quality of instructors, teaching, and content that will be available in next year’s Networks.

2014 European Politics and Society Network

The European Politics and Society Network is designed to teach key Christian political, legal and social leaders how to be salt and light through effectively communicating Christ’s character in their respective contexts. Applicants should be those who are working in the areas of politics, law, campaigning or community action. Both seasoned lawyers, activists and campaigners and aspirants will benefit from the input of leading thinkers and practitioners. This Network will be led by Nola Leach, Charlie Hoare, and David Fieldsend. The four Network sessions are broken into three parts: a lecture from a leading Christian in public life, multi-disciplinary interactive groups, and two specialist sub-networks in the fields of Politics and Law. Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.

A required introductory session for first-time attendees of the Network will take place prior to the start of the Forum on Saturday, 24th May, 16:00-17:00 in Room 2/4.  

NETWORK LEADERS

Nola Leach is a co-leader of the European Politics and Society Network and serves as the Chief Executive of CARE (Christian Action, Research & Education), one of Europe’s leading Christian charities which provides resources and helps bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives. CARE undertakes a variety of social caring and educational programmes and research. It is represented in the UK Parliaments and Assemblies, at the EU in Brussels, and at the UN in Geneva and New York. As Head of the Public Affairs team, she leads campaigns on topics such as human trafficking, Internet pornography, and the value of human life from its beginning to natural end. She has overseen the publication of Living Free, a sequel to the CARE book Searching for Intimacy – a resource designed to help those trapped in the net of Internet pornography. She is increasingly in demand as both a writer and public speaker. She has penned numerous articles, and regularly appears in the media.

David Fieldsend is a co-leader of the European Politics and Society Network, and is the Manager of CARE for Europe, promoting Christian values in public policy discussion at the European Institutions concentrating on bioethics and family policy. He gained his first degree (town planning) from Newcastle University, holds a diploma in theological studies (Trinity, Bristol), and in 2009 was awarded a European Masters degree in bioethics. He spent many years as a planning specialist in local government in the UK (including a secondment advising the Sudanese Government). He stood as a British Parliamentary Candidate in 1983 for the constituency of Falmouth-Camborne. He is married to Anne; they have three adult children and three grandchildren. He is a licensed Reader in the Church of England and member of the diocesan synod for Europe.

Charlie Hoare is a co-leader of the European Politics and Society Network. He received his Bachelor's degree in History at the University of Durham. After a year of working for a British Member of Parliament, he studied law before taking a Masters degree at the London School of Economics in social policy and non-profit management. From 1998- 2012 he was CARE’s International Director. For the past year he has acted as a consultant focusing on International work. In addition to representing CARE at the United Nations, he has helped establish a strategic global network of policy makers, academics, politicians, and diplomats at the national and regional levels. He is married to Eleanor; they have a son and two daughters.

NETWORK SPEAKERS

Florica Chereches is a Member of the Romanian Parliament. She first attended ELF as a City Council member of her town, working closely with the Mayor of Oradea. She began to catch the vision for what engagement in the life of her town and country looked like for her. Following her election as a local councillor, she stood for the Romanian Parliament and was elected in December 2012.

 

Vedran Đulabić, received his PhD in public law and public administration, and is currently an assistant professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb. Vedran is also Executive Secretary of the Evangelical Pentecostal Union in Croatia. He is actively involved in public debates, lectures and other events on various topics in Croatia, both as an academic and a Christian leader. He is married to Ines and they have a daughter, Lea. They live in Zagreb, Croatia.

Wayne Grudem is Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona. He previously taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for 20 years. He has served as the president of the Evangelical Theological Society (1999), as a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible, and was the General Editor for the ESV Study Bible (2008). He has written more than 100 articles for both popular and academic journals, and 17 books, including Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical DoctrineThe Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and TodayThe First Epistle of Peter, andBusiness for the Glory of God. He has also edited Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? Four Views.

Johannes de Jong is managing director of the European Christian Political Foundation (ECPF). He holds a masters degree in theology. Before his current occupation he has been a protestant (Calvinist) pastor of a congregation in The Protestant Church of The Netherlands for six years. In 2003-2004 he co-founded the European Christian Political Movement of which the ECPF is the official affiliated think-tank. In 2010 the ECPM was recognised by the European Parliament as a European political party. In 2011 the ECPF received recognition as a European political foundation.

Roger Kiska serves as legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund and is based in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, where he specialises in international litigation with a focus on European law. He is developing the ADF-allied attorney network in Europe, working with allies to litigate European cases that have a potential for impacting ADF efforts in America. Before joining ADF in 2008, Kiska served as legal counsel at the European Center for Law and Justice. He earned his J.D. at Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is admitted to the State Bar of Michigan and successfully completed the United Kingdom’s Solicitor’s Transfer Exam–the British equivalent of the American Bar exam.

Andreas Matter-Tanski is a lawyer and economist, practicing economic law (especially tax law) at the Supreme Court of Switzerland. Besides his pro­fes­sional activity, he has specialized in the fields of sociology and history of law and conflicts. He is also particularly interested in deepening the theological and the anthropological di­men­sions of Luke's Gospel. Andreas is married with Friederike, a German cardiologist.

 

David McIlroy is a practising barrister based in London in the UK. He holds Master’s degrees in Law from the Universities of Cambridge, UK, and Toulouse, France, and a PhD in the Theology of Law from Spurgeon’s College, University of Wales. David serves on the editorial board of Law & Justice, teaches the Mission of Justice and the Theology of Law course at Spurgeon’s College, and is a Visiting Senior Lecturer in Banking Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is convinced that justice matters enormously to God and he wants Christians to work hard to see justice done more and more in situations around the world. Through his books (A Biblical View of Law and Justice, A Trinitarian Theology of Law) and many articles, David seeks to deepen people’s reflections on justice and to inspire others to take up the challenge of acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God (Micah 6:8).

Julia Doxat-Purser is the European Evangelical Alliance’s socio-political representative & religious liberty coordinator.  She was previously EEA’s Brussels representative for 8 years, where her most significant work was ensuring the EU’s Employment Directive in 2000 was amended to grant essential flexibility to faith groups.  Julia’s role now is to help Evangelicals engage in the public arena effectively and “Christianly”. She teaches, writes, offers advocacy & consultancy support and connects specialists together. She co-convenes the European Religious Liberty Forum with Advocates Europe. She created and co-leads the European Freedom Network, linking ministries working on human trafficking and prostitution. Julia also works with the World Evangelical Alliance on religious liberty and political engagement training.  Julia is married to Alistair and lives in the south of England.

David Robertson is the minister of St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee, Scotland (a church that is best known for being the church of Robert Murray McCheyne) and the Director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity.   He is the author of Awakening (a contemporary account of McCheyne’s life) and The Dawkins Letters.  The latter has resulted in him being invited to debate and discuss all over the UK and elsewhere in Europe.  This has been done in cafes, bars, libraries, universities, pubs, restaurants, village halls, and even occasionally in churches!  David is a chaplain at the University of Dundee, and a columnist, broadcaster and debater.  His interests include history, reading, music, politics, theology and football – he supports Dundee FC although his other team is Barcelona!   David is married to Annabel and they have three children; Andrew (26), Becky (24) and Emma Jane (15).   

Roxana Stanciu is the director of a pro-life Christian medical center (Clinica Pro Vita) in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She works on strategic programs, leads training sessions, and counsels women that face difficult situations. She also coordinates the advocacy campaigns and the teams of volunteers. Roxana is extremely passionate about spreading a pro-life message in the cultural context of Romania, which is why working with universities and with the media is becoming a priority. Roxana has both a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Psychology. 

Marina Zaitsava serves as a European Policy Officer with specialisation in freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) and trafficking and sexual exploitation at CARE for Europe (Christian Action Research & Education), a Brussels-based NGO (www.careforeurope.org). She is involved in monitoring, providing research briefings,  raising awareness  at meetings in the EU Institutions and the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, as well as networking with non-governmental organisations on issues related to family policies, human trafficking for sexual exploitation, surrogacy, sexual and reproductive health and rights, promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief, implementation of the equal treatment directive in employment, and bioethics. Marina holds degrees in Linguistics, Theological Studies, and International Communication and is strongly committed to promoting Christian values and ethical issues in the public arena.

 

NETWORK PROGRAMME

DAY 1

Plenary: How Does Good Theology Lead to Good Society, Law and Politics?
David Robertson

Modern society tends to be presented with two assumed opposites with regard to the relationship between Christianity and society.  On the one hand it is assumed that society should be secular and that religion should be at the level of a private club.  The alternative to this is assumed to be a kind of Christian theocracy where the church runs the State and pastors have as much political power as politicians.  There is another, more biblical way.  This seminar will look at how what we believe affects the way we behave and changes society for the better. We will look at how theology impacts society, law and politics. The ‘salt and light’ model of Jesus Christ is one that is more desperately needed in contemporary society than ever. Come and be prepared to think, engage, change, and be challenged.

Law Sub-Network: Justice, Law and the Bible – Principles for Service
David McIlroy

How can Christian lawyers identify biblical principles and serve others in a culture that rejects the authority of the Bible? What the Bible says about how foreigners, widows and orphans are to be treated provides a model. These three areas provide one framework from which we can bring a Christian perspective to these vital questions and demonstrate the need to be salt and light in the legal profession.

Politics Sub-Track: The European Political Landscape: Realities and Challenges
Johannes de Jong

This presentation will give a brief introduction to the pan-European political landscape and the European Parliament. Furthermore it will focus on the widely published debates on life, family and freedom issues in the last half year. Finally it will offer an outlook at the options around these issues in the light of the European Parliament elections that take place between 22 and 25 May this year. On Sunday evening, Johannes de Jong will be available to explain the outcome of these elections as the results become available.

 

DAY 2

Plenary: The Impact of Equality Legislation on the Church in the EU
Roger Kiska

The creation of so-called "equality" legislation has become a leading agenda priority of intergovernmental bodies like the European Union and the United Nations. Domestic governments as well, taking a cue from the international institutions, have exponentially expanded their anti-discrimination legislation. The result has been that in the Trojan horse of tolerance, Christian rights of freedom of expression, conscience and religious freedom have been tread upon, reduced, and even ignored in the promotion of homosexual behavior as a lifestyle choice and the non-existent right not to be offended. Without immediate action, the legal consequences to the body of Christ could become irreversible. Changes in what the law defines as discrimination will also make it harder for non-believers and seekers to realize moral truths and for people of faith to evangelize them as a result. The purpose of this presentation will be to both raise awareness of the seriousness of the threat at hand and to come up with a systematic approach to reclaiming our rights as believers and to keep the doors of Europe open for the spread of the gospel.

Christians in Public Engagement: Challenges and Strategies
Vedran Dulabic

The lecture will address the main challenges and strategies of public engagement of Christians. It will start by defining Christian engagement from an evangelical perspective. From this perspective it will continue by addressing why Christians should me active members of society and the main challenges and strategies for effective public engagement of Christians.  

Politics Sub-Network: Human Trafficking – The Scourge of Modern Day Slavery
Julia Doxat-Purser and Marina Zaitsava

The second largest international crime is now people trafficking. This shocking statistic has been given an all too visible human face in recent months as several local European communities have been coming to terms with the shocking reality of slavery in their very midst. The imprisonment of domestic workers and their forced labour is not limited to developing world settings. Much of this is tied to an increasingly out-of-control breakdown in social relationships. Yet, in the midst of this suffering, the Christian communities have huge potential to provide practical solutions.

 

DAY 3

Plenary: Biblical Principles to Transform the Economic Order and the Legal Structures of Society: Some Reflections on the Ideas of 'Equality' and 'Justice'
Andreas Matter-Tanski

Has equality become the secular religion of today’s post-Christian society? Do we reduce our present under­standing of justice to some institutionalized form of Robin Hood’s “taking from the rich – giving to the poor?”  These two – slightly provocative – questions call for some reflections on how Biblical ideas transform the economic order and the legal structures of any society, but often only once these ideas have been altered or distorted.

Law Sub-Network: Topic TBA
Speaker TBA

Politics Sub-Network: What Are the Factors That Will Enable Any Nation to Move out of Poverty Toward Increasing Prosperity?
Wayne Grudem

Dr Grudem will address the issue of how poor nations can escape from poverty and move toward developing greater prosperity. In his recent book: The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution, he sets out a robust series of proposals that form part of a development plan that integrates the principles of a free market system with the Bible's teaching on social ethics. This includes such issues as personal freedom, the rule of law, private property, moral virtue and education. Ultimately, Dr. Grudem's paradigm combines the promotion of economic prosperity and long-term social stability to produce a sustainable solution to the problem of poverty at the national level.


DAY 4

Plenary: European Democracy – The 2014 Elections from a Politician to a Lobbyist
David Fieldsend

Using the experience of a former elected Member of the European Parliament and a current professional Christian lobbyist, this session will describe the unique pressures and personal challenges of a European election campaign from the inside. It will also consider how the Christian public can best be motivated to engage with the election process, and the difference that a perspective of faith makes to the role of factors like ambition, approach to opponents and coping with failure to those caught up in the process. If possible, some early assessment of the implications of the election results for Christians in Europe will also be offered.

Law Sub-Track: Principles into Practice: Case Studies in Engaging with Law and Society
Roxana Stanciu

In our home countries, we face different challenges when engaging with the social, legal and public policy context. How might we begin to take action in a way that seeks to influence those areas for God's glory and the good of those around us? This session will provide a case study and areas for discussion.

Politics Sub-Network: The Implications of Our Calling: Serving in Office
Florica Chereches

Florica Chereches is a Member of Parliament in the Romanian Parliament. Florica first attended ELF as a City Council member of her town, working closely with the Mayor of Oradea. She began to catch the vision for what engagement in the life of her town and country looked like for her. Following her election as a local councillor she stood for the Romanian Parliament and was elected in December 2012. Using her experiences of standing for God's truth, especially over the issue of marriage and education, Florica will, in a very practical way, illustrate how her understanding of biblical truth underpins her engagement in political issues.

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