The 1999 Joint Statement on Justification by Faith: An Evangelical Assessment
In 1999, the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church announced in their Joint Declaration that they had come to a consensus on the basic truths of the doctrine of justification. This prompted many to pronounce the Reformation finally over. But what should we make of the Joint Declaration, and what sort of theological consensus is there now between evangelicals and the Roman Catholic Church? This session will analyse the declaration with these questions in mind.
Understanding the Protestant and Roman Catholic Approaches to the Greek New Testament
The differences between the Reformation attitude to Scripture and the Roman Catholic is not only clear when we compare the 'official' teaching on what status the Bible has, but also when we go back to the study of the Scriptures in their original languages. The Reformation sparked off an interest in close study of the text, and similarly much new work was done by Rome. However, all this new scholarship was not without agendas or presuppositions. The existence of variation between manuscripts became an argument for the need of a decisive church authority, whilst the perspicuity of God's Word was argued on the basis of the unambiguous meaning in the original languages. These different and opposing views on how God communicates with his people play a large role in much of philological research since the 16th century.
How Should Christians Think of What is Called the Septuagint?
Peter J. Williams
Nowadays, even many lay Christians have heard of the Septuagint and commonly know of it as the Greek version of the Old Testament which was used by the earliest Christians. This is also the way many scholars think of it. This can be shown to be a basically confused conception which has gradually arisen through lack of precise definition and through the change of meaning in terms over time. It would in fact have been impossible for the earliest Christians to think of 'the Septuagint,' as now defined, as their Bible. Much greater theological clarity is reached when we focus on the Hebrew/Aramaic OT and the Greek NT as the God-breathed texts and see early Greek translations of the Old Testament as God's providential gift to facilitate understanding.
Renewal without Change? The Idea of Reformation in Roman Catholic Theology
Leonardo De Chirico
The word “reformation” has been used in the church for many centuries and in a consistent way since the Council of Constance (1414-1418). Even the Council of Trent (1545-1562), in fighting against the Protestant Reformation, promoted various forms of “reformation” in the ecclesiastical outlook of the Roman Church. It is not surprising to see the word “reformation” being used by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) up to Pope Francis, who is passionately promoting a kind of reformation. Other words are also used: renewal, ressourcement, aggiornamento. What is meant when Rome speaks of reformation and related words? The texts of Vatican II will be used to illuminate the significance, scope, and goals of the Roman Catholic understanding of reformation. Pope Francis’ pontificate will be evaluated as an interesting case study to see the outworking of it in a present-day context before proceeding to a biblical assessment of the overall case for a reformation in the Roman Catholic Church.
Sola Scriptura: Original Intent, Historical Development, and Current Issues of Sola Scriptura
At the Imperial Diet of Worms (1521), Martin Luther courageously affirmed the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Our purpose in this session is not to treat the doctrine of Sola Scriptura as a doctrinal artifact of a bygone era. Rather, it is to encourage each one of us to embrace the doctrine of Sola Scriptura afresh, if we need to do so. In our secular culture we should take our own stand courageously, just like Martin Luther did, for Christ the Word of God in the flesh based on Holy Scripture, the Word of God in the flesh based on Holy Scripture, the Word of God written.
New Inscriptions and Archaeological Data from the Times of Saul, David, and the Early Judait Dynasty
Speaker To Be Announced
In the last decades, the existence of the united monarchy has often been challenged because only a very limited amount of data was available. Now, new inscriptional and archaeological finds shed some light on the Canaanite culture of the late 2nd and early first millenia BC, with intriguing parallels to the Hebrew Bible.
Peter’s Formation as an Example of Integrated Theological Education
Generally speaking, the educational heritage in the Western World is decidedly pivoted towards the formation of thought. Notable exceptions are, e.g., the intentional combination of lecturing and tutoring at such universities as Cambridge and Oxford, as well as D. Bonhoeffer’s approach to theological education at the Finkenwalde underground seminary. Jesus’ relational tutelage of Peter includes the formation of the mind and the affections of the heart (as the locus of the deepest convictions, feelings, and decisions). It is challenging to practice such a “cumbersome” and holistic approach. Nevertheless, engaging a small group of students with rigorous academic standards and holistic, personal relationships (including personal transparency) is the road forward.
Best Practice in Theological Education: Practical Experience from Egypt
Best practices are used to achieve superior results and to help an institution achieve its mission. However, best practices can seem too mechanical or corporate, and in the realm of education and transformation, methods cannot always be repeated verbatim. How do we evaluate best practices for our own contexts? Are there best practices that should be applied universally to ensure effective theological education? If so, what biblical ideological shifts are required to implement these best practices?