As I doubt many of you will ever see this Press release published in regular news, here it is for your information (and possible encouragement)…
FEET 2010 Press Release
More than fifty theologians, church leaders, pastors and theology students from all over Europe gathered in Woltersdorf, near Berlin, for the 18th Conference of the Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians (20–24 August). FEET was established in the 1970s in order to encourage high quality scholarship from an evangelical theological perspective and the Fellowship has drawn together scholars from the whole continent every two years since its inception. This year’s conference saw participants gather from as far apart as Portugal in the West to Estonia in the East, from Scandinavia in the North to the South of France. The topic under consideration was ‘Evangelical Theological Interpretation within Contemporary European Culture’. Under this theme, the various sessions of the conference reflected on the changing realities of contemporary Europe and the way in which these changes impact the study of theology in the modern context.
The plenary sessions applied the central theme to the various subject areas of the theological spectrum. Dr Stefan Gustavsson, director of the Credo Academy in Stockholm, contextualized the broad sweep of changing trends within today’s European setting. He outlined the decline of church membership in the mainstream churches of Europe against the backdrop of the pervasive influence of secularism and agnosticism. Gustavsson made clear that the challenge faced by theologians today is to be able to speak effectively to a generation of Europeans who have little or no understanding of the biblical story. The second plenary session was lead by Dr Krish Kandiah, the Executive Director of Churches in Mission which is a ministry of the UK Evangelical Alliance. Entitled ‘Words and Worship: Revelation, Truth, Authority and Worship in Postmodern and Pluralistic Europe’ this session further unpacked the changing values and perspective of today’s Europeans. The Old Testament session was facilitated by Dr Hetty Lalleman of Spurgeon’s College, London, and Dr Jamie Grant of Highland Theological College, Scotland. Their joint session discussed agendas for the interpretation of the Old Testament in a modern setting. Lalleman’s presentation discussed the importance of divine activity in historical reality for the text to have lasting and transformative meaning—as the title of this session suggested, the Old Testament is more than just a story. Grant built on these reflections by seeking to advance a positive agenda for evangelical exegesis of the Old Testament text.
I. Howard Marshall, Emeritus Professor of New Testament at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, presented a stimulating paper regarding the interpretation of the New Testament text. Marshall’s discussion centred on the question of how one moves beyond exegesis of the biblical text to application in the contemporary setting. This paper sparked some fascinating discussion, so much so that the question and answer time was continued in the following session. The final plenary paper was led by Prof. Johannes Reimer from the Theological Seminary of the Free Evangelical Churches in Germany and UNISA. His paper addressed the challenges that are faced in bringing the Christian message to contemporary Europe. In considering the concept of “public theology” Reimer opposed individualistic and pietistic approaches to evangelism. He suggested that evangelical missiology should develop a strong concept of transformation of culture and society.
Each morning Henri Blocher, Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology at the Faculté Libre de Théologie Évangélique, Vaux-sur-Seine, gave Bible readings encouraging the members of the Fellowship to hold fast to the purposes to which they have been called. Over and above these sessions, participants in the conference also had the opportunity to participate in seminars on Islam (Dr Ida Glaser, Oxford), family ethics (Pavel Raus, Prague) and missional hermeneutics (Dr Ove-Conrad Hannsen, Stavanger).
The bi-annual business meeting of FEET was also held during the conference and Erling Lundeby (Norway), Hetty Lalleman (Netherlands/UK) and Dr Pavel Černy (Czech Republic) were re-elected to the Fellowship’s executive committee. At the same time, Dr Klaus Bensel (Germany) was newly elected to the executive as the Fellowship’s secretary. The chairman of FEET – Prof. Pierre Berthoud, Aix-en-Provence – opened and closed the conference with messages of encouragement and exhortation.
The conference was well-received by its participants who left with a fresh realisation of the importance of evangelical theology for the spiritual and social wholeness of the European continent.
If you desire to learn more on FEET, visit the following link at www.feet-europe.net