Justin Barrett and Rebecca Dorsey Sok have co-founded a new venture, Blueprint 1543, with a mission to integrate Christian theology and the sciences to answer life’s biggest questions. The Knoxville-based organization is focusing on three broad initiatives—leadership development, sciences-engaged theology, and science stewardship—supported by a portfolio of programs and projects. Blueprint 1543 will be developing their own projects, as well as consulting and coaching for partner organizations. Sok and Barrett have managed over $16 million in grants with multiple funding partners (such as the AT project, and TheoPsych: Bringing Theology to Mind). This new venture signals their exit from running Fuller Theological Seminary’s Office for Science, Theology, and Religion (STAR), which also supported interdisciplinary research and programs in faith-science integration. Sarey Martin Concepción joins Barrett and Sok as Blueprint 1543’s Director of Communication. BP1543 is currently building its roster of partners from the fields of theology, philosophy, and the sciences. To stay up to date on projects and opportunities, follow on Facebook, Twitter, or sign up for their newsletter. More information at www.blueprint1543.org.
J. I. Packer —”One of the most influential evangelical leaders of our time” (Christianity Today)— passed away yesterday at age 93. Across the web, tributes are pouring in about his life, ministry, and sprawling legacy. Below are links to some of them:
“Remembering J.I. Packer” – Regent College
“J. I. Packer, ‘Knowing God’ Author, Dies at 93” – Christianity Today
“In Memoriam: J. I. Packer” – Catholic Herald
“Reformation Theology in the Hands of a Servant” – Desiring God
“Now He Truly Knows” – Sydney Anglicans
“J. I. Packer Goes on to Glory” – Michael Thomson via Ben Witherington (patheos)
June 24, 2020 – “Following extended conversations with and consultation of seminary faculty, alumni and friends, Dean Todd D. Still, Ph.D., announced today, with strong support from university administration, the formation of a Wesley House of Studies at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary. In conjunction, he announced that Dr. William J. Abraham, a theologian, philosopher, author and minister, will serve as the founding director of this strategic initiative.
In this role, Abraham will ensure that students attending Truett from Wesleyan traditions are nurtured and networked for the ministries into which they are being called. Additionally, Abraham, who will regularly teach courses at Truett pertaining to Wesleyan thought and practice, will collaborate with individuals, congregations and organizations in the Wesleyan tradition in the recruiting, training and placing of students and in supporting and educating ministers who are already engaged in gospel service.” Read more…
(This post was recopied from an announcement on Baylor Universities website. Click here to read more)
On May 4, 2020, the Executive Committee of the Evangelical Theological Society accepted the recommendation of the Executive Director Search Committee and unanimously selected Ken Magnuson as the Society’s second Executive Director. David S. Dockery, chair of the search committee remarked that the committee reviewed applications and nominations from a large group of qualified individuals. “It soon became clear,” he noted, “to every member of the committee that Ken Magnuson, based on his outstanding education, years and breadth of experience, scholarship, administrative gifts, relational abilities and people skills, as well as his Christian character and commitment, was extremely well suited for this key role in the life of ETS. We are thankful for the fine leadership that Mike Thigpen has provided and are extremely hopeful about Ken Magnuson’s guidance for the Society for the years ahead.” ETS President, Craig S. Keener, commented, “All of us on the Executive Committee affirm Ken Magnuson and are grateful to the Lord for the prospect of leadership that will continue the wonderful legacy we have already experienced with Mike Thigpen.”
Ken Magnuson has been on the faculty of Southern Seminary since 1999. He has served as Professor of Christian Ethics, Chair of the Department of Worldview and Culture, and as Director of The Commonweal Project on Faith, Work, and Human Flourishing. He serves as a deacon in his church, on the editorial board for Themelios, and as a board member for the American Friends of Tyndale House (Cambridge, UK). Magnuson holds a PhD in Theological Ethics from Cambridge University, and MDiv and BA degrees from Bethel Seminary and Bethel University (MN). He teaches and writes on discipleship and moral issues, including marriage and sexuality, singleness, and infertility and reproductive technology. He has published journal articles and contributed chapters to several books, and has recently completed Invitation to Christian Ethics, published by Kregel (forthcoming in 2020). He serves on the steering committee of the ETS Christian Ethics program unit. Ken and his wife Katherine have four children.
Magnuson will begin this new post June 15, 2020. He succeeds J. Michael Thigpen who has served the Society as Executive Director since 2009. Thigpen is leaving the position to serve as Executive Vice-President and Provost of Phoenix Seminary. On hearing the selection, Thigpen noted, “I believe Ken Magnuson is the right person to lead ETS in this next season. Ken’s temperament, experience, godly character, and outlook on the role of the Society in the church and the academy are a wonderful fit to move us forward.”
This post was repasted entirely from https://www.etsjets.org/node/11574
Ken Magnuson’s photo was used from his Twitter account.
Keith Yandell is gone. After a long battle with multiple health problems, on the morning of April 28, 2020 he drew his last breath. He is now “absent from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8).
Keith was the Julius R. Weinberg Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he taught for nearly four decades. He also taught philosophy of religion and philosophical theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School from 2000-2014. It was in this capacity that I (Tom) knew him; when I joined the Trinity faculty in 2004, Keith immediately welcomed me with two things: his characteristically warm and merry smile, and philosophical arguments. I enjoyed his company immensely, and I learned a lot from him. One of the highlights of my academic ministry was participating in a debate with him in the ATO Chapel in 2008; it was an honor to be there with Keith, and, frankly, it was also just a lot of fun. I’ll never regret the time I spent with him. I only regret that there wasn’t more of it.
For the entire story see, https://henrycenter.tiu.edu/2020/05/remembering-keith-yandell/ .
Born in Yorkshire, England, and a cricket player in his youth, Geoffrey Wainwright studied in Cambridge, Geneva, and Rome. He is an ordained minister of the British Methodist Church, and after serving a circuit ministry in Liverpool during the heyday of the Beatles, he went for six years as a missionary pastor and teacher to Cameroon in West Africa. In the mid ’70s he taught Scripture and doctrine at The Queen’s College, Birmingham. In 1979 he moved to the United States, first to Union Theological Seminary, New York, where he held the Roosevelt chair of systematic theology, and then (in 1983) to Duke. He has devoted much of his energy to the cause of ecumenism, understood as unity in the truth of a gospel that is to be preached to the world. As a member of WCC Faith and Order, he played a leading part in the production of the Lima text on “Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry” (1982); and from 1986-2011 he co-chaired the dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Roman Catholic Church.
Geoffrey Wainwright has served as president of the international Societas Liturgica (1983-85) as well as of the American Theological Society (1996-97). He was honored by the publication of Ecumenical Theology in Worship, Doctrine, and Life: Essays Presented to Geoffrey Wainwright on his Sixtieth Birthday (Oxford University Press, 1999). He received the 2005 Johannes Quasten Medal from the Catholic University of America for “excellence in scholarship.” (From the faculty bio at Duke Divinity School.)
Wainwright passed away on March 17, 2020.
From Baptist Standard:
ABILENE—Hardin-Simmons University’s board of trustees voted to close Logsdon Seminary.
President Eric Bruntmyer announced the board’s action in a letter released about 9 p.m. on Feb. 7.
“The board approved new programs, and it closed other programs at the undergraduate and graduate level including Logsdon Seminary and its programs,” Bruntmyer stated. “In the next week, the appropriate deans and vice presidents will be communicating the details of these actions.”
He went on to write the trustees “made these decisions with prayerful consideration and spiritual discernment, emphasizing that Hardin-Simmons will continue to hold to the Christian values on which it was founded.”
Students will continue to participate in chapel services and weekly Bible studies, and they will have “expanded opportunities to participate in ministry events locally and abroad and to take additional Bible courses,” he wrote.
Financial considerations noted
Bruntmyer noted the board had adopted The Way Forward, a strategic financial plan that calls for an annual evaluation of all academic programs and provides “a sustainable framework” that positions the university favorably in “an increasingly competitive marketplace.”
“Under The Way Forward, Hardin-Simmons University will always pursue financial excellence, which will allow us to maintain our academic excellence,” he wrote. “In the coming weeks, months and year, the HSU campus will change. Structural adjustments like these are important as we strive toward achieving financial excellence not only for ourselves, but for those to come.”
In Oct. 2018, HSU trustees voted to close four Logsdon Seminary extension campuses in Coppell, Lubbock, Corpus Christi and McAllen, along with other cuts in programs and personnel.
At the time, Bruntmyer noted “some external revenue sources are evaporating,” pointing particularly to decreased Cooperative Program support. He also noted the Baptist General Convention of Texas was eliminating pro-rata funding for all its partnering universities.
Current students offered ‘teach-out’ program
In a subsequent statement from HSU issued Feb. 8, the university clarified that the trustee decision affects Logsdon Seminary and its graduate programs, but the Logsdon School of Theology will continue to provide undergraduate Christian education.
“Current seminary students will be provided a teach-out program to finish their degrees,” according to the statement.
From Christianity Today (Wyman Richardson):
James Leo Garrett Jr. was Distinguished Professor of Theology, Emeritus, at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, until his death several days ago.
He was a graduate of Baylor University (BA in English, 1945), Southwestern Seminary (BD, 1948, and ThD, 1954), Princeton Theological Seminary (ThM, 1949), and Harvard University (PhD, 1966). Dr. Garrett is beloved and revered by countless students and faculty members at the institutions at which he taught—Southwestern Seminary (1949–59, 1979–97), Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1959–73), and Baylor University (1973–79)—as well as by many others who benefited from his scholarship and Christian devotion.
Dr. Garrett was a fascinating mixture of Southern Baptist loyalty and ecumenical fervor.
While perhaps few theologians and churchmen have thought, written, and engaged so carefully with the inner-workings and trajectory of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Garrett was equally active in his engagements with the wider Christian world.
He was very involved in the Baptist World Alliance, for instance, and was, from 1968–1975 part of the Study Commission on Cooperative Christianity, a commission for which he served as chair. He also contributed substantial pieces to BWA publications.
In 1965, Dr. Garrett attended the final session of the Second Vatican Council in Rome as a guest of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. Furthermore, he engaged Christians of other traditions in substantial ways, as when, for instance, he presented papers before the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Instanbul, Turkey, in 1994 and 1996.
His voluminous writings include his two-volume Systematic Theology (originally published by Eerdmans and currently published by Wipf & Stock), his monumental Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study (Mercer University Press), and numerous other authored or edited books and articles.
Dr. Garrett was married to his beloved Myrta Ann Latimer Garrett for 67 years before her passing in 2015. He is survived by three sons and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Dr. Garret passed died Feb. 5 in Nacogdoches, Texas. He was 94.
[Image from: Baptist Press ]
Theological college in Nottingham ‘no longer financially viable in the long term’
After 156 years, St John’s College, Nottingham, is to close, it was announced this week.
The majority of the 28 employees at the former theological college, including tutors, will transfer to new posts in institutions that have agreed to continue the college’s distance-learning and youth-ministry work; but there will be redundancies by the end of next summer. Students have been reassured that their courses will continue until they have completed them.
A statement issued this week said that the college’s council had agreed, on 11 November, “that the operation of the current configuration of St John’s is no longer financially viable in the long term”, and that the process of closure would begin.
The Principal of the Eastern Region Ministry Course, the Revd Dr Alex Jensen, suggested this week that there was “great fear” in the Theological Education Institutions (TEI) sector that other closures could follow.
“Hardly any college or course is financially sustainable,” he said. “I think there is a recognition in the Ministry Council that there is something wrong. . . The question is if changes will be made before the next college or course falls by the wayside.”
The broader context for theological education was illustrated by figures from the Ministry Division seen by the Church Times this week (News, 6 December), which suggest that the Renewal and Reform target of a 50-per-cent increase in ordained vocations is unlikely to be met by 2020 (News, 2 September).
There have been signs of trouble at St John’s for some time. Last year, there were 60 students at the college, compared with 108 in 2016-17, and 223 recorded in June 2016, according to a report from the Quality Assurance Agency.
For the full story by Madeleine Davies see: https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/6-december/news/uk/st-john-s-college-to-close-after-156-years
Press Release: The School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews has secured its largest ever research grant of £3.4 million from the John Templeton Foundation to support the creation and launch of a free, online encyclopaedia of theology.
The Encyclopaedia will grow to include material from the world’s major religions, beginning with Christianity and expanding to Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, offering articles written from within the faith traditions they describe.
Brendan Wolfe, Honorary Reader at the School of Divinity, will serve as the Encyclopaedia’s Principal Editor, with Dr Steve Holmes, Senior Lecturer, as Chair of the Editorial Board.
Larry Hurtado (Emeritus Professor in New Testament Language, Literature & Theology, Edinburgh) and Jaegwon Kim (Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Brown) have passed away this week. Although Hurtado’s work was mainly in the field of early Christianity and Kim’s work was mainly in the field of philosophy of mind and metaphysics, and not in systematic theology, both scholars’ contributions made a significant impact on those working on doctrinal theology, specifically in the areas of Christology and theological anthropology.
Hurtado and Kim will be missed.
“Willard was an exceptional and widely respected biblical scholar and a committed teacher,” said Beverly Lapp, Ed.D., acting president and academic dean. “He lived his faith, looking after those who were struggling in life, and he believed in the work of Christ and the church to increase God’s kingdom here and now. He loved AMBS so very much.”
Citing restrictions on selling its current Pasadena property and unexpectedly high construction costs, Fuller Theological Seminary officials announced it won’t be moving to Pomona, California, in 2021 as planned.
Fuller president Mark Labberton said Southern California’s high construction costs—higher than the school’s conservative estimates—and “differences with the City of Pasadena” over the sale of the land led the board on October 24 to vote unanimously to stay at its 13-acre Pasadena location.
“Our board just decided … that though our plans were so full of promise and hope and our welcome in Pomona had been so great, that the better and wiser decision for the long-term wellbeing of Fuller is to stay here in Pasadena,” Labberton said in a statement posted last week on the Fuller website.
For the full story see “Christianity Today.”
You can read the entire announcement here: https://www.dts.edu/presidentialsearch/
Kenyan Scholar John Mbiti [theologian, philosopher, poet, expert in African Religions] has passed away.
From Christianity Today:
A record-setting $75.5 million donation stands to change the trajectory of Gordon College by boosting scholarship funds to make the school more affordable and expanding opportunities for non-traditional students.
For the entire article see Christianity Today.
The wait is over for those eagerly anticipating the announcement regarding Regent College’s J.I. Packer Chair of Theology. We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Jens Zimmermann will be taking up this key position in the Fall Term 2020.
Born and raised in Germany, Zimmermann joins Regent from Trinity Western University, where he served for twenty years, including the period from 2006–2016 when he held the Canada Research Chair of Interpretation, Religion, and Culture.
Academic Dean Paul Spilsbury expressed his excitement at the appointment and offered a warm welcome.
“I am delighted that Professor Zimmermann will be joining Regent College as the new J.I. Packer Chair. Jens brings a wealth of insight and intellectual engagement to the task of theology, as well as a deep faith in Christ, a personal engagement with the truth of the gospel, and a strong alignment with the mission and ethos of the College. Our faculty, students, and the wider community of Regent will be deeply enriched by his teaching and scholarship, and I am very much looking forward to welcoming him next fall.”
Zimmermann—who describes himself as a theologian first, with a strong interest in philosophy and literature—has in recent years used his variety of academic experience to focus on two particular questions. These are the questions of theological anthropology and epistemology—what it means to be human and how human beings acquire knowledge.
You can see the full announcement here: https://www.regent-college.edu/about-us/news/2019/new-j-i-packer-professor-of-theology
Good news. Our Twitter handle is now @theologynews. Be sure to direct all responses there. At the start of this project Theology News was working with the Twitter handle @theology_news. The more natural @theologynews handle had belonged to a certain Adam Kendry way back in 2011 or 2012. After an email to Adam about our project he kindly released the name since he had not posted on Twitter since 2012!
Thanks Adam Kendry from the Theology.News team!
With support from the McDonald Agape Foundation, Yale Divinity School has established a new endowed professorship: the McDonald Agape Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity.
Its inaugural holder will be Teresa Morgan, who is joining YDS from the University of Oxford in 2022.
See the full announcement here: https://divinity.yale.edu/news/3-million-mcdonald-agape-gift-supports-creation-endowed-professorship