Lausanne Movement Convenes Global Gathering of Seminary Presidents

Leaders to Focus on the State of Theological Education

BOSTON, 29 May 2012 – Sixty-five seminary presidents and leaders of global theological education from 31 countries will gather on the campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary near Boston this week to consider the challenges of theological education for the Church in the 21st Century.

The Lausanne Consultation on Global Theological Education, convened by the Lausanne Theology Working Group, is held in partnership with the Fellowship of Evangelical Seminary Presidents, Langham Partnerships International, International Council for Evangelical Theological Education, Overseas Council and World Reformed Fellowship.

The Consultation hopes to birth stronger relationships and partnerships among theological seminaries in the U.S. as well as internationally.  Leaders will be focused on two major themes: theological education as a global community, and theological education as mission.  Additionally leaders will explore the barriers to theological education around the world.

S. Douglas Birdsall, Executive Chairman of The Lausanne Movement, says leaders will also address the changing role of American seminaries in Global Theological Education.  He emphasizes that he believes, “that seminaries are the most important institution in the Church, bar none.  They are the repositories of our past and the shapers of our future.  As a Movement that serves the Church as a thought leader with respect to world evangelization, it is imperative that Lausanne provide the context in which the leaders of our top schools can interact with one another to provide guidance for the church on the great issues of our day.  It is equally important that leaders of seminaries and theological institutions make a concerted effort to develop a new generation of leaders who are equipped to defend and advance the gospel in every sphere of society, particularly in the world of ideas.”

Dr. Timothy Tennent, Chairman of the Lausanne Theology Working Group and President of Asbury Theological Seminary, believes Lausanne is uniquely poised to help theological leaders reflect on how they can best prepare and equip leaders for effective service to Christ and the Church.  “This global consultation is the first time this many Presidents and leaders have gathered together to discuss the crucial issues which are before us,” he says.

Dr. Samuel Logan, International President of World Reformed Fellowship, is chairing the Consultation.  Logan says the Consultation builds on partnerships started during The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization: Cape Town 2010, specifically in the area of evangelical theological education.  Logan is pleased at the progress already being made in this area because, “the beginning of those partnerships is seen in the consortium of organizations that are joining to support the Lausanne vision by partnering in this Consultation.  Never before in my experience have such organizations come together to see how we might work in partnership to strengthen the theological education of the global evangelical Church.  It is a great privilege to be part of this gathering and I anticipate that numerous concrete actions and proposals will result from our time together.”

Dr. Dennis Hollinger, President of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, counts it a privilege to host the Consultation.  “The historic links between Gordon-Conwell and Lausanne are many and rich,” he says, “from Billy Graham and Leighton Ford, to current Lausanne Chairman Doug Birdsall, who also serves as the Director of our J. Christy Wilson Jr. Center for World Missions.  But beyond the historic links, one of the seminary’s primary commitments is to engage globally in order to educate students for the kind of world in which we live.  A great hope for this global Consultation is the same hope that we have for our seminary students . . . that we will learn from each other, that the global Church will be enriched, and that we will together carry out God’s Kingdom work and mission with vitality, wisdom and faithfulness.”

The Lausanne Consultation for Global Theological Education begins 29 May and concludes 1 June.  Dr. Tennent’s welcome address, which will frame the Consultation and provide a historical background for the gathering, is tentatively scheduled to be posted online by 31 May. 

BACKGROUND

Lausanne is a global Movement that mobilizes evangelical leaders to collaborate for world evangelization.  It grew out of the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization convened in Lausanne, Switzerland by Rev. Billy Graham and Bishop Jack Dain.  The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization (October 2010) in Cape Town, South Africa, brought together 4000 Christian leaders, representing 198 countries.  The resulting Cape Town Commitment serves as the blueprint for the Movement’s activities.

The Lausanne Consultation on Global Theological Education is one of several global Consultations being convened this year by The Lausanne Movement.  Others include the Lausanne Consultation on Creation Care and the Gospel in Jamaica (October 2012) and the Lausanne Consultation on Media and the Gospel in Norway (November 2012).  For more information, please go to www.lausanne.org.

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For interviews or more information contact Naomi Frizzell, Lausanne Movement Chief Communications Officer, at [email protected] or +1.904.262.5202.

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