All Around Us

Prof. Decker is professor of Practical Theology in the Protestant Reformed Seminary.

Boesak Resigns

The Rev. Dr. Allan Boesak, a prominent anti-apartheid leader in South Africa and a noted church leader, has resigned as pastor of the Bellville congregation of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church. South African newspapers reported that Boesak had spent four days at a resort hotel with a woman reporter. His wife, Dorothy, then announced that she would be ending their 21-year marriage. On Sunday, July 8, Dr. Boesak announced to his congregation that he was resigning as pastor. On August 12 the Bellville classis declared to the church that “Boesak’s office as minister was ended.”

Boesak also resigned as president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC). The executive committee of WARC accepted his resignation “with deep regret” and expressed gratitude for the “outstanding leadership” Boesak provided for WARC. The executive committee reaffirmed the Alliance’s commitment to struggle against discrimination and oppression in all parts of the world, “a struggle particularly symbolized by Dr. Boesak’s leadership.” The committee elected Dr. Jane Dempsey Douglass as President, effective immediately. Douglass was one of three vice-presidents of WARC. She is an elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and a professor of historical theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Douglass is the first woman ever elected head of a major ecumenical body.

(REC News Exchange; National and International Religion Report)

Calvin Congress

Scholars from all over the world explored John Calvin’s view of Scripture, his personal spirituality, and some of his

historical roots at an international congress in late August. About 100 scholars gathered at Calvin College in Grand Rapids. The congress has been held every four years since its first meeting in Geneva in 1974. Interest in Calvin studies has grown so much that the event has become one open only by invitation. The meeting in August was the first held in the United States. Wilhelm Neuser, a German theologian who is secretary of the Congress, said there were two basic thrusts to the meetings. The one angle is basic historical research. They ask, “Who is this man who influenced Europe?” The second perspective is contemporary: “What does Calvin say about today’s theological problems?” The Rev. David Engelsma, professor of Dogmatics at our Protestant Reformed Seminary, accepted an invitation to attend the Congress.

(REC News Exchange)

Mission News

Donald A. McGavran, 92, father of the church growth movement and founding dean of Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of World Mission, died on July 10. The son of missionary parents, McGavran received his education at Butler University, Yale Divinity School, College of Missions, and Columbia University. After serving as missionaries in India for 30 years Mc- Gavran and his wife returned to the U.S. in 1954. After spending a few years at Yale Divinity School doing research in missiology and lecturing widely in seminaries around the world, McGavran founded the Institute for Church Growth at Northwest Christian College in Eugene Oregon in 1961. In 1965 McGavran founded the School of World Mission at Fuller. At 84 years of age McGavran retired from teaching. Paul Mc- Kaughan, executive director of the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association in Washington, D.C., is correct when he says: “Regardless of what one may think about a particular point of Donald McGavran”s missiological rendering, you face the inescapable conclusion that he influenced the missions movement to a greater degree than.any other thinker of his time.”

(Pulse)

About two thirds of the world’s population live in nations that restrict the church in some way, according to a recently published study by Issachar Frontier Missions Strategies. Saudi Arabia leads a list of 54 “restricted access nations.” Among the criteria used by Issachar are a country’s accessibility to missionaries, freedom to publish Christian literature, and freedom of Christian assembly. Issachar researchers expect the list of restricted nations to grow over the next decade to include as much as 85 percent of the world’s population.

If these findings are accurate, and we have no reason to doubt that they are, should we not with renewed zeal be preaching the gospel “while it is day, ere the night cometh in which no man can labor”?

(Pulse; Christianity Today)

A New Seminary

Knox Theological Seminary in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida began its first semester of instruction in September. The Seminary classes are held at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, the largest Presbyterian Church in America congregation. Coral Ridge’s well known Senior Pastor, Dr. D. James Kennedy, is chancellor of the new Seminary. Dr. George Knight, formerly a professor at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, is Administrator of Knox Seminary. Some seventy students are in their first year. Some big names are on the faculty. John Gerstner will teach during the interim, and Jay Adams will be a guest lecturer in November. Other professors from Covenant are Addison Soltau, Robert Reymond, and Joseph Hall. Knox Seminary expects to offer the full four year curriculum leading to either a Master of Divinity or a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies by the 1992-’93 school year.

(The PCA Messenger)