Congratulations to the GSGA Cabinet for the 2013-2014 academic year! The final confirmed cabinet is:
President: Craig Hefner
VP of Academics: Alex Pierce
VP of Student Life: John Bazal
VP of Administration: Kevin Holmen
GSGA would like to thank all who voted in this year’s election!
Ushers are needed for TEDS/TGS Commencement on Saturday, May 11. Volunteers need to be available Friday, May 10, from 10:15 am until 12:00 pm, and again for the ceremony Saturday afternoon. Please contact Kati Tetour in the MDiv Office to volunteer. Ushers will be given a gift card to Amazon as payment.
Jeremy Mann, a Master of Divinity student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, is one of the 14 seminarians and divinity students chosen by FASPE (Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics) to participate in a two-week program in New York, Germany, and Poland in June 2013. This trip is one of four FASPE programs (started in 2010), each of which works with 14–15 students, that use the history of the Holocaust as a way to engage students in an intensive study of contemporary ethics in their field.
FASPE fellowships examine the roles played by professionals in four specific fields (journalism, law, clergy, and medicine) in Nazi Germany and underscore that moral codes governing these key professions can break down or be distorted with devastating consequences. By educating students about the causes of the Holocaust and promoting their awareness of related contemporary issues, FASPE seeks to prepare these Fellows to address various ethical issues facing their professions in the present day.
Mr. Mann and the other FASPE Seminary Fellows will begin orientation at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City on June 16. They will be traveling with a similar group of FASPE Medical Fellows. Orientation will include visiting the Museum’s exhibits, meeting with Holocaust survivors, and working with FASPE staff and guest scholars. The first leg of the European portion will be in Poland, where Fellows will travel to Oświęcim, Poland, the town the Germans called Auschwitz, where they will tour Auschwitz-Birkenau and work with the distinguished educational staff at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Fellows will also travel to Krakow, where they will explore the city’s rich Jewish, Catholic, and Polish history. The final leg of the trip will be held in Berlin where they will have the opportunity to study the city’s historical and cultural sites. Educational workshops will take place at The Topography of Terror and the House of the Wannsee Conference, the site where representatives of State and Nazi Party agencies convened in 1942 to discuss and coordinate plans for the “Final Solution.”
The Systematic Theology department at TEDS invites you to join them for an upcoming colloquium with Oliver Crisp (Fuller Theological Seminary), at which he will discuss his recent paper “Desiderata for Models of the Hypostatic Union” from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, in Rodine 124.
Crisp’s paper explores the dogmatic parameters of Christology, as traced by the deliverances of Chalcedon and other ecumenical councils, in light of important methodological considerations and contemporary theological and philosophical scholarship. (To obtain an electronic copy in advance of the colloquium, please contact Jessica Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Fifty Christian scholars and church leaders, a majority from Africa (Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania), but including participants from Asia, Europe, and North America, gathered at Africa International University (AIU) in Nairobi early last month to discuss how the church should respond to witchcraft and to witch accusations. While a variety of secular human rights groups have organized against witch accusations and violence, this historic gathering marks the first large-scale, international and interdenominational effort within the church and within the framework of Christian theology to address the growing presence of witch accusations and violence.
Health problems, death, infertility, and financial problems are widely attributed to “witches” thought to be acting through evil occult power. Elderly women are the ones most often alleged to be witches. Orphaned children are another vulnerable group, often willing to falsely confess to practicing witchcraft. Rev. Haruna Tukurah, a Nigerian pastor with ECWA (Evangelical Church Winning All), reported that 250 out of the 300 children in the orphanage he ran had been accused of being witches. Even pastors are often accused of being witches.
The consequences of witch accusations are devastating, ranging from social ostracism to exile from one’s community to beatings and murder. According to Tanzanian police records, in Sukumaland alone more than 200 women (mostly elderly widows) are lynched as witches each year. Those most frequently mistreated as witches are also society’s most vulnerable: the elderly, widows, orphans, and strangers. Dr. John Jusu, Dean of the School of Professional Studies at AIU, stressed that these are precisely the categories of people whom God calls on us to protect.
Dr. Timothy Nyasulu, Synod Moderator and Education Secretary of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, Malawi (the largest Presbyterian church in Africa), highlighted the role of traditional diviners in witch accusations, reporting statistics on 586 church members (from ten congregations over ten years) who received church discipline for consulting diviners when they felt someone had bewitched them. Diviners are often more accessible than either health services or police. They may be motivated by hope of profits to tell their clients that a family member or neighbor has caused the sickness or misfortune. Christian “prophets” and “prayer centers” also frequently endorse witch accusations. Henock Banda reported on his research into “child witches” of Malawi, and said that when pastors pray for or attempt to exorcise accused “witches” this sometimes has the effect of providing pastoral endorsement to the charge that they are witches, rather than freeing them in the eyes of the community.
Some alleged witches seek exorcism, often after confessing under duress. Dr. Opoku Onyinah, Chancellor of Pentecost University College, Accra, Ghana, and chairman of the largest Protestant denomination in Ghana, the Church of Pentecost, cautioned that discernment is required and that exorcism is often inappropriate because the accused is neither a witch nor a person possessed by demons but a person suffering psychological and social problems.
Researchers suggested that “neo-traditional witchcraft” was the most appropriate term for the contemporary phenomenon because both traditional and modern influences contribute. Contemporary influences such as Nollywood movies and the popular Ghanaian film genre that was analyzed by Professor Asamoah-Gyadu of Trinity Theological Seminary in Accra, were cited as contributing causes. Deliverance ministries and the prosperity gospel (sometimes influenced by ministries from the USA) also reinforce the belief that witches are harming others through evil supernatural means.
The assumption that witchcraft fears would wither away with increasing access to modern education has proven flawed. The wearing of amulets as protection against witchcraft is common among even Christian high school students in Kenya, as demonstrated by Justus Mutuku, Chaplain at Kabarak University. According to Nigerian theologian Dr. Samuel Kunhiyop who is currently serving as general secretary of ECWA — a denomination with over 5 million regular attenders — there is currently a “wildfire” of witch accusations across all denominations.
How to understand the role of the demonic either in the lives of accused “witches” or in the “accusers” was a matter of discussion. Many African church leaders stress that “witchcraft is real,” and many African Christians pray regularly that God will protect them from the attacks of witches.
Meeting in small groups, participants shared case studies and identified theological and biblical themes that can inform our understandings of witchcraft, can help counter witch accusations, and can underpin pastoral counseling. Biblical and theological scholars guided initial reflection on critical passages and doctrines. Plans were brainstormed for further research and writing, for curricular development, for partnering together and with others to turn the tide on the modern epidemic of witch accusations and violence, and for finding additional funding to help make all this possible.
The conference was sponsored by the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) in Deerfield, Illinois, as part of TEDS’ partnership with Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST) of AIU. The conference organizers were Dr. Robert Priest, professor of mission and anthropology at TEDS, Dr. Tite Tiénou, senior vice president and dean at TEDS, Dr. James Nkansah-Obrempong, dean of NEGST, and Dr. Steve Rasmussen, lecturer in missions and intercultural studies at AIU.
The MDiv Internship which was schedule for Thursday, March 14 has been rescheduled to Thursday, March 21. It will be held in Hinkson Hall beginning at 12:00. If you are planning on doing your internship this summer and have not yet completed the orientation, please plan on attending.
The Christopher Yahn Scholarship
The Christopher Yahn Scholarship honors the life of Christopher Yahn, who died of cancer at the age of 11. Christopher, whose name means “Christ-bearer,” is a witness to how, even in suffering, God brings his good news of Jesus’ death on the cross, his resurrection, and his promise of eternal life to whoever believes in him. This scholarship requires a separate one-page essay describing how a trial in the life of the student has caused a greater devotion to God’s service.
The scholarship is restricted to one male student enrolled full-time in the MDiv Program who is committed to entering the pastorate or serving on the mission field. This award is not automatically renewable, but the current recipient is eligible to reapply. Please write a half-page to one-page essay describing how a trial in your life has caused you to have greater devotion to God’s service. The deadline for applying for this scholarship for the 2013–2014 academic year has been extended to April 15, 2013. Please submit your essay to the Financial Aid Office or email a PDF version.
The Chan Scholarship
This award is provided to a returning full-time Chinese or Chinese-American student preparing to minister to the Asian community either in the U.S. or abroad. Once a recipient has been chosen, it is intended that the student receive this scholarship until graduation. Please submit two letters of recommendation: one letter from a pastor and the other from a TEDS faculty member. The deadline for applying for this scholarship for the 2013–2014 academic year has been extended to April 15, 2013. Please submit the letters of recommendation to the Financial Aid Office or email a PDF version.
If you would like to research more about scholarships, go online or contact Financial Aid by email or at 847.317.8060.