Announcement: Center for Pastor Theologians Third Fellowship (@CenPasTheo)

I’m excited about the opportunity to be a part of the Center for Pastor Theologians (CPT) Third Fellowship. What is the Center for Pastor Theologians? Here’s an excerpt from the website: 

Our Identity

The CPT is an organization dedicated to assisting pastor-theologians in the study and written production of biblical and theological scholarship for the ecclesial renewal of theology and the theological renewal of the church.

Our Mission

Operating within the historic evangelical tradition, the CPT believes the contemporary bifurcation between the pastoral calling and theological formation has resulted in the loss of a distinctly ecclesial voice in orthodox theology. The CPT seeks to resurrect this voice. In an age that has rightly emphasized the relationship between social location and theological formation, our vision is to bring together a unique kind of pastor-theologian—not simply those particular pastors who desire to pursue a theologically informed parish ministry, but even more, pastors who feel called to function as writing theologians to the broader ecclesial community.

I’m looking forward to fruitful participation with other pastor-theologians. Be sure to click over and learn more about the CPT.  

New Name for this Blog: Incarnatio is now Orthodoxy for Everyone

I’ve been toying with the idea of changing the title of this blog for a long while now and have finally decided to go for it. So, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to Orthodoxy for Everyone. The new title reflects a double desire that has been growing in me for years to be aligned as fully as possible with the historic Christian faith and to make that faith intelligible, available, and credible to as many as possible. Or to put it more briefly: orthodoxy for everyone. I will, of course, still write with a Wesleyan accent. I wouldn’t know how to stop. But that shouldn’t be a problem because, as far as I can tell, Wesley simply wanted to be an orthodox Christian. Even his distinct emphasis on holiness should be seen as a recovery of the ancient faith not innovation. I’ll try to make the transition as painless as possible. The only thing that readers will need to update is the feed address, which is now: http://feeds.feedburner.com/mattoreilly. So, be sure to update your reader. Thanks for being a part of the conversation. Now on to the next chapter. 

Rediscovering Wesley: The John Wesley Collection from @OfficialSeedbed #UMC

I was excited to see this post from Seedbed.com  this morning announcing a new project called The John Wesley Collection. The plan is to take key works of Wesley (and others that Wesley curated and published) and republish them with modern typesetting and attractive cover art in order to make the writings of the Methodist founder more easily accessible to a new generation. Here’s a little more from the official announcement: 

John Wesley’s profound legacy and impact on world Christianity during and since his lifetime can be viewed through a number of lenses. The revival that arose under his leadership changed the social and political structure of eighteenth-century England as the poor and lost found hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ rather than in revolution against the crown. The influence of Wesley’s Spirit-inspired teaching continued unabated as the Methodist movement spread scriptural holiness across the American continent and lands far beyond.

The writings represented in The John Wesley Collection resourced the early Methodists in their quest to spread the gospel by providing the intellectual and spiritual moorings for the messengers of the movement. Seedbed believes these writings are as relevant to our context today as they were in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Consequently, we consider it a sacred calling to join with those who are recapturing John Wesley’s publishing vision for the twenty-first century.

You can find out more by reading the rest of the post at Seedbed, and be sure to take a look at this video that introduces the project. Here’s a list of titles you can expect to see published, which is part of an entire website devoted to The John Wesley Collection. The first volume in the Collection is Wesley’s Thirteen Discourses on the Sermon on Mount, which has already been released and is available now. This and the other resources that are coming will be great for individual or group use. 
Here’s why I find this project important for cultivating the renewal and spread of the Wesleyan message today. The rise of the “New Calvinism” (as it’s known) has been fueled by a revival of interest in primary source texts and key historical figures associated with the movement. College students are devouring the writings of Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, and others, not to mention Calvin himself. The works of Wesley that Seedbed is now making more easily available fueled the spread of early Methodism and fanned the flames of revival in England and North America in the 18th century. It may be that, as a new generation of readers discovers the primary works of Wesley, such revival will come again. Perhaps the Spirit that empowered Wesley and his bands will resurrect a “New Methodism” that embodies Wesley’s passion to offer Christ and spread scriptural holiness across the land. 

Alister McGrath Returning to Oxford

That’s the big news in academia this week. Here’s the announcement from Oxford’s Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion:

The Faculty of Theology and Religion has announced with great pleasure that Professor Alister McGrath, currently Professor of Theology, Ministry and Education at King’s College London, and head of its Centre for Theology, Religion, and Culture has accepted the Andreas Idreos Professorship in Science and Religion at Oxford and will take up his new post on 1 April 2014.

McGrath is a distinguished scholar with expertise in a variety of fields whose works have been influential at both scholarly and popular levels. Having spent a significant portion of his academic life in Oxford, this move may not come as a big surprise. McGrath was Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford until 2008 when he took a professorship at King’s College London. Their loss is certainly Oxford’s gain. 

Esler Begins New Testament Professorship at @UniofGlos

I’m excited to pass along the news that Philip Esler is beginning his appointment as Portland Professor of New Testament at the University of Gloucestershire. Here’s the announcement from the Theoglos blog:

We are delighted to welcome the new Portland Professor of New Testament at the University of Gloucestershire following the (semi) retirement of the previous incumbent, Professor Andrew Lincoln.  Philip has pioneered the use of social sciences in biblical studies and has published extensively in this area. Philip’s interests are wide-ranging: he has also published a New Testament Theology and work on visual representations of biblical texts.  He was the inaugural Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and also currently serves on the Council of the Society of Biblical Literature. Philip’s appointment now means there are no less than six biblical scholars on staff at UoG.  Although the chair is primarily a research post, Philip has made it clear that he would like to teach undergraduates and will indeed be teaching our new first years on the Social World of the Old and New Testaments.

Professor Esler will be an excellent addition to the Gloucestershire faculty. Glad to have him on board.  Be sure to click through and find out more about the new program in Theology and Religious Studies at Gloucestershire Uni. 

Gordon McConville on "The Challenge of Being Human"

I was excited to learn last night that Professor Gordon McConville of my own University of Gloucestershire will deliver the annual lecture at the upcoming meeting of the Institute for Biblical Research (IBR) later this year. My own research is in the area of Pauline anthropology and the question of what it means to be human particularly with regard to embodiment; so I was also excited to find that Professor McConville will be delivering a paper entitled, “‘How like an angel!’: The Challenge of Being Human.” Here’s the abstract:
Hamlet’s take on Psalm 8:5 (Act 2 Sc. 2) highlights the contradiction between the enormous potential of human beings and their mortality, ‘this quintessence of dust’. A biblical theology of humanity also moves between these poles. Human destiny is written in the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus. But what does this leave to be said about human potential in a fallen world, and related concepts such as creativity, excellence, professionalism, and power? The lecture explores what the divine ascription of ‘goodness’ might mean for the human being’s sense of purpose in the world (Gen. 1:31). It finds its resources mainly but not exclusively in the Old Testament, and aims to make a contribution to Christian thinking on the subject. Key words in the approach taken are ‘embodiment’ and ‘engagement’. 
I had the chance to meet Professor McConville during a visit to the University last fall, and I found him to be very kind and personable. He is certainly a world-class scholar of the Old Testament, and I’m confident that he will deliver a very stimulating lecture. Other IBR sessions are on also on the topic of “Biblical Conceptions of Humanity: The Image of God.” So, if you are going to be at SBL, it looks like the IBR sessions will be well worth attending. 

Wesley Biblical Seminary Announces Full Ride for Majority World Pastors

If you know anyone serving as a pastor in a developing country, you may want to share this with them. Wesley Biblical Seminary is offering 50 full tuition scholarships to qualified Majority World pastors and church leaders. Here’s the announcement from the seminary

As part of its Great Commission calling, Wesley Biblical Seminary is pleased to announce a pilot program to extend biblical and theological education to 50 pastor/leaders living in the two-thirds world. The Seminary will begin this fall to offer qualified applicants a totally online Master of Arts in Christian Studies degree with full tuition scholarship.

Over next several years, WBS will partner with mission agencies and national churches to identify and admit 50 qualified pastors and Christian leaders to join the vibrant WBS online learning community. The first cohort of this group will begin in the fall 2013 semester.

Rev. Reuben Lang’at, Seminary alumnus and board member of World Gospel Mission says, “With Christianity’s center of gravity having shifted, the church in the global south is experiencing tremendous growth. Africa alone is said to be getting 23,000 converts every day. This growth comes with challenge of making sure that these converts are properly discipled. This can only happen if the pastors are themselves trained to do so. There is need for these pastors to receive good training from qualified, experienced professors such as the ones we have at Wesley Biblical Seminary.”

Persons accepted into this online degree program must be qualified in these ways:

  • Be living and serving in the majority world. (This degree is not offered to internationals living in the United States.)
  • Possess a credible bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.5 (solid B) average
  • Be recommended and sponsored by a recognized mission agency or church
  • Have access to a computer and consistent internet service
  • Be able to learn in English at the graduate level
  • Be able to buy and obtain the texts necessary
  • Be able to pay the non-tuition fees, such as the technology fee and graduation fees.

Our new global outreach will draw in majority world students who are serving effectively in their own nations and enable these Christian leaders to have a quality biblical and theological education. The Master of Arts in Christian Studies (50 hours) is the most flexible degree the Seminary offers, giving the student the option to choose more elective courses.

If you are interested personally or know someone who should study with WBS in this strategic Great Commission outreach, please contact the Seminary registrar at this email address: kluman@wbs.edu or contact us by phone at 601.366.888.

I’m excited to be affiliated with an institution that has this kind of global vision. If you know someone who might be interested in the program, be sure to pass this info along to them.