Ethics, theology topic of international symposium
DELEGATES TO THE International Theology and Ethics Symposium represented 17 different countries.
BY MAJOR TIM FOLEY –
Recently, 52 Salvationists from around the world gathered at the William and Catherine Booth College in Winnipeg, Manitoba for the historic International Theology and Ethics Symposium. This was the first of its kind ever to occur in the history of The Salvation Army.
The theme was “Salvationist Theology and Ethics for the New Millennium.”
Delegates were privileged to listen to a keynote address by world-renowned author and speaker Miroslav Volf, professor of Systematic Theology from Yale Divinity School. Volf is the author of the award-winning book, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness and Reconciliation, which explores the issue of loving our enemies.
He spoke on “The Trinitarian Mission of the Church” and how that relates to The Salvation Army’s mission in today’s post-modern society.
Western Territory Chief Secretary Colonel Phil Needham was a presenter and submitted a paper on the “Kingdom of the Risen Lord in a World Searching for a Future.”
The symposium’s theme related to the ways in which the Trinitarian gospel affects the church and society.
Soldiers and officers presented papers following the symposium’s theme. The format included a “presenter,” who read their paper, followed by a written “response” by a pre-selected delegate given to either debate or affirm what had just been presented.
Dr. James Read, executive director of the Army’s Ethics Center, chaired an open forum discussion following the presentations.
Some of the papers presented included “Ecology in a Damaged World,” “Human Dignity in an Oppressive World,” “Jesus the Son in a Pluralistic World,” “Christian Community in a Fragmented World,” “Holiness in a World of Changing Values.”
After all had been presented, delegates divided into four focus groups to discuss what had been presented and to make specific recommendations to the Doctrine Council regarding theological and ethical matters facing The Salvation Army worldwide.
On Sunday morning, delegates were led in worship by the Chief of the Staff, Commissioner John Larsson. Larsson presented a paper later in the day on the subject of “Salvationist Theology and Ethics for the New Millennium.”
All papers presented will be available in upcoming issues of Word and Deed, a theological journal published by national headquarters.