Theological education in the Majority World (MW) is growing fast. Churches are multiplying, and there is an urgent need for more trained teachers and pastors. There is also need for more teachers of teachers and pastors, especially teachers with biblical insight into the particular challenges of their local contexts.
The Langham International Research and Training Seminar was conceived in response to these needs. The Seminar is aimed at established teachers in MW seminaries. It encourages those who teach on doctoral programs to keep their own research and writing up to date, in order to be able to guide students working at the cutting-edge of their respective fields. The 12 participants who took part the first time the Seminar was run (2011-14) published 60 articles, chapters in books or books by the end of their 4-year program.
In June 2016, 10 participants of the second Langham International Research and Training Seminar met for their first, 4-week residency at Asbury Seminary in Kentucky, USA. Dr Ian Shaw explains what happened there: “The participants represented seminaries in Ethiopia, Brazil, India, Argentina, Nigeria, the Philippines, Romania, Singapore and Hong Kong, all of which have, or are about to have, a PhD program. The participating seminaries partnered with Langham by covering the travel and visa costs of their delegates. Asbury Seminary generously hosted the event, and members of their faculty took part in the training events.
Each participant is working towards publishing a book and two journal articles by the end of the 4-year program. But not just that ambitious end result is significant. The whole experience is significant: during the residency, members work and worship together as a scholarly community. They form a support network.
Each day starts with communal worship. There are many opportunities for fellowship, friendship and mutual pastoral care. When ten leading Christian teachers from such different cultures meet together in this way there are rich opportunities for transformational cross-cultural learning.” Two further residencies are planned, for 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The topics researched by participants in this Seminar are diverse: the NT teaching about persecution of Christians; coping with trauma, based on examples in the OT; looking at scarcity in the light of the abundance of God; responding as a Christian to secular culture in India today; finding lessons about human flourishing in the context of South-East Asia, based on the Book of Proverbs … all topics with great relevance for Christians today in the MW. By God’s grace, the Langham International Research and Training Seminar will bear generous fruit that strengthen theological studies in the MW.
By Ian Shaw, Associate Director Langham Scholars