Imagine the strange sight: a huge and formidable fortress, neo-gothic in style and set in a beautiful park, which was the Jesuit embassy of learning at Louvain, Belgium’s distinguished Catholic university, and is now the property of an evangelical theological seminary! The Belgian Bible Institute, faced with an exceptional growth in number of students, after an odyssey of searching for more room was given the chance to buy these large and lofty premises. The battle of prayer for funds to complete the contract and to re-equip the house is still going on.
In early September this extraordinary place formed the setting for the first European Conference of Evangelical Theologians. Although all other continents have had their associations of evangelical theologians for some time, because of language differences and other reasons such a thing seemed unlikely to come about in Europe.
The conference was another offspring of that quickening event for evangelicalism, the 1974 Lausanne Congress. It was planned for almost two years, under the inspiring leadership of John Stott. Ninety evangelical theologians from seventeen European countries, including a few from some Socialist countries, met for five days under the theme “The Kingdom of God and Modern Man.” Paper writers had been assigned to deal with several aspects of the doctrine of the Kingdom, including the Kingdom and ethics, the Kingdom and the Church, the Kingdom and society, and the Kingdom and the future.
The fascinating and surprising element in the papers read to the conference was not so much the particular treatments of the subjects but the very different conceptions of the Kingdom itself emanating from them. One speaker would understand God’s Kingdom ...1
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