"Some of us could wish that theology had received a little larger role in the program," said a Christianity Today editorial after the Amsterdam 86 conference of itinerant evangelists. That concern is being answered resoundingly at Amsterdam 2000. Theology and doctrinal training has dominated the first two days of the conference of preaching evangelists (broadened from the itinerant-emphasis conferences in 1983 and 1986 to include church-based evangelists and other missionaries). Though by midday Monday conferees were beginning to hear more practical advice on how to deliver an evangelistic sermon and invitation, almost all of the plenary sessions so far have aimed at making sure the attendees are preaching a biblical theology.Amsterdam 2000 organizers have also formed a theology task group of about 200 attendees. J.I. Packer, Professor of Theology at Regent College and a Christianity Today senior editor, is heading the task group."We must transcend the modern idea of theology as a cluster of separate disciplines to be studied by certain brainy people for educational purposes rather than as a resource for ministry," he told the group.Two other task groups, one for church leaders and another for evangelism strategists, are charged with similar duties for integrating evangelism into areas of congregational life. Representatives of the task groups are working on a statement to issue at the end of the conference. Beeson Divinity School dean Timothy George, a Christianity Today senior editor, is chairing the drafting committee. The statement is not expected to be as significant as other defining evangelical documents (like the Lausanne Covenant at the International Conference on World Evangelism in 1974). At a press conference, ...1
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