GCOWE 97 Presidents and Academic Deans Declaration
Thursday, July 3, 1997
Two hundred and fifty Presidents and Academic Deans (PAD) representing
theological schools from 53 nations gathered at the Doxa Deo Church
in Pretoria, South Africa, July 1-3, 1997 to consider ways in
which the schools they lead can further the goal of "a church
for every people and the gospel for every person." Theological
educators have tremendous potential to bless, but also to damage
the church; to enhance but also to hinder the fulfillment of the
Out of the worship, plenary addresses, workshops, testimonies,
prayer, discussion, and informal fellowship the following ten
theses have emerged:
- The primacy of missiological concern for world evangelism
must be recognized and focused in the total curriculum of ministry
- Partnership at all levels and in multiple forms is essential
for reaching the unreached people of the world.
- Formal, non-formal and relational approaches to learning are
to be seen as complementary rather than competitive.
- The content of ministry training must uphold the uniqueness
of Jesus Christ and the necessity of personal faith in Him as
Lord and Saviour. This is especially imperative in the light of
the increasing pluralistic environment which has been brought
about by the resurgence of non-Christian religions hostile to
the advance of the gospel, by the erosion of historic Christianity
in the West, and by the increasing prevalence of secularism almost
- Ministry training must aim to produce practicing supernaturalists
who minister effectively in the power of the Holy Spirit, relying
on prayer and complete trust in the Word of God.
- Basic to all ministry training is spiritual and character
formation in the life of the student, in part facilitated by the
example of teacher.
- Approaches to ministry training must reflect concern for the
whole counsel of God wisely contextualized and sustainable by
local and national resources.
- Academic accreditation may serve to guarantee quality control
and encourage institutional effectiveness. At the same time it
should not be allowed to impede the spiritual and missiological
thrust of theological education. Every effort must be made to
assure that accrediting structures affirm and promote commitment
to world evangelization.
- Serious consideration should be given to the training of both
husband and wife for their mutual effectiveness in ministry, and
accessibility to ministry training broadened to include all who
can benefit from it.
- A permanent PAD track should be incorporated into the AD 2000
movement and another Consultation convened.
Looking to the future, we call upon college residents and Academic
Deans and commit ourselves to put the vision of "a church
for every people and the gospel for every person" at the
heart of ministry training. We resolve to explore together new
paradigm of partnership in theological education that training
schools share their distinctives and resources to accomplish the
goal of global evangelization. We shall continue to press the
claims of the kingdom as we move towards the consummation of history
and the coming of our Lord in the glory of God. HALLELUJAH , THE
LORD GOD ALMIGHTY REIGNS!
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