Monthly Archives: May 2014

Converts or Proselytes?

Prof. Andrew Walls

Prof. Andrew Walls

At the second Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative (LOI) consultation which will be held in Tirana, Albania in September 2014, the first main topic which will be addressed by participants will be our different understandings of the process of conversion or spiritual transformation. Exactly ten years ago three leading Evangelical scholars wrote on the topic of conversion in the highly respected International Bulletin of Missionary Research (IBMR).  In preparation for our consultation this year we are drawing your attention to these three articles.

Shortly we will be providing links to the articles by Richard Peace and Chris Wright but we start with a seminal article by Prof. Andrew Walls (former director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World at the University of Edinburgh) which you can access here.

Converts or Proselytes? The Crisis over Conversion in the Early Church

Let me also give a plug for the IBMR, an excellent mission studies journal published four times a year and available either in print or online. All back copies are also available online. More information at

Orthodox Missiologist appointed to key WCC post

SaucaProfessor Ioan Sauca of the Romanian Orthodox Church, and a key participant in the 2013 LOI consultation, has been appointed to a  very senior staff position in the World Council of Churches (WCC).

Fr. Ioan, who is currently director of the WCC’s Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, is the new WCC associate general secretary for ecumenical formation and education. Fr. Ioan has served in the past as director of Ecumenical Church Relations, Press and Communication, and Religious Education in his home church in Romania and also taught missiology and ecumenism at the Faculty of Theology in Sibiu, Romania. He was responsible for Orthodox Studies and Relationships in Mission in the WCC from 1994, and in 1998 was appointed lecturer at the Ecumenical Institute. A graduate of the Ecumenical Institute himself, he holds a PhD in missiology from the University of Birmingham in England. His main field of scholarship is systematic theology, with particular emphasis on issues of mission and spirituality.

LOI congratulate Fr. Ioan on his appointment.

Training new church leaders for Syria (and the rest of the Middle East)

to help Christian communities that are struggling to survive the current turmoil
in the Middle East.

??????????The Principal, Professor David Frost, writes: ‘This last month marked the first anniversary of the kidnapping of our close friend and Visiting Lecturer, the Orthodox bishop Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo, Syria, who with his fellow-bishop Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syrian Orthodox Church (pictured) were abducted while negotiating with an opposition group the release of hostages, and their driver shot. We don’t know if the bishops are alive or dead: but rather than wring our hands helplessly, we believe there is something we can do.

‘What these communities will desperately need is trained leaders to inspire present and future re-building. Through the generosity of Dr Sebastian Koga MD FRSA FRGS FRAS, the Institute can offer a scholarship by competition, with all costs met, to bring a native of either Iraq, or Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian territories, for three years’ study at the Institute for a doctorate of Anglia Ruskin University through the Cambridge Theological Federation. The expectation is that the successful candidate will return to his
or her community as a teacher and prospective leader.

‘We are now looking for further sponsors to join us in offering more awards. We hope also that, through the Cambridge Theological Federation, other Christian denominations will
be encouraged to establish similar training opportunities for those who will bring new life to their communities.’

Details of the Koga Scholarship are  available at Koga Scholarship and can also be found on the Institute’s website:

For further information, please contact: The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies,
Palamas House, 25-27 High Street, Chesterton, Cambridge CB4 1HD; telephone +44
(0)1223 741037, fax  +44 (0)1223 741370; email: