Latest Issue of Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology available

Evangelical Association of the Caribbean serves as the on-line home for the Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology. CJET is the academic journal of Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association, Jamaica Theological Seminary and Caribbean Graduate School of Theology. I am very pleased to announce that Volume 16 (2017) is now available for here for free download in PDF.

Vol. 16 (2017) Table of Contents

Julie-Ann Dowding, “1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 As A Caribbean Response To The Homosexual Agenda,” Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology 16 (2016): 1-26.

Zifus James, “The Reception of the Sermon on The Mount in a Caribbean Context: Matthew 5:4,” Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology 16 (2016): 29-51.

Teddy Jones, “A Caribbean Theology of the Environment (Part 2),” Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology 16 (2016): 52-80.

Paul Hemmings, “The Relevance of Systematic Theology For Ministry in the Caribbean,” Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology 16 (2016): 81-98.

Dionne Lindo-Witter, “Book Review: Biblical Exegesis In The Apostolic Period (Richard N Longenecker),” Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology 16 (2016): 99-104.

Andre Scarlett, “A Theodicy Concerning Caribbean Slavery: Towards A Theology Of Black Identity (Part 1),” Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology 16 (2016): 105-131.

Delano V. Palmer, “Romans 7 Once Again,” Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology 16 (2016): 132-164.

Click here to visit the volume 16 download page and explore the contents of the earlier volumes.

Christians in Academia

Below is a series of videos produced by the Forum of Christian Leaders (FOCL) intended to equip Christians entering the world of Academia. They should prove of great interest to anyone considering or who has already begun an academic course in Theology.

Why should a Christian pursue an academic career? Daryl McCarthy. For more information, see here.

Embracing our Calling to the Academy. Daryl McCarthy. For more information, see here.

“Scholarship is a holy calling. Scholarship has played a critical role in the development and expansion of the world Christian movement over the centuries. So it is critical that as Christian educators we do our work with hearts aflame with worship, minds guided by Christ’s lordship, hands ready to serve, all in our effort to glorify God through our teaching and scholarship.”

Christians in Higher Education: Living Worthy of the Calling. Dirk Jongkind. For more information, see here.

“Every profession possesses its own particular dangers and offers its own specific opportunities for service. Those of us who are living and working in the Academy are faced with a specific set of challenges. In this talk, we take a step back and look at the ideals and dreams the Academy offers. What is the University at its best, what is it at its worst, and do we really have to sell our soul to succeed? And what about our role in the body of Christ and in the grand project of world missions?”

Serving Christ in Academia. Daniel Hill. For more information, see here.

“How should our Christian faith influence our academic endeavours? In particular, what should our motivation for doing academic work be, as Christians? How should we do our academic work? How should we choose among the various options available to us in administration, teaching, and research? And what does our faith have to say about the content of our administration, teaching, and research? In this talk, we try to apply the Bible’s teaching to answer these questions.”

Theology on the Web: 2016 and Beyond

Theology on the Web

I launched my personal website in 1997 and my first Theology on the Web ministry website in 2001, so I guess that makes me somewhat of an Internet veteran. The Web has developed a great deal over the last 18 years and is now changing at an exponential rate. While it is impossible to know with certainty what the future holds, here are my predictions (or best guesses) for 2016, based on my own experience and observations.

A Further Growth in Mobile Access

April 2015 saw Google change its search algorithm to favour those websites that are accessible on mobile devices. This is hardly surprising, as the majority of new users of the Internet (particularly those in Africa) will be browsing using their phones. So, if you want to keep your ranking in the Search Engines, you will have no choice other than to make sure that your website is Mobile Friendly. If you are not sure if your website is mobile compliant, then Google offers a very helpful tool which you can use to find out.

A Decline in Free Services

The Internet is in a state of rapid transition from a time when many of the services and software offered were free, towards a paid or pay-per-view model. The reasons for this are many, but within my own field of Christian not-for-profit work I put this change down to:

  • A decline in donations to Web ministries since the start of the last recession, which has not yet been reversed.
  • A fall in income from advertising as visitors are increasingly choosing not to click on ads or are using software to block them.

An Increased Demand for Online Theological Journals

Many countries are now beginning to insist that Christian ministers get a recognised qualification before being allowed to lead a legally registered church. I know that this is happening in countries in Africa and I expect that this trend will continue. Governments will not be funding this training, obviously, but many churches will be unable to pay for it either. So, these new students will turn to the Web for free access to theological journals and articles to help them with their courses.

Restricted Access to Theological Journals

There has been a steady acquisition of independent theological journals by the large theological databases, which then restrict access to subscribing academic institutions. While these databases are offered on discounted terms to institutions in the Two-Thirds World, users still need to be registered at those institutions in order to access them. It does not take too much imagination to see how difficult it would be for Christian ministers to do this in countries where Christianity is actively being suppressed.

An Increase in Confessional Websites

There has been (and will increasing be, I predict), a growth in sites offering a subset of Evangelical Christian theology that agrees with a particular Confessional stance. Such sites are often closed (access only to subscribers) and offer students access to a pre-approved set of books and journal articles (with no off-site resources linked).

Why would an educational organisation want to do this?

  • It may be easier to get permission for some material if access is restricted.
  • It is easier to get funding from a particular denomination or confessional grouping if it can be demonstrated that students are being provided only with material that supports that denomination’s doctrinal position.
  • It arises from the concern that exposing students to differing theological views will lead them into doctrinal error.

My own view is that theological education should seek to expose students to a wide range of opinions and give them the tools they need to discern for themselves which of these aligns most closely with Scripture. It is necessary to know both what you believe and also know the opposing view well enough to explain why it is wrong. This cannot be done simply by reading about opposing views second-hand. That is the broader model of theological education within evangelicalism that Theology on the Web is committed to, but in making this commitment I fully realise that I am going against the general trend.

What Do I Hope to See in 2016?

I look forward in 2016 to see the upward trend in visitor numbers and the amount of material downloaded to continue. I am also hoping to find more theological journals to host on the websites. It is always wonderful to get permission to place online a journal that has been out of print for some time, so that its resources can be used anew. I also want to provide a platform for new journals to start, or, like the Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology, give out-of-print print journals a chance to move to e-publication. With my new Webserver in place I look forward to the New Year with a sense of expectation and excitement.

What do You Think?

Do you agree with my assessment? What turns do you think the Internet will take next year? Join me in the comments below.

Every Blessing for Christmas and the New Year!