At Lutheran Theological Seminary (LTS) in Hong Kong on 18 and 19 November 2019 fourteen speakers from Asia, Europe, and the US offered presentations related to the theme for the conference. By contrast with conferences which usually call for the reading of long papers, presenters in groups of three were limited to fifteen minutes each to present their important points; followed by forty-five minutes of questions and answers for the three, as a panel.
At the request of CTS President, Rev. Dr. Stephen IP, Rev. Dr. Richard CARTER represented CTS. His presentation was titled “Unpacking Theological Education.” LTS staff helped to arrange for two suitcases; Dr. CARTER “unpacked” from one words related to “Theological” and from the other words related to “Education.” The purpose was to challenge each participant to recognise that they have ideas and assumptions which shape their work. Rev. Dr. WONG Chun Kuen (Hudson) [黃振權博士牧師], CTS Adjunct Professor, was in attendance, as were professors from LTS and a good number of theological students from Hong Kong, Myanmar and other countries.
The first presentation by Dr. Limuel EQUINA surveyed perceptions and realities for theological education across Asia. The last presentation surveyed the wide variety of technological options used by Bethel Bible Seminary in Hong Kong; the options are used in both regular classes on campus and for serving church leaders not coming to their campus. Dr. WEN Ge of Nanjing Theological Seminary carefully compared Paul’s teaching in Philippians with Confucian teaching on the unity of love and knowledge.
Several presentations emphasised the importance of shaping theological education to local cultures; not that the Good News of Jesus changes but that words and images used to present it must. Other presentations emphasised the challenge of seminaries and churches working together, including both classes and other options for church leaders. One presentation reported more than 3000 students using an online format. A persistent question was how churches and theological education cooperate in mission, in outreach. Such conferences give church leaders a good opportunity to reflect on their work, their strengths and places for amendment.