Reprinted from the Oikonomia Network.
Karam Forum 2021 met on January 5, and full videos of the event sessions are available below. It was a very different year for Karam Forum, especially because we had to meet digitally, but the Lord richly blessed our time. Our speakers challenged and inspired us with insights about the big opportunities for theological education in the coming generation – how our schools can play an indispensable role in helping the people of God life faithfully in the coming years. Conversations in Zoom rooms about how to seize this moment together were life-giving.
Karam Forum 2021 isn’t over – we are also holding a Global Session! Many schools in other parts of the world are well ahead on the road to reinventing theological education, and we in North America have much to learn by attending to their experiences. Mark your calendar today for January 20 or 21, depending on where you live, to join us! See the article in this month’s newsletter for details.
Digital “gathering” is no one’s ideal compared to the incarnational presence we were created to experience. In particular, our apologies go out to those who were affected by technical difficulties we encountered during Karam Forum. However, we remain grateful for the powerful presentations and catalytic conversations we were blessed with during Karam Forum 2021!
In our first session, two school presidents – Mark Labberton of Fuller Theological Seminary and John Nunes of Concordia College-New York – shared their vision for how Christian higher education can thrive in the coming century. A common theme across their talks was that the real, underlying issue challenging our schools is the long-term gap between the church’s real identity in Christ and the way it has chosen to live in contemporary culture. With the vision to reimagine Christian life in the advanced modern world, our schools can help lead the way as the church finds its bearings in a rapidly changing cultural and global environment.
In our second session, Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary and an interdisciplinary panel discussed how these challenges affect our understanding of our calling as theological scholars and educators. The traditional model of “moving from the Bible to life,” developing a theological knowledge base and then applying it, becomes dysfunctional if we do not also “move from life to the Bible,” allowing the contemporary cultural life of the church to play a more formative role in the agenda of theological learning. Understanding the church’s challenges in the world today is not a niche conversation for specialists in ethics or missiology; it’s at the core of good theological stewardship. Specific examples and practical steps faculty can take are part of the discussion.
As you can see in the second video, Karam Forum found a new way to maintain its ancient tradition of closing with the two hymns “This Is My Father’s World” and “We Have Heard the Joyful Sound (Jesus Saves!).” Finding new ways to carry traditions forward is, after all, at the heart of what we do. Enjoy, and we look forward to seeing you – in person, Lord willing – at the next Karam Forum!