Mission and Message
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
The Institute for the Study of Christian Origins was established in Tübingen, Germany in the early 1960s. Its purpose is to encourage and promote research in the earliest church and to apply that research to the church today. The Institute is sponsored by the European Evangelistic Society, and in the 70 years of its history, the mission of EES has not changed. It remains: To develop Christian leaders for significant service through higher learning. The vision of EES is that every nation has effective leaders of disciple-making movements making a global impact on their churches, cultures, and countries for Christ. This vision reflects the common mission priorities of Stone Campbell Movement churches for Christian unity that welcomes all to the Table and fulfills the last command of Jesus – “. . . as you are going, make disciples of all nations immersing them into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching obedience to all that I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Through the Institute for the Study of Christian Origins in Tübingen, Germany, EES is actively involved in promoting research and publication. This mission expresses itself in three primary areas of ministry:
- Preparing international leaders through advanced studies;
- Supporting scholars in research and publication of relevant articles, books, and other materials;
- Encouraging the establishment and development of churches, colleges, and agencies focused on evangelism and disciple-making.
In cooperation with the Protestant Faculty of the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, Germany, the Institute offers a weekly colloquium in New Testament, which provides a forum for doctoral students and visiting scholars to present work in progress, in English or German. The colloquium also regularly hosts guest lectures here in Tübingen. These colloquia and guest lectures encourage dialogue between scholars from all parts of the world, from different academic disciplines and Christian traditions, and from a variety of cultures and backgrounds.
The Institute also offers classes in Theological German and Theological English, also in cooperation with the Protestant Faculty. Both courses provide students with the chance to read and discuss theological texts, from Scripture and from a variety of Christian authors, past and present. Theological English is particularly helpful for students preparing for study abroad in England, Scotland, or elsewhere. Theological German offers international students an introduction to the German Bible and to German-speaking theologians.
During the past decade, the Institute has been able to sponsor, in partnership with theInstitut für antikes Judentum und hellenistische Religionsgeschichte (Prof. Dr. Michael Tilly), part of the Protestant Faculty here in Tübingen, and with the Protestant Faculty (Prof. Dr. L. T. Stuckenbruck) of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, two symposia with scholars from around the world: on the Septuagint (2009) and on “Make Disciples of all Nations” (2014). These meetings help to fulfill our mission to encourage study of early Christianity at the highest levels of scholarship. A third symposium (on the Lord’s Prayer) is planned for 2018.
Although EES does not work specifically in any one congregation, it seeks to promote the cause of reconciliation throughout the world by developing leaders who will demonstrate commitment to the idea of a faithful, growing church that exhibits true community, deep Christian spirituality, and a passion for justice. The work of EES through the Institute in Tübingen is truly a multi-cultural and international community. Since 2000, colloquium and symposium speakers have from Germany, Austria, France, Romania, Italy, Greece, Finland, Norway, Poland, Russia, Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, South Africa, Ethiopia, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. EES seeks to be an international witness for the Christian gospel in one of the most significant theological settings in the world. In keeping with the original vision of the European Evangelistic Society, the goal is to see churches thriving and flourishing throughout the world by equipping capable leaders to serve.
EES is characterized by a deep and abiding interest in the oneness of the Body of Christ. The original purpose of the organization was to effect a channel through which it might cooperate in accomplishing the divine mission transmitted to the Church through the New Testament, and that its fraternity in this cause should be recognized as a fellowship for advancing the Christian mission. That interest has not changed with the passing of 70 years of ministry. The European Evangelistic Society is one of the few ministries among Stone-Campbell churches that has historically sought to work among all three streams of the American expression of this ideal. For over half a century, the dream of a united Church, bound by its commitment to the New Testament as the revelation of God about the person of Jesus Christ, has been the unchanging focus of its mission.
Dr. Tony Twist, President of the EES