A Report of the JRTS-ATC Joint One Day Seminar
Date: January 29, 2019, Tuesday
Venue: Seminar Hall, Inter-Cultural Centre, ATC
Theme: Reformation, Then and Now: A Critique and Relevance
The following is a brief report of the JRTS-ATC Joint One Day Seminar which was held on January 29, 2019 at the Seminar Hall, Inter-Cultural Centre, Aizawl Theological College on the Theme: Reformation, Then and Now: A Critique and Relevance.
A. Aizawl Theological College
i. Faculty -
ii. Students -
B. John Roberts Theological Seminary
i. Faculty - 3
ii. Students - 7
C. Total Attendance -
1. Devotion and Welcome Address: The programme was started with a devotion led by Rev. Dr. Vanlalnghaka Ralte, Principal Aizawl Theological College based on the theme “Justice, and only Justice you shall pursue (Deut 16:18-20).” The Leader also welcomed the delegates to the One Day Seminar and distinguished personalities such as Rev. Dr. Zaihmingthanga (Professor of New Testament and former Principal of ATC), Rev. Dr. K. Lalrinkima (Administrative Secretary, i/c Theological Education, PCI, General Assembly), Rev. Dr. B.J. Syiemlieh (Principal, John Roberts Theological Seminary), Rev. Dr. H. Rymbai (Associate Professor, Department of Religion, JRTS) and Rev. Dr. S. Hayong (Associate Professor, Department of Theology, JRTS).
2. Key-Note Address: A Key-Note Address on the theme, “Reformation, Then and Now: A Critique and Relevance” was given by Rev. Dr. K. Lalrinkima (Administrative Secretary, i/c Theological Education, PCI, General Assembly). In his Key-Note Address, he mentioned some important points as follows:
i. The attempt to foster a stronger cooperation and partnership between the two colleges.
ii. To create a channel for closer relationship between the two institutions and exchange of resources.
After the devotion, there were four lively and academic deliberations and discussions on various topics that is related to the theme, “Reformation, Then and Now: A Critique and Relevance” they were divided into two sessions.
3. The First Session of the Seminar was moderated by Rev. Dr. B.J. Syiemlieh (Principal, John Roberts Theological Seminary). In this session, two papers were deliberated.
- Paper 1: The Doctrines of Reformation and Their Relevance Today: A Reference to the Context of the Presbyterian Church of Meghalaya- Rev. Dr. H. Rymbai (Associate Professor, Department of Religion, JRTS). In this paper the presenter argued that if the religious philosophy of Christianity is to move on and still be relevant, the church has to re-conceive its liberative and reformative approaches and perspectives to cater to the needs of the tradition and culture of the people. It has to interpret itself contextually, being one with the religion and culture of the people.
- Paper 2: Semper Reformanda: Ecclesia Structural Reformation in the Context of PCI- Dr. Lalnghakthuami, Professor of Christian Theology and Dean of Doctoral Studies, Aizawl Theological College). In this paper the presenter analysed the Hierarchical structure of the Church and how to address Church Hierarchy in the present context. She proposed that one should examine whether the church structure and its polity is theologically sound basing on the teaching of Jesus Christ. Like the reformers, the church today also must reform itself in the light of the teaching of Jesus Christ.
4. The Second Session was moderated by Rev. Dr. H. Vanlalruata (Dean of Graduate Studies, Aizawl Theological College). This session had two papers:
- Paper 3: Reimaging Reformation and its Relevance for the Church Today- Rev. Dr. S. Hayong (Associate Professor, Department of Theology, JRTS). In his introductory remarks, the presenter argued that this topic is a theological necessity that demands ardent response. According to the presenter, the church today has to discern the sign of time if its ministry is to become relevant in the contemporary society. He argued that the authority of the Scripture should not be taken precedence by the traditions of the church. The church should be praxis oriented and that the action should lead to transformation and be accommodative.
- Paper 4: Church and State Relationship as a Political factor for the Reformation and its Relevance for Christian’s Participation in Politics- Rev. Dr. H. Lalrinthanga (Associate Professor of History of Christianity and Dean of Post Graduate Studies, Aizawl Theological College). In this paper, the presenter divided the topic into two parts: The Church and State relationship in the history of Christianity and the second part deals with the relevance of the topic for the Christian’s participation in politics. The presenter argued that the relationship between the Church and State is the institutional form of the relationship between the religious and political spheres where some point of time the Church dominated the State and vice versa. Countering the fact that majority of Christians bifurcated the spiritual and worldly aspects of reality and existence, the presenter opined that Christians are citizens of the two kingdoms (both spiritual and worldly), therefore they have responsibilities in both.
5. Plenary Session: The last and final session was chaired by Rev. Dr. K. Lallawmzuala (Professor of Old Testament and Director, Calvin Study Centre, Aizawl Theological College). There were two agendas discussed in this session.
- The publication of the papers that were presented today, the 29th January 2019 on the theme, “Reformation, Then and Now: A Critique and Relevance”: There was a brief discussion in relation to the publication of the papers presented today, the 29th January 2019 on the theme, “Reformation, Then and Now: A Critique and Relevance” and it was resolved and entrusted to the Aizawl Theological College to publish these papers.
- Recommendations/ Suggestions to the PCI: In relation to the programs concerning the colleges both the Aizawl Theological College and John Roberts Theological Seminary in one accord resolved to suggest the PCI to take the initiative steps to arrange more programs in the future.
6. Vote of Thanks: The vote of thanks was proposed by Rev. Dr. L.H. Rawsea (Head of Department of New Testament, Aizawl Theological College) and a closing prayer and benediction was given by Rev. Dr. P.R. Hmuaka (Associate Professor, Department of New Testament).
- Rev. Davisley Lyndem
- Lalchuanvawra Hmar