Stott-Bediako Forum is an annual event jointly organised by the International Fellowship for Mission as Transformation (INFEMIT) and Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS), United Kingdom. The 2014 Forum took place from the 15th to the 17th of October, 2014 in Anyang and Seoul, Korea, under the theme, ‘New Horizons in Mission Studies, II’. Hosted by Anyang First Presbyterian Church (Senior Pastor: Rev Dr Sung-wook Hong), and Torch-Trinity Graduate University (President: Dr David Sangbok Kim), this is the first meeting outside of Oxford.
The opening ceremony held at Anyang First Presbyterian Church featured Dr Las Newman as the plenary speaker. He provided the conference with context and located it within a specific history by recounting the legacies of conference namesakes John Stott and Kwame Bediako. Dr. Newman expounded upon these legacies in light of 2 Corinthians 12:6-10, teaching on the themes of biblical truth, the need for humility, and a plea for evangelical unity.
The second day began with a welcome and a devotion by Dr Jung-sook Lee, Vice President of TTGU. The first major paper was on contextualizing the gospel in the Philippine context by Dr Melba Maggay, President of Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture in Manila, Philippines. She noted many strengths and challenges that can be examined in the history of introducing Christianity to the Philippines. Dr. Maqsood Kamil (Pakistan) and Dr Eiko Takamizawa (Japan) both expounded on Dr. Maggay’s work by applying it to the histories of Christianity in Pakistan and Japan respectively.
The afternoon session at TTGU featured Dr. Al Tizon giving a picture of the current situation of Asian-American immigrant churches engaging in mission while also navigating cultural shifts within their own congregations. Dr. Tizon highlighted the many forces at work within Asian-American churches that can be barriers to a shared understanding of mission, and also offered bridges of communication between differing missional perspectives within the Asian-American church. BJ Jun (Korea) offered his insights from his experiences growing up in an Asian-American church in the United States, and Teddy Agbemenu (Ghana) reflected on African disaspora churches facing similar situations in South Korea.
During the second day of the conference, Wonsuk Ma (OCMS) was given the opportunity to bring the chapel message to the more than 350 students, faculty, and staff members of TTGU. Based on Christ’s highly priestly prayer (John 17), he pleaded for the restoration of a healthy view of the world in Christian life, mission and theology.
The third and final day of the Forum returned to Anyang City and was hosted by Anyang First Presbyterian Church. Bishop Joshua Banda (Zambia) presented his paper on his experiences as an advocate for HIV/AIDS policies in the international sphere. He expanded on the importance of allowing local leaders determine the policies to be enacted rather than having outside voices set the agenda. Dan Brewster of Compassion International added his voice to Bishop Banda’s call for an end to the current “sexual colonialism” currently taking place in Africa by certain Western governments.
The Forum was concluded with a banquet hosted by Dr Hong, also participated by Dr Younghoon Lee (Senior Pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church) and Dr Chungsuk Kim (Senior Pastor of Kwanglim Methodist Church). In total, around 50 people participated in the paper presentation sessions of the Forum.
The full presentations of the 2014 Stott-Bediako Forum are available here. The Forum studies from 2013 and 2014 will be published by Regnum Books of Oxford. Forum organizers from INFEMIT and OCMS are currently in the process of planning the 2015 Stott-Bediako Forum. Bethlehem is being considered for the 2015 Forum with religious extremism as a major mission agenda.
The annual Stott-Bediako Forums have been organised by Dr. Corneliu Constantineanu of INFEMIT and Dr. Wonsuk Ma of OCMS.