Saturday, March 3, 2007

NABIS conference

NABIS Zonal Conference Communiqué
23 February 2007


The National Association of Biblical Studies (NABIS) conducted its maiden Northern Zonal Conference at the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria Conference Centre, Jos, on 22-23 February 2007. Given the context of the upcoming Nigerian elections, the theme of the conference was “Biblical Understanding of Politics and Leadership.” There were a total of 84 persons who participated in the conference, representing 22 educational institutions from 7 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

1. Themes and Deliberations

The conference examined Christian principles which are based upon sound Biblical exegesis. These were taken from both the didactic and narrative passages of Scripture. The papers of the conference focused on two major themes:

1.1 Democracy
1.1.1. Democracy is not the only type of governance illustrated in the Bible but is the current polity in Nigeria and therefore deserves our special attention.
1.1.2. Nigerian culture and traditions imply that the Nigerian version of democracy may look different from democracy practiced elsewhere in the world.
1.1.3. Democracy is the best way to protect minorities and provide a check on excesses of those who govern. It also provides a context of freedom for all citizens and especially the poor and oppressed.
1.2. Leadership. (Important Characteristics)
1.2.1. Righteousness. The fundamental characteristic of all government must be righteousness, which involves a strong focus on right and wrong. It also protects and provides equal rights to all citizens in the society.
1.2.2. Involvement. Christians must resist the temptation to think politics and governance are “dirty.” We must be fully involved in the political process.
1.2.3. Integrity. Christian politicians must be characterized by moral integrity.
1.2.4. Selflessness. Governance must not be seen as a means of personal enrichment but a means of serving the community.
1.2.5. Compassion. One of the basic responsibilities of political leaders is to take care of the weak and helpless in society.
1.2.6. Accountability. Politicians are accountable to those who placed them in their offices. Christian politicians have a special accountability to their spiritual leaders.
1.2.7. Christlikeness. The example and teachings of Jesus provide the ideal model for leadership and governance.

2. Observations

2.1 The conference recognizes that we Christians have often failed in our responsibility of providing righteous leadership and accountability in governance.
2.2 The conference acknowledges the need for greater participation in governance. Christians can no longer be silent or absent from governance.

3. Recommendations

3.1 The conference calls for Nigeria Christian leaders to identify and support honorable Christians as they seek public office. They must also provide encouragement and demand accountability of them whenever they reach public office.
3.2 The conference calls on theologians and teachers of the Bible to focus more research on Biblical teachings on democracy, leadership, and governance.
3.3 The conference calls political leaders to submit to the Lordship of Christ as servant-leaders and demonstrate exemplary obedience to God. Examples speak louder than words.


We are grateful to God Almighty for making this conference successful and giving us a chance to reflect on these topics that are vital and relevant.

Dr. J. D. Gwamna Zonal Co-ordinator
Rev. A. Gava Zonal Secretary

Registration for the conference - this photo speaks for itself.

We were pleased with an excellent turnout for this conference. And the power supply was also good during the days when we were meeting - we had electricity almost the entire time of the conference.

Danny McCain, our colleague in the Department of Religious Studies of Unijos and the founder of IICS, was asked to give the lead paper forthe conference, "Biblical Models for Leadership." As you will note, IICS was well represented at this conference.

Wendy presented a paper giving a word study of the Greek New Testament term for authority (exousia).

After the lead papers and after each series of shorter papers there was ample opportunity for questions and discussion. We enjoyed good interaction on the topics presented.

Yoila Yilpet, teaching Old Testament in the Department of Religious Studies of Unijos, an IICS colleague, presented the third major paper of the conference, "Biblical Principles of Political Partipation."

Our capable chairman of the conference, Dogara Gwamna (left), also of the Department of Religious Studies of Unijos, in conversation with Isaiah Hinkon. Gwamna is the zonal coordinator for the Northern Zone, our region within the Nigerian Association of Biblical Studies (NABIS).

Layne Turner (left) in conversation with Dauda Gava. Layne is the latest member of the IICS team to arrive in Nigeria; he teaches Biblical Studies at the Federal College of Education in Kafanchan. Dauda teaches New Testament Greek at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria and is a doctoral candidate in New Testament at Unijos.

Rudy Wiebe of the Federal College of Education in Pankshin, another IICS colleague, presented a paper in one of the final sessions. His topic: "Revealing God's Glory through Servanthood (Isaiah 58.6-14)."

1 comment:

david santos said...

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