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Word becoming flesh

A PC(USA) mission letter from England

December 9, 2013

The Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS), where Tom serves as academic dean, is known for its engaged, relevant and practical research that brings Word and life together through research to transform individuals, communities and nations. 

And the Word became flesh…

OCMS student Munther Isaac is dean of the Bethlehem Bible College in Israel/Palestine. Gunther is a Palestinian Christian. His family goes back 10 generations in Bethlehem. His thesis, “God's Rule in God's Land: The Fulfilment of Land Theology in Kingdom Theology, with a special reference to the Palestinian church,” is controversial not only in Bethlehem but globally.

Munther arrived at OCMS bent on writing an angry polemic that would give voice to the frustration and injustice felt by Palestinian Christians. Transforming his passion into a carefully crafted thesis wasn’t easy, but after several revisions, Munther has produced a powerful, nuanced, balanced, and provocative thesis.

At OCMS Munther has been introduced to key international Christian leaders who in turn have brought him into dialogue with Jewish Christian leaders. Munther is now at the forefront of dialogue between Jewish and Palestinian Christians working for justice, peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land. In Munther one sees the Word of God made flesh.

and dwelt among us…

OCMS student Maqsood Kamil is executive secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan. In Pakistan, Christians have faced violent persecution, most recently in Peshawar.

Rather than fight violence with violence, the churches under Maqsood’s guidance have reached out to Muslims in Pakistan. “We are called to emulate Christ in service to God and humanity,” Maqsood noted. “We Pakistani Presbyterians are placed by God to demonstrate his love to 170 million Pakistanis, out of which 95 percent are Muslims.” 

Maqsood's research seeks ways to overcome violence through love and service. In Maqsood we see the Word who dwells amongst us.

and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…

In August, 104 scholars converged on OCMS. Forty-six Christian, Liberal, New Left and New Confucian scholars from China joined scholars from around the globe to discuss Christianity and current ideological trends in China.

The climax of the conference was the historic drafting and signing of the “Oxford Consensus 2013” at OCMS.  This historic agreement committed the Chinese delegation to work together to overcome any hostility between them and to jointly address the challenges facing China with tolerance and deeper appreciation of each other’s points of view.

The conference served notice that Christian and secular scholars can work together to serve civil society. Read an article about the conference.  

At OCMS we can see grace and truth at work building consensus for the good of people and nations globally.  

The Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS) has been training global church leaders, scholars, and missionaries working in complex and diverse contexts around the globe since 1983. OCMS has a major influence with global Christian ministries and leaders throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America. As academic dean Tom Harvey oversees the academic program and works with the executive director Wonsuk Ma to build global relationships.  

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