Why Do The Nations Rage?

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The last few months have been interesting, to say the least. Some people claim that we have narrowly avoided a third world war. We are also witnessing the rather unique (or “historic”?) meeting between the governments of North Korea and South Korea. And finally, we are experiencing the never-ending tensions in the governments in the West: almost two months after its parliamentary elections, Italy still has no real government! And need we mention the social and ethical issues so hotly debated in our society?

And there are wars and rumors of war all around us.

Even Christians might be tempted to worry. What can we do in a world that is beset with all this political and social upheaval? What can we do, what can we say? What should we even believe? We could join the psalmist in crying out: “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? (Ps 2:1) It would be a start. But we can’t stop there. 

As disciples of Christ, we must be active witnesses to God’s promise: a kingdom is coming in which all tension, pain and opposition will disappear. This kingdom has already been ushered in. This is what we should dwell on!

The Psalm continues with encouraging words as the psalmist proclaims the reign of the Son of God, the promised Redeemer:

“I will issue the decree: the LORD said to me: You are my son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, and the ends of the earth your possession.”

This promise is fulfilled in Christ, who is our Redeemer, the One who will restore everything in him, including all nations. Our responsibility is to live as witnesses to the real citizenship that we have in Christ, to a hope that goes beyond the reality of the world in which we live.

Yannick Imbert
Director of the first cycle programs
Faculté Jean Calvin

Team Aix in 1979

 Standing: François GONIN, Pierre BERTHOUD, Paul WELLS, Peter JONES, Pierre COURTHIAL Seated: Jean-Marc DUMAS, Eugène BOYER, Pierre FILHOL (President), William EDGAR, Gérald BOYER

Standing: François GONIN, Pierre BERTHOUD, Paul WELLS, Peter JONES, Pierre COURTHIAL
Seated: Jean-Marc DUMAS, Eugène BOYER, Pierre FILHOL (President), William EDGAR, Gérald BOYER

In 1979, when Barbara and I arrived in Aix-en-Provence to teach at the Seminary, this was our team. Only six of us were full-time. There were possibly 40 students. But we were able to cover all the disciplines, plus organize a world-class choir. These were truly halcyon days, though the seas were hardly calm. ~ Bill Edgar

A Very Good Report

 Pierre-Sovann Chauny, Prof. of Systematic Theology

Pierre-Sovann Chauny, Prof. of Systematic Theology

My first year of teaching at the Faculté Jean Calvin has come to an end so it’s time to take stock. (written mid-2017)

I’m glad to be able to give a very positive report. I’ve enjoyed a very good working relationship with my fellow professors, the administrative team and the students, even better than I’d hoped for. In my roles as secretary for professors’ meetings and treasurer of the Editions Kerygma (the Faculté publishing house), I have learned a great deal about the way things work here, but it’s the teaching I’ve found the most rewarding.

I enjoyed the work of preparing two public lectures, one for the symposium in December 2016 on the Lausanne movement and one for the theological conference in February 2017 on faith and works. Most of my time, however, has been devoted to preparing the three new courses I teach. During the first few classes I realized I had more material than was needed and made the necessary adjustments, adopting a slower pace and taking more time to answer questions. This is something I plan to work hard at in the coming years, allowing more time for each topic and encouraging more interaction with the students.

This past year we covered the doctrines of the person and work of Christ, salvation, predestination, the works of God, man, and sin. I gave the students various types of assignments and found they came up with noticeably better results in the second semester. I will continue to look for creative pedagogical methods to help my students make progress.

Finally, I am grateful to the Lord for such a good year, and would like to thank the administrative team, the professors and the students, as they have all helped me settle in! I hope that in God’s grace next year will be as good—if not better!

Pierre-Sovann Chauny, Professor of Systematic Theology

Faculté Jean Calvin's 2017 Faculty Team

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From left to right:

Kim TRAN, Director
Michel JOHNER, Professor of History, Ethics and the Dean
Paul GIRAUD, Accountant, Choir Director
Aguy KHAYIGUIAN, Academic Assistant, Head of Recruitment
Yannick IMBERT, Professor of Apologetics, History
Mikaël DELUCA, Associate Professor of Hebrew, Head of Distance/e-Learning
Rodrigo DESOUSA, Professor of Old Testament, Hebrew
Donald COBB, Professor of New Testament, Greek
Jean Philippe BRU, Professor of Practical Theology
Gert KWAKKEL, Professor of Old Testament, Hebrew
Pierre-Sovann CHAUNY, Professor of Systematic Theology (not in photo)

Who Is Jean-Philippe Bru?

            Jean-Philippe and Dana Bru

           Jean-Philippe and Dana Bru

      Jean-Philippe Bru is the current occupant of the James Montgomery Boice Chair of Practical Theology at the Faculté Jean Calvin, the Reformed seminary in Aix-en-Provence, France.

      The Rev. Bru was born near Bordeaux in 1965, but grew up in Nîmes, a major center of Protestantism in France. His family embraced the evangelical faith in the 1970s. After high school, Jean-Philippe attended the Seminary in Aix for a year. He then trained as a missionary in the Baptist Church, and was sent as a church-planter to Rumania. There he met his lovely wife, Dana. Together they returned to Aix so that Jean-Philippe could complete his studies. Dana is a scholar in her own right, an expert on European literature.

      After receiving the Masters degree at Aix, the Brus accepted a call to help with a church-planting effort in Lyon, alongside Francis Foucachon, another graduate from Aix. After six years in that work, the Brus were called to do evangelism in Saint-Girons, a town at the foothills of the Pyrénées, the mountain range bordering on Spain. He has also been a regular translator for Editions Excelsis, the largest evangelical publishing house in France. Jean-Philippe was ordained in the year 2007 in the Evangelical Reformed Church.

      Here is how Jean-Philippe describes his sense of call to the Seminary at Aix: “If I accepted the position of professor-coordinator of practical theology, it is of course because I have always been drawn to teaching, but it is especially because I have become more and more aware that pastors needed, in addition to their formal training, to be able to reflect theologically about their practice and to enlarge their toolbox in order better to face the challenges of their ministry.” Jean-Philippe believes the Faculté Jean Calvin is the right place to carry this out.