The preparations in the run-up to the Congress of Asian Theologians (CATS) – IX have nearly come to a conclusion, as the Asian theologians’ summit is set to commence on 5 August 2019, in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia.
Initiated by the Christian Conference of Asia in 1997, CATS is the largest pan-Asian theological summit that brings together Asian and Asian Diaspora theologians every three years to deliberate upon innovative and refreshing approaches towards doing theology in the context of a rapidly-changing Asia.
CATS-IX will focus on the theme, ‘Reconciliation, Renewal, and Restoration: Divine Indicative and Human Imperative’.
Eminent Asian theologians will deliver presentations on the main theme and subthemes. ‘Reconciliation: Towards the Harmony of Creation’, ‘Renewal: Towards the Fullness of Life’, and ‘Restoration: Towards the Will of God’ are the subthemes of the CATS-IX, which will be attended by 120 theologians.
Explaining the significance of a major event like CATS, the General Secretary of CCA, Dr Mathews George Chunakara said, “CATS- IX will address vital concerns and emerging challenges pertinent to Asian realities, and it will convey profound theological visions of divine indicative and human imperative on reconciliation, renewal, and restoration of God’s creation.”
The CCA General Secretary further added, “The Pan-Asian theologians’ summit will not be a mere academic exercise, but it will be an opportunity and experience for Asian theologians to ponder together in search of the relevance of the Gospel in need of being reconciled with God in Christ, and to participate in God’s mission where the new Being in Christ can be a way of renewal and restoration of God’s creation, as well as affirming the fullness of life.”
Issues and themes addressed in various workshop sessions will include topics such as the ethics of sustainability of creation; the healing of broken relationships among people and nations; the restoration of the dignity and rights of the stateless, trafficked, and marginalised; and the ecumenical prioritisation of eco-ethics in an era of post-humanism.
CATS-IX will also place specific emphasis on addressing the theme from interfaith standpoints. A panel of religious leaders from Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity will examine ‘the theological undergirding of reconciliation, renewal, and restoration of creation’ from their respective religious perspectives, especially at a time when Asia is witnessing heightened levels of religious intolerance throughout communities.
The women theologians at CATS- IX will have a special session to discuss their insights and initiatives on ‘women doing pastoral ministry and theology’.
Keluarga Besar Gereja Bethel Indonesia (GBI) Medan Plaza will be the host for CATS-IX.