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Prof. Dr. Bill Anderson at Concordia’s partner university IHL, Germany

Posted on: Aug 13, 2014

Concordia’s Religious Department is reaching out in cooperation abroad. Exchange of people, ideas and cooperation in research is starting with the Internationale Hochschule Liebenzell, (university of applied sciences), in the Black Forest, Germany.  Here is the article written by Lucas Wehner, from the IHL:

From Friday, June 13, until Friday June 20, Dr. Bill Anderson, professor of religious studies and director of the Canadian Centre for Scholarship and the Christian Faith at Concordia University College of Alberta, visited Concordia’s partner university in the Black Forest, Internationale Hochschule Liebenzell (IHL), university of applied sciences.

IHL has been accredited by the German Council of Science and Humanities, and recognized by the State of Baden-Württemberg since 2011. Nowadays, IHL offers three undergraduate and two graduate degrees in the fields of Evangelical theology, education, social works, and systemic counseling. In all of the fields, faculty focuses on teaching intercultural aspects as IHL’s premise is: “Studying with a worldwide horizon.”

Under this premise, every year, IHL hosts the “Theological Days” which are three days where speakers are invited to speak about a central theme that is not necessarily connected to the curriculum of IHL students. Therefore, there always is much room for discussion and learning.

This year’s theme of the Theological Days was “The Gospel and the Religions.” IHL invited Prof. Revd. Dr. Bill Anderson as the keynote speaker during the conference. His lectures were entitled: “Ancient Near Eastern Religions and the Gospel,” “Postmodernism and the Gospel” and “Law and Gospel in Religion and Pop Culture”.

IHL Students, faculty and guests were intrigued by Bill Anderson’s style of presentation. He used zombie videos and death metal to illustrate how Western culture has become a thoughtless, hyperactive and meaningless culture where anybody can become a victim of its chaos. He repeatedly put the question to students: “Is it Biblical or Cultural?” and stated that Theology is not only propositional but also personal”. He encouraged the audience to think about how Jesus was aware and sensitive to his cultural context while being counter-culture in order to proclaim the Gospel.

Faculty and students enjoyed having Bill Anderson here very much. IHL dean for university partnerships and research co-operation, Prof. Dr. Harald Jung, and his colleague social works lecturer Esther Kenntner took Bill Anderson on a Heidelberg city tour. In addition, Bill Anderson and IHL director of the center for intercultural theology and religion, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Schuster,  attended the Christustag (= Day for Christ) with more than 21,000 people in the Mercedes-Benz-Stadium in Stuttgart where Christians from all over the world gathered to hear German and international speakers on theology and current topics in the Christian church. As the World Cup was going on, Bill Anderson also experienced what it looked like when IHL students, staff, and faculty cheered for the German soccer team. Next to a BBQ at IHL president Volker Gäckle’s home, Bill Anderson especially had many encounters with students who even went to cafes with sharing about his life and thoughts.

“Having Bill Anderson visit us was probably the biggest blessing for us during this academic year,” said Luke Wehner, Consultant of the Executive Committee at IHL, who was responsible for Bill Anderson’s visit, and attended several day trips with Bill Anderson. “It is not only that two universities, Concordia and IHL, have grown together through this visit, but more so that Bill and I have become great friends.”

Concordia University College of Alberta was IHL’s first international partner university, and both universities will continue to further their partnership, and more so friendships between their students, staff, and faculty. This upcoming fall, IHL will send their first three exchange students to Concordia for study abroad.


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Lucas Wehner and Dr Bill Anderson      Dr Anderson addressing the audience