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Chris Vonck

Chris Vonck

E-mail:
GSM: +32 (0) 495 341 485

Born

March 21, 1940, Antwerp. Belgium.

Education

Institut Biblique Européen, Paris - France. 1957 - 1960.

Linguistics (SIL), London - UK. 1958

Seminario Teologica Baptista, Lisboa - Portugal. 1960 - 1961.

Protestant Theological Faculty, Brussels - Belgium. 1969 - 1970.

Southern University, USA. 1977. PhD. thesis 'The Philosophy of Inmates based on the Theology of K. Barth & R. Otto'.

Ordination: United Protestant Church (UPCB), Genk, January 7, 1979.

Ordination: SBC, Phoenix, Arizona, August 24, 1980.

H.Dr. Parthasarathy Cultural Academy, Madras 1985.

My inspiration

My first study period happened to be at the European Bible Institute in Paris in 1957. Much too young for a serious (academic) study! So, they accepted me as a first year student to study the French or English language. But the language teacher told the Examination Board that I belonged to the Dutch tongue and therefore was allowed the full course. Lucky me!

Bible Institute is Bible. When (trying!) reading Albert Schweitzer's thesis on the life of Jesus (Geschichte der Leben-Jesu-Forschung) I became very curious.

I was permitted by the Dean to visit other religious groups and movements in Paris: a small Buddhist temple, the Mosque, the Synagogue. It was also the time in which J.P. Sartre was the figure head. As students of the Bible, or as believers, some of us tried to observe what the students of philosophy (at the Sorbonne) had to tell us. In those days, most of us believed they had not much to offer. We had our domain (truth) and the others theirs. Their was an attitude of religious exclusivism which denied truth claims in other 'traditions'. Back at home and doing military service, a correspondence started with C. J. Bleeker (Amsterdam). In later years Bleeker advised me to contact R. Boeke (Rotterdam) and thanks to him a link was made with M. Braybrooke (Oxford), and N. Smart (Lancaster). And in that way, I became to understand what Mary Baker Eddy (Boston) took as the main inspiration of life: "To injure no man, but to bless all mankind".

Present functions

Namens de VPKB redactielid van TussenRuimte (oecumenisch kwartaaltijdschrift voor interculturele theologie).

Founder and Secretary of World Congress of Faiths Belgium, (WCF) Inc.

Rector of the Faculty for Comparative Study of Religions, Inc. (FVG).

Professor of Philosophical Theology and Psychology.

Founding Member of the Philosophical Workgroup S. Kierkegaard.

Editor Acta Comparanda.

Lecturer 'Introduction Christianity' Free University Brussels (VUB), Faculty LW, 2007+.

Member of the Board of "The European Observatory of Religion and Laicity" www.observatoire-religion.com

Member of the Board of Europe of Cultures Forum www.europeofcultures.eu.

Lid Beschermcomité 'Dwaallicht Prijs'

Past functions

Teacher Protestant Religion (Antwerp), 1961-1963

Assistant Chaplain - Belgian Armed Forces, based in Germany, 1962-1963

Founder & Director of the Protestant Youth Service Op Vrije Voeten, Inc., 1962-1979

Editor of the Journal Op Vrije Voeten

Administrator of the Flemish Periodical Press Association. 1967-1976

Director of International Christian Youth Exchange (ICYE) WCC-Berlin/Genève 1969-1976

National Correspondent of Ecumenical Youth Council Europe - WCC, Genève 1976-1977

National Director Belgium Youth for Christ (YFC), 1964-1975

Treasurer Youth for Christ International Europe, Genève 1968-1971

Youth Minister of the European Gospel Mission (EEZ), Zeist 1968-1973

Founder of the Belgian-Surinam Committee, Inc. 1975-1994

Administrator of the Schola Paramedicorum. Antwerp 1981-1988

Chaplain of the Prison System (UPCB) 1976-1982

Chaplain for Migrant Workers (UPCB) 1979-1985

Delegate Commissie Christendom en Islam (UPCB) Journées d'Arras 1998 Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham, U.K.

Delegate Commissie Christendom en Islam (UPCB) Journées d'Arras 1999 Bischöfliches Priesterseminar, Münster, D.

Member of the Patronizing Committee - Jurisdiction of Antwerp. 1989-1995

Awards

Certificate of Appreciation - Ecumenical Research Association, Inc., CA. USA 1981

Tribute of Appreciation for Exemplary Services to American citizens in the Antwerp Consular District. The Department of State of the United States of Amarica. 1982

The Rubens Medal of Rotary Ring Antwerp. 1992

Fellow of the Order of the Gueux, Belgium 1992

Certificate of Appreciation World Sikh University, London 1997

Ambassador for Peace. IIFWP 2001. Prague

Past / Present

Visiting lecturer

Columbia University (S. Carolina, USA)

Union of Arab Historians (Baghdad, Iraq)

Ferdowsy University (Mashhad, Iran),

Silpakorn University (Bangkok, Thailand).

Some Lectures & Conferences

  • UG - Godsdiensten in verandering - "De uitdaging van de wereldraad van Kerken".
  • Rotary Lectures - "Godsdiensten vergelijken, kan dat?" Antwerpen/Genk during many years.
  • Silpakorn University, Bangkok - "In which way Compare Religions?".
  • De Prinsen - "Reformatie in de wereldgodsdiensten" - Kapellen.
  • Union of Arab Historians, Baghdad - "Western Media and conflicts in the Middle East".
  • Provinciale Vereniging van Vrijzinnige Protestanten Zeeland - "Verdraagzaamheid - een hedendaagse illusie" - Middelburg
  • UPF - Abudja, Nigeria "Complexity in Tolerance and Interfaith Peacebuilding".
  • Office of the Commission General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS-Belgium) "Reflections on Islamic Scholars vis-a-vis Iranian Refugees"
  • Festival Twiza - Tanger, Marocco "Christian (Western) Governments and their impact on so called Islamic Governments based on the Gospel according to Matthew 22:37-40".
  • Delegate  ‘Dialogue and Its Role in Defending Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Conference’. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ministry of Higher Education – al-imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University – Riyadh. 
  • Delegate UK Centenary 1913-2013 Ahmadiyya Muslim Community at Guildhall, London.
  • Táhirih-lezing  2007: "Overeenkomsten tussen verschillende religies en wat er aan te doen valt om bruggen te slaan". Bahai Nederland.
  • Ministry of Awqaf & Religious Affairs - Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. November 16th  2014: "Reflecting Understanding Coextistence".
  • Panel member "University Presidents Forum - Buddhist studies" Taiwan October 2016.

Articles

Academic

Divinatie bij Luba Vrijzinnig Vizier, NL 1994

Protestantisme in Vlaanderen / Waarom vergelijken onmogelijk is. ActUA, 1995

The possible relationship between religious art and religious truth Acta Comparanda VII 1996

Overdenking bij het overlijden van Michel Oukhow Acta Comparanda IX 1998

De mens en zijn Umwelt Acta Comparanda X 1999

The Craddle of the Christian Faith Acta Compananda XII 2001

Reflectie bij Tibet-bibliotheek Prof. Detlef I. Lauf VEMA - Etn. Museum 2004

Reflection on Sacred Books - The Ecyclopaedia of the Qur'an Acta Comparanda XV 2005

In balans of de gevoelige zoektocht naar evenwicht - christendom. Antenne (Unie Vrijzinnige Verenigingen vzw); september 2009.

"Baas in eigen buik: een Protestants standpunt" in Hier staan we voor! Levensbeschouwingen over cruciale ethisch-maatschappelijke thema's (Reeks Sociale Wetenschappen - Kruispunten, nr. 3)   HoGent. Garant Uitg. 2014.

Church Related

De Open Deur (Nl), Vrijzinnig Vizier (Nl), Op Vrije Voeten (B.) & Kerk en Leven (B).

Voor hen die buiten staan... Reflectie over de Kerken uit de Reformatie. Pro Petri Sede, 3 - 2003.

2009: Het Paulusjaar, het Calvijnjaar. Pro Petri Sede, 3 - 2008.