The Trinity Theological Seminary of Ghana has conferred on the Very Reverend Professor John David Kwabena Ekem, an ordained Minister of the Methodist Church, the Kwasi Dickson and Gilbert Ansre Distinguished Professorial Chair in Biblical Exegesis and Mother-Tongue Hermeneutics.
The occasion, which was used to honour two distinguished personalities, Professor Gilbert Ansre and the late Professor Emeritus Kwasi A. Dickson, also saw the inauguration of a new Centre in the Seminary, the centre for Mother Tongue Biblical Hermeneutics, which would focus on mother-tongue as far as the writing of Bible commentaries and sermons are concerned.
In his acceptance speech as the Chair and Director of the Centre, Professor Ekem said a mother-tongue well articulated especially in the field of Theology contributed to the grooming of young men and women into becoming responsible and excellent academicians.
He noted that theological education was the core basis of the church as it gave the individual an opportunity to reflect on God as our creator.
A true understanding of God and fellow human beings he said, provide the opportunity to meet the needs of others and therefore encouraged scholars of Theology to take advantage of courses in the local languages to enable them to minister to people in languages that they better understand.
Rev. Ekem expressed the conviction that his endorsement as the Chair was an awesome responsibility that would enable him to nurture the Centre to become an oasis of inspiration that would reach out to people at the grassroots.
Launching the centre, the President of the Seminary, the Reverend Dr Joseph Obiri Yeboah, Mante, recalled how some of the early missionaries in the 19th century attempted to learn and teach theology in native languages.
He noted that the trend changed as the British took over the administration of the country and bred men and women who found it difficult to articulate proper theological views about God and the world because they were forced to think theologically in someone else’s language instead of their own mother-tongue.
“It is in view of the above that we are making humble attempt to put some focus on mother-tongue so that we can once again begin to write bible commentaries and sermons in our mother-tongue”, he said.
He was of the view that the creation of the centre would help the country to redeem its lost theological imagination since it would not force learners to think about theology only in the English language.
Rev. Mante noted that the achievements and foundations laid by Prof. Emeritus Kwasi Dickson and Prof. Gilbert Ansre were unsurpassed in the history of African Christianity and that ultimately informed the Governing Council of the Seminary to name the Professorial Chair in their honour.
He described the two honoured Professors as good friends and distinguished scholars, church leaders and statesmen whose works and publications had shaped the religious minds of millions of people on the African continent and beyond.
The families of Dickson and Ansre jointly donated a handsome amount of money to support the occupant of the chair.
The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rt. Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey, who chaired the occasion, congratulated Prof. Ekem for the great achievement.
He indicated that theology in this era of social dimension was a struggle and questions about theology could not be answered without the use of mother-tongue and therefore urged Rev Ekem to help make the dream a reality and live a leadership life worthy of emulation of the two distinct scholars honoured.