Peter Beyerhaus

Prof-Dr-P-BeyerhausDr. Peter Beyerhaus is the President of the International Conference of Confessing Fellowship and Professor of Missionary and Ecumenical Theology at the University of Tubingen. He was the primary author of Frankfurt Declaration on the Fundamental Crisis of Missions in 1970. He is a loyal supporter and partner of Asia Missions Association since 1975.

Peter Paul Johannes Beyerhaus was born in 1929 as eldest son of a Lutheran minister in Eastern Germany. He received his school education in Berlin, where he also commenced his theological studies in 1947. His universities were Berlin, Halle, Heidelberg, Bonn and Uppsala. He worked as theological assistant to Professor Dr. Walter Freytag in Hamburg 1953-1954. After some research studies in London he took his M. Th. and D. Th. degrees at Uppsala University under the tutorship of Professor Bengt Sundkler, Th. D. in 1956.

His doctoral thesis was “Die Selbständigkeit der jungen Kirchen als missionarisches Problem”, which was edited in a shortened version by Henry Lefever of Selly Oak College, Birmingham “The Responsible Church and the Foreign Mission”, Eerdmans 1964.

In 1957 Dr. Beyerhaus went with his Swedish wife to South Africa to take up missionary service with the Berlin Mission Society in Transvaal and Natal. 1960 he took up a lectorship in New Testament at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Natal. In 1964 he became Rector of this institution in Umpumulo.

In 1965 he accepted the call to become professor at Tübingen University and director of its Institute of Missiology and Ecumenical Theology, in which capacity he served until his retirement in 1997. His special fields of study are separatist and nativistic movements in Africa, the biblical theology of mission and the history and ideology of the Ecumenical Movement. His main work, a Theology of Christian Missions, appeared in 1996 under the title: “Er sandte sein Wort” (He Sent His Word), 850 pp.

In January 1973 Beyerhaus went as theological consultant to the 8th World Missionary Conference at Bangkok. Similarly he attended as an observer the 5th and 6th Assemblies of the World Council of Churches in Nairobi 1975 and Vancouver 1983 as well as the 10th World Missionary Conference at San Antonio, Texas, in 1989 and wrote critical analyses of the proceedings and findings.

A further outcome of this engagement was the drafting of the “Frankfurt Declaration of the Fundamental Crisis of Christian Mission” (1970), as well as the “Berlin Declaration on Ecumenism” (1974). They were issued by the Theological Convention of Confessing Fellowships, in which he was elected President in 1972. – When in July 1978 in London the International Christian Network was established as an aid to Christians “to uphold unfalsified biblical standards of doctrine, ethics and church order as over against anti-christian currents both inside and outside the churches”, Peter Beyerhaus was elected chairman of its executive committee. In March 1980 the was invited by Pope John Paul II in private audience to share with him his ecumenical concerns.

Almost every year since 1971 Beyerhaus has been following invitations to visit various countries including those in North and S. America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. This brought him in vital contact with churches, missions and theological training institutions in all parts of the world. He gave guest lectures, conducted refresher courses for missionaries, addressed student meetings and participated in evangelistic enterprises, including the huge rallies EXPLO ’74 and ’80 World Evangelization Crusade in Seoul, Korea, which were attended by more than a million people. Beyerhaus was one of the main speakers at the International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne 1974. Consequently he was elected member of the Lausanne Committee of World Evangelization. In this capacity he attended also the Consultation on World Evangelization in Pattaya, Thailand 1980 and several missiological consultations. He served also as an advisor of the Theological Commission of World Evangelical Fellowship and of Asia Theological Association. At the International Congress on World Evangelization Lausanne II in Manila in 1989 he conducted a seminar on World Evangelisation and Eschatology.

In March 1983 Professor Beyerhaus was appointed Knight in the Order of John the Baptist by Prince Wilhelm Charles of Prussia.

From 1989 until 1994 he was Rector of “Freie Hochschule für Mission”, a training institution for missionaries at Korntal in affiliation with Columbia Bible Seminary and Graduate School of Missions. – In April 1996 he was bestowed an honorary doctorate by Trinity International University and appointed visiting professor there.

After his retirement from Tübingen University Peter Beyerhaus is still serving as visiting professor at several theological faculties in European and overseas countries.

Peter Beyerhaus was married to Ingegärd Kalén in 1955 in Sweden. They became parents of five children and had 11 grandchildren in 2003.