Lebanon (MNN) — Arab Baptist Theological Seminary remains equipped not only to continue classes online, but also to interact with the coronavirus is a uniquely Christians way.
Lebanon’s coronavirus cases are staying low for now, but the hospitals warn they can’t handle a major outbreak. The country doesn’t need this threat; it already suffers a financial crisis and political turmoil.
In this time of suffering around the world, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary asks how Christians, who believe Jesus rose from the dead, can interact with such a threat to human life. ABTS remains open, despite most of their students going home. But with the extra space, the college offers its apartment rooms for medical workers who are concerned about infecting their families.
Colleges across the world have closed their doors due to the coronavirus, but some face this pandemic better equipped for online learning.
Ellie Haddad says, “We’re fortunate that we’re part of a big collaborative team of developing online material. And we launched our online certificate, which is equivalent to one year, a couple of years ago. We have many graduates out of that program.”
All in all, ABTS finds itself uniquely prepared for the outbreak. Haddad says, “We are at a mature place in [the] development of our online platform, where we looked at what’s left of the residential academic year, and we thought it would be [relatively] easy to move our instruction to online. So that’s what we have done.”
Middle East Consultation 2020
We previously reported about the Middle East Consultation 2020. Now, ABTS is reconceptualizing the consultation and looking at meeting in an online format.
Haddad says, “It’s a very exciting topic, the Gospel in Public Life. And there’s a lot of interest in it locally, regionally, and globally. But since the uprising that we’ve had in Lebanon since October 2019, and now with the coronavirus, it [is] very unlikely that we will be able to gather in person for that conference.”
Look for more information as it comes available at abtslebanon.org.
How to pray
The coronavirus overshadows the uprisings and financial crisis in Lebanon, but those things haven’t gone away. Pray that the Church in Lebanon would have wisdom to proclaim the Gospel under these new circumstances.
Haddad says, “This is not the time to be afraid and look for our own self-preservation [only]. This is the time to engage our communities in a way that was not possible before. So, pray for wisdom to be able to discern what, what we can do and, and the boldness to do it.”
Certainly, Christians who believe in the coming resurrection must all pray for that fearlessness and wisdom.
ABTS student on campus shortly after lockdown. (courtesy of ABTS of Facebook)