Shalom University first to offer PhD program in Theology

By September 26, 2012

DRC (MNN) — In the past five years, Shalom University has grown from 65 students to over 800. It's taking another significant stride forward as the first evangelical school in the Democratic Republic of Congo to offer a doctorate program in theology. Only two other schools in French-speaking Africa offer a similar program.

"The African church needs African theologians able to engage African issues from a solidly biblical perspective," stated Dr. Keith Ferdinando. He manages the program's development. "The most momentous aspect of recent church history has been the rapid growth of the church in the majority world.

"However, the training of pastors lags seriously behind the growth of the church."

Developing a PhD program in Theology could have a "profound and far-reaching impact," according to Dr. Ferdinando. A key player in this program's success is Africa Inland Mission. AIM is helping Shalom build a new campus to accommodate the continual influx of new students. They're also helping the university train and recruit new faculty.

"By helping to develop the new campus, AIM is opening the way for many young Christians to be trained in a serious academic setting," said Ferdinando.

Shalom University began in 1961 as the Theological School of Northern Congo (ETCN). AIM and CrossWorld began the Bible school with only a few dozen students in attendance. Fighting soon forced the school to relocate to its current location in Bunia, a town in northeast DR Congo near the border of Uganda.

A decade ago, conflict arose in Bunia between two ethnic groups: the Hema and Lendu. Bombs were lobbed over the campus, and the school was stuck with a warring party on each side. Clashes between the groups forced staff and students to evacuate, and thousands took refuge on the school's campus. At one point, it seemed that's where the final battle would occur.

"The two factions stopped right at the school on the two sides," said Dr. Robert Katho, president of Shalom University. "The school was going to become the battlefield–the last battlefield."

But since each party could identify with the school as a source of safety, they decided not to destroy it. When the time came for peace talks, the seminary seemed a natural choice to hold the first reconciliation meetings. Katho said this history is reflected in the school's current name and vision.

"Everybody agreed that Shalom is the name because we have experienced God's peace."

AIM helps current and future church leaders attend seminary through their Advanced Training Fund. Click here to support their efforts.

3 Comments

  • Message for Dr penny Jennings teacher from England. Teaching English.
    Penny, I’m unable to email you. Hope you are well. Is everything alright?.
    See you in April, weary friar!!! Lots love John and lee xxxx

  • Joe Palacios says:

    Greetings in the Lord, My name is Joe Palacios and I was incarcerated in the Texas department of Criminal Justice for 22 years. During my incarceration I started Biblical Classes with Shalom University. I’m praying this is the same Shalom University in which I attended. I can’t find my Student ID number, nor can I find any of my study material, if was sent home prior to my release and has since then been misplaced. I have been out of prison for over six years, and have become involved in Prison Ministries in the Texas areas. The reason behind this letter is to seek assistance. I am attempting to branch out to different States, unfortunately, many States require Ordination as a “permitted document” in order to enter their departments. Therefore, I am in dire need of obtaining my Ordination, and I’d much rather receive it from a Well Established University, such as Shalom. Therefore, at this time I would like to request information on the eligibility for Ordination, by and through Shalom University. I do have three Associates, a Bachelors and Masters Degree thus far, and I have been in the Ministry for well over 12 years. Thank you and I pray to hear from you soon. Shalom

  • We are excited. Let’s know more.
    JB

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