Theological education is provided in a unique way

By July 18, 2006

Asia (MNN) — Cornerstone University’s Asia Baptist Theological Seminary is providing theological education in a unique way. Asia Baptist Theological Seminary provides accredited, graduate-level theological education to Bible college professors, pastors, missionaries, and other church leaders throughout SE Asia.

Dean of ABTS Doctor Bob Rapa says the uniqueness of the program is, “We take theological education to the student in their location. They don’t have to leave their ministries. They don’t have to leave families. We come to them twice a year in ten sites throughout Southeast Asia.”

Those 10 sites are located in Singapore, Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Hong Kong and Korea.

Rapa tells us just how unique this program is. “To my knowledge we are the only university providing accredited theological education in a modular delivery format, two weeks at a time. To my knowledge there are no accredited programs that offer full masters degrees on location throughout Southeast Asia.”

The benefits to a program like this is multiple, says Rapa. “I think the beauty of our program is we are strengthening the church by our presence there and not draining the church of the leadership that it so desperately must have.”

They have over 200 graduates and more than 200 current students from more than 20 countries in the program.

The full-time instructors are self-supporting missionaries. They need an Old Testament instructor and funding for operations. Rapa says, “This is a missionary enterprise. We’re not tuition driven. We adjust our cost of tuition for our students proportionate to their gross domestic product.”

The ABTS program is having a significant impact evangelistically, says Rapa. “We like to say we’re planting church planters. Rather than being involved in church planting ourselves, we are coming alongside our national brothers and sisters and better equipping them to do the work of the ministry they’ve already been engaged in.”

Plans are in place to expand further into China, India and Nepal. Pray that God would work in miraculous ways to see this come to pass. “The need is very real and people in India and China and other places are crying for us to come. We get inquiries every day. And, everywhere we go the questions remains, ‘why weren’t you here before.'”

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