LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is now teaching trans-cultural ministry in a school that is itself part of a very different culture.
In July, Southern Seminary formalized a partnership with the Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary, allowing Southern Seminary to send one of its professors to teach in the Malaysian school’s trans-cultural ministry program.
This past summer, Mark Terry, professor of Christian missions and evangelism at Southern Seminary, served as visiting professor to Malaysia from Southern Seminary’s Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church growth.
“Students come from all over Asia,” Terry said. “This summer, I had students from Finland, South Africa, China, Hong Kong, Burma, Mongolia, Egypt, Malaysia and Nepal. The purpose of the partnership is to assist Malaysia Baptist Seminary in training missionaries for Asia in Asia. The response to it has been very positive.”
Southern Seminary also provides its Internet courses for students at the Malaysian school. The arrangement actually dates to 2001 but was formalized in July, Terry said. The initial agreement between the schools is for five years, but Terry said the partnership is ultimately open-ended and will likely last well beyond five years.
Sunny Tan, dean of the Malaysian Seminary, says the partnership with Southern Seminary allows his school to equip more pastors. He hopes to see the partnership grow.
“We do hope to see more professors in various fields coming to help us,” Tan said. “As the churches in Malaysia and neighboring countries mature, skill workers in various fields are needed. Christian workers are looking to the seminary for help in various fields.
“Another significant way Southern can help is to have some of its professors help mentor [and] supervise MBTS’ doctoral students. It is too expensive for Malaysians to study in the West for advanced theological degrees; hence, Southern professors can help support the development of strong indigenous doctoral level theological programs.”
Malaysia Baptist Seminary has been in existence for some 40 years and has approximately 150 students from fall to spring. The student body increases to 200 for summer courses, Terry said. The institution allows students in Southern Seminary’s 2 Plus 2 missions program to take courses free of charge.
Missions is not the only subject Southern Seminary is helping to teach in Malaysia. Last summer, Rob Plummer, assistant professor of New Testament interpretation, traveled to Malaysia and taught New Testament.
An alumnus of Southern Seminary also serves as the director for theological education in the Malaysian language track at the school.
“MBTS makes much of the partnership [with Southern Seminary] in our advertising,” Tan said. “So, churches and students are aware of well-known and well-qualified professors coming to support us on a regular basis. MBTS thus enjoys a ‘good reputation’ because of the partnership.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: SEMINARY PARTNERSHIP.