A NOTE FROM THE PRINCIPAL
During the recent ATESEA General Assembly held in Iloilo, Philippines, the outgoing chairperson Rev. Dr. Ngoei Foong Nghian cautioned the member Schools: “… We need to have our priorities in the right place. I believe theological schools must develop strong partnerships with churches, for as long as the church is vibrant, our seminaries will continue to thrive.” I strongly echoed those words as I ponder upon the departing words of Paul with Ephesian elders in Acts 20 in the context cf theological education.
Members of most local churches tend to associate theological education with special groups of people such as pastors, missionaries, music directors and church leaders. In reality, theological education begins in the local churches and every member is a recipient through the nurturing process in the local churches. Each local church should be the most conducive place (I called it the “womb” for theological education) where individuals are nurtured, shaped and modeled and eventually called by God and commissioned by the local churches to come to MTS. MTS partners with the local churches to continue that journey of theological education and in turn, commissions them back to accomplish God’s calling for the local churches to fulfill both the Great Commission (Matt. 28. 19 – 20) and the Great Commandments (Matt. 22:37 – 39) . Seen in this light, Apostle Paul’s words to the elders of Ephesus provided us with key direction for both MTS and the local churches to:
- Nurture people of integrity (VV. 18-20): people who “walk the talk’:
- Spread the gospel of transformation (vv. 20-21): motivated by love to spread the gospel.
- Raise people faithful to serve (VV. 22–27): humility and servantleadership.
- Care for continuity of God’s community (vv. 28-32): refuse the trap of self-gain and the building of personal enterprise but moving God’s people into God’s future.
- Serve as role model for God’s kingdom (vv. 33–37): free from covetousness (v.V. 33-34), care for weaker members (v. 35), develop healthy relationship (v.37).
A constant focus and refocus of Our theological education both within the local churches and the theological institution will prevent us from focusing narrowly on cognitive attainments, while we hope for members or theological students’ growth in other dimensions but leave it largely to chance. Since MTS resume to offer theological education training (degree programs) locally here in Sarawak in 1996, she continues to uphold and put into practice these noble goals, particularly to combine spiritual and practical with academic objectives in a wholistic integrated approach, be it our full degree or TEE Courses.
I sincerely urge you to work with us for an integrated wholistic approach to train future pastors and leaders in local churches for the extension of God’s kingdom, so that truly live the motto of MTS as found in Colossians 1:28 (NIV): “We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end | labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully Works in me.”
By Rev. Dr. Khoo Ho Peng Principal