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The Secular/Sacred Divide and Theological Education: Asia

Timoteo D. Gener
President, Asian Theological Seminary
Title: The Secular/Sacred Divide and Theological Education: Asia

What makes for an equipping that trains servant leaders in all walks of life? How is this concretely expressed in a Majority World graduate theological school? At Asian Theological Seminary (ATS) in the Philippines, we serve students in a variety of professions, which reveals an equipping that goes beyond training workers in the organized church and attracts student leaders from all walks of life. This holistic experience is hardly unique to ATS. I surveyed 19 theological institutions across Asia – from Jordan to Taiwan – and received testimony of many similar experiences. The theology and practices that proffer such holistic equipping, and the challenges we face in this mission, are key to the future of theological education.

Serving People in Many Professions

In a recent survey of the professions of students who graduated from ATS in the years 20102016, we find that alongside those working in the organized church, prominent professions include community development workers, teachers and school administrators, Bible translators, marketplace professionals and Christians in business. We have graduates who continue to seek deeper understanding and practice of their evangelical faith as medical doctors, lawyers, police officers, engineers, architects and even a scientist. Evening and Saturday classes, an evening chapel service, and hybrid and fully online programs accommodate the continuing influx of student-professionals in the seminary.

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