Thursday, May 17, 2007

'Is it Possible to Get Doctorates in the Jungle?'

A Bible teacher in an refugee camp said to me a couple of months ago; “Is it possible to do a doctorate here in the jungle?”

Since that chance remark I have exchanged scores of emails with Dr. Lilian Lim, President of the Asian Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary (ABGTS) and her colleagues.

In recent days at their Executive meeting, the ABGTS agreed to make an official visit to the camp to discover ways in which they might be able to assist in offering training for the next generation of leaders.

The Bible School is large but it all happens, along with a parallel, Pre-University Diploma Program, with people who have no income, no passports, no freedom to travel to existing seminaries and in a place where the library is small. It has grown largely through the assistance of voluntary teachers who have traveled from their own countries to teach for an intensive or to stay longer. Thankfully they have a growing number of their own teachers who have gained basic and some advanced theological qualifications.

I am delighted that the ABGTS Executive spent two hours of their meeting discussing ways that they might help and concluded by responding positively and enthusiastically.

However this might develop, ‘Doctorates in the Jungle’ is a further, encouraging expression of Theologians Without Borders.

Geoff Pound

Image: The photo of this place which appears to be most scenic until you realize that this is a prison for displaced people. Location and context have intentionally not been named in this posting.