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Pentecostal Theological Education: Asia Pacific Theological Seminary

This, then, raises such issues as the exclusive claims of Christ and how, then, do we relate to practitioners of these religions, their holy books and their claims to ultimate truth?

 

What major themes do you stress as you train students for ministry?

International. Missional. Pentecostal.

International. Many students that come here have no previous experience in relating to those from other countries. When they come here, many cultural assumptions are called into question and they are challenged to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Most find this to be an enriching and empowering experience. Some even marry a fellow student that comes from another country!

Missional. We are committed to making disciples of all people groups. We challenge our students to fulfill the Great Commission by not only be active in their ethnic group of origin, but to stretch, grow and cross cultural and linguistic boundaries to plant churches among those who have never heard. There are over 1,500 people groups just in our part of Asia that have no viable witness of Jesus Christ. We are committed to changing that! We have missions degrees as part of our curricular offerings. We also offer two intense summer programs, the Institute of Islamic Studies, and the Missionary Training Institute, which do not require enrollment in our regular programs.

Pentecostal. We are unapologically Pentecostal. We teach this in the classrooms and try to practice it in chapel services and in other venues. We encourage our students to lay hands on the sick and pray for others to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. We teach and encourage the development of both the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit. Many of our students come from non-Pentecostal backgrounds and are challenged to take a fresh look at what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit. Recently, one doctoral student testified how he came from a non-Pentecostal background, he has now become Pentecostal in both theology and experience!

 

What fruit have you seen in the lives of those who have prepared for ministry at your school?

We are only in our fourth year here so it’s a bit early to measure long term results of our particular efforts. However, my wife Debbie, who heads the English Language Program here, has seen many students move from her program into the degree programs because their English has dramatically improved through her efforts and they are now able to read and write English at a graduate degree level.

Spiritually, many have testified how they have grown through their APTS experience. Minds have been sharpened, attitudes have been challenged and godly character has increased in many of their lives. For this, we are deeply grateful.

On a macro level, APTS has exerted a powerful influence over the Assemblies of God movement in the Asia Pacific. Nearly all of the 101 Bible schools mentioned above have at least one APTS graduate involved in their school. A couple of AG groups have started their own seminary in their own countries and staffed them with our graduates! Others have made their mark in pastoral ministry or missionary service. A number have gone on to become senior leaders within their national church movements. One has served as the chairman of the Pentecostal World Fellowship.

In the final analysis, however, only God knows the ultimate fruit of our labors and we must be content to leave that with him.

 

Notes

[1] www.agwm.com/asia-pacific.html, accessed 13 February 2017

[2] For an excellent discussion on the make-up of the church in China see Luke Wesley, The Church in China, Baguio City, Philippines: APTS Press, 2005.

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2017

About the Author: Dave Johnson, M.Div., D.Miss. (Asia Graduate School of Theology, Philippines), is an Assemblies of God missionary to the Philippines. Dave and his wife Debbie have been involved in evangelism, church planting, and Bible school and mission leadership. Dave is the Managing Editor of Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies, the director of APTS Press in Baguio City, Philippines and coordinator for the Asian Pentecostal Theological Seminary's Master of Theology Program. www.daveanddebbiejohnson.com http://apts.academia.edu/DaveJohnson Facebook Twitter

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