Departments

The study of theology in the past two millennia has developed into different streams of learning and these different streams have become frameworks in the study of different

theological disciplines; some of the theologies that have emerged belong under the categories of Liberation Theology, Existential Theology, Secular Theology, Roman Catholic Theology, and Evangelical Theology. 

 

Studies at the Baptist Theological College are established on evangelical theology, which is

the orthodox position and a comprehensive approach in theological persuasions. The word

evangelical in this regard is in reference to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; as found in the original

Greek word, εύαγγέλιον (eevongeleon) which means “good news”. Therefore, the Orthodox

Evangelical approach affirms a conservative theology based on the truth that the Bible

is infallible, inspired and inerrant Revelation from God – which reflects on the 66 books of the Biblical Scriptures. Infallible in that it is fully trustworthy and true. Inspired because it was literally authored by God. Inerrant in that it is without error. It is also orthodox because

of the long line of consistent church history, including the Creeds of Christianity.

 

Evangelical African Theology

 

The Baptist Theological College is committed to the task of formulating a theology that is appropriate for the context of Africa and, on the other hand, evangelical in its orientation. As we attempt to bring resolutions to our continent, we will continue taking on the challenge of taking the responsibility of constructing an evangelical theology, and commit to the biblical foundations of our faith, without compromising on our integrity, neither on the truth of our faith. 

 

In the field of Biblical Studies at the College, we demonstrate our commitment to the Bible through a through teaching of introductory considerations to the biblical text, with a rigorous exegetical approach involving different criticisms, such as textual, historical, literary, theological, and canonical contexts. Hence, BTC’s commitment to the high view of Scripture and producing students who are biblically literate! 

The Bible is the starting point when it comes to understanding all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Ti 3:16). In the Bible we learn about where we come from. We learn about why there is suffering and hardship in the world. We learn about man’s need for salvation and how to receive it. We come to understand the purpose and destiny of man and all creation. And ultimately we are introduced to God – our Creator, Provider, Deliverer, Redeemer, Saviour, Judge and if we so choose – our Lord. 

 

But, the Bible is an ancient manuscript. Some of its writings are thought to date back nearly 3 500 years. Therefore it can present difficulties in terms of reading it accurately – and more importantly, understanding it accurately. However, if we believe that the Bible is true (which we do) and that it is the sufficient revelation of God to mankind as he ordained it (which we do) and that it is our guide to salvation and godly living (which we do) – then we should be serious about our study of it. Therefore it is imperative that we face the challenges of accurate Bible study – especially if we hope to lead others in their understanding of God’s Word as well. Therefore at BTC we are committed to our study of the Word of God. And part of doing this with diligence is the commitment to its study in the original languages of its composition (Hebrew and Greek).

 

Textual Analysis of the New and Old Testaments

This year we launched a very new language programme to run in tandem with our full Greek and Hebrew study – Textual Analysis of the New Testament. This new course is a means to interact with the text more meaningfully using Bible tools such as interlinears and lexicons. Next year will see the introduction of the Hebrew equivalent – Textual Analysis of the Old Testament. This means we offer both a higher and a medium level of language study to all our students and are very excited about the implication for future teaching of God’s Word with integrity. Please be in prayer for our students and lecturers, that we would all correctly handle God’s Word of truth and therefore not be ashamed (2 Ti 2:15).

 

One of the focuses of final Hebrew study at BTC is working through the book of Jonah. This is a masterpiece of literary style. Sadly, much of the clever play on words and emphases are lost in our translations. One of the themes that run through the book (and also through the whole of Scripture on repeated occasions) is that of movement – either up or down. We see in Jonah’s disobedience there is a continuous movement down – down to Joppa, down into the deepest part of the boat, down into the belly of the fish, down into the deepest parts of the sea. But as Jonah submits to God he is brought back up onto dry land. Through the rest of Scripture, we see similar analogies of “down” referring to movements away from God and “up” referring to movements towards God (e.g. Ps 30:3). 

 

We lift our eyes up to him because he is the source of our help (Ps 121). However, this same God who is exalted above all else chose to come down (Jn 6:51). Because of sin, there is no way for us to ascend to God through our own efforts. We are completely dependent on God coming down to us in order to rescue us. How wonderful that he chose to do that! 

Pastoral Studies

 

In recent times, the pastoral call and ministry have been in the spotlight with wide secular media coverage within the South African setting. Might I add, the media was not in any way lauding the pastoral ministry. The entire spectrum of pastoral ministry was painted with one brush stroke and cast off as fake due to the practices of a few “men of God” who are more concerned with flashy lifestyles, centred on prosperity. These lifestyles have to be maintained. So, the people that these men shepherd are fleeced to maintain their extravagant lifestyles. Hence, miracles and healings are manufactured to keep the people coming, to maintain this philosophy of ministry. It goes to show that when the Word of God is distorted, deceptive practices become operative within the ministries of false ministers.

 

Paul and Timothy encountered people like these in Corinth and condemned their behaviour in 2 Corinthians 2:14-3:6; 4:1-2:

 

Paul’s Encouragement Toward Pastoral Competence

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ, we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God. Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life … Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” – 2 Corinthians 2:14-3:6; 4:1-2

 

However, Paul also highlighted behaviour that is commendable and makes for competent ministers. From this passage, we can extrapolate some lessons for those in pastoral ministry:

  1. Competent ministers are sent by God (2:17) and led by God (2:14).
  2. Competent ministers spread the fragrance of Christ that brings life to others (2:15-16).
  3. Competent ministers do not peddle the Word of God for profit (2:17).
  4. Competent ministers gauge their effectiveness by the Spirit-produced fruit within the people they lead and not by human letters of recommendation (3:1-6).
  5. Competent ministers have renounced secret and shameful ways and do not use deception (4:2).
  6. Competent ministers do not distort the Word of God; but commend themselves before others and God through the setting forth of the truth plainly (4:2).

 

BTC has a commitment to the Lord to develop competent ministers within their individual calling and context. As a theological institution, our role is to train the called to ministry in handling God’s Word truthfully. The focus on personal spiritual formation is also key to pastoral integrity and service in order to disciple others so that Spirit-produced fruit is evidenced in the local church. Whilst fake ministers and ministries will always be around, even as they were present during Paul’s ministry, BTC remains committed to producing competent servants of Christ. 

By God’s grace and through His enabling, we will continue to do this for His glory! 

Youth Studies

 

Children are not only the future of the church, they are an integral part of its pres-ent. BTC is committed to equipping those who feel a calling to children’s, teenage or young adults’ ministry. Our Youth Studies Department boasts a complement of lecturers who are not just theoretically trained to lead such ministries but are indeed practitioners themselves, having years of experience ministering to these precious generations. 

The courses within our Youth Studies ma-jor track cover a broad scope of topics that encompass many different aspects of youth ministry. Three of the courses deal with minis-try specifics to children, teenagers and young adults respectively. Another course considers issues facing youth today. In their final year, students majoring in Youth Studies examine how best to minister to youth in their social context, as well as how to minister to families as an extension of youth ministry.

 

Children’s Ministry 

 

Children’s ministry is a new area of focus within the College curriculum, now having its own designated course for this reason. Attention is given to how to run an impactful children’s ministry well, not only through regular weekly ministry opportunities but also through special events and holiday clubs. Effectively ministering to children also has the opportunity to impact the families that they come from, and therefore attention is given to this opportunity particularly. 

 

Teenage Ministry 

While the teenage ministry has traditionally been the main focus area of youth ministry within the church, how do we navigate the changing environment that these ministries are facing? Ministry to teenagers certainly looks a bit different to how it was done a generation ago, and therefore youth workers need to be equipped with how to minister to teenagers effectively, leading to long-lasting life change. 

 

Young Adult’s & Singles Ministry

Young adults and singles each have unique ministry needs, and for far too long youth workers have not been adequately equipped to minister effectively to them. With this in mind, we have designed a course to address the particular challenges of ministering to 18-35-year-olds, many of whom are in transitional phases of life, trying to figure out how to embrace both the challenges and joys of ‘adulting’. 

BTC is a Great Commission Seminary for the Global South and plays an important role in the preparation of ministers, missionaries and Christian leaders in Southern Africa. BTC will be celebrating 70 years of training in 2021 and is a part of the Baptist Union which celebrates 200 years of witness in South Africa in 2020. An important aspect of Baptist witness can be tied to Carl Hugo Gutsche—among others—who promoted the idea that every Believer is a missionary. This correlated with both CH Spurgeon and Johann Gerhard Oncken who develop similar mantras of ministry in Britain and Hamburg, Germany respectively, which fed into this missional DNA of Baptists in South Africa. We’re pleased to say that this important value is entrenched in BTC and we are privileged to participate in God’s mission and prepare others to do the same.

The mission of BTC is to equip believers for ministry globally and we’re going to do that with a heart for God’s mission and the local church.  

 

Apologetics and Evangelism

 

  1. S. Lewis has said: “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important”. A pivotal focus area of BTC’s Curriculum is the important subject of apologetics and evangelism as is reflected in the Missiology and Pastoral majors in our Bachelor of Biblical Studies and Bachelor of Theology qualifications particularly. 1 Peter 3:15 reminds us: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”. Are you prepared to give an (adequate) answer to those who ask?

Considering Global Trends

 

Facts are our friends! Our world is bombarded by all kinds of fake news propaganda and bad news that emanates from the broken world we live it, yet as Christians, we are called to be people of good news. BTC seeks to equip believers for ministry in ways that are rooted in the Word of God and contextual. We need to be known as people of substance, grounded in the transformational truth of God’s Word, and those who are able to engage real issues in our world.

 

Why Study Missiology? 

 

Missiology is not for the 

elite practitioner, or only for missionaries going to a foreign field; missiological training will be beneficial to anyone with a love for God’s Word and God’s world. CH Spurgeon has been quoted saying: “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter”. In many ways, this reflects our heart in that our missiological training is for the Church and for the Kingdom.