Blog Interview – Dr Calvin Smith – King’s Evangelical Divinity School

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logo This week I will be interviewing a Bible training institution that is very close to home as far as I am concerned.

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at King’s Evangelical Divinity School.

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Calvin Smith on Revelation TV

Calvin Smith, Principal and Director of Postgraduate Studies at King’s Evangelical Divinity School (KEDS), Kent.

2) Tell us a little about KEDS.

KEDS was founded in 1990. Originally based in Wolverhampton we were then known as Midlands Bible College. We began as a part-time evening school but eventually moved into distance learning. KEDS offers B.Th. and M.A. degrees, and a Graduate Diploma in Theology, all validated by the University of Chester. We also offer less demanding Bible courses for those not wanting to commit to the requirements of a full degree. All our courses are wholly online.

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

A mixture of both. The M.A. can be taken full/part-time, while the B.Th. is part-time. However it can be completed in as little as four years (a full-time degree is typically three years).

4) How do KEDS students fund their studies?

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KEDS’s first building

Most are self-funding or receive assistance from their churches. The nature of distance learning is such we can keep our prices much lower than attending a university or Bible college (you also save on accommodation fees) and the affordable nature of our courses has been attractive to many students.

5) Does KEDS take students from overseas?

Yes, and our overseas student body is growing steadily. A few years ago about two-thirds of students were British and the rest overseas. Now we’re closer to a 55-45% split and I expect we’ll have equal numbers of UK and overseas within a year or two.

6) What type of ministry is KEDS intended to prepare students for?

We have many students either preparing for or already in full/part-time ministry, but many are also studying at KEDS because they want to be more effective in the lay ministry to which God has called them. There are also people studying Theology at KEDS purely out of interest, or because they want to enhance their knowledge of the Bible.

7) When students leave KEDS what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

Israel-11 Many are (or become) pastors, or go into different Christian ministries serving as missionaries, evangelists, general Christian workers, and so on. Quite a few KEDS students go on to do higher degrees both at KEDS and elsewhere. Some students use their degree to secure work in the secular world, where a company may be looking for the analytical and other skills acquired through a Theology degree.

8) What is distinctive about what KEDS offers compared with other colleges in England and overseas?

There are four features I would highlight about KEDS. First, our confessional Evangelical position which underpins all we do. We have modules in Evangelical Theology, while KEDS publishes the Evangelical Review of Theology and Politics. Second, we focus very strongly on hermeneutics at KEDS. I don’t know anywhere else in the UK where a whole Bachelor degree focuses on biblical interpretation in this way. Third is our focus on studying Theology by distance learning. Certainly other Bible colleges offer distance learning courses, but this is all we do, something we have focused on and invested in a great deal over many years.

David Williams is a former MA student who
recently came on board as a B.Th. tutor

We work hard on developing our eCampus and looking out for web and IT advances that help ensure our students enjoy the best distance learning experience. Finally, KEDS a Centre for Jewish-Christian Studies for those interested in Jewish ministry.Prospective students do not need to tick all four boxes to study at KEDS; most choose us because they want one or more of these four “distinctives”.

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

As an online school we’ve invested mainly in full-text electronic resources, whether books uploaded to our online library with publishers’ permission, or purchasing multiple full-text journal subscriptions. Our Chester students also have full access to the university library, including online databases and full-text library subscriptions. KEDS also provides students with details of local and online libraries they can access, together with a comprehensive list of websites providing a wealth of theological resources (including your own excellent biblicalstudies.org.uk website). Students may buy a shortlist of maybe a dozen books over their course, but on the whole they get most of their reading through the above options.

Thank you Calvin, for taking part in this series.

Christian Brethren Research Journals now on-line

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Over the last couple of months I have been working with members of the Brethren Archivists and Historians Network and Partnership UK to place on-line two of their periodicals. I am pleased to be able announce that the full text of both the Christian Brethren Research Fellowship Journal and it successor, the Christian Brethren Review are now available on-line for the first time.

 

I would like to thank the following people for their assistance: Neil Dickson, Dr Tim Grass, Dr Neil Summerton and the staff of All Nations Christian College Library.

Blog Interview – Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. – Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

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gcts-logo This week we go the United States for the next in our series of interviews about theological training around the world.

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS).

kaiser My name is Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., President Emeritus (July 2006) of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in S. Hamilton, Massachusetts, USA where I served as Professor of Old Testament and Ethics for four years before becoming President of GCTS for nine years (1997-2006).

2) Tell us a little about GCTS.

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is a free-standing graduate school that goes back for its beginnings into the 1880s. Two schools came together under Dr. Billy Graham’s leadership in 1969. It offers the M.Div, MA in a number of Biblical, Theological, Missiological, Practical, and Counselling areas. It has some 2100 students and is known for its emphasis on Expository Preaching, teaching of the Bible, counselling,  and Missions.

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

About 60 % of the student body is full time. Others are part-time or among those who take courses “on line” at a distance known as “Semlink.”

4) How do GCTS students fund their studies?

There are a number of scholarships available to both USA citizens and oversea’s students. In addition, all who take a full-time schedule of ten course (30 credit hrs) in a calendar year get an automatic scholarship of $4,500.00 when applied for.

5) Does GCTS take students from overseas?

Yes, we do. Many of our faculty regularly teach in oversea’s schools during the Summer and during their Sabbaticals, so that is another drawing card for many who hear our faculty first hand.

6) What type of ministry is GCTS intended to prepare students for?

GCTS prepares students to be pastors, missionaries, counsellors, teachers of the Word of God, and lay leaders in the Church. We have four campuses: one in Hamilton, Massachusetts, our main campus, CUME in the city of Boston for 50 yrs. now, where the “Center for Urban Ministry Education” teaches in five languages (Portuguese, Spanish, Kamer, American Sign Language, English), which engages the city scene, and two others in Charlotte, North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida.

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Gordon-Conwell’s Hamilton Campus

7) When students leave GCTS what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

The pastorate, teaching, advanced study for Ph.D., missions, lay ministry in the work of Christ.

8) What is distinctive about what GCTS offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?

GCTS has a heavy emphasis on the Biblical Languages, on preparing students to go on for doctoral work, on teaching, on evangelism and missions. Often our students  will  have studied with the professors who wrote the books studied in other seminaries.

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

GCTS has a library collection well over 200,000 vols. We also have great access to almost a dozen other theological libraries with inter-library loan in the greater Boston area plus advanced Technology research facilities. This is true also at all of our other three campuses in North Carolina and Florida.

10) Does GCTS offer a distance or on-line learning option? If yes, please tell us more about it.

Yes, this is a great help both to resident students, who are unable because of their schedules to take all the resident classes they need, and to those at a distance. It is called “Semlink” and offers a good selection of courses either for credit or non-credit. Chinese language courses are also available.

My thanks to Dr. Kaiser for taking part in this interview.