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.

Blog Interview – Dr Rick Walston – Columbia Evangelical Seminary

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logo This week we travel to the United States to learn about a college that is quite different to those that we have featured so far.

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Columbia Evangelical Seminary.

148454_1705877132912_7671423_n My name is Rick Walston. I am the president (and one of the professors) of Columbia Evangelical Seminary (see more here). My education includes graduate degrees in apologetics and religion, and I have a DMin, as well as a PhD. I’m also a published author with six books (see more here). I might best be known for my book, Walston’s Guide to Christian Distance Learning.

2) Tell us a little about Columbia Evangelical Seminary.

Established in April 1991, Columbia Evangelical Seminary is conservative evangelical and non-denominational. It offers all level of degrees, i.e., undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral, entirely through distance learning. Over the years, CES has enrolled more than 500 students.

Recently, TheBestSchools.org named Columbia Evangelical Seminary as one of The Top 10 Graduate Programs in Christian Apologetics.

Columbia was established to reach those who cannot afford to leave their jobs to live on a college campus for several years. All course work may be accomplished entirely by mentorship study on-line. Students may be as specific or as broad in their majors as they desire. They may choose one solitary major, such as apologetics, or biblical studies, or counseling, or philosophy, or theology, etc. Or, they may choose an interdisciplinary major in which they combine several disciplines of their choice. Because CES students virtually design their own curriculum, it may be as varied or as specific as the student desires. CES offers majors in many fields, including but not limited to: Arminianism, Apologetics, Bible, Counseling, Calvinism, Christian Philosophy, Comparative Religions, Cults, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Ethics, Evangelism, Exegesis, History of Christianity, Homiletics, Jewish Studies, Leadership, Men’s Ministry, Ministry, Missions, New Testament, Old Testament, Pentecostal/Charismatic Studies, Postmodernism, Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Gifts, Theology, Women’s Ministries, Worldviews, and more. Furthermore, students may custom-design their majors (to be developed between the student and the seminary) to meet the student’s specific needs.

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

WGfullcover Students may do either. Students work at their own pace, taking single classes at a time or multiple classes simultaneously.

4) How do Columbia Seminary students fund their studies?

With CES’s low tuition costs, Associate’s & Bachelor’s $100 per credit, Master’s $110 per credit, and Doctoral at $125 per credit, students do not have to go in debt to earn the degrees they desire. CES is much less expensive than many educational alternatives.

5) Does Columbia Evangelical Seminary take students from overseas?

Yes. We’ve had students from the U.K., South Korea, South Africa, France, Sweden, and Germany, just to name a few.

6) What type of ministry is Columbia Evangelical Seminary intended to prepare students for?

CES has trained pastors, counselors, missionaries, writers, parachurch ministry leaders, and more.

7) When students leave Columbia Evangelical Seminary, what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

Many of our students have gone on to be apologists, counselors, pastors, professors, and writers.

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

CESSgrad First, our programs are entirely off-campus through distance learning. Next, our students work one-on-one with mentors/professors of their choosing. Some students have even brought their own mentors to the program. Of course, CES has to approve the mentors that students bring to their programs, but it can be done. And, finally, students are allowed to design their own programs to meet their own specific needs. For example, one student might design a systematic theology degree in Reformed theology whereas another might design a systematic theology degree in Arminian theology. Students may design apologetics programs based on Presuppositional Apologetics, or Classical Apologetics, or Philosophical or Scientific Apologetics, or any combination thereof. In essence, students may design their programs in any Christian major.

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

Since our programs are all distance learning, we do not have a library. Students are encouraged to tap into local resources wherever they live, and they are instructed how to use the Internet and many of its resources for much of their research.

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

Yes, as stated above, all of our programs are distance learning via on-line. Thus, there are no residency requirements whatsoever.


My thanks to Dr Walston for taking part in this interview series.

Blog Interview – William Badke – Trinity Western University, Canada

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twu This week we return again to Canada and interview William Badke about Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia.

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Associated Canadian Theological Schools.

badke William Badke, Librarian for Associated Canadian Theological Schools of Trinity Western University.

2) Tell us a little about Associated Canadian Theological Schools

Associate Canadian Theological Schools began in 1988 as a partnership of three Canadian denominations seeking to pool resources in order to provide strong seminary education.  Now five denominational seminaries, each with its own identity but working together for the common cause of theological education, ACTS is the graduate theological division of Trinity Western University, the largest Christian university in Canada.
ACTS has some 400 students, of which a quarter are from outside of Canada. They take programs in ministerial development, chaplaincy, counselling, and academic research.

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

Our programs are a mixture of full and part-time, although the majority of our students do their programs part-time.

4) How do Associated Canadian Theological Schools students fund their studies?

Funding comes from a wide variety of sources, include personal savings, student loans, denominational support, working spouses, and scholarships.

5) Does Associated Canadian Theological Schools take students from overseas?

ACTS has always had a strong contingent of students from overseas, primarily from Asia but also from many far-flung countries on all continents.

6) What type of ministry is Associate Canadian Theological Schools intended to prepare students for?

Associated Canadian Theological SchoolsOur programs prepare students for pastoral ministry, missions, chaplaincy, counselling, personal enrichment, and academic work in religion. We also welcome lay people who have undergraduate degrees.  Our Master of Arts in Christian Studies enables almost anyone who qualifies to pursue study even if they are not intending to go into full time ministry.

7) When students leave Associated Canadian Theological Schools what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

The list in 6. encompasses the majority of ministries our students go into.

8) What is distinctive about what Associate Canadian Theological Schools offers compared with other colleges in Canada and overseas?

The primary distinctive of ACTS is its unique cooperative structure that enables denominational seminaries to maintain their identities and missions while at the same time sharing faculty and resources in order to strengthen theological education.  Critics said it couldn’t be done, but now, with over a quarter century behind us, the consortium is flourishing.

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

Library The library provides an up to date resource for all aspects of theological research.  The print collection, of which some 100,000 volumes are relevant for seminary research, is supplemented by large e-book holdings.  Journals, most of them electronic, cover every aspect of the seminary curriculum.  Unique to ACTS is a required Research Strategies course that prepares all students for the rigours of seminary research.

10) Does Associated Canadian Theological Schools offer a distance or on-line learning option. If yes, please tell us more about it.

With a country of the breadth of Canada, it is inevitable that students at a distance will want to access seminary education from where they are.  Thus ACTS provides a wide variety of online and modular (one week, on campus) courses to enable students at a distance to access their programs without long residential requirements.


My thanks to William Badke for his contribution to this series.