The first Chinese seminary in Canada is now recruiting students for the first school semester this autumn with a hope to raise new Chinese leaders in Canada for world mission.
Founded on Mar. 29, 2006, the Canadian Chinese School of Theology at Tyndale Seminary (CCSTTS) is a response of some leading Chinese evangelicals to the immense needs for Chinese theological education in Canada.
According to Rev. Dr. Hay-Chun Maak, who is one of the directors of the Chinese Coordination Center of World Evangelization (CCCOWE), explained the challenge facing Canadian Chinese churches today. In the light of the rapid development of Chinese churches and ministries in Canada, more pastoral workers are needed to meet the existing needs of the 350 churches. In addition, there are many new immigrants from mainland China to Canada, and it gives rise to the need of Mandarin-speaking ministries. Providing theological training for them in Mandarin well will eventually benefit the leadership training ministry in China, where sound biblical guidance is not available in churches. Furthermore, Canadian Chinese churches should also have the vision to equip missionaries and send them out to spread the Gospel to their kinsmen across the world.
Even though there are many Chinese theological seminaries outside of Canada, most of them are facing the lack of financial and personnel resources. Western seminaries in Canada can neither satisfy the needs of Chinese due to the differences in the training method, according to Rev. Dr. Samuel Tang, Professor Emeritus at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary.
First of all, Western ecclesiology tends to be charismatic but Eastern is traditional. In terms of ministry approach, western world tends to be very scientific while the East stresses on humanity. Western people and Eastern people are also distinguished by the way of their spiritual life, which is spiritual formation and devotional respectively.
After a few major conferences with Chinese evangelical leaders in Canada and the North America, the idea of establishing a Chinese seminary in Canada has been communicated since 2002. The Association of Canadian Chinese Theological Education (ACCTE) was officially registered in 2004. As the Advisory Council of Tyndale Chinese Ministry has also recognized the demand of Chinese theological education, Tyndale University College & Seminary and ACCTE made an agreement and gave birth to CCSTTS.
Tyndale University College & Seminary is an evangelical, trans-denominational institution of Christian higher education that has a diverse student population with a strong contingent from the Chinese communities across Ontario. Located in Toronto, Tyndale has over 1,200 students and more than 9,000 alumni.
Brian C. Stiller, President of Tyndale University College & Seminary explained, "Rapid changes within Canada require that we act in innovative ways to strengthen the church. The incredible migration of people from China is changing the face of our country. This provides us with a great opportunity to reach into their world with the changeless message of our risen Lord. In developing the Canadian Chinese School of Theology in Tyndale Seminary, we believe the Lord is leading us all to create a place of training to meet this challenging need."
Rev. Dr. John Kao, Chair of ACCTE, commented, "Theological education today impacts the churches of Jesus Christ for years to come. As the Chinese Church diligently develops its Gospel ministries, plants churches and participates in world missions, effecting much growth in the process, the demand for workers is great. By being sensitive to the Chinese Church’s cultural traditions, language, its collective vision and mandate, and by following the example of Jesus Christ in training his disciples, the CCSTTS aims to raise up workers with spiritual fortitude, clear vision and a burden for souls in the twenty-first century."
The professor team at CCSTTS is formed by some leading Chinese evangelicals and theologians, including Rev. Dr. John Kao, Rev. Dr. Hay-Chun Maak, Dr. Peter Mah, Dr. Stephen Lee, D. Francis Tam, Dr. Paul Theophilus and others.
The Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Program provided by CCSTTS is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Chinese is the main medium of instruction. Applicant must be a Bachelor degree holder or equivalent qualification and receive recommendation by church pastors or other ministers. The deadline for registration of Fall semester is August 1.