HONG KONG- Chinese Christians are urged to pray for the development of theological education in China as ministers shared a pressing need to equip shepherds for the rapidly growing flock.
During a regular monthly prayer meeting for China hosted by the Christian Communication Inc. Hong Kong, the situation of theological education in China was introduced. There are totally 18 theological seminaries run by the official church, mainly located in the eastern regions. However, in the northwest and northeast regions, theological seminaries are very few. The main reason was cities in the eastern region were developing very fast and have more resources, creating a more favorable condition for development.
In terms of student recruitment, theological seminaries are restricted to recruit official church members from the same region or province. There is only one seminary- the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary- is able to do nationwide recruitment.
Theological courses offered by the seminaries are not diverse enough to meet the needs, said the CC Hong Kong ministers. In most seminaries, only cultural and religion courses are available, however, they lack courses related to social issues.
The lack of qualified theology teachers and theological resources is also a big issue. According to the biggest seminary the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, they have only around 40,000 books in the library and most of them are out-dated. As a result, advanced theological research is not able to be carried out.
CC Hong Kong ministers shared that though the development of theological education in China is not very positive, they can still see an opportunity in the crisis. Now many unregistered groups have started to open training courses for young believers, for three years, young people will be taught on the biblical knowledge, languages, music and art. Many of these young people are those who are not academically competitive enough to enter high school or university, but have a good motive to improve themselves. Also, more and more Mainlanders come to study in seminaries in Hong Kong or overseas.
"God is opening many new ways," the ministers in CC Hong Kong testified. They urged Chinese Christians to pray that the Lord will continue to guide seminaries, bible schools and training centers to equip more shepherds. They should also ask the Lord to provide necessary resources and finances for the seminaries in China. Lastly, may the Lord give a greater vision for the seminaries.