Unique program bringing advanced theology degrees to Puerto Rico
“First of all, I should say that Pastor Juan with his little church on the corner is our hero,” says Nicholas Ellis. The son of Brazilian missionaries and raised in Brazil, he holds advanced degrees in Christian theology from well-known institutions like Oxford in London and Western University in Jerusalem. He is visiting Puerto Rico on behalf of the Emmanuel Foundation and BibleMesh, a group dedicated to partnering with local organizations to make available cheap, accredited, orthodox Bible theological courses attainable for people of modest means. Whether your church, church organization, or seminary is looking to add a certificate program or a fully accredited Master’s level program in biblical theology, they can help you.
BibleMesh is collecting names of interested people right now. To help them with this effort, please visit BibleMesh.com on their special Puerto Rico page set up for this purpose.
So why should pastors and lay leaders study theology? “We help pastors think through ethical and theological implications for their daily life,” explains Ellis. “How do they begin to think about stem cell research? Or graft [corruption] in the local community? What is the prophetic voice of the pastor in the community, and how does he think that and enact that in his local community? So we love ‘Pastor Juan.’ We think that he is the gatekeeper and the keyholder of the local church. Our hope is that we can equip him and help him to think clearly, biblically, and theologically as he enacts the Kingdom in his local community.”
Ellis’ organization recently worked out a partnership with Zondervan Publishers, which allows them to offer free access to Zondervan’s complete library of theological materials. “We can help you create a program all online, partly online, or online with a local proctor team.”
Ellis laughs as he talks about BibleMesh’s commitment to being a “fiercely interdenominational organization.” As he explains, “My background is Baptist, my parents were Baptist missionaries, but on our board we have evangelical Anglicans, Southern Baptists, Presbyterians, Assembly of God, others. Together, we believe that we can cooperate to provide accurate and biblical interpretation and training.” The organization works closely with local partners to translate this training into the local setting. “If you are looking at creating a certificate program, we can help at a very modest cost. If you want a fully-accredited program, we have a close working relationship with several seminaries in the States like Western Theological Seminary, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Knox Theological Seminary, and others – and that allows us to ‘hand off’ curriculum and proctors.” This allows smaller schools and even churches to have fully accredited M.Div. and even D.Th. programs at a very modest cost. “Our goal is to make available a fully accredited, fully proctored theology Masters from a real, orthodox, Bible-teaching seminary available for $10,000 or less.” The idea is not to compete with existing programs, but rather to augment them. “If you already have a theology program, wonderful! Let us help you expand it.”
For more information on this exciting new program, please listen to the interview below. Call Juan Gabriel at (919) 592-5577. E-mail Nicholas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit BibleMesh.com here and add your information on the special Puerto Rico page. The organization is using that page to see how much interest in the program there is in Puerto Rico and to see what unique needs they can fill.