A few years ago, an intriguing programme was aired on the BBC radio channel. It was about an “atheist church” in London called the “Sunday Assembly”, which was led by two stand-up comedians.
One commentator opined that the Sunday Assembly’s proceedings were too frivolous for his liking. In contrast, he said that the Christian churches took their faith much more seriously as evidenced in the years of formal theological education a person has to undergo before qualifying as a pastor or church worker. To this atheist, the rigour of a formal course of theological education was one demonstration of how seriously Christians took their faith. He is right on this score.
The Christian faith claims to tell us who the transcendent God is, how He relates to the world He has created, and how we human creatures should respond to Him. Here, we are dealing with the most wide-ranging and complex of all fields of study since it purports to view reality from the most “macro” of levels. We also have here the most important of all disciplines because it provides meaning and purpose to all other fields of study, and to human existence itself.
If formal training for entering professions such as law, medicine and engineering is a requirement, should not a formal course of education in the Christian faith be all the more vital and valued for Christians?
Established in 1948, Trinity Theological College (TTC) was the first seminary in Singapore to offer such a formal course of education in Christianity. TTC is called a “union college” as it was jointly set up by the mainline Protestant denominations (Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian).
By God’s grace, after almost 70 years, TTC continues be at the forefront of theological education in Singapore, equipping persons for Christian ministry both in the mainline Protestant denominations and numerous independent churches. While local students make up the bulk of our student population, we do have significant numbers of international students from South-East Asia, China and the Indian subcontinent.
At TTC, we take the task of theological education very seriously. Recognising that the Christian faith has an impact on every area of our lives, we seek to equip our students in a holistic manner. Firstly, students are trained to employ their minds rigorously as we impart to them vital knowledge about the history and beliefs of Christianity. We also focus on strengthening hands-on practice as we instruct our students in key ministry skills such as Biblical interpretation, preaching and pastoral care. Finally, we work hard to nurture the heart by cultivating in our students a living relationship with God in the way they live and relate with others.
It is also our belief at TTC that all Christians, both laypersons and those involved in full-time Christian ministry, would benefit immensely from a stint of formal theological education. We therefore have degree and diploma programmes designed for both groups. The college also conducts regular evening courses, public lectures and weekend spiritual retreats to cater for the needs of different segments in our churches.
The Christian faith is wide-ranging and has a profound impact on individuals as well as the society. If we are willing to devote substantial resources towards the pursuit of formal tertiary education in other fields, is it not time that we also take our education in the Christian faith seriously?
For more information about TTC and its programmes, please visit our website at www.ttc.edu.sg
By the Trinity Theological College Faculty Publicity Team
Photos courtesy of Trinity Theological College