By Prof Emmanuel Oyemoni
Going back the memory lane, as far as Nigeria is concerned, I don’t think we have a solid plan. What we have has been legacy and what impact of theological education has brought into the nation. Some great institutions that are renowned for this – Harvard, Oxford, etc. has become the cream of the whole world. History made us know they started as seminaries but these institutions later metamorphosed into other areas of education
JC Pool, the first Principal of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomosho was offered a license for a charted University by the then President, Dr Azikiwe which was rejected. The same Seminary later became the first degree awarding institution in Nigeria.
As far as this nation and Africa are concerned, writing and education are not our heritage, treasures not documented and whatever education is in Nigeria is heritage is aftermath of Theological Education in Nigeria. All the schools government took over started as mission schools and government was not maintaining the legacy of the mission schools. When you talk of academic integrity and soundness, we find them among the mission schools across the country. They are functional.
Government keyed into education and made it a political matter to fight religion. This is through Legislating against the schools. History was also doctored out of the curriculum. Several subjects have been removed as well.
The nation has lost its bearing in terms of education with consistent strikes by ASUU which affect the future of the students. We are yet to get our bearing in education. Awolowo ensured education became a natural priority to benefit the citizens but the reverse is the case today. It is worrisome that we have no value for education as the state of the nation’s educational system is lamentable.
THE IMPACT OF THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION IN NIGERIA
The impact of Theological education is multifaceted, as Theological Education gave birth to the birth of several churches. It also gave birth to proliferation of schools. These are the immediate impact in 1950’s primary school in these days were virtually free education.
If children were very intelligent, the missionaries gave scholarship to children. At that we, Africa has no value for education. The people who had primary education to standard 6 in those days compared with a graduate today. The missionaries hired such standard 6 graduates and so many lives have been uplifted. Missionaries hired them for several jobs in public.
Anything that are have globally started with Theology Education. This has significance in the bible – 6 years for synagogical education where they are taught in the study of the law. Then there was the Rabbinic and vocational training as stated in the scriptures.
HOW THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION CAN HELP LEADERS
Theology Education must be given a space to shape leaders. We need to watch the track records of our leaders. Our leaders even boast our votes mean nothing to them.. We have crop of leaders who have no track records and all they do is to manipulate.
Theological education has been ostracized. In the last few years, Theology Education has been waged war against. It is a threat/war against source of Peace which is GOD.
Theology Education can have great impact on our leaders which is a study about GOD. It is education that gives a transformation to be godly. In the Theology Education, you are taught how you must have concern for fellow human beings, when utilized, the impact is best aside. Theological Education indicates that God is indivisible, most people with sound theological education act right.
Theological education can train people who will use and lead the people. Theological education has produced leaders for the country who are functioning in various places. Theological education has helped people to be versatile but they are being massacred due to selfishness, nepotism and tribalism in the country. God authenticates Theological education as we will all return to God.
THE VISION OF BAPTIST COLLEGE OF THEOLOGY, LAGOS
The impact of BCT Lagos has been enormous. The goal is to produce Godliness, character formation and spiritual formation for Christian ministry. College also provides sound spirituality to mold people’s lives for 25 years. It has continued to raise giants for the Lord. We have provided a lot of people around the world not only in Nigeria. We have our graduates in all states in Nigeria. Some of our products have become prominent persons within the denominations and also in government. Several of our students have been trained and they are using their GOD given training to help government and be supportive. We have our products across the globe. Most of our them are in key places across the world as we ensure transcripts. This shows that the training we provide is first class.
BCT Lagos has been accredited with Association for Christian Education in Africa. in Nigeria. It has also been a campus for NBTS. We secured full accreditation, first college to stand on its own, we have secured full accreditation and having partnership with several global bodies – having strategic focusing program is to train people to know more about God. The college has 360O impartation. We have trained over 1,500 graduates since inception. Our calendar of activities is stable and is not disrupted in any way. We just 72 graduated this 2022 to join the workforce to make impact. We have also planted almost 20 churches since inception.
Some of our graduands in the public sector/private sectors develop skills for others and equip them. We also train the working class who after graduation are advancing the kingdom of God and contributing to the nation’s growth. Our graduates are the salt of the earth. We also have our trained Pastors working with Federal Government and contributing their quota. The College turns 25 this year and we are showcasing it through several activities.
Professor Emmanuel Oyemomi is the Rector, Baptist College of Theology, Lagos. He Speaks on the nation’s educational system as well as the impact of Theological Education in Nigeria.