Nigerian baptist theological seminary at 120
Sir: The Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, the training institution of the Nigerian Baptist Convention clocked 120 on May 3, 2018. The institution was founded by Revd C.E. Smith, a Missionary of the Southern Baptist Convention (in the United States of America) in 1898, to train the Africans Elementary Theology that would help them Christianize the Africans and to provide more hands in the evangelistic mission. In other words it began as Preachers’ Training Class.
The institution was at a time relocated from Abeokuta to Shaki and Iwo before being sited permanently in Ogbomoso. She was affiliated with the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A. The institution began to award degree in 1950, thus made her the first degree awarding institution in Nigeria. Over the years, she has gone beyond degree awarding and today, she had M.Div. programme as well as Ph.D .in Theology and Education and Doctor of Ministerial Arts. What helped the Institution most in her 120 years existence is stability. The academic programmes of the institution have never been distrupted and interference from the power that be that usually caused instability in the administration of our secular institution has never reared its head at the N.B.T.S. Consequently, in 120 years, the school had only eight principals and presidents. These include the missionaries and Africans.
The role of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso in the Nation Building process in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. Firstly, in terms of educational advancement of the Nation, N.B.T.S is a producer of knowledge through publication of Learned Journals, Theological and English Communication books, Festchriffs, academic guide and administrative documents. Also, the N.B.T.S influences through its relationship with theological bodies like Sacred Earth Ministry, The international council for Higher Education, The West African Association for Theological Institutions, The Nigerian Baptist Convention as well as Christian Association of Nigeria are enormous and impactful on the products of the institution. In addition, N.B.T.S is a conventionally outstanding institution, whose standards have been certified by all relevant accreditation bodies; the Southern Association are colleges and schools in the U.S.A. the Accrediting Council of Theological Education as well as Baptist Accrediting Council of Theological Schools in Nigeria.
The above have put the Seminary at a vantage position among its peers on the Sub-Sahara Africa.The institution trained and produced Clergymen for hundreds of Baptist Churches in Nigeria and Africa as a whole as well as from other denominations.
Another thing is that the Seminary has expanded beyond the design of the Missionary Founders. Consequently, the land obtained for the institution by the Missionaries has been chocked up to the extent that the institution has lost her serenity and innocence of the missionary days.
There is no doubt that the institution will continue to expand. Therefore, there is the need for the authority of the institution to seek for land for its expansion beyond the present site. This should be a priority for the institution as it marches on into a brighter future in her quest to retain her status as the primus inter-pares among theological institution in the Sub Saharan Africa.
By Adewuyi Adegbite
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