This week we held a special academic conference at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia (SBC). It was special for two reasons:
1) It drew attention to Colombia’s displaced population (5 million since 1960) as a result of the country’s history of political violence (which is still ongoing).
2) It was a joint conference with Fuller Theological Seminary in Los Angeles and represented the first step toward creating an accredited masters program here at the BSC.
Gearing up for a masters
One of the other important reasons for this conference has to do with SBC’s plans to offer a masters program beginning in 2015. One of the accreditation requirements by the Colombian Ministry of Education for a masters program is that the interested faculties work together on a joint research project and present their findings within an academic setting.
The conference on displacement represents the fruit of a year-long investigation by the SBC and Fuller faculties and the first step in this all-important accreditation process.
Indeed, in all of the Latin American continent, there are only a handful of evangelical, accredited, masters programs. This is not a typo. While there may be many good theology programs in Latin America, without accreditation, a student cannot continue his studies in other theological institutions of higher learning without having to repeat their programs.
In addition, an important goal at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia is to develop theologians and scholars. We affirm this goal whether we speak of preparing pastors for the pulpit, lay leaders for the professional world, missionaries for cross-cultural work or professors to teach in a seminary.
A masters program is a HUGE step in that direction, affording interested undergraduate students an accesible avenue for further scholarship and even preparing some for doctoral studies.