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The Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, Oyo State is a theological institution that integrates and balances vibrant spirituality, sound academics and competent gospel ministry. Amongst so many other existing theological seminaries and bible schools, the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, is regarded as Nigeria’s oldest degree-awarding theological institution. This year 2022, the theological institution will mark 124 years of its existence.
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Background The beginning of the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary (NBTS), Ogbomoso, Nigeria, can be traced back to the closing years of the nineteenth century. Recognizing the need for education and leadership training among converts, Rev. Charles Edwin Smith, a missionary of the United States of America, started a “Preachers’ Training Class” in Ogbomoso, Nigeria for Baptist Mission Station workers on May 3, 1898. A two-storey building was completed for the “Baptist Training Institute” in 1902 and within two years, about thirty students were trained by Rev. C. E. Smith, J. S. Compare, and N.D. Oyerinde. From its beginning until 1920, the institution had a peripatetic existence, being located in Ogbomoso until 1904, then in Abeokuta (1904-1905), again in Ogbomoso (1906-1914) and later in Saki (1914-1919). During these years, the leadership of the school changed thirteen times. From 1920 until 1936, theological training was administered as part of the Baptist College and Seminary in Ogbomoso. Dr. J. C. Pool joined the staff of this institution in 1934, with special responsibilities for theological training. From 1936-1938, the Seminary section of the Baptist College and Seminary was located in Abeokuta. Since 1939, the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary has permanently been located in Ogbomoso while the Baptist College moved to Iwo. Dr. J. C. Pool served as Principal from 1934 until his retirement in 1970. Six basic courses were developed during his principalship: degree (B.Th.); advanced certificate in theology (discontinued in 1972); certificate in theology; certificate in religious education (begun in August 1962); curriculum in theology for Yoruba speaking students (discontinued in May 1967); and a curriculum for students’ wives. In 1948, the Seminary was officially affiliated to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary of Louisville, United States of America. By this arrangement, qualified students trained in Ogbomoso Seminary who have been granted degrees were awarded in 1950, the graduands having satisfied the requirements for graduation in 1948, thus making the NBTS, Ogbomoso to become the first tertiary institution to award degrees in Nigeria. The Seminary (NBTS began its Bachelor of Religious Education Programme in 1970, conferring the first degree in it in 1973. Presently, the Seminary awards diploma (phased out in June 2003, except in Church Music), graduate and postgraduate degrees in theology, religious education, church music and missiology.
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The fact that NBTS has operated with a standard curriculum is made possible by the academic and professional relationships of the institution with other educational institutions and agencies, especially in form of accreditation and affiliation.  Thus, over the years, NBTS training programmes have been accredited by: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), USA; Association for Christian Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA); and Baptist Accrediting Council for Theological Schools in Nigeria (BACTSIN).  A number of the programmes were also affiliated to relevant departments in the University of Ibadan and the University of Jos, both in Nigeria. Academic Curriculum and Training NBTS became a postgraduate institution in 2002.  This new curriculum nourishes that status: some baccalaureate courses have been expanded (Spiritual Formation, English Language, Cooperative Baptist Programme); some other new courses have been introduced (e.g. Entrepreneurship, ICT for Ministers); four new specializations of Masters of Arts are introduced (Biblical Studies, Church Music, Religious Education and Youth Ministry); Master of Theology in Intercultural Studies and Master of Philosophy are introduced; specialization is provided for Doctor of Ministry; and the period for Doctor of Philosophy, library research, fieldwork, reporting and defence is lengthened. The process for the curriculum reviewed, developed and published in this Catalogue started in February 2014 and continued in October 2014, February and June 2015.  It has the input of several stakeholders of the institution: Proprietor (Nigerian Baptist Convention), Governing Council, Staff, Students, Alumni and other affiliated theological institutions. The entire review process was undergirded prayerfully by the desire to revitalize the mission of the institution. The training programmes at various levels have been carefully reviewed and revised to balance the three critical areas of formation: spiritual, academic and ministerial in line with the evangelical heritage and aspiration to train, to equip, to help God-called persons to fulfill their ministries and to contribute to the transformation of the society.  This new Catalogue (June 2015 May 2020) has been prepared and produced to revitalize the NBTS heritage and mission of Providing Excellent Theological Education since 1898. Reference Featured image source: Tribune Online
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This article was first published on 3rd March 2022


Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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