ACTS (Asian Center for Theological Studies and Mission, Asia United Theological University) has been actively involved in activities of ATA
(Asia Theological Association) since its founding in 1970.
ACTS hosted an ATA conference two years ago. The ATA Theological Consultation on Christology was held at the Yangpyeong Campus of ACTS on August 11-13, 2014 with the theme of “The Lordship of Jesus Christ in the 21 Century Asian Context.” ACTS hosted the conference as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations. Also, it was particularly significant for ACTS to host the ATA conference in view of its active involvement in its founding years.
There were 96 full participants including some Korean parliamentarians.
A number of overseas students of ACTS served as observers and staff. The delegates represented 17 countries, such as India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Mongol, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lank and Taiwan. There were also theological scholars from the United States and Spain.
Delivering a sermon on 2 Kings Chapter 1-11 at the conference, Rev. Gil Ja-yeon, who served as president of Chongshin University in Seoul, said that while Alijah worked according to the wishes of the Lord, the Lord ended his era, and opened up a new era with Elisha. He continued: “We need to know that our era is rapidly changing, with a new era at the door.”
Rev. Gil emphasized that as the era is changing with numerous ramifications, we need to distance ourselves from greed, and lust. When these are done, he said “we will be able to fulfill our missionary duty. I wish that through this conference, gospel and holy spirit will overflow, along with the grace of Jesus Christ.”
Dr. Kim Young-Ook, president of ACTS, said in a welcoming speech that
he was grateful and honorable that the ATS conference was being held at his school. He hoped that there would be debates on diverse views on the God. Rev. Kim Young-Wu, former board chairman of Chongshin University, said that today the Asian churches are playing a very important role in world churches. Inspired by ATA’s noble mission and vision, the reverend said he will work for development of Asian churches.
AC TS is a new product of evangelical movement in Asia
ACTS is the new product of Asian history as well as the new age of Christian mission. This is the combined result from church growth in Asia, advancement of mission in the Third World, and expansion of evangelicalism in Asia.
ACTS has its root on both Asia-Pacific Evangelicalism Association and Korean evangelical theology movement. ACTS was established in 1970 in line with an agreement reached by the Asian church leaders at the Conference for Asian and Pacific Evangelism in Singapore in 1968. The vision was to establish a new graduate school of theology in order to train future church leaders and to advance evangelism in Asia. ACT is an example that God blessed upon Korean churches. ACTS adheres to the foundational principle, ‘Evangelism Asia!’ up to this day. Also we possess the same vision as ACTS founders received from the beginning.
ACTS’ Graduate School of Intercultural Studies has North Korean Research Institute, along with North Korean Evangelical Department. The mission trains North Korean evangelical leaders. The North Korean Evangelical Department has produced a host of missionaries and activists for 17 years since it came into being. To be more specific, 29 students have earned M.A. and 21 Th.M. (Master of Theology.) At present, 21 students are enrolled in the M.A. program and 8 in the Th.M. program.
International Center to teach up to 500 foreign students
ACTS has plans to educate some 500 overseas students annually. For this end, ACTS will construct an International Center for students from Asia, Africa and the Third World. ACTS will try to increase the number of foreign enrollments, but it will be unable to accommodate all the students because of a shortage of dormitory facilities. The university will make every effort to raise funds for construction of dormitories.
Its major includes: North Korea Mission, China Mission, Arab World
Mission, Africa Mission, South East Asia Mission, South West Asia Mission, Central Asia Mission, Latin America Mission, General Intercultural Studies and TESOL (M.A.)
The North Korean Evangelical Department teaches subjects, such as North Korea’s social and cultural studies, understanding of juche theory, North Korea’s politics and sociology, North Korean missiology, North Korea’s religion and its policy, national unification theology and the North Korean missionary network. The study program also includes new North Korean studies and mission leadership and North Korea’s social development strategy and NGOs.
A study program that students must fulfill to graduate is to visit the China-North Korea border area and write a report on what they observe there. This program will enable students to gain “valuable experiences”
in terms of North Korean missionary work.
ACTS opens Media and Sports Mission Departments
Prof. Chong Hung Ho, currently dean of Graduate School of Intercultural Studies, disclosed on November 28, 2016 that two courses, media and sports mission studies were established in order to “positively respond to the reality of missionary work.”
Prof. Chong said that “today’s missionary work is changing with the adoption of a new paradigm of “professionalism, multiplication and diversity. Of these, media and sports are the fields most needed for the changing missionary work.”
The Asia Theological Association is now composed of 299 theological educational institutions from 34 countries, committed to evangelical faith and scholarship, which are networking together, to serve the Church in equipping the people of God for the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ. ATA was formally established in 1970 as a direct outcome of the need expressed at several Asia wide conferences and consultations. Since then, it has grown into a movement committed to serving its members in the development of evangelical biblical theology by strengthening interaction, enhancing scholarship, promoting academic excellence, fostering spiritual and ministerial formation, and mobilizing resources to fulfill God’s global mission within diverse Asian cultures. Its primary goal was to foster "evangelical scholars, thinkers and teachers" for the leadership of the Asian church.
Accreditation services were rendered to institutions in 1978. Since then, it has developed in serving its member theological institutions in teaching evangelical biblical theology and in the training of Christian pastors and church workers. Its operating principles include strengthening partnership, enhancing scholarship, furthering academic excellence, fostering spiritual and ministerial formation, and mobilizing resources to fulfill global Christian mission within diverse Asian cultures.
The main reason for the establishment of ATA was to be an aid to theological institutions in contextualising theology in the Asian context. Through this Christian pastors and Christian churches can be aided to be more effective in supporting Christian ministry with other Asians in their own context. Today the majority of Evangelical Bible colleges in Asia are members of ATA.
ATA is the Asian sponsor of the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE), the theological education network covering all the continents that operates under the auspices of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). This effectively partners ATA with established accreditation bodies from other regions of the world, such as The Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) in North America. ICETE is the umbrella organization, and it includes in its membership of 8 sponsors the ABHE (The Association for Biblical Higher Education), which is a North American accrediting body recognized by CHEA (The Council for Higher Education Accreditation