Some of the Lord’s work is achieved purely by trust alone, and some requires more than faith. But all of God’s work requires all who are involved to open their eyes to see how the Lord does it with grace and flare!
In April this year, word came to us from the Australian College of Theology (ACT) that our application to offer the Master of Theology award in the Chinese language was approved. It reads like this, “Motion: … that the Board of Directors approve the Major Change Application of the Melbourne School of Theology Chinese Department to offer the Master of Theology degree in Chinese language medium.” And the Lord has seen fit for us to rejoice further by an added remark that “this is another big milestone for ACT in offering awards in Language other than English (LOTE) through MST Chinese”!
MST Chinese had very humble beginnings in a rundown church hall in Burwood in 1996, but the teaching and learning spirits were high. Students who migrated from all over Asia and were highly qualified in their professional field felt the call of God to Christian ministry. But their enthusiasm was dampened somewhat when they heard that the ACT would only approve a one-year Diploma program in the Chinese language. Some in the ACT even questioned the relevance of a program taught in a Language other than English. They maintained that there should be assimilation into the English speaking program, reasoning that the Chinese church in Australia would soon fade away. But the Lord saw it otherwise. After much persuasion, the ACT reluctantly approved a full Diploma in theology course, after closely examining the quality of teaching and learning at the Chinese Department.
But the Chinese Department would not be satisfied with that, seeing that a higher and more advanced theological training was necessary to meet and serve the needs of the rapidly growing Chinese church. So, there followed a progression of approved courses, from a full BMin program to the first full Master of Divinity program in Chinese, within a short space of four years. The ACT took the step to approve the MA in Divinity in Chinese in 2012. The next step in this theological adventure is to apply for a Master of Theology program in Chinese. This is a postgraduate degree for those who would like to further their studies by undertaking a research project. This would also be the first step towards equipping the next generation of lecturers as it has become less and less viable to employ lecturers from overseas.
Already there are about half a dozen people waiting to enrol and there is also much interest from overseas. So, there was much rejoicing for the Chinese church to see the Chinese Department’s humble beginnings coming to fruition in advancing the work of God in Australia