‘Every preacher needs good training to last’

Rev Cletus OrguThe Provost of Life Theological Seminary established by Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria, Rev (Dr) Cletus Orgu, spoke on the 60th anniversary of the institution as well as the challenges of theological education in Nigeria.

Congratulations to them at 60!


At 60, how far has Life Theological Seminary come?

The institution started in 1955 by the White missionaries who bought Foursquare message to Nigeria. At that time, the school was in Yaba. It came to this ground in Ikorodu exactly 1958.

Since then, it has developed in terms of the programmes we offer and enrolment as well as facilities.

Who are some of the prominent gospel ministers the institution has produced in 60 years?

We have quite a lot of them. One is the current General Overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria, Rev Felix Meduoye. We have Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo. We have had so many outside the country doing exploits for God.

We have had students from Ghana, Togo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic (CAR) and outside Africa. They are so many that it is difficult to mention all of them.

Some believe theological education is becoming too expensive. Why is this so?

I disagree with that because our experience here is to the contrary. Up to recently, for a whole session, which is two semester, students pay only N50, 000. My children paid more than that in Secondary Schools per term. Our tuitions are cheap because the church subsidies heavily. It was just last year that the tuition went up to N60, 000-N70, 000 in a session.

We believe it is a mission school and we should give opportunity to as many people as possible to come. The church subsidies and that is what make it possible.

We see so many erring pastors these days. Was it that they were not well equipped during their training years?

You know there are many bible schools and seminaries. The first thing you realise is that many of them are not manned by well-trained theologians. You see many just starting bible schools without training. What do you expect them to produce?

Here, we have been to several schools and we are proud of what we are teaching. We are proud of our products too. If you look at many seminaries, they are not methodical and practical in their approach to training pastors. They are hardly evangelical too.

If their denomination gets things wrong, their bible colleges too will. Unfortunately, many of them believe they know what they are doing and are not open to corrections.

Some preachers believe they don’t need theological training to do a good job for God. What will you tell such people?

I will start by saying that is a product of ignorance. Many people believe they can just open the bible and begin to teach. There is no field in life without training.

There are people who have devoted their whole lives to studying the bible and writing commentaries. For somebody to just come and dismiss all those resources is not being fair to himself. The bible, like someone said, is deep enough for the theologians and shallow enough for the untrained minds.

But can you just become a doctor or lawyer without qualification? It is only in Christendom that you see that happening. Some of them do not attend bible colleges but when they start churches, you see them opening bible colleges. Is that not contradictory?

I have also heard people say that the anointing is enough. I ask them why they still gather people for bible study. Why not just impart the anointing to people and leave them to study the bible on their own?

That you still teach them is evidence that there are needs for experts to rightly divide the word of God. Many of who say they have not attended bible schools read widely. They read commentaries, theological works, dictionaries and resources. Those things were not produced by anointing but by the efforts of theologians.

What kinds of programmes do you offer?

We have Certificate in Christian Ministry in a year for those who may be qualified but do not have time for diploma and degree. It is also for those without formal education but are interested in ministry works.

We have Diploma too for three years. The student must have not less than four credits. The part-time programme is for four years. We have Bachelor in Theology for four years for full time. Students must have five credits and it is five years for part-time.

There is second B TH for those with secular degrees. They do three years for full time and four years for part- time. Here, you cannot find someone getting a PhD in four years. You have to really go through the mill.

How has it been in 60 years?

Anybody who has lived for 60 years will tell you it is tough and challenging. It is never smooth. Many students do not have money to pay and we have to source for scholarships for them.

But God has been good. We have been able to develop some facilities that are making funding a bit easier. The church can only provide as it has resources.

Many will say the institution is not doing well in terms in infrastructural development. How do you react to that?

Of recent, God has been helping us. We didn’t have the administrative block as we have it now. We have modern hostels for males and females. We have modern classrooms. Someone just donated a clinic that we commissioned recently. We intend to commence operations very soon.

In terms of infrastructures, we are not where we want to be but we are definitely not where we used to be.

Theologians can be boring. Why is that so?

 Theologians could be boring if they take classroom discussions to the pulpits. That will bore the entire church. Several years ago, I attended a church where a student spent the first 30 minutes talking on the Pauline authorship of the book of Hebrews.

What is the business of members with that? All they need to know is how the bible relates to their daily living. So, yes we could be boring if we take such issues to the pulpits. Our goal should be to make the fruits of theology relevant to people.

At 55, what will be your advice to the nation?

I believe there should be self-sacrifice. We just have to let go of our interests and look at how we can build a greater future for the nation. That is why I wrote a book on the roles of prophets for nation-building.

Many of them faced difficulties but delivered the messages of God without blinking. I believe if we have courageous men of God who can call government to order, this nation will go places. We will have a better society. You cannot be a court prophet eating from the king and still call him to order.

Christianity is not about what you can get; it is about service. It boils down to what we preach. To see people leaving churches because their needs are not met is ridiculous. That is why we have to teach the word of God rightly.



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