(1) WHEN DID YOUR INVOLVEMENT WITH THE HUNGARIAN BAPTIST SEMINARY BEGIN AND WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
My involvement with the seminary began immediately after I finished my MA studies at Bridgend, at the Evangelical Theological College of Wales (now called Union School of Theology). With the help and encouragement of EMF I interrupted my pastoral ministry in Romania for one year, and I moved to the UK with my family to study. After finishing my MA course, I came back to Romania and I was asked by my denomination to lecture in our small ethnic Hungarian Baptist Seminary at Oradea (Romania).
(2) TELL US ABOUT THE SEMINARY – WHY DOES IT EXIST; WHAT KIND OF TRAINING IS PROVIDED, AND HOW MANY STUDENTS ARE CURRENTLY ENROLLED?
This seminary exists
- to train young men for the pastoral ministry,
- to train young men and women to become teachers of religion (i.e. of Christianity) in public schools, and
- to train young men and women to teach the subject of music in public schools.
The students can receive accredited diplomas, both BA diplomas and MA ones, as they are enrolled either at Emanuel Institute of Oradea (Romania) or at the Baptist Theological Academy of Budapest (Hungary). We are very grateful for this.
Given the fact that our evangelical denomination (the Baptist Convention) is a minority within a minority (among ethnic Hungarians in Romania), it is very small (see the short history below).So at the moment there are 5 students training to become pastors and around 30students training to become teachers of Christianity or of music in our public schools.
(3) DESCRIBE WHY THEOLOGICAL TRAINING IN YOUR REGION IS SO IMPORTANT.
For various historical reasons, there are 1.5 million Hungarians in Transylvania, Romania. My family and I belong to this ethnic group. After Hungary lost the First World War, Transylvania was taken away from Hungary and given over to Romania. Thus, my grandparents, who always lived there, became Romanian citizens overnight, even though they still lived in the same place and spoke the same language (Hungarian). This is why there are so many Hungarians in Romania.
As the gospel reached Transylvania toward the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, more and more Hungarian Baptist Churches were planted. After communism fell in Romania in 1989, my denomination formed this seminary to train young men for the ministry. At present there are around 250 Hungarian speaking Baptist churches in Transylvania, but only about 56 pastors. It is therefore absolutely vital that we invest time, energy and resources in trying to raise up a new generation of godly and gifted church leaders.
(4) WHAT KEY LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE IN PREPARING PEOPLE FOR MINISTRY?
The greatest experience and challenge is to test every teaching in the light of the Bible and to accept humbly every teaching based on the whole counsel of God regardless of my personal preferences. I have had to learn to approach the Bible with humility and openness so that it will shape my mind and transform my theology.
It is also important for me to learn how relevant biblical doctrines are, as well as how practical they are for everyday life. Moreover, it is a real challenge to teach the students in such away that they may realize also, that the biblical gospel they learn is enormously significant and really relevant at the same time.