Brief History

The vision of a national Baptist seminary in Singapore was first conceived in the mid-1970s when Baptist leaders and missionaries here felt that theological education for Singapore Baptists was not adequately served by the offering of Theological Education by Extension (TEE) courses. In September 1976, the newly organised Singapore Baptist Convention appointed a sub-committee to recommend plans for long-term theological training. The plans came to fruition when the Singapore Branch of the Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS) was set up in 1982. This decision was in partprompted by concern over Malaysian immigration restrictions against foreigners, including Singaporeans, studying in Malaysia. On 3 May 1982, the Singapore Baptist Convention voted “to encourage the Baptist Theological Seminary to proceed to implement its plans for upgrading the Singapore Theological Education by Extension (TEE) program to a Teaching Branch of the [Malaysia] Baptist Theological Seminary.”

The BTS Branch commenced classes in the English stream in January 1983 with five students. The Branch met for the first term in the facilities of the Baptist Centre for Urban Studies on Holland Road. In April 1983, Calvary Baptist Church invited the Branch to make use of its educational block at 48 Wan Tho Avenue. This began a cordial relationship that continued through the Seminary’s move to larger facilities at Singapore Baptist Church, 1 Cambridge Road, in December 1988.

In 1987, MBTS and the Singapore Branch Advisory Committee proposed that the Branch become an autonomous seminary. The Branch Advisory Committee examined many options for facilities, including the possibility of purchasing a property or building a seminary, and the practicality of entering into a partnership with an expanding church. Singapore Baptist Church and the Branch began dialogue that resulted in an agreement for the school to occupy part of its new educational building. In March 1988, the Singapore Baptist Convention made application to the Ministry of Education for registration of the Baptist Theological Seminary as a religious institution. The Seminary received word on 18 April 1989 that it had been registered by the Ministry of Education.

The Seminary is particularly indebted to MBTS, which strongly advocated independence for the Branch once the situation advised autonomy. The mother institution also provided the Branch library with its first 1,000 books. With the encouragement of Dr. Amos Lee, then president of MBTS and Dr. John Ong, the current president, the two institutions have continued to exchange professors on a regular basis and will enjoy a viable partnership in the years to come.

BTS was established as an agency of the Singapore Baptist Convention. The Convention has been very supportive of BTS in every phase of its development. The Baptist churches of Singapore and many individual Baptists have given exceptional support to the Seminary through their prayers, words of encouragement, and finances. The Lord is good and His people have been generous. In July 1998, the Seminary moved to Kay Poh Road Baptist Church. In March 2000, the Seminary again moved to Queenstown Baptist Church, 495 Margaret Drive.  In 2011 when Queenstown Baptist Church was undergoing major rebulding and renovation, the seminary moved its library and offices to BeTime Building at MacPherson Road, and held classes at for one year at Calvary Baptist Church and Hope Baptist Church.

In August 2012, after more than twenty three years since her registration as an institution of learning, BTS moved to permanent premises at the Baptist Centre at 1023 Upper Serangoon Road.  The seminary shares the premises with the Singapore Baptist Convention office.  We give thanks as we have seen the hand of God in the life BTS!

 
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