The Origin of the Seminary – Our beginning …
In 1990, founder of the South African Theological Seminary Dr Christopher Peppler received a word from the Lord: “Restore Truth to my church – the whole council of God: Truth in Doctrine, Truth in Relationship, Truth in structure. Put together a blueprint of what needs to be done and I will work with you, adjusting, adding and taking away. Be focused now and guard against distractions.”
A year later Christopher was reminded of this word by a pastor, who also told him that what seemed to be small was going to grow and be great. The scribe in the book of Zechariah reminds us not to “…despise the day of small beginnings”.
So began the establishment of a distance learning seminary supported and encouraged by the local Lonehill Village Church, north of Johannesburg, of which Christopher was and continues to be lead elder.
The Lord also promised to provide the necessary resources and reminded him to expand his vision and to think big.
A small group of people banded together to begin the work. They moved ahead tentatively. The local church became the resource centre and anybody who knew anything about technology or editing was roped in to minister in this area of God’s Kingdom.
The Lord was good, encouraging the team to be bold and to “seize the day” many times. They made progress. Through networking and some advertising, new and exciting people with a similar vision were drawn to partner with SATS.
The student body began to grow as more courses were developed. In 1996, the team officially launched the seminary on a triune doctrinal foundation – Bible-based, Christ-centred and Spirit-led – and it is to this definitive statement that many of its learners are drawn. Today SATS has over 2500 diverse and interesting students from across the globe, and now offers a range of relevant and practical courses in various programmes from Higher Certificate to Doctoral level
“People are hungry for Bible-based training to prepare them for works of service in God’s Kingdom,” says Dr Reuben van Rensburg, the current Principal of the seminary. “There is much work to do and many of the students have a clear desire to answer the call of God on their lives.”
“When we reflect back on the history and development of the Seminary, I see how faithful the Lord has been to the original mandate to ‘Restore Truth’ and how faithfully this is being carried out by members of the SATS Board and dedicated staff,” Christopher Peppler says.
Whether our staff are full or part-time, we are constantly blessed by their commitment and passion to ensure that our students enjoy an academically sound but practical learning experience.