Nanjing Union Theological Seminary

China's Nanjing Union Theological Seminary

Nanjing Union Theological Seminary

Nanjing Union Theological SeminaryLocated in the city of Nanjing in eastern China, Nanjing Union Theological Seminary is China's sole seminary.

At right is Nanjing Union Theological Seminary's new campus in Jinling, a suburb of Nanjing (This campus of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary is also called Jinling Union Theological Seminary).

As of 2012, Nanjing Union Theological Seminary has only 280 students and annually graduates 70, which is about 1 for every 2 million of China's 150 million Christians.

This woefully inadequate ratio is by design; Chinese Communist Party "founded" Nanjing Union Theological Seminary in 1952 by consolidating 12 seminaries in eastern China and does not permit other seminaries in its effort to curtail the growth of Christianity.*

Quality is as much an issue as quantity at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary. Its teaching of the Bible is weak, perfunctory and filtered through Three Self Patriotic Movement, the propagation of which is the focus of instruction.

The majority of the students are women, and the majority of its faculty are its own graduates. Most of them cannot exegete the Bible in Chinese, let alone in the original texts. There are a few foreign faculty, hired for their academic pedigrees and liberal theology.

Given their alumni network and the acute shortage of pastors (3,700 ordained pastors for over 57,000 Three Self churches) in China, the graduates of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary can claim the most coveted pastorates in China's major cities, where some of them fare rather well financially despite their modest salaries.

Others, however, end up studying the Bible on their own, are born again, and then walk the political tight rope of preaching the true gospel of Jesus Christ while keeping the government minders at bay, or eventually tire of the yoke and leave to found and pastor house churches.

* Chinese Communist Party routinely touts that there are 12 other seminaries in China, but this is untrue. Nanjing Union Theological Seminary is the sole 3 year Masters program in China; all other "seminaries" in China are craftily named 3 or 4 year undergraduate college programs, as follows:

• Anhui Theological Seminary in Hefei city of Anhui province (3 year college, 90 students)
• Dongbei Theological Seminary in Shenyang city of Liaoning province
• Guangdong Theological Seminary, Guangzhou, Guangdong (3 yr college, 140 students)
• Fujian Theological Seminary in Fuzhou, Fujian province (3 year college)
• Henan Theological Seminary in Zhengzhou, Henan (3 year college, 180 students)
• East China Theological Seminary in Shanghai (4 year college, 134 students)
• Shandong Theological Seminary in Jinan, Shandong (3 year college, 175 students)
• Sichuan Theological Seminary in Chengdu, Sichuan (4 year college, 75 students)
• Yanjing Theological Seminary in Beijing (4 year college, 124 students)
• Yunnan Theological Seminary in Kunming, Yunnan (3 year college, 110 students)
• Zhejiang Theological Seminary in Hangzhou, Zhejiang (3 year college, 180 students)
• Zhongnan Theological Seminary in Wuhan city of Hubei province