On Sunday, November 17, Dr. Gene Wilkes, President of B. H. Carroll Theological Institute (BHCTI), joined representatives of three other ministries to sign a covenant of agreement to teach Master-level courses in Vietnam beginning in February 2014. Dr. Randel Everett, Pastor of First Baptist Midland (FBCM), Bill Johnson, Missions Pastor of First Baptist, Leon Taylor and Bill Holmes, Directors of Vietnamese Bible, Inc. (VBI), and Dr. Daniel Tran, President of Vietnamese Baptist Theological Seminary (VBTS), signed the agreement with Dr. Wilkes in both the 8:35 and 11:05 worship services of First Baptist Church.
The partnership will offer the Vietnamese a Master of Arts in Theology through BHCTI with textbooks and materials translated into their own language. Courses will be taught in six different teaching locations from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City via the Internet and in person. Professors will come from the VBTS and BHCTI faculties with the first cohort of students numbering around 100. VBTS and VBI representatives are working with the government and churches in country to ensure access and support from those in leadership for the program.
The signed teaching agreement represents a convergence of multiple stories providentially written for over 25 years. VBI signed an agreement with First Baptist Midland in 1986 to translate the first Vietnamese language Bible from the original biblical languages. VBI now distributes an English-Vietnamese parallel Bible and various books of the Bible in pamphlet form for church leaders and members. The Bibles are printed and distributed in Vietnam and are sanctioned by the Vietnamese government.
Dr. Tran and VBTS have trained church leaders and members in Vietnam and the US for many years via the Internet, conferences, and in face-to-face classroom settings. In 2008, Dr. Tran and Dr. Bruce Corley, Senior Fellow and at that time President of BHCTI, met with other Carroll leaders to begin discussions on how the two institutions could partner to bring accredited graduate degrees to Vietnam. Dr. Wilkes, who is also a member of the VBTS Executive Board, came in contact with VBTS through a Vietnamese-American student in a BHCTI course he taught in 2006 at Legacy Church, Plano, TX, one of the Teaching Churches in the Carroll Nexus. That relationship led to the 2008 meeting with Carroll and Dr. Wilkes teaching with VBTS in Ho Chi Min City in 2011.
Drs. Jim Spivey and Stan Moore, Senior Fellows at BHCTI, met with church leaders in Hanoi in October to sign an agreement securing a teaching site in that city as well as other teaching church sites. Dr. Everett, Bill Johnson and FBCM along with their support of VBI have sent numerous mission teams to Vietnam. The FBCM Acts 1:8 Fund provided the initial $150,000.00 needed to translate course materials, provide scholarships for students, and to provide logistical support in order to begin offering courses in 2014. The group seeks a matching amount of $150,000 to complete the first cohort’s degrees in the next two years. Each student receives a 100% scholarship for his or her tuition and materials.
Please be in prayer as registration is now in progress. Pray for the professors and for financial support of the students. If you would like to donate through BHCTI, you may do so here.