Chapter One (1930-1950) Founding of our Seminary in Shanghai
In 1928, several Chinese ladies and pastors, guided by their spiritual foresight, initiated the idea of founding China Bible Seminary, aiming to teach the Word of God to educated Chinese women, and train them to become ministers of God.
In 1929, Miss Ruth Brittain and ten devoted Christian ladies of Chinese and Western background, got together and prayed fervently. They were solemnly entrusted by God to establish a Seminary of sound faith for educated Chinese women. Our Seminary, headed by the only true Triune God, with the Bible as the main curriculum, the Holy Spirit as teacher, was to strengthen students in all areas to become instruments useful to God, so that teachers and students receiving the grace of our Lord, might witness the glory of God.
On March 3, 1930, after praying earnestly, they formed the first Board of Directors, Mrs. Cao Sun Su Xin was elected as the Chair-lady, Miss Ruth M. Brittain, Miss Mary A. Leaman, Miss Christina Tsai, Miss Yuan Yu-Ying, Miss Chen Yu-Xiang, Miss Mary Culler White, Miss Ruth Paxon, China Inland Mission’s Miss Margaret King, Mrs. Jiang Shi Ru-Yu, and Miss Ni Song-De as Board Members. Committing China Bible Seminary to the hands of God, the Board announced the inauguration of our Seminary. This independent women’s Bible seminary, nondenominational, nonunion, and not supported by any missionary organization, was set up on 17 September 1930 in Shanghai Jiang-wan. In 1938, male students were also admitted and our Seminary from then was formally named as China Bible Seminary. In 1939, our Seminary was registered as a non-profit Christian Education Organization in New Jersey, U.S.A.
The campus in Jiang-wan was built on a land donated by a devoted Christian lady, Miss Dora Yu Ci-Du. Classes were offered between 1930-1950, even as the country went through the second World War.
In February 1950, under the guidance of God, President Miss Ruth Brittan announced the closing of our Seminary. The graduates of our Seminary later spread to all provinces of China (except Tibet region) and overseas. No matter where they were, our graduates continued to proclaim the gospel and strengthen believers.
Chapter Two (1964-2004) Reinstatement of our Seminary in Hong Kong
In the summer of 1962, some faculty members who resided in Hong Kong started Bible Classes and Bible Study Fellowship respectively to equip Church volunteers and to nurture spiritual lives of lay Christians. These classes were met with enthusiasm where most participants were young Christians. The Bible classes used the study methods of Miss Audrey Wetherell Johnson, who later founded BSF International.
In September 1964, by the wondrous grace of God, our Seminary’s ministry was restored in Hong Kong and the Board of Directors was established to manage the development of our Seminary in Hong Kong. The campus and student dormitory were located in Tsim Sha Tsui. In 1968, China Bible Seminary in Hong Kong graduated the first group of Diploma students. In 1973, our Seminary restructured the Bible Study Fellowship and Bible Classes into a Bible Evening School, aiming to teach the Bible and other practical subjects systematically. These classes were welcomed by both local Church leaders and lay Christians.
In June 1978, our Seminary had its first batch of Bachelor of Theology graduates. In September 1987, in addition to Bachelor’s courses, our Seminary started Certificate Course in Biblical Studies, which aimed to nurture dedicated Christians, facilitating them to participate in Church ministry effectively and to witness Christ in their workplace.
From 1995 to 2000, our Seminary broadened her program to include the Associate of Arts in Christian Studies, the Master of Ministry and the Master of Christian Studies to meet the needs of the society. Apart from preparing Christians for full-time ministry, programs were extended to provide continuing education for pastors and lay Christians in their workplace. As for the campus, our Seminary moved from Chatham Road to Ashley Road Tsim Sha Tsui in 1996. In February 2001, our Seminary bought a flat in HanKow Road. The flat with an area of 300 square meters (equivalent to 3,000 square feet) was assigned for library purposes, so that students had a larger area for reading and studying. In August 2002, by God’s gracious providence, our Seminary rented two flats which were situated on an upper floor of the same building as the library, serving as dormitories for male and female students. Dormitory life allowed students to be more focused in their studies and facilitated their spiritual and character development.
Since our Seminary reopened in 1964, our graduates worked in Hong Kong as pastors and teachers, seminary faculty, teachers in Christian Schools, literature ministry and evangelical organizations.
In April 1996, the Hong Kong Board of Directors registered China Bible Seminary as a non-profit making charitable organization in the Company Registry, the Government of Hong Kong. From then on, the American Board of directors and the Hong Kong Board of directors operated independently to serve ministries in North America and Hong Kong respectively.
In March 2004, we celebrated the 40th Anniversary of China Bible Seminary in Hong Kong (1964-2004). Under the guidance of God, our Seminary announced a new start in 2005.
In this new chapter, we designed a new logo, which consists of the character ‘中’ (the first character of the name of our Seminary ‘China 中華’) that resembles the Cross and an opened Bible. The logo expresses our hearts’ desire: “Exalt Christ and Preach the Word!” As for the school colors, we employ dark brown and grey, which represent wood and stone respectively, the main material of the New Temple depicted in Ezekial Ch. 40-43. Though plain and simple, yet with the presence of God, the Temple is filled with His glory (Eze 43:1-5). This is to express our prayer: “Pursue Holiness and Serve God Wholeheartedly!” ‘Spiritual formation’ is recognized and affirmed as the main aim of our Seminary.
We reprinted “I beheld the Glory of God”, written by Miss Caroline Ho in 1962, to urge our students, faculty and staff to value our prayer life. We revised our program and curriculum. We added Missions Major to our B. Th. program. In 2009, we implemented the Master of Divinity course, to provide continuing education opportunities for pastors. In 2011, we started the Bachelor of Biblical Studies in our Program for lay Christians. In 2015 September, we launched M. Div. Degree for university graduates, equipping them for full-time ministry, which marked a new milestone for our Seminary.
Regarding campus facilities, in the summer of 2007, God graciously led us to purchase a piece of land in Ngau Tam Mei, Yuen Long, New Territories as the new campus. In December 2008, we rented three blocks of village houses as our temporary campus and moved in there in January 2009. It was the abundant grace of God that students began to receive training in a tranquil environment. From then, the original campus in Tsim Sha Tsui, named as Tsim Sha Tsui Education Center, is used for training lay Christians for ministry.
In the Autumn of 2014, the new campus building was completed. The Dedication Service was held on 14 December. We moved in and the new campus was officially used on 5 January 2015. The outlay of building the new campus was 100 million Hong Kong dollars in total. As a faith mission, we adhered to the principle “No debts, No fund raising, Trust in the providence of God with all our hearts” which was used since the founding of our Seminary in 1930 to accomplish this tremendous task. We are blessed to experience the faith of our founders that was powerful and effective. Thanks be to God! The testimony of building of the new campus was written in “We’ve experienced the Glory of God” (published in 2014, updated editions in 2017 and 2018 respectively). May God continue to use China Bible Seminary to equip workers whom He had called to His service.