Why Bible Colleges?
A. DEADLY MYTH:
Jesus encountered this myth held by the Jews: “you have heard it said 'you shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy' ” (Matt. 5: 43-48).
The command “Thou shalt love thy neighbour” was from Leviticus 19:18. The second clause “and hate thine enemy” does not occur in Leviticus, but was a Rabbinical inference to encourage Jews to hate the surrounding non-Jewish (or mixed Jewish) nations such as the Samaritans.
Today, many Christians see political entities opposing their culture such as the Islamic State (IS) and regard it as a threat to be resisted. Even though extremist groups represent an extremely small percentage of Muslims world-wide (less than 3%), many Christians express a hatred for all Muslims. The result is that Muslims living in America are suspiciously regarded by Christians much like the Jews of Jesus’ time proscribed and excluded the Samaritans.
Jesus came to show a better way; he said: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Jesus used as an example a Samaritan who demonstrated love for a Jew who hated him (Matt. 10).
The Samaritans were among the first groups to receive the gospel after the stoning of Stephen. Phillip went to the Samaritans preaching the Gospel and many received Christ as the Messiah (Acts 8). The Samaritans were even more thrilled when Peter and John came among them and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 10).
D. OUR EXPERIENCE:
Our experience is that 20th and 21st century Muslims, like first century Samaritans, are eager for the good news of Jesus. In Bangladesh, we have seen over 750,000 Muslims come to understand that good news over the past twenty-five years. This has necessitated a small Bible College which has some 500-600 pastor-teachers enrolled to learn to serve those seekers and followers. They are all farmers, businessmen and businesswomen, teachers and employees who are taking night school, training on their own time.