Theological Education in the Romanian Pentecostal Church: History and Perspectives
During 7-9 October 2016 the Theological Pentecostal Institute from Bucharest (ITPB) has celebrated the completion of 40 years of Pentecostal theological education in Romania. It was exactly four decades ago, in 1976, that the classes of the first cohort of theology students commenced their studies in the then the Pentecostal Theological Seminary under the leadership of Pastor Trandafir Șandru.
Besides the students, faculty and staff of ITPB, the celebration was attended by numerous guests, coming from Romania and abroad, by ITPB alumni, representatives of the Romanian authorities, presidents of other evangelical theological institutions, and the leadership of the Romanian Christian Pentecostal Denomination.
The celebration commenced on Friday evening, 7 October, at Hotel Rin in Otopeni, with short addresses from distinguished guests: Pastor Vasile Cînpean, president of the AoG Romanian Alliance in USA and Canada; Pastor Cornel Avram, president of the Union of Romanian Pentecostal Churches in USA and Canada; Dr. Elisei Rusu, president of the “Timotheus” Brethren Theological Institute from Bucharest; Pastor Dr. Daniel Mariș, president of the Baptist Theological Institute from Bucharest; Pastor Lambert DeLong, former Superintendent of Church of God in Europe; Pastor Dr. Michael Backer, president of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary (PTS) from Cleveland, TN, USA; pastor Dr. Tony Lane, Bishop of the Romanian Church of God churches in USA and Canada; Dr. Cezar Păvălașcu, director of the Assistance and Education branch within the Romanian Ministry of Religious Affairs; and Mr. Romeo Nicu Moșoiu, councillor in the Romanian Ministry of Education and Scientific Research. After these addresses, the evening continued with a Biblical message from Dr. David Ramirez, Assistant General Overseer of Church of God, and with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding providing a framework for future cooperation between ITPB and PTS. The evening concluded with a Biblical message delivered by Pastor Moise Ardelean, president of the Romanian Christian Pentecostal Denomination.
The second day of the celebrations begun with a short historical account of the beginnings of the Pentecostal Seminary, followed by presentations of several student cohorts that attended the Seminary prior to the 1989 Romanian anti-communist revolution, and a presentation of the faculty members that taught in the Seminary during the hard period of communism. Also, in the first part of the day the book Church of Christ: Witness, Renewal and Spiritual Balance, authored by Lamar Vest and Steven Land, was launched. This was followed by several Biblical messages delivered by: Pastor Nelu Filip, vice-president of the AoG Romanian Alliance from USA and Canada; Pastor Florin Cîmpean, president of the Romanian Church of God churches in USA and Canada’ Pastor Dr. Michael Backer, president of PTS; Pastor Simion Bumbar, president of the Maramureș and Satu-Mare district of the Romanian Christian Pentecostal Denomination; and Pastor Aurel Moldovanu, vice-president of the Romanian Christian Pentecostal Denomination. At the conclusion of the morning, before lunch was served, Pastor Dr. Ioan Brie, the President of ITPB, presented several guests and institutions represented by these with awards and distinctions in recognition of their faithfulness in supporting ITPB over the years. At the end of the day, after a Biblical message given by Pastor Dr. Lazăr Gog, both guests and hosts travelled to the ITPB campus site, where alumni had the opportunity to revisit the place where many beautiful memories were born during their years as students. Also, here they interceded in prayer for ITPB’s vision for a new campus, which will provide improved educational facilities, proper library space and adequate lodgings space, asking the Lord to bless the development plans of the institution.
The last part of the celebration was held on Sunday morning in the Filadelfia church in Bucharest. During this, the official opening of the 2016-2017 academic year was announced. The songs sung by the 1st year students and their older colleagues, the encouraging messages from several ITPB’s alumni and the biblical expositions given by the guests made this a blessed fellowship, in the presence of the Lord, full of spiritual resources for all people present.
We thank God for his grace and help in organizing and celebrating these events and we pray that his blessing will remain true over the Theological Pentecostal Institute and over everyone who contributes to the work of the Lord in which we are engaged.