Edinburgh Bible College
‘Do we really need another Bible college?’ That was the question asked of Rev. John Brand, when, at the prompting of a few church leaders, he was encouraged to set up Edinburgh Bible College in 2012. After all, there are several in the UK and some of them struggle with decreasing numbers of students.
However, John Brand, principal of the new college, said, ‘I became confident that the answer was definitely yes, so we have begun, running some part-time and online courses while reparing for our first student intake in September 2013’.
Mr Brand said that, as they build the team, they are bearing in mind a number of concerns. These include the need for ‘an unashamed emphasis on the Bible itself and an uncompromised stand on its nature and authority’.
‘In many ways, the clue as to what we are about is in the name — we are a Bible college. I was encouraged to come up with a more contemporary name, but I am a great believer that you shouldn’t need to spend half an hour explaining “the label on the tin”.
‘Someone once told a friend of mine that they were “more than a Bible college”, to which his response was, “you mean you are less than a Bible college”. ‘We exist primarily to teach the Scriptures and their practical application in our individual lives and in the world around us’.
Every teacher at the college will have to reaffirm regularly their commitment to the historic doctrines of the inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility and sufficiency of God’s Word, and the majority of a student’s time will be spent in the Bible.
Mr Brand said, ‘We will not take time studying the views and works of liberals and those who reject the authority of Scripture. Pastors can have confidence that, when they send their students to us, they will not get ompromised teaching’.
He said another concern was accountability to local churches. Mr Brand explained: ‘Edinburgh Bible College exists to serve, work with and strengthen the hand of the church. We have a board comprised of representatives of local churches. We are accountable to them and this will help ensure we keep that focus.
‘We want the agenda of the college to be driven by the churches, not by academics. We will also work in partnership with the home churches of students, involving them in the decision-making process and in the ongoing training and development of their members’.
He pointed to the history of Bible teaching in Scotland. He said, ‘We are going “back to the future”. Two or three centuries ago, most teaching at Bible college was done by pastors and preachers; real practitioners not professional professors. ‘That will be the case in Edinburgh. That will help us keep our teaching and training in
the real world’.
Mr Brand said another concern was to be accessible. ‘In the past few years, I have encountered and spoken to numerous fine Christians who cannot get into any Bible college, either because they do not have the required educational qualifications, or they have a chequered past, or they do not give evidence of a clear call to some form of Christian ministry.
‘These are converted people who want to grow in their knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and be more useful to their Saviour in their everyday lives and yet “the system” bars them.
‘I have actually been told that (and I quote), “God can’t use” people who have been through certain life-experiences. That has been a source of great frustration to me and I am excited at now being in a position to do something about it’.
He added that it was also important to be flexible about the hours that some people can study. ‘Students at Edinburgh Bible College will be able to pursue their studies full or part time, at evening classes or online.
‘As we seek to move ahead, we greatly value the prayers of the Lord’s people for the provision of suitable long-term premises and for finances to put the work on a secure setting’.
More details about all the college stands for and seeks to achieve, as well as information about courses can be found at www.edinburghbiblecollege.co.uk or by e-mailing [email protected]