We've been enjoying the quaint rules that form part of the
heritage of the Universidad
Bíblica Latinoamericana as we celebrate our 90th
students will not be permitted to date until their third year of ministry.
Third year male students will be allowed one date a
week--apart from casual encounters--with a young lady.
case of an engagement, each case will be individually studied by the
first year women students will not be permitted to contract any commitment,
engagement or accompaniment by a young man.
Women in the other
years can be accompanied when they return from church in a group. Any other
privilege of this nature should be requested from the women's
superintendent and considered as a special permission.
abuse of these privileges or deficiency in studies, domestic tasks,
homework or Christian conduct will be reason for suspension of the
privileges by the faculty.
The institution where I teach was the brainchild of a
British couple, Harry and Susan Strachan, who
arrived to Argentina in 1904 with the
Regions Beyond Missionary Union,with the goal of evangelizing Latin
America. They quickly realized that the first step must be preparing local
leaders for evangelism and church leadership. Joining with friends in the
US, they formed what would become the Latin
American Mission and established their center of operations in
San José, Costa Rica.
Strachan and class
While Harry organized the
campaign, Susan set up an evangelistic training center, which began with 8
young women and, starting in the next year, 10 men. In 1923, the Costa Rican Bible Institute
was opened. By the 1930s, 93 students from 13 countries had enrolled. As
soon as they graduated, they were sent out to evangelize.
In 1941, the Institute
became the Latin
American Biblical Seminary (SBL).
An ambitious project of
distance learning was established to offer theological education to
students in remote areas who could
not travel to study at the seminary because of work, family, and financial
limitations. Local centers (recintos) were set up to provide encouragement to the students. In 1997, the Seminary became a university and was accredited by
the Costa Rican state. Two years later, it moved to a spacious new campus
on the outskirts of San José.
Today, we have different rules on campus, and the faculty members look different from those in 1928, but we continue our commitment to Latin
America and to the diversity of languages, ethnic groups and cultures as we
offer a Latin American perspective to students from 20 countries. Instead
of mimeographed learning modules to reach distant students, we are
preparing online courses. Instead of evangelizing Catholics, we study and
teach alongside them. The faculty is more diverse and more Latin American,
but with the same commitment to transforming the continent.
On October 18, we gave thanks to God for these 90 years, with a moving worship experience followed by a formal dinner to celebrate how God has supported and guided this institution through many challenges.
In honor of the anniversary, we published Pensar, crear, actuar:
Metodologías para una teología contextual, (Think, Create, Act:
Methodologies for a Contextual Theology),a book with
contributions from a number of professors on new theological, biblical, and
pastoral methodologies, offering proposals for the 21st century.