Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary (NETS)
Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary (NETS) is an evangelical seminary located in the American Quarter in Nazareth of Galilee, Israel. The seminary offers graduate and undergraduate degrees, and teaching takes place both in English and Arabic.
Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary was opened in 2007 as Nazareth Center for Christian Studies (NCCS) by the Association of Baptist Churches in Israel (ABC), to serve mainly the evangelical Arab community of Israel. The name was changed in 2008. Although a small minority among the estimated 150,000 Arab Christians in the Holy Land, evangelicalism has grown since 1970 from a few hundred people in a handful of local churches to an estimated five thousand connected with thirty or more local congregations, two-thirds of which are in membership with the ABC. Students and staff come from a number of denominations, including Anglican, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Brethren, and Messianic Jewish.
In the summer of 2013 the seminary's founding president, J. Bryson Arthur, moved on to a new position and the Rev. Azar Ajaj, then serving as lecturer and vice-president for administrative affairs, was promoted to that position.
Academics and programs
Under the leadership of its founding president, Scottish theologian J. Bryson Arthur, and as of 2013 his successor, the Rev. Azar Ajaj, NETS aims to provide internationally respected and accredited degrees at very low cost to local students. It works in co-operation with sister institutions in London, Prague, and California. Currently, the seminary offers through the medium of English, a British-accredited Bachelor of Divinity (BD) degree and the Master of Theology (MTh) degree, and a Master of Arts in Christian ministry in partnership with Hope International University; and through the medium of Arabic, a locally accredited Bachelor of Theology (BTh) degree.
Through its one-month sabbatical program for visitors to Israel and Palestine, NETS seeks also to enable people from around the world to build relationships with the people of Israel, both Arab and Jewish, and to develop a more informed and nuanced appreciation of the unique challenges of life in the Holy Land.
Notwithstanding its high academic standard, the seminary aims to "adapt to the real needs of ministers, taking into consideration the special status of our country," according to Monther Naom, chairman of the Association of Baptist Church in Israel.
NETS has an evangelical basis of faith but it maintains a liberal arts approach to academic studies, in keeping with its university level of education. It also welcomes a variety of opinion with regard to secondary issues, notably the place of Israel in New Testament thought and the nature of the biblical Millennium. It is, however, committed to encouraging closer relations between all evangelical believers in the Holy Land.
"The vision for NETS is to advance, equip and inspire, from an evangelical perspective, the Christian community in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, through profound theological and Biblical training and reflection, effective leadership training, and promoting reconciliation and unity within the body of Christ."
- Association of Baptist Churches (2007). "The Nazareth Center for Christian Studies". Global Missiology 4 (2). Retrieved 26 November 2012.
- Ajaj, Azar (September 2013). "Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary: The First Six Years" (PDF). Mary's Well Occasional Papers 2 (2): 7. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
- Naom, Monther (September 2007). "A Word from the ABC Chairman". Al Kalima 2: 18.