Union School of Theology

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Union School of Theology
Union School of Theology logo.jpg
Former names
Barry School of Evangelism
South Wales Bible College
Evangelical Theological College of Wales
Wales Evangelical School of Theology
TypePrivate, Christian
PresidentMichael Reeves
Academic staff
Students170 (2017/18)
51°30′25″N 3°36′25″W / 51.507°N 3.607°W / 51.507; -3.607Coordinates: 51°30′25″N 3°36′25″W / 51.507°N 3.607°W / 51.507; -3.607
CampusBryntirion House, Bridgend

Union School of Theology is a Reformed Christian educational institution in Bryntirion in Bridgend, South Wales. The School is part of the wider Christian ministry of Union which also involves church planting and the production of theological resources.[1]

Leadership and faculty[edit]

The current President of the school is Dr Michael Reeves who also functions as Professor of Theology. He took up the role in January 2016, having been Head of Theology at the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship.[2][3] Other faculty of the School include Robert Letham, Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., and Richard Turnbull.

Programmes of study[edit]

Union School of Theology campus

The majority of Union School of Theology students attend the School in order to prepare for Christian ministry.

Campus courses[edit]

A three-year, full-time residential BA Hons degree in Theology is offered on the Bridgend campus, covering Biblical Studies, Theological and Historical Studies, and Ministerial and Missional Practice.[4] The Global Ministry Course, also based on the School campus, is designed to teach English to overseas students.[5]

Learning Communities[edit]

The School's largest programme, a Graduate diploma in theology, is taught in regional church-based 'Learning Communities' in more than 20 locations globally including Oxford, Athens, Rome, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Calgary, Alberta.[6] The course is designed to combine academic rigor with 'the convenience and added value of sharing and growing together in vibrant local settings under the care and guidance of an experienced Lead Mentor.'[7]

Postgraduate and Research Degrees[edit]

The School's Master of Theology (MTh) is a taught postgraduate masters degree, accessible both on the campus and in Learning Communities, and either full or part-time.[8] Research degrees, up to PhD level are offered through 'a collaborative partnership with VU University Amsterdam'.[9]


The college was founded in 1936 as the Barry School of Evangelism (1936–1950) (also called Barry Bible College). It was successively known as South Wales Bible College (1950–1985), Evangelical Theological College of Wales (1985–2006), and Wales Evangelical School of Theology (2006-2016).[10][11] The school was situated in Barry from 1950 to 1985.[12][13][14][15] Eryl Davies became Principal in September 1985, moving the college to the seven acre grounds of the historic Bryntirion House in Bridgend. Jonathan Stephen became Principal in 2006 and the college was renamed Wales Evangelical School of Theology.[10][13][self-published source?][12]

The school had 170 students in 2009-10 in undergraduate and graduate degree programs up to the Ph.D.[10] The graduate programme was described by Iain Murray as "well-known British training schools for ministers and missionaries" that attracts evangelical Christians wishing to study for the ministry.[16] The School's research degrees are offered in partnership with the VU University Amsterdam.[17]

Since 2007 the school has maintained a partnership with SaRang Community Church which has added Union and Wales to its worldwide areas of active mission.[18][19][better source needed][20][21][22][23][24]


The School has been the subject of criticism by the Bible League Quarterly and The Sword and the Trowel for its affiliation with the Korean churches, the involvement of the international director of the Lausanne movement on WEST's board till 2014, and claims of 'ecumenical connections' through the European Leadership Forum.[25][26][27][28] The Bible League Quarterly and The Sword and the Trowel also objected to the appointment of a Senior Lecturer in New Testament Studies who allegedly described portions of John's Gospel as 'fiction',[29] is allegedly 'agnostic whether the gospel and the epistles of John have common authorship'[30] and allegedly claims the Beloved Disciple is 'not the author' of the Gospel [31][32]

The lecturer in question has written publicly about the allegations, which were made about his 2002 PhD thesis. In 2014, he wrote an article in the journal 'Foundations' defending the historical reliability of John's Gospel and explaining his position that 'the author did not produce a strict historical record of the bare facts but employed a legitimate degree of freedom to select, arrange and present his material in order to bring out the theological significance of Jesus’ life and ministry.'[33] The article also withdrew the language of 'fiction' as 'unhelpful'.[34] Lecturers at Union School of Theology are required to sign its doctrinal statement which includes the affirmation of the Bible as 'the inspired, infallible and inerrant word of God.'[35]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Ian Paisley began his theological training at the school when it was known as the Barry School of Evangelism.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Who we are". Union. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Announcement of President". Evangelical Times newspaper. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Michael Reeves author page". Crossway. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  4. ^ "BA Theology Course". Union School of Theology. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Global Ministry Course". Union School of Theology. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Graduate Diploma lovations". Union School of Theology. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Graduate Diploma". Union School of Theology. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  8. ^ "MTh". Union School of Theology. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Research". Union School of Theology. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  10. ^ a b c "History of WEST". Wales Evangelical School of Theology. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
  11. ^ Taught to Serve: History of Barry and Bryntirion Colleges, Noel Gibbard, Bryntirion Press (1996)
  12. ^ a b Kerry Orchard [1]"West's annual meeting", July 2007, Evangelical Times.
  13. ^ a b "Theological Colleges in Wales". GENUKI. 4 September 2012. Archived from the original on 8 March 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  14. ^ "Preaching--Pure and Simple," Stuart Olyott, Evangelical Movement of Wales, 2005, p. 181.
  15. ^ Bruce, Steve, Conservative Protestant politics, Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 68.
  16. ^ Murray, Iain. "Reinventing Evangelicalism". Banner of Truth Trust. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
  17. ^ "VU news story". Union School of Theology. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  18. ^ Jonathan Stephen,East meets WEST; On how Koreans are backing Wales Evangelical School of Theology, May 2011, Evangelicals Now.
  19. ^ Kerry Orchard [2]"WEST" July 2010, Evangelical Times.
  20. ^ [3] (google translate title: "Love Church Discipleship Ministry is expected to expand into Europe.) 11 March 2011.
  21. ^ [4] “서진시대 교두보 역할 감당하겠다” 사랑의교회, 웨일즈복음주의신학교와 파트너십 맺어 (Google translate dateline and title:Church of Love on 27 October, 16:00 WEST (Wales Evangelical School of theology) and the signing of the partnership has promised.) (newspaper name according to Google translate:"Hunan Power News Power Chungcheong News", )
  22. ^ [5] 사랑의교회, 영국 웨일즈 신학교와 조인식 가져 크리스천투데이 김진영 기자 jykim@chtoday.co.kr (Google translate dateline and title:Love Churches, seminaries, and the signing of Wales brought Christian Today reporter Kim Jin Kim Jin, 1 March 2011) Christian Today newspaper. This one has an illustration of the signing ceremony)
  23. ^ [6] 사랑의교회, WEST신학교와 조인식 유럽복음화 위한 전초기지 마련 (Google translate dateline and title:Digital Holiness - 9 March 2011 Namwonjun reporters Church of Love (ohjeonghyeon Rev.) southwest of England and Wales last 27 February the only college in evangelical theology 'Wales Evangelical School of theology) also has illustration of the agreement signing.
  24. ^ [7] 3 March 2011, (Google translate title: Wales Evangelical Theological Seminary and the signing of the Church...)(First paragraph according to google translate: Church of Love (ohjeonghyeon pastor) to go on a European jaebok negative campaign. Five ministers in the Church of the recent Seoul Seocho-loving Jonathan Stephen Wales Evangelical Theological Seminary (WEST · Wales Evangelical School of Theology) have the next president and the signing of a special program for church leaders, missionaries, education and home, including the world jaepasong seminary exchange, the lay Promote global education and decided to get out.
  25. ^ "The Bible League Quarterly, January 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  26. ^ Dellam Corporation (16 November 2016). "Dellam Corporate Information Ltd, entry on Wales Evangelical School of Theology, now Union Foundation". Dellam.com. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  27. ^ "Abandoning Separation from Biblical Error". Sword and Trowel. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  28. ^ "The Bible League Quarterly, July 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  29. ^ Bennema, Cornelis (2002). The Power of Saving Wisdom - An Investigation of Spirit & Wisdom in Relation to the Soteriology of the Fourth Gospel. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. p. 16. ISBN 9783161477461.
  30. ^ Bennema, Cornelis (2007). "Christ the Spirit and the Knowledge of God A Study in Johannine Epistemology". In Healy, M; Parry, R. The Bible and Epistemology. Milton Keynes: Paternoster. p. 108. ISBN 9781842275405.
  31. ^ Bennema, Cornelis (2005). Excavating John's Gospel: A Commentary for Today. Delhi, India: ISPCK. p. 145. ISBN 9788172148638.
  32. ^ Nicholson, Peter (January 2014). "WEST's Johannine Expert: The Fourth Gospel is Partially Fiction" (PDF). Bible League Quarterly. Holywell: Bible League. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  33. ^ Bennema, Cornelis (November 2014). "The Historical Reliability of the Gospel of John". Foundations. Cambridge: Affinity. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  34. ^ Bennema, Cornelis (November 2014). "The Historical Reliability of the Gospel of John". Foundations. Cambridge: Affinity. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  35. ^ "Our Values and Doctrine". Union School of Theology. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  36. ^ Dr. Ian Paisley's Stand for the Old Bible, Free Presbyterian Church

External links[edit]