The Far East Conference of the Assemblies of God that met in Hong Kong in 1960 strongly urged the establishment of an advanced school of theology to serve the entire area of the Far East. Several years of careful planning followed, directed largely by Maynard Ketcham, field secretary for the US Assemblies of God for the Far East. The school was established in 1964 as the Far East Advanced School of Theology (FEAST), with Harold Kohl as the founding president. The first building was constructed on the compound of Bethel Bible Institute in Manila, Philippines. This facility served the school until 1986 when the campus was moved to its present location in Baguio City, Philippines.
The curriculum of the school was originally structured to accommodate Assemblies of God ministers and Christian workers who had completed only a three-year Bible institute program. Bachelor of Arts degrees in Biblical Studies and Religious Education (four-year degrees), and a five-year Bachelor of Theology degree were offered. In 1978 the program was expanded to include Masters degrees in Biblical Studies and Christian Education, and the Master of Divinity degree program was added in 1982. In 1989 the Bachelor of Arts programs began to be phased out.
In 1985, property was purchased in Baguio City, Philippines, to provide a permanent campus for the school. Operations were moved to the new site in October 1986. In the years that followed, a number of buildings were erected on the new campus to house the growing student body and academic programs.
The name was changed from Far East Advanced School of Theology to Asia Pacific Theological Seminary (APTS) in 1989 to better reflect the nature of the school in offering graduate degrees in theology. From 2000-2002, several post-graduate programs were added, including the Th.M. in Pentecostal/Charismatic Studies (2000), which was replaced with the MTh (2009), and the D. Min in Pentecostal/Charismatic Spirituality (2002).
In addition to the classes offered on the campus of APTS, courses are taught in extension centers in several Asia Pacific countries. More than 3,000 students have studied in APTS extension classes. The current school is now accredited by the Philippine Commission on Higher Education, Association for Theological Education in South East Asia (ATESEA), Asia Theological Association (ATA) and Asia Pacific Theological Association (APTA).
Asia Pacific Theological Seminary exists to prepare ministerial leaders for the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches of the Asia Pacific region, and to serve as a resource center for assisting these churches to fulfill their biblical mandate. To this end, APTS provides advanced leadership training within the Pentecostal/Charismatic tradition and a variety of theological, educational, and ministry services that seek to develop and enhance the effectiveness of the churches and students it serves. Specialized training is offered in theology, Bible, pastoral ministry, Christian education, Bible school ministry, evangelism, and missions. An important goal of APTS is to conduct academically sound educational programs that are sensitive to the cultural issues and needs of the Asia Pacific region, while providing opportunities for students to learn through hands-on ministry experiences.
The goals of APTS are to:
- Provide an institution of learning for the Assemblies of God, while admitting non-Assemblies of God students who are in harmony with the purposes and values of the school.
- Implement a Christ-centered, biblically oriented curriculum that recognizes the Bible as the infallible and authoritative rule of faith and conduct.
- Conduct a program designed to enrich the learning experiences of all students and promote their effectiveness in ministry, including both those with a strong background in Bible and ministry and those with a secular education.
- Provide a program of studies within the Pentecostal tradition of the Assemblies of God, giving emphasis to the person and work of the Holy Spirit in life and ministry.
- Establish a curriculum designed to assist students to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for Christian leadership and that also encourages a spirit of inquiry and develops the student’s skills in research.
- Maintain an environment, provide activities, and offer guidance conducive to the development of the spiritual life and character of students as servants of God.
- Offer specialized ministry programs of continuing education for Christian service.
- Conduct cross-cultural, missio-logical training in evangelism, church planting and nurturing, and community development that is consistent with a spirit of obedience to our Lord’s Great Commission “to make disciples of all people” (Matt. 18:19-20).
The Asia Pacific Theological Seminary (APTS) subscribes to the Statement of Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God. The full statement is found in the APTS constitution. The following is a summary.
- The Bible is the inspired Word of God, the infallible rule of faith and conduct for all people.
- There is one God, eternally existent in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- In the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal future return to earth to rule for a thousand years.
- In the rapture of the Church at Christ’s return to this earth–this is the blessed and living hope of all believers.
- “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12, NRSV).
- The only means of being cleansed from sin is through repentance and faith in the cleansing power of the blood of Christ.
- Regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for personal salvation.
- By Christ’s atoning death on the Cross, healing for the human body is available in answer to faith and prayer.
- The baptism in the Holy Spirit according to Acts 2:4 may be received by all believers for effective life and service.
- The indwelling sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit enables the Christian to live a holy life.
- In the bodily resurrection of the saved and the lost, the one to everlasting life and the other to everlasting punishment.