In the middle of a very busy summer, I had the privilege of participating in an historic meeting of Pentecostal educators in the development of WAPTE—the World Alliance for Pentecostal Theological Education. What began as the Alliance for Pentecostal Theological Education and Leadership last September in a meeting with representatives of the regional theological associations of the Assemblies of God World Missions held in Singapore, came together again in July 2009 in Springfield, Missouri. This meeting included leaders in theological education from various worldwide Pentecostal organizations who are interested in seeking affiliation with the Pentecostal World Fellowship (PWF).
ATAL (Asociación Teológica de América Latina/ Latin America Theological Association) was established by SEC (Servicio de Educación Cristiana/ Christian Education Service) to serve as the agency to oversee accreditation of our Bible Schools in Latin America and the certification of professors. The various regions of AGWM each have similar bodies established to oversee the function of Bible School education and teacher training. As leaders of these various regional entities, we have felt the need for some time to ensure that the educational process in each of the regions is on the same level. We have found that the interest on behalf of other Pentecostal organizations has been the same, although everyone recognizes that the Assemblies of God continues to be the leader in leadership training. In coming together for dialogue in the last couple of years, it was decided that affiliation with an internationally recognized organization would give more credence to our efforts. Thus, the invitation was extended to have more representation in the formation of WAPTE.
As part of the leadership of ATAL, Dr. Pedro Gomez, Director of Christian Education from the Dominican Republic, and I were participants in that meeting in Springfield. We were selected as representatives from Latin America to represent WAPTE in its meeting with the Educational Committee of PWF in England in February 2010. There the proposal for WAPTE to become part of the PWF will be presented to be included in its agenda for the Trienial meeting of the Pentecostal World Fellowship to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, in June 2010.
This is a momentous occasion, and one which will greatly enhance the standing of ATAL in its service to Latin America as an accrediting agency. Recognition by the PWF will enhance our credibility with other organizations around the world, and give us the covering of a respected Pentecostal body. As the only Spanish-language theological association with a Pentecostal heritage, this will help many of our national churches see that what we are doing with ATAL as part of an international fellowship that is interested in the same standards of recognition and excellence in theological education. It shows that we are not alone in our efforts to raise the standard for excellence in Pentecostal theological education.
I encourage you to visit our Spanish-language website www.atalad.net and familiarize yourself with the documents of incorporation for ATAL as well as the Standards of Accreditation which guide us in the process. As members of ACLAME, your familiarity with, and promotion of ATAL, are vital to its growth.
I apologize that the website is not fully developed at the present time, but you can see what the program is and what it has to offer. We are working on getting the forms for membership loaded on the site and hope to be up and running very shortly with the promotion for membership. Our plans are to launch that membership drive in conjunction with the next Cumbre Educativa (Educators Summit) to be held in Managua, Nicaragua, March 1-4, 2010.
I conclude with the following report of the WAPTE meeting. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Report of WAPTE Meeting
The name was changed from the Alliance for Pentecostal Theological Education and Leadership to World Alliance for Pentecostal Theological Education (WAPTE)
2. Nature of WAPTE
The World Alliance for Pentecostal Theological Education (WAPTE) is a global cooperative fellowship of Pentecostal/Charismatic theological associations, denominational offices and missions agencies affiliated with a member body of the Pentecostal World Fellowship that provide educational services to theological and/or ministry training schools. It exists to assist and encourage these organizations in their endeavor to promote the development of Pentecostal theological education and leadership training. WAPTE is affiliated with the Pentecostal World Fellowship and its member bodies.
3. Charter Member organizations
· African Assemblies of God Alliance (AAGA)
· Association for Pentecostal Theological Education in Africa (APTEA)
· Asia Pacific Theological Association (APTA)
· Asia Pacific Education Office (APEO)
· Latin American Theological Association (ATAL)
· Assemblies of God Association of Theological Education in Southern Asia (AGATESA)
· European Pentecostal Theological Association (EPTA)
· International Church of the Four Square Gospel
· Global Education, Pentecostal Assemblies of Cananda
· Alliance for Assemblies of God Higher Education
4. Interim Executive Director: Rev. Roland Dudley
5. Interim Board members & Officers
· Dr. Enson Lwesya – African Assemblies of God Alliance (AAGA)
· Dr. Carl Gibbs – Association for Pentecostal Theological Education in Africa (APTEA)
· Dr. Alex Fuentes – Asia Pacific Theological Association (APTA)
· Dr. John Carter – Asia Pacific Education Office (APEO)
· Rev. Gayle Grisbee, Latin American Theological Association (ATAL)
· Dr. Pedro Gomez, Dept. of Education, Assemblies of God, Dominican Republic
· Dr. Jacob Cherian, Assemblies of God Association of Theological Education in Southern
· Dr. Ivan Satyrvrata or Dr. John Higgins
· Dr. Paul Alexander, European Pentecostal Theological Association (EPTA)
· Second member to be arranged by Paul Alexander.
· Dr. Dan Hedges, International Church of Four Square Gospel
· Dr. Irving Whitt – Global Education PAOC
At Large Members:
· Dr. Bob Cook, Alliance for Assemblies of God Higher Education
· Dr. Miguel Alvarez, Church of God
Officers of the Board:
· Dr. John Carter, Chairman
· Dr. Paul Alexander, Vice-Chairman
· Dr. Alex Fuentes, Secretary
· Dr. Carl Gibbs, Treasurer
By Gayle Grisbee,
President of ATAL (Asociación Teológica de América Latina/ Latin America Theological Association)