From its humble beginning in 1972 in the basement of a local church in Zagreb, former Yugoslavia, the Evangelical Theological Seminary (ETS) is now considered the flagship among evangelical schools in Eastern Europe. Established to train pastors and lay persons in biblical and theological studies, ETS was one of the few Protestant theological institutions to be opened under Communism anywhere in Central or Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Union. Restrictions on religious freedom elsewhere in the region made ETS a strategic center for those seeking advanced ministerial training.
Today, hundreds of graduates minister on all continents and in more than 40 nations. The seminary serves over 40 full-time and 200 part-time students who represent eighteen countries and nine denominations.
Graduates have pioneered churches and Christian ministries of various kinds including radio programs, Christian education television and video ministries, and students’ ministries. ETS faculty and students have played an integral role in the operation of AGAPE relief ministries, pioneered the publishing of Christian literature, established camps for children, organized Christian symposia, etc. Many of the graduates work as leaders with InterVarsity, Campus Crusade and other international Christian bodies including relief and prison ministries. They have made a tremendous impact for Christ and His Kingdom, not only under the difficult times of Communist rule, but especially now in the post-Communist era where their ministries are blossoming from Albania to Armenia. The seminary has served as a significant bridge between the East and the West.
ETS also initiated theological education by extension in several post-Communist countries in Eastern Europe and today some of these extension centers have developed into residential schools. ETS is recognized by the Croatian Government and along with ministerial training, the Seminary has the unique privilege of providing theological education for school teachers who are then qualified to teach religion in public schools. Additionally, ETS has received government recognition for being a leader in Christian higher education and for “its unique contribution to society and culture”.
Today, the seminary is both international and interdenominational in character and vision, seeking to train a new generation of leadership for the church emerging from Communist oppression. We reflect on God’s faithfulness to the school over the past thirty-five years, and look to the future emboldened by His love and grace.