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Seminary

To serve local churches in Kenya and beyond by helping to raise up pastor-theologians, missionaries, and counsellors who can lead others to navigate the temptations and perplexities of this world by the light of Scripture.

The Nairobi Institute of Reformed Theology was started under the leadership of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Nairobi. This institution will aim to raise up pastor-
scholars for the church in Africa. 

Africa sorely needs faithful pastor-scholars and the programs to train these men up. Today, there are more African theologians on the continent with advanced degrees, but unfortunately, many look to culture as a more fundamental rule for theology than Scripture. This theological disposition reflects the method of many of the graduate-level programs that already exist in Africa. For instance, priority is often given to domains of applied theology (e.g., missiology) rather than to the fundamental disciplines of exegesis, biblical theology, and systematic theology.

As a result, many African pastors long for more rigorous training that is ruled by Scripture, but they cannot easily get it. And the African church is left ill-equipped to face challenges like the prosperity gospel, African traditional religion, and Islam.

Our hope is that this seminary program will, by God’s grace, play a small part in raising up faithful pastors and pastor-scholars—men who are able to serve other pastors and the whole African church by showing how Scripture speaks to the challenges they face as well as to the whole Christian life. 

Professors who teach in the program will affirm the historic orthodox creeds and one of the following Reformed confessions: the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Second London Baptist Confession, the Three Forms of Unity, or the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. 

The program will not likely be accredited within Kenya, owing to impractical governmental requirements, but it will offer robust, M.Div.-level training, and we are in conversation with Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary about an arrangement in which they would grant their accredited M.A. degree to our graduates.

Vision

To serve local churches in Kenya and beyond by helping to raise up pastors, pastor-theologians, missionaries, and counselors who can lead others to navigate the temptations and perplexities of this world by the light of Scripture.

Aims

  • To ground students in comprehensive knowledge of the Bible and theology and teach students how to apply this knowledge to their life and ministry
  • To train people to serve the church
  • To meet high enough academic standard that students who want to pursue further education will be well-prepared 
Courses Our Students Our Team
  • Original languages of the Scriptures (Hebrew and Greek)
  • New and Old Testament
  • Theology
  • Church History
  • Practical Ministry

At present, NIRT is not accredited within Kenya. However, students in our program have an opportunity to apply to Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (PRTS) for their online MA degree at a significantly reduced cost. Students earn credit for 50% of their PRTS MA degree by taking classes with us. NIRT offers a unaccredited M.Div level program. The MA from PRTS fits within this program. Although NIRT’s M.Div-level degree is not accredited, we are talking with schools in the US and Europe about accepting our students into higher programs based on our degree. NIRT courses meet ATS standards. 

At present our students all reside in or near Nairobi, allowing them to come and attend our classes, which are taught in-person – at our campus in Lavington, Nairobi – rather than online. At this very early stage (less than a year into full operations), we have more than 20 students, men and women hailing from several different churches in the city.

We have also been in conversation with a denominational seminary in western Kenya that wants its students to avail themselves of NIRT, and we are considering how we might serve them.

Michael Christ, the Program Director, came under the invitation of Kenneth Mbugua to help establish and lead a seminary.
Professors who teach in NIRT affirm the historic orthodox creeds and one of the following Reformed confessions: the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Second London Baptist Confession, the Three Forms of Unity, or the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. Residential faculty and tutors presently include Michael Christ (PhD, University of Chester/Union School of Theology), Jamie Viands (PhD, Wheaton College), and Tim Avery (MA, Reformed Theological Seminary - DC). Present and projected visiting faculty include Stephen Fix (PhD, The Catholic University of America), Nicholas Piotrowski (PhD, Wheaton College), and James Roh (PhD, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary). NIRT’s long-term vision is to raise up an indigenous leadership and faculty.

Contact
  • Emmanuel Baptist Church, Kingara Road, Lavington, Nairobi Kenya
  • +254 746 199 225
  • [email protected]

….but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

2 Peter 3:18

Many of the professors are not just scholars, they are also pastors. 
It feels like these are shepherds who are teaching you and training you.

Many of the professors are not just scholars, they are also pastors. 
It feels like these are shepherds who are teaching you and training you.

How you can help

As a new seminary that is trying to keep costs for students as low as possible, we have funding and resource needs in a few areas.

  • First, we need more funding to cover our minimum operating expenses, which includes for 2024 a full-time seminary administrator. The minimum operating budget for 2024 is $56,000. 
  • Second, we need theological books to begin building out a local physical library for our students. Such books are usually hard to find in Kenya, and even when they are here, they tend to be very expensive for this economy. Book donations would be most welcome; we can advise as to what we’re looking for.
  • Third, we could use funding to make it possible for some students to study full-time. Employment in Kenya—including employment in a church—is typically all-consuming. It’s difficult for students to find employment that will allow them any time to study. We desire to offer cost-of-living stipends to students, who we identify as having strong potential to serve the church. 
  • Fourth, we are on the lookout for more professors who share our vision for theological education to come and help us, either as visiting or as residential professors. Please mention us to those who might be interested.
 
  • Fifth, please pray that the Lord would use this seminary program to raise up lay Christians, pastors, and pastor-scholars who would help to strengthen the church in East Africa and beyond, to the praise of his glorious grace.

If you want to learn more or tell us of a way you might be able to help, please contact our administrator, Betty Gichuki, at [email protected], or our director, Mike Christ, at [email protected].

Thank you for your interest in what God is doing in Kenya!

 

We exist to equip the church in Africa by providing access to theological resources through publishing, informal theological training and hosting conferences and events.

Nairobi, Kenya
(+254) 746 199 225
(9am - 05 pm)
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