History and Credentials

Beginning

SAIACS began with the conviction that the churches in India needed something more than just another bible college or seminary. India needed a reputable evangelical mission-focused centre, that held on to the centrality of the Christian gospel, as well as pursued reputable higher theological learning to equip people to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. In the summer of 1981 in Kodaikanal, Dr Bruce Nicholls and Dr Graham Houghton shared their dreams. Like-minded people in Chennai agreed on the need for an MTh in Missiology. Dr Graham Houghton, the Dean, set up the two-year course, and classes began in 1982 amid enthusiastic support from church leaders and prospective students.

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In 1984, the programme moved to Bangalore with Dr Graham Houghton as the Principal, based in several houses until a suitable land was located near Kothanur, on the northern side of Bangalore.

SAIACS spreads over 10.5 acres of beautifully landscaped campus. Its architecture won acclaim in the journal Architecture and Design (Sept/Oct 1996).

Following founding Principal Dr Graham Houghton’s 20 years, Dr Ashish Chrispal and Dr Fanai Hrangkhuma served consecutively as Principal. Dr Ian Payne took up this postion in March 2008.

Why SAIACS exists

Three concerns prompted the founding of SAIACS.

1. Too often Indian students studying in Western countries do not return.
2. Understandably, Western education is in some areas irrelevant to the Indian context, while SAIACS can address the issues of South Asia.
3. Offering postgraduate education in India rather than in the West is better financial stewardship (about one-tenth the costs per student).

Distinctives

SAIACS gives priority to the spiritual nurture and development of the whole campus community.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we have chapel led by members of the faculty, senior administrative staff, and students. Tuesdays and Thursdays are aimed at prayer in cell groups and faculty-student mentoring. Friday evenings offer a community dinner, recreation and fellowship in cell groups.

Students attend classes in spiritual formation to enlarge their prayer life and examine their accountability to God and to others. They also form prayer partners or prayer groups to encourage each other in their spiritual growth.

We encourage students to contribute to the ministry of local churches. Our MA studies include context-based learning, so that students can see the relevance of biblical answers to classroom questions and practice.

Our living credentials are our graduates and our resident and visiting faculty. Now serving the Lord Jesus and His Church in Asia and beyond, hundreds of our graduates are faculty of theological institutions. In fact, SAIACS is the largest provider of faculty, in different disciplines, to evangelical theological institutions in India. Many more are missionaries, pastors and leaders in mission organizations.

People from all over India and other countries have studied at SAIACS – Australia, Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, China, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand and USA. They return to their home areas or other lands as leaders in churches, mission movements, theological education, and key Christian organizations.

SAIACS’ MA and MTh degree holders have been given entry into PhD programmes in the UK and USA.

Accreditation

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Asia Theological Association

The Asia Theological Association (ATA), a member of the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education, of the World Evangelical Alliance, accredits all SAIACS degrees.

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University of Mysore

In 1997, SAIACS was recognized by the University of Mysore, a premier Indian university in Karnataka, as a research centre for study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree of the University of Mysore, Karnataka (No. CDC/F-153/96-97). On 8th June, 2011, the University of Mysore recognized SAIACS as centre for Specialized Studies
to offer MA in Theology. The University of Mysore has indicated (No. PMEB/13 – South/2010 –
11/13) that the same Memorandum of Understanding meant for Masters of Arts in Theology will also hold good for the MPhil programme launched in June 2012 (No. PMEB/13-South/2010-11/199).

Partnerships

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Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)

June 2011 marked the coming together of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) and SAIACS, with the establishing of the RZIM Chair of Apologetics at SAIACS. The occupant of the RZIM Chair of Apologetics is Dr Varughese John , a graduate of Union Biblical Seminary and a PhD from the University of Madras.

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Asbury Theological Seminary

In June 2013, SAIACS and Asbury Theological Seminary (Kentucky/Florida, US) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate greater partnership between the two institutions. The partnership involves student and faculty exchange, resource sharing and joint classroom interaction.

Laidlaw College

In May 2015, an Memorandum of Unders
tanding was signed between SAIACS and Laidlaw College LaidlawCollege01(Auckland, New Zealand), to facilitate cooperation over several research initiatives: including encouraging exchange of doctoral students, providing mentors for each other’s doctoral student work, and working towards faculty from each institution spending time on sabbatical projects at SAIACS or at Laidlaw. The Laidlaw library resources will also be made accessible to SAIACS. See Laidlaw c
ollege announcement here
(external link).