Note: This article was written just before the lockdown started in March. While many things have been delayed, Mukhanyo’s plans and vision for the greater Durban area remains strong and committed and, by God’s grace, will continue to develop.
A year ago it was an idea. Soon it became an initiative. Late last year it became a possibility. A centre manager was provisionally appointed to start doing preparatory work. And, believe it or not, in January 2020 the centre started with eleven BTh students and three part-time lecturers. Our Father in heaven blessed all the work!
Without many formalities, the orientation programme was completed in January and lectures started. An open day is planned for later in the year, once everything has been arranged and running smoothly.
Of course funding had to be found. But our Lord provides and He has done so once again. The Pharus Foundation in the Netherlands (through De Verre Naaste) will be funding a major part of the Centre’s budget for the next three years.
Durban is the third largest city in South Africa, with a population of nearly four million people. Yet despite its size, there are hardly any theological institutions in the city, and certainly none that are Reformed. Pentecostalism and prosperity-type churches dominate the city. There is therefore a big need for quality, biblically-orthodox, gospel-centred theological education to serve the churches of Durban and beyond.
The present venue is the church building and amenities of the Gereformeerde Kerk in Pinetown, some 20 kilometres from the Durban city centre. Pinetown is very central in the Durban metropolitan area, and easily accessible to most residents of the city.
The parsonage can be converted into a campus, while the Gereformeerde Kerk Pinetown continues to use the church hall for services and other activities. There is plenty of space (and parking facilities) for growth.
Students are from diverse church backgrounds including Baptist, Pentecostal, Charismatic and Reformed churches. But the modules are fully biblical in character and content.
In the first semester the following modules are being taught: Greek 1, Story of the Bible, Books of Moses, Synoptic Gospels and Acts, and Theology of Missions.
The potential impact of Mukhanyo’s Durban Centre is huge. Because of the lack of theological institutions in the city, Mukhanyo has the potential to be the institution of choice for local and regional theological study.
Let us all pray that Mukhanyo will have a significant impact on the churches of Durban by providing training that would produce biblically sound pastors who are passionate to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Rev Antonio Coppola is the manager of the Durban centre. He worked for the Anglican church for nine years, then studied at Westminster Seminary California from 2014 to 2017. He has a passion to see biblically-orthodox theological education taught across Africa and to see Reformed, gospel-centred churches being planted in Durban and throughout South Africa. He is currently also engaged in planting the Covenant Waterfall Presbyterian Church in Durban.