The EBF Council has decided to move IBTS to Amsterdam (89% in favour), to concentrate on our doctoral programmes (85%) and sell the Jeneralka site (92%). Jonathan Edwards (BUGB) proposed a motion of thanks to the IBTS BOT, staff and students for the great years of work in Prague. The move will take place possibly in the summer of 2014.
More news and reflections to follow! In the meantime, prayers appreciated for all involved.
It is a massive mistake to leave the Prague campus as the mission panorama continues to multiply in complexity, and move East beyond Eastern Europe and the Middle East, into Central Asia. If the move was to Romania or perhaps Ukraine I would understand. But Amsterdam will be the end of the institution. If for any reason, its competition for PhD students would increase substantially. All the major Divinity schools in Britain, for instance, are recruiting heavily as applications have fallen. Americans and Canadians are also less likely to see IBTS as attractive if it no longer offers a British degree (will it?), and students from the East will find Amsterdam impossibly expensive. A 300,000 euro annual deficit? This is a lot, but it is also what a single church community in the West spends on replacing its aged slate roof or to build an extension to their existing premises. A move such as this should be based on missiological reflection – not on money. The combined salaries, pensions and savings of those that voted would more than cover the needs of God’s fragile church.
As an alum that has not given back, i’m just as guilty as the next person. So i’m committing to giving to IBTS. And i’m happy to share the word. I’ll spend some time praying that this vote will also be reconsidered.