For much of its recorded history, Burma has been a Buddhist country. (1) Although Buddhism has never officially been declared to be the state religion, it is the most favoured religion, even though religious freedom is mentioned in the state constitution. The graceful golden shrines reflected in rice paddies are a well-known symbol of Burma.
The seed of Christianity sown by the Catholic mission and the Protestant mission, under the hard labour of Adoniram Judson, has grown and become fruitful in the country. (2) Christianity is one of the most vibrant and dynamic religions in Myanmar and has become a significant element in Myanmar society. Its impact is felt practically everywhere in the country, particularly among the Karen, Kachin, Chin and Wah.
Theological education was begun in the country by the missionaries and, as in other Asian countries, in response to the pressing need to training church workers to meet the needs of their mission work. To a certain degree such schools inherited the theological traditions from their founders. They are church-based and run by the respective churches, conventions, ethnic associations or general assemblies.
However, after the year 1980, theological seminaries in Myanmar became more independent, operated and supported by local founders who approached friends from abroad. Such schools in various denominations focus their training on denominational values and needs. A few seminaries became more academically or ecumenically oriented.
Church divisions and theological trends
Particularly after the 1970s, the number of denominations in Myanmar increased. Similar to the history of Protestant churches elsewhere, divisions occurred for a variety of reasons. "The true reason for division and the stated reason for division are never the same. The heart of man is too deceitful for any of us to trust anyone causing division." (3) As another had pointed out, "Every schism is bound to raise serious theological issues, either at once or by its mere continuance". (4) Among other reasons, differences in theological traditions were one of the reasons for church divisions in Myanmar. (5) Denominational self-centeredness and fragmentation have prevailed in the country.
The fragmentation of denominations in Myanmar has resulted in the establishment of numerous theological institutions. It is estimated that there now are about a hundred theological seminaries in the capital of Yangon. (6) Therefore, theological education is difficult, considering the complexity and variety of theological trends, organizations, and institutions involved in theological education. The so-called "liberal vs. fundamentalist" controversy is one reason for the mushrooming of theological schools, with significant differences among ecumenical, fundamental, evangelical and Pentecostal churches.
Within the Protestant Churches, four main bodies have worked in the country side by side: (1) the Myanmar Council of Churches (MCC, founded in 1914); (2) the Association for Theological Education in Myanmar (ATEM, founded in 1986), which is a cooperating body of MCC; (3) the Myanmar Evangelical Christian Fellowship (MECF) which operates four Bible Schools and three discipleship training centers in Myanmar; and (4) the Myanmar Christian Mission Corporation (MCMC, formerly called Myanmar Christ Mission Board) which operates a number of theological seminaries. In 2001 these formed the "four-bodies network" (MCC-ATEM-MECF-MCMC), and annually have organized workshops/seminars on various topics.
There are 43 Bible schools/colleges under the Myanmar Baptist Convention (MBC) (7) in which 22 institutions are members of ATEM, comprised of 34 member schools, representing 14 major denominations under the umbrella of the Myanmar Council of Churches (MCC). Out of 34 schools, 12 are Yangon-based and 22 are regional-based. Only the Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT) offers an MTh program and was recently accredited by ATESEA; nine schools offer the M.Div. degree; and the remaining schools offer only the B.Th. degree. Out of 34, only 16 schools are affiliated with ATESEA. Generally speaking those institutions are more academic and ecumenically-oriented. The biblical foundations and spiritual roots of ecumenism play a fundamental role in those institutions.
Theological education is not only for pastors, priests, clergy and students who join the seminary on a full-time basis, but also for the laity or ordinary Christians. Knowing that theological education serves the whole church, some ATEM member schools arrange theological education for the laity, called "theological education by extension" (TEE). Some Bible schools under ATEM have launched TEE programs and offer a certificate of diploma.
Theological education in the Roman Catholic Church
Theological education plays an important role in the Roman Catholic Church in Myanmar, as in other parts of the world. (8) In Myanmar, there are three stages of theological training, the minor seminary and the intermediate seminary, operating in each of the 16 dioceses in the country. The minor seminary focuses on a two-year course of philosophy, and the intermediate seminary on a one-year course in spirituality.
The institute of theology, called St. Joseph's Catholic Major Seminary (affiliated with the Pontifical University of Urbaniana in Rome, and with whom their curriculum is closely linked) is the highest and only institute for which the term "Major" is used. Located in Yangon, the seminary was founded in 1957. It offers academic courses comprising four years of professional study, almost totally concentrated on theology and related disciplines.
This institute was founded for the exclusive purpose of educating candidates for priesthood in the Catholic Church. Being a national seminary, it admits candidates from all archdioceses and dioceses of the nation. Therefore, candidates must have completed the prerequisites in philosophy and spirituality before being admitted. The Holy Cross Theological College (a member of ATESEA) was also established for priest training.
Secondly, since the seminary is designated for the formation in the Catholic Church, which encompasses the spiritual, intellectual, human and pastoral formation of its students, no female students are allowed to join the seminary.
Thirdly, in contrast to other theological seminaries in Myanmar, only Roman Catholic Church students are allowed in this seminary. However, I have been told by one of the fathers there that the idea of admitting non-Catholics is being discussed and this scope may widen in the future.
Some issues and challenges
The mentality of dependency is seen in the terms of finance and theological tradition. Painfully, some theological institutions in Myanmar are deeply dependent on external sources, on mission agencies and partners from abroad. Some theological seminaries and training centers have faced financial and management difficulties for the ongoing operation of the seminary and some have had to close the school due to lack of funds.
The second dependency issue, theological tradition, is in terms of imported theologies. A number of theological seminaries in the country are still duplicates of a western model of theological education in terms of curriculum and teaching methodology. These forms of imported theologies can be found mostly in the schools identifying themselves as evangelical or fundamentalist. These seminaries need to move from ready-made theologies to reconstructed theologies, or from conceptual to contextual theologies.
Our changing world has brought new issues, transitions and challenges affecting all areas of our lives. Traditional types of theological education and traditional leadership in the churches need to be transformed. Some seminaries in Myanmar need to have new perspectives on how they relate to society. Social issues such as HIV/AIDS, migration, refugees, asylum, and ecology should not be neglected. The gospel may be first personalized but it must also be socialized. (9) We need to be sensitive to the new challenges we encounter today in order to have more significant ministry.
The mushrooming of theological education in Myanmar leads to the need to control the quality of education, particularly in terms of academic quality and the upgrading of faculty credentials. More theological institutions need to upgrade their quality and move from non-regulated to accredited institutions. I congratulate those ATEM member schools who have been re-accredited and newly accredited by the ATESEA or ATA. (10) In cooperation with ATESEA and partner organization, ATEM has been trying to upgrade faculty development, one of the main aims and objectives of this association. (11)
There are limited library resource and technical materials for supporting and promoting a higher quality of theological education. On the one hand, it has been extremely difficult to bring books into the country. We all would greatly benefit if seminaries in Myanmar developed a means for networking and sharing of resources. Globe TheoLib: Global Digital Library on Theology and Ecumenism can be a great help for theological seminaries in Myanmar.
Samuel Ngun Ling
The Beginning Stages of Theological Formation in Myanmar
It is generally assumed that in the missionary and post-missionary periods, churches and Christians in Myanmar did theology by witnessing individually or by preaching verbally only to Christian congregations within the limited boundaries of the churches. In this stage, there was no formal process of theological construction and the only theology done in Myanmar churches was what Waiter Hollenweger has called "oral theology." (12) This reproduced missionary teachings appropriate for pulpit ministry. Theology was done in this manner mainly because of native Christians' strong dependence on missionaries' teachings. These imported theologies were not directly relevant to the specific, unique realities of religious, cultural and socio-political contexts in Myanmar. Until the 1970s, patterns of theological formation were simply reproductions or duplicates of the western Christian theologies. The textbooks, curriculums, and teaching methodologies used in seminaries, Bible schools and theological institutes were all patterned after the models of affiliated western seminaries. For instance, until the 1990s the same curricular patterns, course modules and teaching methodologies of affiliated western seminaries were followed in what became the Myanmar Institute of Theology (MIT). (13) What can be drawn from this is the fact that the initial stage of theological formation in colonial Myanmar was essentially the product of the western missionaries in its structure and context.
Following the early stage shaped by missionaries, during the 100 or so years after the arrival of Christianity in Myanmar, theological formation developed through the activities and thinking of the churches and Christians. Historically this development can be divided into three periods. (14) The first was the long period from the arrival on July 13, 1813 of the first American Baptist missionary, Adoniram Judson and his wife, Ann Judson to the end of British colonial rule (1947).
In this period there were complex political and religious encounters between the Burmese Buddhist monarchs and British colonial rulers. The Christian mission protected by the British rulers, and Buddhist nationalism protected by the Buddhist monarchs encountered each other. The British rulers in lower Myanmar made a clean sweep of the old monarchical system, abolishing not only the Buddhist court but also the Buddhist ecclesiastical commissions with their primates' authorities, including many other traditional local institutions such as circle headmen. (15) During that time the Burmese in lower Myanmar feared that their centuries-old ways of life, monastery education and Buddhist faith would swiftly disappear under the alien rule. These fears became intense when the British government refused to grant patronage to Buddhism and approval to the monastery schools, which served as the keystone of the Buddhist educational system. Some Buddhist monastery schools in lower Myanmar came to be replaced by the Christian missionary and English-speaking schools, which was very painful for the Burmese Buddhists. (16) These painful feelings led the Burmese Buddhists to accuse the Christian mission of being a part of the British colonial movement. Consequently, attacks on missionary education reached their nadir in 1930 when the Buddhist students at Cushing High school and Baptist Normal school in Yangon, and Methodist Boys' High School in Mandalay went on strike. The students claimed that they were not allowed to go to Buddhist pagodas on special Buddhist holidays and were forced to attend Christian Bible classes. (17) Consequently, Buddhist nationalists began to look suspiciously on especially the educational work of Christian missions as part of the white men's scheme of "merchant, military, mission."
In the second period, after Myanmar regained independence in 1948, the growing Christian churches putting renewed emphasis on the life and witness of the churches. Anti-colonial sentiment of Myanmar nationalist movements was translated into strong criticism of the work of western missionaries, viewed as a remnant of British colonization. With Christianity being viewed as a tool of western domination, Myanmar Christians were suspected of being pro-westerners who were disloyal to the nation. In 1965 the Christian missionary schools, hospitals and properties were nationalized in order to make way for the new revolutionary government under General Ne Win. The government created a centralized educational system under its control. (18)
In the third period, post-independent Myanmar pursued the Burmese Way to Socialism. General Ne Win ruled from the 1962 to 1989, when a new military regime took power and ruled the country under the name of SLORC (State Law and Order Resurrection Council). Names of streets and cities were changed, including changing the country's name from "Burma" to "Myanmar." Experiences in the long period from Burmese nationalism through socialism, compelled the national churches and theological institutions to re-evaluate their doctrinal confessions and theological constructions in light of their faith and life experiences through these turbulent periods. In Kyaw Than's view, the historical and political experiences of Myanmar during its long history of independence became important resources for theological formation in post-independent Myanmar.
Kyaw Than's analysis is confined largely to Protestant Christianity, particularly that of the Baptist mission. It is also based on how indigenous peoples responded from a racial basis to Christianity. According to this perspective, Myanmar experienced two versions of Christianity: (19) the minority ethnic version and the majority Burmese version. These two versions of Christianity raised consequent problems in developing a common indigenous theology for the culturally diversified churches in Myanmar. These two versions, of Burmese Christians with Buddhist backgrounds and minority Christians of different ethnic backgrounds, posed new challenges for effective and relevant theological education.
The only way to overcome this was by developing a common basis to underlie the basic religiosity of both Buddhist Burmans and ethnic peoples. (20) To help build such a common basis for both Christian and Buddhist communities a new approach was needed, one that promotes a creative cultural dialogue between the majority and minority religious communities. While it is imperative that the Buddhist majority understand ethnic Christianity, it is equally important for the Christian minority to develop theological education that takes the Buddhist problems and issues seriously, including their doctrines, worldviews, cultures and behaviors. These Buddhist-Christian differences can become challenging resource materials for contextual theology in Myanmar. It is only with these materials that Myanmar Christians would be able to create their own Myanmar theology and develop innovative ways of doing theology that are different in form and structure from the old western ones.
Presently Myanmar is gearing up to move towards her own Burmese way to democracy and freedom. There are hopes and expectations that results of the 2010 general election will eventually lead to political stability, constitutional reforms, democratic freedom and economic prosperity. Economically the people have suffered for decades from severe poverty; they have struggled hard for their basic life necessities, as many live daily from hand to mouth. Rich and powerful people get richer and stronger while the poor and powerless masses become poorer and weaker. The economic crisis, for example, has severely affected student scholarship and faculty development funds. Poverty thus stands out as a great challenge to Christian theology and theological education in Myanmar.
The health crisis, particularly the HIV/AIDS epidemic, is another crucial challenge not only for Christian theological education but also for the whole society. Along with her neighboring Asian countries, every year Myanmar is experiencing an increasing number of victims of such diseases, including drug addiction. Christians and churches are thus challenged and called to help educate their people on how to prevent such pandemics, deal with their root causes, care and counsel affected peoples and support victims in their various needs. (21)
Religious Pluralism. Another major challenge to theological education in Myanmar is the plurality of religions and cultures. These have enriched Myanmar Christian theology with different religious insights and inspirations. However, the missionaries' tradition of approaching non-Christian faith traditions negatively, particularly the Buddhist faith and its traditions, has affected the whole pattern of formation of theological education in Myanmar. One impact is that what has been the common form of doing Christian theology and theological education has been largely confined to a proselytized form of mission and a maintenance model of church ministry. In this regard the nature, structures and visions of theological education in Myanmar call for a new paradigm that embodies a more inclusive and multifaceted form of education. (22)
The theological focus and content of theological education in Myanmar has paid little or no attention to questions posed by multi-faith traditions (Buddhist, Christian and others), to their spiritual experiences and moral values. This means that the liberating spiritual values and moral virtues inherent in other religions and cultures were largely ignored in constructing Christian theology or in theologizing process. The strong hope is that casting a theological focus on the whole reality of the multiple issues facing Myanmar would better help Myanmar theologians and theological educators to see the whole picture of the real situation of the poor and marginalized masses, whose languages, religious traditions, myths and folklores have served as primary sources of inspiration in their struggles for liberation and justice. A theology that is not heard through sounds of "people-hood" or voices of struggling peoples can end up being self-complacent. Can Christians and theological educators speak of quality theological education and ignore the aforementioned multiple issues of life in Myanmar? How best can church leaders and theological educators foster appreciative understandings of people of other faiths, especially adherents of the Buddhist faith, within the prevailing structures and curriculum of theological education in Myanmar? These questions call overall for rethinking and reforming the structure and patterns of theological education in Myanmar, particularly in relation around themes such as soteriology, ecclesiology, mission, Christian education and pastoral ministry.
The late Professor Khin Maung Din, the unsung prominent Burmese theologian, strongly supported such an inclusive stand in articulating Burmese Christian theology. He pointedly claimed, "Any construction of a Burmese Christian theology for today must take into account (1) the Christian understanding and experience of the Gospel; (2) the religious experience and concepts of Buddhism and other oriental religions, and (3) the social and political human realities of our times." (23) In light of this, any theological reflection in Myanmar needs to be inclusive critical learning or theologizing, not only from biblical and other traditional Christian sources but also beyond these sources. This kind of Christian thought and theologizing, in dialogue with particularly Buddhist and primordial faith traditions, continues to be a challenging theological task for the churches and theological institutes for the future.
Ethnic Diversity. Among Myanmar's 50-52 million people, ethnic diversity is a unique feature. Altogether there are 135 ethnic groups, of which the eight major groups are Burman, Kayin, Kachin, Chin, Kayah, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. A linguistic survey also shows that there may be more than two hundred sub-ethnic language groups in Myanmar. (24) This ethnic diversity, the amalgamated existence of multi-religious and multicultural diversities, has demonstrated "the interwoven nature of a community life." (25) Such an amalgamated living of multi-religious and cultural diversities has often caused problems and challenges in building a community of peace or harmony, particularly between minority Christians and majority Buddhists. (26)
Most interestingly, the majority of Christians in Myanmar come from the various ethnic backgrounds; only a handful of Christians are Buddhist in background. In the past, the ethnic Christians attempted to reconstruct missionaries' traditional theology or to indigenize Christianity in Myanmar. But most of these attempts were concerned more with the form rather than the content of the gospel. For instance, the churches presented biblical stories in an ethnic cultural style of drama, dressing up of the nativity scene in ethnic costumes, or using ethnic musical instruments and melodies for Christian hymns and songs. These were exemplary attempts to put the gospel wine into ethnic cultural wineskins. While this is important in effectively communicating the gospel among ethnic Christians, it may not fit the situation of Burman Buddhists whose context is radically different from the primal ethnic religious context. This means that the contents of the Buddhist context, especially the Buddhist understanding of life and death, selfhood, spirit and ultimate reality, have to be taken very seriously in doing the Christian theology in a Buddhist context.
Pursuing Theological Work. Doing theology is actually the task of every believing Christian. It should not be thought of as the task of ministers, pastors and theological educators alone. All Christians, at whatever level, should be enabled to do theology. The fundamental problem with theological education in Myanmar is the fact that missionary-trained Christians think of doing theology and theological education only as the task of seminary teachers and students. Such an erroneous perception has created a gap between the seminary-trained and lay people, and hence theology remains merely the game of Christian intellectuals at higher educational levels. The further step is to understand theology not as done by those who are theologically trained, but as involving all ordinary Christians. What then does theological education mean for communities outside the churches and theological institutions? Should the whole process of theological education be more community-oriented rather than church- or seminary-oriented?
Hope S. Antone's critical evaluation on theological education in Asia is an excellent call for the reformation of theological education in the whole of Asia. (27) According to her, there are three crucial points:
(1) theological education in Asia reflects a variety of mission orientations;
(2) theological education in Asia generally follows the western 'specialist approach, and
(3) in terms of methodology, theological education in Asia generally puts more emphasis on cognitive or intellectual development to the neglect of other aspects of human development. (28)
Irrelevant Teaching Methodologies. Myanmar has experienced a poor quality of education, especially since 1988 when the whole country underwent political turmoil in the midst of mass demonstrations for democracy. Education at all levels, from primary to university levels, uses rote learning methods. Cheating and bribery occurs among both students and teachers. Outdated teaching patterns, combined with poor instruction, inadequate textbooks and restricted access to the internet have resulted in a poor quality of education. (29) Myanmar's teaching methodologies had been strongly influenced for centuries by a traditional Buddhist monastery teaching method known in Burmese as kyet-thu-yueh sa-an, meaning a parrot learning method. This method apparently is the monk's recital teaching method--in which pupils respond orally or recite exactly what the monks or teachers have said. These kind of teaching methodologies represent a monologue style of teacher-student relationship whereby pupils have no right to question but only recite the words the monks utter. Responding critically or raising a question may be interpreted by the monk as an insult or disrespect. Students who do not submit themselves to this Buddhist style of learning may regret it. (30) Christian theological teaching methodologies in the past were largely overshadowed by the teaching ideals and methods of such Buddhist monastery education so that most seminary and Bible school' teachers have become accustomed to practice only depository or banking methods rather than participatory teachings methods. The result is that these traditional teaching methods do not seem to help students learn and understand critically and creatively.
Limited Theological Resources. Lack of such theological resources as library, human resources and various technical materials is one of the major setbacks in promoting quality theological education in Myanmar. Most libraries of seminaries, theological colleges and Bible schools in Myanmar are not adequately equipped in books on the various theological disciplines such as biblical, systematic, feminist, ecological, historical or practical. Furthermore, reference books, periodicals, and theological and other literature are not sufficiently catalogued. A major problem is that importing religious books from abroad has been severely restricted by the government; it therefore is impossible for theological institutes to upgrade or update their libraries.. A number of seminaries and Bible schools are thus desperately in need of updated library resources for promoting better, more advanced theological education.
Equally important is the promotion of the education of theological faculties in different fields for all the seminaries and theological institutes in Myanmar. Among the major obstacles here is the government's restricted passport system for Christian scholars to go abroad either for further studies or for the purpose of attending Christian conferences and research seminars. Such restrictions have strongly discouraged Myanmar Christians and faculty members from pursuing higher theological education. As a result there is a lack of qualified professors and lecturers in the various fields of theology in Myanmar.
A Restrictive Political Atmosphere. In addition to restrictions in accessing international communities, there is a lack of freedom in publications, expression and organizations. These three kinds of academic freedom are fundamental for the development of advanced theological education in Myanmar. Nevertheless, Myanmar Christians (and other religious communities) have often faced difficulties publishing religious literature, constructing religious centers and church buildings in Yangon, and networking with other religious and non-religious organizations (NGOs) inside and outside Myanmar. Such political restrictions in Christian activities have often pushed back the visions and schemes envisioned and planned by the Myanmar churches and Christian institutes.
Contextualization as the Major Concern for Theological Education in Myanmar
No theology is context-free or in an historical vacuum. Theology emerges out of life's struggles, movements and experiences. It is "faith seeking" in any socio-cultural context, and is a "critical reflection on praxis" (31) in any socio-political movement or struggle of life. Contextualization is therefore the major concern in doing theological education in Myanmar. Not only the Baptists but also other Protestant Christians still tend to follow verbatim the teachings of their western missionaries. The prevailing theological thinking in theological institutions run by more conservative churches has been and still is extremely biblically-oriented and confessional, minimizing the relevance of the Christian message (the Word) to changing socio-politico-economic and religious cultural contexts. Moreover, the curricula and syllabi of those institutes for decades have followed western forms of course modules, teaching methodologies, and study materials. Such imported forms of western theological education have gradually dominated post-missionary theological education in Myanmar, weakening their connection with the practical, pastoral, and missiological concerns of the local churches, and also with new challenges in these contexts. Often theological institutes are considered irrelevant to the needs and concerns of the local churches that support them. Thus, the idea of the so-called "critical Asian principle" (currently called, "Guidelines for doing theology in Asia") is not yet deep-seated in the lives and thoughts of Myanmar Christians and church leaders today, even though this has been welcomed with enthusiasm at an intellectual level by handful of Myanmar Christian leaders. Therefore, a great challenge for theological educators and seminarians in Myanmar and southeast Asia is to bridge intellectual gap between academic and grassroots people.
To re-focus or re-route theological education in more contextual ways is one of the grave theological concerns in Myanmar. With this concern, the present Association for Theological Education in Myanmar (ATEM) was founded on May 12, 1986, with 12 member churches of the Myanmar Council of Churches and eight member schools. From its very outset, ATEM's goals and visions were clearly set:
(1) to develop quality leadership for Myanmar using Myanmar resources and by Myanmar peoples,
(2) to develop Myanmar contextual theology and spirituality in theological education to help the churches in Myanmar,
(3) to strive for selfhood or self-support, and
(4) to strive for close cooperation among the member schools.
Further, doing contextual theological education in Myanmar will have to be pursued along two streams: of those who are ethnic minorities and of those who are Buddhist in background. Each of these streams has creative historical resources to help produce a contextual theology that best fits the situation and relates to people in that respective context. Pursuing theological education in Myanmar should not ignore the historical significance of the encounter of Christianity and Buddhism--the Christian-Buddhist dialogues, interrelations, mutual impacts and interactions.
Myanmar history explicitly reflects the long struggles of people for liberation from monarchy, colonialism, and militarism. One cannot pursue contextual theology without reference to those historical and socio-political realities, and peoples' experiences, movements and suffering. The second concern is giving attention to current Myanmar issues in Christian theology, such as poverty, religious freedom, gender, women and children, health, development and the environment. Doing theology from the perspective of current issues, and the struggles, experiences and visions of the minority ethnic people in Myanmar, is important in pursuing contextual theology that aims to bring about liberation.
Conclusion. For the future, the patterns of theological education in Myanmar needs to be remodeled so as to be relevant to the realities of Myanmar today. Secondly, the pursuit of theological education in Myanmar has to take into account the religious cultural thought-forms of that context. Thirdly, it must seriously take into account the significance of dialogue with peoples of different faith traditions especially Buddhists. Fourthly, the central focus of any theological education in Myanmar should be to free the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized, to heal the broken society, and to be in solidarity with the powerless and the poor in their struggles for justice, peace and freedom.
(1) According to Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk, 82.9% are Buddhist, 8.7 % Christian, 3.5% Muslim, and among the others, are Chinese ancestor worshippers, traditional ethnic religion animists, Hindus and others, Operation World (2001) Patemoster Lifestyle, Carlisle, p. 462.
(2) In 2013 the Myanmar Baptist Convention (MBC) is celebrating its 200th anniversary of the coming of the gospel, brought by A. Judson (1813-2013).
(3) Edwards, Gene and Tom Brandon, In the face of Church Split: What Is Your Mission?. Christian Books, Gardena, ME.
(4) Greenslade, S.L, Schism in the Early Church (1964). SCM, London, p. 20.
(5) Lal Tin Hre sent out questionnaires to 120 different church leaders and laymen from different denomination, 66 have been returned to him completed (in 1997). There are seven main reasons for church division among the Chin people: Economic reason--84%, Doctrinal/theological reason--48%, Leadership Role--72.7%, Race and language--60%, Nomadic mentality--22%, geographical reason--7% and Personal disagreement--62.1%. See, Lal Tin Hre, The Reasons for Church Divisions Among the Chin People: A Historical Perspective. An unpublished MTh thesis submitted to Trinity Theological College, Singapore 2007. Appendix II.
(6) San Myat Shwe, "Learning Theology in Myanmar: Current Challenges for Theological education in Myanmar from Ecumenical Perspective," an unpublished article.
(7) Myanmar Baptist Convention (MBC) is the largest denomination in Myanmar. In 1999, there were about 4,000 established churches and more than 1.7 million members. See, Mar Gay Gyi, "Sharing of Resources Forms of "Partnership in Myanmar" in Church Partnerships in Asia: A Singapore Conversation, edited by Michael Nai-Chiu Poon (2011) Trinity Theological College, Singapore, p. 141.
(8) From a personal conversation with Father Timothy (head of Catholic Bishops' Conference of Myanmar--CBMC) and two other fathers who are teaching at St. Joseph's Catholic Major Seminary Calendarium.
(9) Prof. Simon Pau Khan En, "Equipping for Transformation of Leadership in Church and Society" (a handout).
(10) From January 24 to 10 Feb. 2011, ATESEA had arranged accreditation visit to 16 member schools in Myanmar.
(11) According to the records of ATEM, 78 graduates (doctoral and masters) have been recruited by ATEM with the financial assistance of partner organizations and churches.
(12) W.J. Hollenweger, "Ecumenical Significance of Oral Christianity," in the Ecumenical Review, vol. 41, No. 2 (Geneva, WCC, 199), 261-262.
(13) Diamond Jubilee Historical Committee, "History of the MIT," in Myanmar Institute of Theology, Diamond Jubilee (1927-2002) Magazine published by Alin Ein Media Group for MIT (MIT, 2002), 22-30. MIR was affiliated with the Northern Baptist Seminary at Chicago, USA, from 1927 to 1938) and with the Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, USA from 1955 to 1957.
(14) U Kyaw Than, "Theologizing for Selfhood and Service" in Asian Voices in Christian Theology, ed. & with introduction by Gerald H. Anderson (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1976), 57-62.
(15) John F. Cady, "Religion and Politics in Modern Burma, in The Far Eastern Quarterly, vol. XII (February 1953): 153.
(16) Maung Htin Aung, A History of Burma (1967), 240.
(17) Burma, "Report of the Administration of Burma, 1929-30," (Rangoon: Government Printing Office): vi-ix.
(18) Tun Aung Chain, "The Christian-Buddhist Encounter in Myanmar," in Engagement, Judson Research Center Bulletin, vol. I (December 2003), 10.
(19) Simon PK Enno, "Nat Worship: A Theological Locus in Myanmar," in Mission Matters, eds. Lynne Price, Juan Sepulveda & Graeme Smith (eds.) (New York: Peter Lang, 1997), 171.
(20) Ibid., 169, 171.
(21) For further information, see Simon Pau Khan En, "HIV/AIDS: A Challenge to Theological Education," in RAYS, MIT Journal of Theology, vol. 6 (January, 2005), 17.
(22) Samuel Ngun Ling, "Contextual Teaching Methodologies: Evaluation and Proposal for Myanmar Context," in Engagement: Judson Research Center Bulletin, Myanmar Institute of Theology, vol. 1 (December 2004) Judson Research Center, MIT, Yangon, p. 29.
(23) Khin Maung Din, "Some Problems and Possibilities for Burmese Christian Theology Today," in Christianity and the Religions of the East: Models for A Dynamic Relationship, edited by Richard W. Rousseau, S.J., volume II (1982) Ridge Row Press, Scranton PA, p. 78.
(24) Report of a Linguistic group, "Myanmar Language Varieties, Government Classification, Location and Status," based in MIT, Yangon, Myanmar (August, 2003).
(25) Samuel Ngun Ling, "The Encounter of Missionary Christianity with Resurgent Buddhism in Post-colonial Myanmar," inquest, An Interdisciplinary Journal for Asian Christian scholars: Religion and Globalization, vol. 2, Number 2 (November 2003), p. 63.
(26) Ibid., pp. 64-65.
(27) Hope S. Antone, "Reclaiming Theological Education as Education for Life: Towards Innovative Methods in Theological Education," RAYS MIT Journal of Theology, vol. 5 (January, 2004), 45-60.
(28) Ibid., 49-50.
(29) Samuel N. Lynn, "Voices of Minority Ethic Christians in Myanmar," in CTC Bulletin, vol. XVIII, No.2-vol. XIX, No.2 (December 2002-August 2003), 15.
(36) Simon Pau Khan En, "Critical Problems Facing Theological Colleges in Myanmar," in Thamar Alin, Baptist Theological Journal, vol. IV (1999), 66.
(31) Gustavo Gutierrez, A Theology of Liberation: History, 6.