Students at Baltic Reformed Theological Seminary, Riga, Latvia
Eager Students Gathering at BRTC
Dr. Cornel Venema (MARS) & Artis Celmins, Adminstrator at BRTS
Our Mission: Latvia
When Latvia emerged from the ashes of the Soviet Empire in 1991, no reformed congregations existed there. Baltic Reformed Theological Seminary (BRTS) began in 1998 when Dr. Gerard Van Groningen gave a series of lectures in Biblical Theology. Working with the pastors of three Lutheran congregations, he developed a curriculum that has developed into the only evangelical seminary in Latvia which is also thoroughly reformed as well. The study program at BRTS offers the equivalent of a Masters of Arts Theological studies degree. The 3-year program of five to six 5-10 day evening courses offer intense study that is then supplemented with the students doing reading assignments, essays, and work outside of the classes. Each seminary student gains deep understanding about Scripture, the original languages, defense of the faith, issues of systematic and practical theology, as well as historical theology. The courses are taught by professors from the US and Europe as well as four Latvian men with masters degrees from Covenant Theological Seminary in the US.
BRTS is also now offering two other levels of training for church leaders and for laypeople desiring a deeper Christian foundation.
BRTS offers a small but growing library where the students can find all the most important works of the Reformed theologians and authors. Students and laymen are able to come and study the Bible commentaries and Bible references. Currently approximately 20 students from a variety of congregations study at BRTS. The seminary, located near the Latvia State University, has a conference room, library/lounge, office, a two-room apartment for visiting lecturers.
The apartment offers excellent accommodations where breakfast and snacks may be enjoyed. A tram is right out front for going to the Center which offers a great Latvian cafeteria/smorgasbord called the Lido, to a good bookstore, an Internet café, museums and Old City. 60Ls (not quite $100 US) is more than adequate for a week's food/eating out, tram fares and other expenses. A small, but quite adequate western-style supermarket is only one tram stop away, or an easy walk.
Riga, a vibrant city of 750,000 with a resilient steadily growing economy, is a pivotal city in the Baltic region with close proximity to Russia. It is also the home to three new Reformed churches who are aiming to impact the entire Baltic region with the reformed faith and teaching. BRTS also trains leaders for a small but historic reformed denomination in neighboring Lithuania. Students either travel to Riga for classes or take classes by extension. This training is beginning to provide revival in the reformed churches of Lithuania.
Latvian students listening to a lecture taught by ITEM professor
Students at BRTS have a lively theological discussion with professor during break
A group or BRTS students and ITEM professor
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