Welcome Speech - Graduation Exercise
by Domenic Marbaniang
November 5, 2010
Matron, Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Guests, Colleagues, Delegates and all Friends.
We count it an immense privilege to have you all witness this holy convocation.
The globe has run another year’s course as we find ourselves under a canopy of white witnessing the commissioning of 35 young men and women. And while we anxiously wait for that with a longing, it feels, as our Respected Chancellor had said, it feels as if the remnant of oil is going to be poured out on these heads and the dream and purpose of the Seminary about to break into reality through what they are going to say and do from this time forth. The dream has been served, the dream must be lived, the dream that was birthed in the will of the Father, was anointed by the blood of His only Son, and baptized in the inundation of His Spirit of Grace.
But, let me snatch off a few minutes to refresh our minds with how this all began here at Itarsi. In 1962, the Late Dr. Kurien Thomas, affectionately remembered as appachan started Bharosa Bible College with simple trust. In his autobiography, God’s Trailblazer, he documented, and I quote:
“It was in 1962. The border war between India and China had just ended. I realized that the battle for the souls of India would continue until the last day. For this battle we needed young men, not foreigners, but young men of India to become soldiers in Christ’s Army – Men who were so filled with the power of God that they could stand in the Name of Jesus and defeat the spiritual powers… Young men, with a knowledge of God’s word, who would be able to lead this generation into the path of righteousness. So there was born in my heart a vision of a Bible School in Itarsi.
“I shared this vision with the local church and at once all the believers, having God’s witness in their own hearts, said “Amen”. And so in July 1962, we started. There was no Mission Board we could apply to for help. No bank account we could lean on. No fund from which we could meet the financial need. The only person we knew who would be interested to help us was Jesus Christ. We would have to walk from day-to-day trusting Him. The Bible School would have to run by Faith and so it was called “Bharosa Bible School”.
I wish I could read the whole story out, but let me just quote his testimony of the first seven students he had… “We had no special building to accommodate the students; so we housed them in the veranda of the church…protected from the weather by a thin wooden lattice. Through this lattice would come the heat in the summer, the cold in the winter and the rain in the monsoon. The mosquitoes entered at all seasons and seemed to thrive on the holy blood of the saints sleeping inside. The conditions were primitive, but I don’t recall many complaints from these young men who joined us in that first year. They had dedicated their lives to the service of the Master and were prepared to sacrifice their lives for Him, if need be.”
The principle, passion, and pursuit of this original vision still goes on. Bharosa Bible School later became Central India Bible College. Our President, Dr. Matthew Thomas received the baton from his father and extended the College into a Theological Seminary, as it is now known, incorporating into it the Anna Ladies Bible College (for women) and the Dr. Kurien Thomas Post-Graduate Study and Research Center (for higher theological training). Today we are affluent, affluent with books, buildings, and beds. Affluent with teachers, theologies, and greater possibilities. The M.Div. Hindi Distance Education Program was inaugurated this year with three students. This is another revolutionary move as we wish to take theological training beyond the campus. But, the original dream is intact. Scores of graduates have gone out into the great field of harvest. Many of them are present here under this tent. Many are not. This is certainly a holy convocation. But, 98% of the Indian peninsula is still barren. That is a small thing compared to the great mass of this globe still bereft of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The vision remains, the anointing moves on, broods over; and we still await the dawn when the Gospel will break through, into every dark corner of the world, with the words “Let there be light”. Until that happens, Central India Theological Seminary will relentlessly train laborers for the harvest.
I will leave the Course descriptions for those interested in the prospectus, you can check them there. Let me sum up by saying how grateful and blessed we are to have you all as part of this grand occasion. Thank you very much.