South African Theological Seminary Details
The South African Theological Seminary (SATS) is a distance education institution based in Rivonia, South Africa. Reuben van Rensburg is the principal of the seminary.
The South African Theological Seminary (SATS) was established by Dr Christopher Peppler in 1996 and is one of the founding members of the National Association of Distance Education Organisation in South Africa (NADEOSA). SATS is accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and its qualifications are registered with the South African Department of Higher Education and Training, which is similar and comparable to the US regional accreditation in quality . SATS has the authority to issue qualifications up to the doctorate level, and provides the following programme: Undergraduate (Higher Certificate in Christian Life, Higher Certificate in Christian Counseling and Bachelor of Theology B.Th.) and post-graduate (B.Th. Honours, M.Th., Ph.D. in Theology). SATS comes under the spiritual oversight of the elders of The Village Church which was planted by Rosebank Union Church. The seminary is broadly Evangelical. The mission of the South African Theological Seminary is to provide Bible-based, Christ-centred and Spirit-led distance education and training to Christians, and leaders in particular, within their local church environment, to equip them to be Holy Spirit empowered members of God’s household.
After much prayer and research into distance learning management and practices, the Seminary opened its doors to the public in June 1996 . The original group of employees numbered three; the visionary founder and principal Dr Christopher Peppler, course writer, Quinton Howitt and registrar/ administrator, Jenny Mason.
In 2002, the Seminary offices were moved from their original location at the Lonehill Village Church, to Rivonia in Sandton. We had 98 students enrolled and we were growing. The full-time staff complement had increased to seven staff members. In 2006, Dr Reuben van Rensburg became the Principal and Dr Christopher Peppler continued to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
The story of SATS is one of complete dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ for guidance and provision. The Seminary has a financial model which depends on student fees rather than on donor-funding for its sustainability but several larger projects have been funded by foundation grants. With each new project the Seminary has expanded and developed. Now, through the latest technologies, we can offer our students a variety of programmes, each supported by expert tutors and supervisors located in various places around the world.
Our students want to make a difference in God’s Kingdom. We have students in 77 countries, all with a desire to earn a qualification that is Bible-based, Christ-centred and Spirit-led.
Technological advances continue to support our distance learning. The seminary is constantly investigating new and promising options in order to continue to offer a well-rounded learning experience with practical application.
Our graduation ceremonies are wonderful occasions where we hear the students’ stories of how they have been able to succeed via the distance learning model. In many cases they tell us that it was our strong, biblically-based approach that attracted them to study at SATS.