Lyle Learns Lessons by Teaching at Nigerian Theological Baptist Seminary
By: Kristen Harris
Editor: James Stone
Published in “The Logsdon Letter” ed. Winter 2012
Noticebly missing from Logsdon’s Abilene campus early in the Sprin semester was Dr. Ken Lyle, Director of Logsdon’s Master of Divinity Program and Professor of Greek and New Testament. Instead of the familiar surrounding of his classroom and Greek students, Lyle was teaching doctoral and graduate students at the Nigerian Theological Baptist Seminary in Ogbomosho, Nigeria.
Originally part of Southern Baptist’s work through the Foreign Mission Board, the NTBS faculty were formerly comprised of primarily American Missionaries. According to Lyle, radical changes occurred during and since the 1980s. The strength of the Nigeria Baptist Convention has increased and now the seminary’s faculty solely consists of Nigerian professors. Though NTBS’s founding by western Christians has effected the seminary’s educational structure and focus, Lyle believes the seminary is becoming more and more Nigerian in terms of its focus.
While at NTBS, Dr. Lyle taught three courses: a doctoral seminar about current issues in New Testament studies, a doctoral level course that focused on the New Testament and the Greco-Roman world, and a course for graduate students about Pauline literature. Lyle will return to Ogbomosho in May to wrap up the courses he initiated in January.
NTBS’ recent independent strength leads Lyle to understand the mutually beneficial relationship with students and faculty of Nigerian Theological he has now been fortunate to buile, one quite different from the one-sided experience it might have been in NTBS’ fledgling years.
“We are not there to replace,” said Lyle. “It’s an opportunity to teach in a different culture and…it is really more of a learning experience for me. I learn a whole lot more than I can ever instruct.”
Teaching in Nigeria is not a new experience for Lyle. This most recent stint at NTBS was his fifth trip to Ogbomosho. The first four trips to NTBS were taken as a part of a partnership of theological education between the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Nigeria Baptist. Lyle planned his most recent adventure on his own, but was financially supported by the BGCT and Logsdon Seminary.
“I think its beyond the stage of thinking about the relationship.” Lyle responds about dreams for further developing the relationship between Logsdon and NTBS. “The relationship already exists. The real question is what are we going to do with it? And one part of the conversation that has come up is the possibility of taking graduates for a short term to Nigeria where you receive course credit.”
Though no concrete plans have been set for Logsdon Seminary students to visit and earn course credit in Nigeria, Lyle continues to work toward this future possibility as he once again leaves the comfort of West Texas for his new African home-away-from-home.