APTEA was born out of a collective vision of a number of African Assemblies of God leaders who felt is was time for the endorsement program of the Commission for Theological Education (CTE), the endorsing body of Africa Theological Training Service (ATTS), and sponsored by the Assemblies of God, to become a full-service association.
It was at the first ATTS continental conference in 1992 that participants expressed the need for some means to ensure that their training programs were producing the kind of outcome that the church must have it is was going to fulfill its aggressive goals for the Assemblies of God Decade of Harvest (1990-2000). As a result, educational consultants from both the US and Africa met on numerous occasions to set standards that would enable both formal and non-formal training delivery systems to achieve Pentecostal and missional objectives. By 2010, twenty-nine institutions had been endorsed by the CTE.
While many services besides endorsement were provided by the CTE, the common view was that Pentecostal training in Africa had developed to a level where it needed a full-service association that could facilitate endorsement/accreditation, provide teacher certification, promote contextual scholarly writing, and encourage sharing of resources –an association that would actively recognize Pentecostal values and promote Pentecostal training.
At the ATTS continental meeting in Togo in 2008, Africa’s Hope invited Dr. John Carter to assist in this process and bring his background and expertise to the table. At this meeting a steering committee was formed to investigate the need for a new Pan-Africa theological association. Three meetings were held in Togo, Kenya, and South Africa in July 2008. From these meetings came a proposal submitted to and enthusiastically approved by Africa Assemblies of God Alliance (AAGA) in March 2009.
An interdenominational meeting of a number of Pentecostal groups was called in July of 2009. As this meeting a constitution was drafted for a Pentecostal theological association that would include the oversight and validation of regional accreditation associations around the world. This group determined the name would become the World Alliance for Pentecostal Theological Education (WAPTE).
Out of this meeting, a founding assembly was called at the next PWF meeting in Stockholm, Sweden in August 2010. An even broader group of participants took part in this assembly at which WAPTE became the official educational arm of the PWF. At this meeting, thirteen groups from around the world became founding members of WAPTE. APTEA was accepted based on the eighteen-year heritage of the CTE, contingent upon its formal launch in February 2011. APTEA called for its founding meeting to establish itself as a member organization of WAPTE.
In keeping with the nature of WAPTE, APTEA is an interdenominational Pentecostal group that gives oversight to member institutions that fall in the geographical region of Africa. This founding meeting convened in Nairobi, Kenya in February 2011 and included a number of Pentecostal groups from across Africa. At this meeting APTEA was officially established as a theological association with three commissions:
- Endorsement and Accreditation Commission
- Faculty Enrichment and Certification Commission
- Scholarly Research and Writing Commission
The purposes of the Association are as follows:
- Promote close working relationships and the sharing of resources among the Pentecostal theological institutions throughout Africa.
- Organize meetings and consultations for the members to encourage networking and to create awareness of trends in theological, leadership, and ministry education.
- Provide mechanisms for sharing resources and fostering collaboration on matters of mutual concern.
- This may include a resource website, online journal, and publications.
- Encourage research and scholarship that informs the development of contextual theology, leadership and ministry education within the Pentecostal tradition.
- Provide criteria for members to assess the effectiveness of their working relationships with other member institutions.
- Promote the adoption of endorsement/accreditation standards and procedures for members which:
- The distinctives of the Pentecostal movement;
- Academic excellence;
- Effective student spiritual life development;
- Effective and practical leadership and ministry training;
- Education and training programs that are developed to meet the needs of the students, churches, communities and contexts they serve.
- Provide faculty enrichment resources and establish standards for teacher certification.
The Association for Pentecostal Theological Education in Africa (APTEA) subscribes to the statement of Faith of the Pentecostal World Fellowship, which states that we believe:
- the Bible to be inspired; the only infallible, authoritative Word of God;
- that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
- in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father and in His personal return in power and glory;
- that for the salvation of lost and sinful man regeneration by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ is absolutely essential;
- in the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance according to Acts 2:4, and in the operation of the spiritual gifts and ministries.
- in the ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life;
- in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved to eternal life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation;
- in the church of Jesus Christ and in the unity of believers;
- in the practical application of the Christian faith in everyday experience and the need to minister to people in every area of life, which includes spiritual, social, political and physical.