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Lutheran Study Centre in Sabah, Borneo, opens its doors
31 May 2012

After some months of preparation and renovation, the Sabah Theological Seminary (STS) Lutheran Study Centre was launched, with a symposium and solemn service. From March 7th - 9th, five bishops, pastors, students, STS staff and church members, from 6 different Lutheran Churches, attended a symposium on the theology of Martin Luther, under the title: ‘Law and Gospel’. Participants came from the BCCM and PCS in Sabah, Lutheran Church Malaysia Singapore, and Evangelical Lutheran Church Malaysia in Peninsular Malaysia and LCS in Singapore, and included guests from HKBP and GPP in Indonesia. These churches have set up the Lutheran Study Centre, together with STS and partners in Australia (LCA/ALC), Germany (ELCB) and the USA (ELCA) to learn more about their Lutheran identity and theology.

The purpose of the study centre is to serve Lutheran Churches in Malaysia, Singapore and the region by training pastors, students, and scholars in Lutheran theology. This will be achieved by running courses and providing a centre for research, including a library, electronic resources, and translations of books from, and about, Lutheran theology. STS has provided space in the former library, which has been converted into a seminar room with library and offices. During the inauguration service on Friday March 9th 2012, 300 Christians prayed for God's blessings on the new centre and installed the Rev Dr Michael Pless as coordinator. Dr Press hails from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, Germany, and has been part of the STS faculty since 2011. Mrs Cecilia Wong provides secretarial help for the centre.

The inauguration service marked the end of an intensive, three day symposium, at which international Luther scholars from Australia, Germany, Indonesia and STS presented and discussed the Lutheran view of the Word of God as law and gospel. A proper differentiation of the two brings life, because when the law of God accuses us of trespassing God's commandments, only the gospel can forgive us and set us free to fulfil) the will of God. "A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all," was Luther's summary of the Christian life. In this respect, the aim of the Lutheran Study Centre is to offer Lutheran theology as a gift, to all churches and to all Christians.

Australian Lutheran College is a partner with STS in the establishment of this Centre.