Dr. Donald Owens

In 1977 the General Board of the Church of the Nazarene approved a plan to establish a graduate Seminary to serve the Asia and Pacific region of the church. The particular needs of the church in this part of the world demanded this. Dr. Donald Owens, Professor of Missions at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City and formerly a missionary to Korea, was elected to head the new seminary, which would become the first master’s-level theological institution of the Church of the Nazarene located outside the United States.

In 1979, the church purchased a site in Taytay, Rizal, Philippines. Formerly an orphanage, the location consisted of ten acres with 22 wooden frame buildings. The proximity of the location to Manila was a deciding factor, as leaders hoped that the cosmopolitan setting would provide models for evangelism for the other cities of Asia and the Pacific. The Church of the Nazarene had directed its attentions to Metro Manila only a few years earlier.

Beginning in 1980, extension seminars were held involving several NTS professors as well as Rev. Angelito Agbuya, pastor of the Angeles City, Philippines, Church of the Nazarene. Students represented various countries in the region. Meanwhile, Dr. Owens became Director of the Asia Region and moved to Manila. As extension classes were held over the next few years, general church leaders concluded that the new Seminary should become autonomous from NTS. In preparation for the opening of a residence program, Dr. Owens searched for faculty members and initiated construction of an administration and classroom building, the ground breaking ceremony for which was held in January, 1983. Other buildings on the campus were renovated for student and faculty living. The Commission on Immigration and Deportation, Department of Justice, Republic of the Philippines, gave its approval for APNTS to begin as an educational institution for non-immigrant students.

Finally, regular classes began on November 14, 1983. The faculty included Dr. Owens, Dr. Agbuya, Dr. and Mrs. Ronald Beech, long-time missionaries in the Philippines, and Dr. Floyd Cunningham. The Seminary was formally dedicated and the faculty installed on January 15, 1984.

Dr. E. LeBron Fairbanks

In April 1984, Dr. E. LeBron Fairbanks, formerly Academic Dean of European Nazarene Bible College and at the time teaching at Southern Nazarene University, was elected President of the Seminary. He began serving in the office in July, 1984, and he and his family moved to Manila later that year.

In 1987, the seminary received its permit to operate from the Philippine government’s Department of Education, Culture and Sports (now the Commission on Higher Education), and full recognition from the same Department came on June 13, 1988. Accreditation for degree programs was also granted by the Asia Theological Association (ATA) in 1988, and by the Association for Theological Education in South East Asia (ATESEA) in 1991.

Meanwhile, the library was strengthened with the addition of several important collections centering on Wesleyan and holiness studies, and came to number over 30,000 volumes by 2003.

At the same time, extensive renovation and building programs on campus continued under the guidance of Rev. Gordon Gibson from 1984 until 1992, Mr. Terry Sanders, 1992 to 1998, Mr. Greg Taylor, 1998 to 1999 and, again, from 2004 to 2008, Mr. David Hendrix, 1999 to 2004, Architect Eric Sanchez from 2008 to 2013, and Engineer Billy Borromeo beginning in 2013.

During the presidency of LeBron Fairbanks the faculty was strengthened to include, in addition to Dr. Beech, who taught New Testament and missions from 1983 to 1992, and Dr. Cunningham, who taught church history and theology, Dr. James Edlin, who taught Old Testament, 1985 to 1988; Dr. Wilfredo Manaois, Christian Education, 1986 to 1999; Dr. Donald Stults, missions, 1987 to 1991; Dr. Dean Flemming, New Testament, 1987 to 1992, and 1993 to 1997; Dr. Lourdes Manaois, Christian education, 1987 to 1991, and 1993 to 1999; Dr. M. Robert Fraser, theology and church history, 1988 to 1992. Dr. Beech served as the school’s first academic dean, and he was succeeded in that capacity by Dr. Edlin. Dr. Cunningham became Academic Dean in 1989 and served to 2009.

Dr. John Nielson

Upon his election as president of Mount Vernon Nazarene University, Dr. Fairbanks resigned as president. The Board of Trustees elected Dr. John Nielson, Vice-President of Eastern Nazarene College, and formerly a missionary to Denmark, as the third President. He and his wife Janice Nielson settled in Manila in February 1990. Dr. Nielson taught in the area of pastoral ministry, and Mrs. Nielson in Christian education.

The faculty during the administration of Dr. Nielson included Dr. Abraham Athialy, pastoral ministry, 1992 to 1998; Dr. Roderick Leupp, theology and Christian ethics, 1992 to 2000; Dr. David Kelly, Biblical Studies, 1993 to 1994; Dr. Dwight Swanson, Old Testament, 1995 to 1997. Prof. Beverly Gruver taught English and second language acquisition courses from 1997 to 2010, and served as Dean of Students from 2003 to 2010, when she retired. Prof. Joven Laroya taught Christian Education and Pastoral Ministry, 1999 to 2001, and Dr. David Ackerman, Biblical Studies, 1999 to 2002 and again from 2004 to 2008. Dr. Robert Donahue came in 1999 and taught missions courses. He directed the Owens School of World Mission until his retirement in 2012. Dr. Stanley Clark, a Wesleyan Church missionary, taught Christian education, 2000 to 2004; Dr. Stephen Bennett, a New Zealander, taught Old Testament, 2000 to 2002; and Dr. Christi-an Bennett, church history and missions, 2000 to 2002. Mr. Nestor Ronquillo served as Business Manager during the tenures of Dr. Fairbanks and Dr. Nielson.

Dr. Nielson stressed the importance of worship, and oversaw the renovation of the chapel. Dr. Nielson’s theme throughout his years at APNTS was building a “Christ-culture” transcending national and ethnic cultures.

During Dr. Nielson’s years, the first students arrive from Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh, South Africa, and Myanmar. The accounting, registrar’s office, and library were computerized. Mrs. Nielson began “Kids’ Klubs” for children on Saturday morning. The school began national culture days and chapel presentations. Small “covenant” groups began on campus. Dr. Nielson worked with the region to establish the Fairbanks Media Center, which was dedicated in January 1994. The Mediator, the official journal of the school, began publication in 1996. Also in 1996, the school began a MA program in Christian Communication. This degree program was recognized by the Philippine government in 1997. Dr. Nielson oversaw scholarship partnerships with sister denominations, especially the Wesleyan Church and the Free Methodist Church. He also began a national scholarship plan for Nazarenes in the region and established several endowments.

Dr. Hitoshi (Paul) Fukue

Dr. Nielson resigned in 2001. Dr. Cunningham served as officer in charge from 2001 until January 2003 when the Board of Trustees chose Dr. Hitoshi (Paul) Fukue, who had been serving on the faculty since 2001, as President. Before coming to APNTS in 2001, Dr. Fukue had served for many years as a pastor in Japan, and had served as President of Japan Christian Junior College. He was inaugurated as President in April 2003.

In the same month the Seminary dedicated a major building on campus, the Nielson Center for Education and Evangelism. Dr. Fukue oversaw the development of the Master of Science in Theology program. The school also underwent a series of planning and mission review processes. A five-year plan and strategic objectives resulted. In chapel messages, Dr. Fukue helped the community to develop a theology of suffering.

Dr. Fukue himself taught theology, ethics, sociology of religion and preaching. Mitsuko Fukue taught interpersonal and intercultural communication, 2001 to 2007; Dr. Gilbert Montecastro, Biblical studies, 2002 to 2006; Rovina Hatcher, Christian education from 2003 to 2011; Dr. Kwon Dong Hwan has taught Christian communication from 2004 to 2013; Dr. Oh Won Keun, Old Testament, 2004 to 2007. Mr. Ted Wheeler, and then Mr. Elmer Gutierrez served as Business Manager.

Dr. Floyd T. Cunningham

In May 2007 Dr. Fukue resigned in order to reassume pastoral ministry in Japan. From May 2007 Floyd Cunningham, as Academic Dean, served as Officer-in-Charge. In October 2007, he was elected Interim President by the APNTS Board of Trustees, and then in June 2008 as the fifth President of APNTS.
He assumed office in July 2008 and was installed during the school’s 25th anniversary in November 2008. Cunningham was responsible for the Holistic Child Development (HCD) program at APNTS, the opening of extension programs in Papua New Guinea and Myanmar, the construction of the New Life Volunteer Mission Center, the near-completion of the Nielson Center for Education and Evangelism, and the establishment of Bresee Institute East to promote urban ministry.
In April 2008, in partnership with Compassion International, APNTS initiated Holistic Child Development (HCD) programs at the Certificate, Diploma and Master’s, and, eventually, PhD levels. The PhD program, which began in November 2009, was undertaken in partnership with the Asia Graduate School of Theology (AGST). The Philippines Commission of Higher Education (CHED) granted recognition to the program in January 2012.
In November 2011 the extension program in Papua New Guinea graduated eight students with the Master of Ministry and four students with the Graduate Diploma. Meanwhile, students arrived from such countries as Columbia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Peru, and Russia.

In 2007 Dr. San-young Lee joined the faculty as professor of religion, teaching counseling, Asian religion and spiritual formation courses, and served as Academic Dean from 2009 to 2013. Dr. Mitchel Modine joined the faculty in 2008 to teach Old Testament. In 2009 Dr. Darin Land, a Free Methodist missionary, joined the faculty to teach New Testament. He served as Dean of Students from 2012 to in 2014. Faculty development continued with the appointment of Prof. Larnie Sam Tabuena in the area of philosophy of religion and Christian ethics in 2008. Dr. Nativity Petallar joined the faculty in January 2009 to teach Christian education and to direct the holistic child development program. John and Linda Bondy served on the faculty from 2011 to 2013, teaching in the areas of Christian education and English. In 2012 Dr. Dick Eugenio joined the faculty to teach theology.

In 2009, in cooperation with the Asia Graduate School of Theology and Compassion International APNTS launched a holistic child development program, which included a PhD degree in that area, with governmental recognition coming to that program in January 2012. In addition to the emphasis upon children in crisis, under Dr. Cunningham the school expanded ministries to the community and built partnerships with various church, para-church and non-government bodies.

Dr. Seung-An Im

Dr. Seung-An Im, recently President of Korea Nazarene University, was elected as president by the Board of Trustees in March 2013, and was installed as the sixth president of APNTS in January 2014. Cunningham served as interim President until the installation of Dr. Im and then became Academic Dean.

President Im emphasized the value of holistically preparing students for ministry. He initiated the “BEST” program, which emphasizing that APNTS must concentrate on producing graduates who have mastered the Bible, who are responsible to the Ecclesial community, who are Socially-minded, and who are passionate about proceeding Toward the “glocal” mission of Christ.

Dr. Grant Zwiegle joined APNTS as Dean of Students and instructor in evangelism in 2014. Jocel Longcop joined the faculty as instructor of English in January 2015.

More than 450 graduates of APNTS have gone on to pastoral, teaching, missionary, administrative and many other forms of ministry in various countries, including Australia, Cambodia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Zimbabwe.