Auckland Park Theological Seminary

By | June 19, 2017

Auckland Park Theological Seminary logo

Auckland Park Theological Seminary

Auckland Park Theological Seminary (“ATS”, for short) is a non-profit organisation (“NPO”) with Public Benefit Organisation (“PBO”) status and is engaged in theological training and education.

ATS is structured around and divided into three departments.

1. Vocational certificate programmes

These certificate programmes are vocation specific and cannot, therefore, be registered with SAQA. They are as follows:

  • Community Worker’s Certificate (CWC) Popular
  • Christian Counselling Certificate (CCC)
  • Women in Ministry (WIM)
  • Youth Work Certificate (YWC)
  • Youth Work Advanced Certificate (YWA)

2. Administration

  • Principal’s office
  • Registrar
  • Finances
  • Higher-education programmes
  • Vocational certificate programmes

3. Library

  • Printed media
  • Electronic media
  • Computer centre

1945

Dr Möller (senior – father of the present vice-principal of ATS) started a correspondence course on Homiletics (the art of preaching).

1950

The correspondence course was expanded and accepted as an official correspondence course of the AFM Church.

1952

March: Students wrote the first official exams and the first diplomas were awarded to successful students that year.

1954

The AFM Church Council decided that studies at the Bible College were now compulsory for all applicants for full-time ministry in the AFM Church.

1955

Dr Möller (senior, standing in the center) hand drew the first logo of the Bible College.

1956

The Intramural Department was introduced and the name “AFM Bible College” was registered.

1969

Past. F Cronje was appointed as the new principal.

1970

The name was changed to the Apostolic Faith Mission Theological College (“AFMTC”, for short). The duration of the course increased to three years and the content was divided into six theological disciplines.

1973

The first album of the AFMTC student choir was released.

1975

The album “On Tour” was released, with choirmaster Eddie Oniel.

1977

The album “Hosanna” was released, with choirmaster Johan Heysteck.

1978

The current buildings of the Auckland Park campus were inaugurated.

1982

The AFMTC commenced lectures in both English and Afrikaans.

1984

The Afrikaans album “ ‘n Nuwe Lied” was released, with choirmaster Arnoud Heunis.

1989

Prof Jan Hattingh became the new principal.


The album “Kom o Skepper Gees” (Veni Creator Spiritus/“Come Creator Spirit”) was released, with choirmaster Jannie Dekas.

1992

ATS became directly involved with the Kasupe Bible College in Zambia. It supported this college financially and presented 25 workshops in Zambia over a period of 10 years. Currently, the Zambian lecturers are academically at a level where they can independently administer the training of future pastors in Zambia, while still using the curriculum of the ATS.


Pastor Mark Mosonda, President of the Zambian Church, stated that these interventions of ATS have changed the whole profile of the church in Zambia. Where, in the past, the church and the pastors were perceived as insignificant and poor, they are now playing a leading role in Zambia.

1993

AFMTC signed an agreement with the University of Johannesburg (“UJ”, the then Rand Afrikaans University), resulting in ATS’ acting as the theological school of the University. In an academic article by Andries Putter entitled Auckland Park Teologiese Seminarium: die hartseer verlede en uitdagings in die nuwe millennium, the author noted that WJ Hattingh’s negotiations with universities constituted a breakthrough for theological training in the Pentecostal domain.

1996

All study materials and classes were presented in English in an effort to accommodate all language and racial groups.


The International Theological Institute (“ITI”, previously known as PAN-Africa Theological College) was integrated with AFMTC.


Covenant, the former Indian college of the AFM Church, was integrated with AFMTC.

1997

AFMTC changed its name to trading as “Auckland Park Theological Seminary” (“ATS”, for short) in a bid to cater for its expanding student market outside of the AFM Church.

1999

The subject Entrepreneurship was included in the curriculum, as ATS started defining the task and calling of a spiritual leader more holistically.

2000

The International Institute of Qualitative Research at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, endorsed the ATS as a co-operating research site in Africa.

2002

The University of Johannesburg awarded Natasha C van der Merwe, an ATS student, the Chancellor’s Medal for the most meritorious student in the Faculty of Arts that year.


The Sunday school programme entitled “Victor Kids”, developed by ATS, was released, rethinking the scope of a theological seminary.

2004

The first candidates for a master’s and a doctor’s degree supervised by ATS received their degrees. It was the first time in South Africa that postgraduate dissertations or theses were prepared under the supervision of a Pentecostal academic institution. It had truly been a “long walk to freedom” since the days when the Pentecostal Church in South Africa was viewed as a sect, ministering only to disadvantaged and marginalised communities.

2008

ATS became an independent, inter-denominational institution.


UJ concluded its 17-year contract with ATS when it became a secular university that could no longer accommodate ATS as an institution in Christian theology.

2010

ATS reached a new agreement with the Theological Department of the North West University, resulting in the accreditation of ATS lecturers to supervise postgraduate studies.

2011

The first ATS students received BA (Hons) degrees in Theology at a graduation ceremony of North West University, thanks to the contract concluded in 2010.

2012

Three new courses were accredited by the Department of Education, namely:

2014

The Njoro Bible College opened its doors in Kenya in January 2014 and has adopted ATS as its mother institution. The first 20 students registered for the BTh and the Diploma in Theology. The photo shows eleven students who form part of this historical moment.