"The council has said no to registering us as a seminary, with religion as our only discipline," says Imad Shehadeh, president of Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary (JETS). "But they haven't answered us yet on our application to become a university, with several disciplines."
Jointly supported by Baptist, Christian & Missionary Alliance, Free Evangelical, Assemblies of God and Nazarene churches in Jordan, JETS has 120 semester students, with 30 more in various modules.
For the past six years, it has enjoyed "complete freedom from any government control on our curriculum or our choice of administrators and faculty," Shehadeh said.
Registered as an educational institution, and not as a religious school, under the Ministry of Culture since 1995, JETS ran into official snags three years later, when government security officials balked at the school's applications to purchase land and build a new campus. Jordan is a Muslim-majority country. Christians in Jordan have more religious freedom than in other Mideast nations, but limitations remain.
Although JETS received permission to purchase land in the spring of 1999, the government revoked the school's right to seek residence visas for non-Jordanian faculty, students, and staff. To regain that right, the government said, the seminary needed to reapply for registration under the Council of Higher Education.
"We were asked to establish several other schools alongside the school of theology, ...1
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