The Beginning of ITS
In early 1970s when the number of Korean immigrants increased in Los Angeles area, some Korean church leaders in the area commonly felt an immediate need to establish schools to train men and women for the rapidly sprouting Korean churches among the immigrants. Dr. John Eui-Whan Kim, a church historian, seminary professor, and pastor of a fast-growing church, was one of those church leaders. Unlike his peers, however, who went on their ways to open schools to provide theological education for Korean-immigrants only in their mother tongue, John Kim, having been inspired by the dream of world mission, decided to establish a seminary for international students from Third World countries. His intense desire to launch such a unique theological seminary was motivated by the conviction that trained national church leaders would be far more effective in many tasks to which foreign missionaries were normally assigned, such as evangelism, church growth, church planting, and others. After sharing his vision with the elders of his church and ensuring support from some of them, his dream was effectuated in the founding International Theological Seminary in 1982 as a venture of faith. To date, the seminary has graduated almost nine hundred students in all of its academic programs most of whom have returned to their home countries.
International Theological Seminary invites students from all nations but gives priority to students from countries where the progress of the gospel is hindered by official policies or by lack of adequate training institutions. Students who meet the admission standards are provided with a thorough education in the Reformed evangelical faith, are trained in leadership, and pledge to return to serve in their home churches and countries.
This missionary strategy is designed to communicate the gospel in Third World countries. Its importance is greatly increased when national doors are closed to Western and/or outside missionaries, which has already happened in some countries and which is a continuing threat in others.
Many members of the faculty have had overseas or cross-cultural missionary experience. Additionally, emphasis is placed upon providing a quality education that makes use of the heritage of the churches from which the students come.
From the beginning of the seminary up to now, the core philosophy of the seminary, which is the training of church leaders from Third World countries, remains unchanged.
Dr. John E. Kim, 1982 – 1984.
Dr. John H. Kromminga, 1984 – 1990
Dr. John E Kim, 1990 – 1995
Dr. Joseph Tong, 1995 – 2008.
Dr. See Nam Kim, 2008 – 2009.
Elder Calvin Lee (Interim President), January 2010 – May 2010.
Dr. Melvin Loucks, June 2010 – 2013.
Dr. James Lee, present