Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Superior Evangelical Institute of Theological Studies (ISEDET) is an ecumenical center of higher education located in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. ISEDET prepares individuals to serve as pastors, teachers, and researchers by providing training in theology to full-time students, pastors, and church congregations across Latin America.
ISEDET was formed in 1969 when the Evangelical School of Theology and Lutheran School of Theology joined forces. The Evangelical School started training local pastors in Uruguay in 1884. In 1889, the school moved to Buenos Aires where the Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, and Reformed Churches became involved. The Lutheran School of Theology began its work in training pastors in 1955.
Today, ISEDET is truly an ecumenical institution with involvement from many churches in the Protestant family. ISEDET utilizes the diverse traditions, values, and beliefs from all of the churches to better serve the theological training needs of Latin America. The ecumenical nature of the institute also fosters an environment of critical thinking, reflection, creativity, and research.
ISEDET trains individuals for the ministry in Latin America by offering bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in theology. In 2003, 185 students pursued these degrees and 18 graduated (four bachelors, 12 masters, and two doctorate). The doctoral program, with its rigorous academic training in teaching and research, is among the best in Latin America. In addition, in response to demand from churches, ISEDET offers training courses for lay leaders and Bible study group leaders, and carries out an education program in theology for indigenous Argentineans. To better serve the needs of practicing clergy, courses are offered both on-site and through distance learning.
In addition to teaching within the institute, members of the ISEDET faculty regularly conduct courses and workshops for churches throughout Latin America. Examples of workshops conducted in 2003 include “The Biblical Movement in Latin America: History and Perspectives” and “Participatory Methodologies in Biblical Readings.” The institute’s professors also develop sermon materials that are distributed all over the world, publish scholarly articles, and edit journals.
In 2003, the ISEDET library added approximately 850 volumes to its already extensive collection. The library updated its database to better serve the increasing number of professors, students, and outside visitors that utilize the library's resources.
With the severe economic crisis in Argentina, more and more churches are looking to ISEDET for training that they can no longer afford to provide to the members of their congregations. As the poor economic conditions continue, the role the church plays in the lives of Latin Americans continues to be critical. This makes the work of ISEDET in supporting these churches and their clergy even more important. Global Ministries manages an endowment fund that was created in 2001 to support the work of ISEDET in Argentina and throughout Latin America.
The Superior Evangelical Institute of Theological Studies (ISEDET) continued in year 2013 as an ecumenical center of higher education as it prepared individuals to serve as pastors, teachers, and researchers. In 2013, ISEDET welcomed nine new students; seven in the Bachelor of Theology Program and two in the Master of Scripture Program. A total of 86 students are currently registered for academic year 2014 (which began in March 2014) with 56 in the Bachelor of Theology Program, 19 in the Master of Biblical Studies Program, and 11 in the Doctor of Theology Program.
A total of 13 students graduated from ISEDET in 2013: three from the Superior School of Theology, four from the Bachelor of Theology Program, one from the Master of Biblical Studies Program, and five from the Doctor in Theology Program. Various programs and training workshops also were held during 2013 through ISEDET including through its Program with Indigenous People (PPO) and training with the Ecumenical Christian Center of Uruguay (EDUCAB).