Swedish name: Peter Isaac Béens Utbildningsstiftelse
Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Education Foundation (SELEF) is a school organisation with three different schools in Gothenburg (Göteborg) on the Swedish west coast. Here we have a Christian ‘gymnasium' which is a school for young people 16-19 years old, preparing for university studies. Then we have a theological institute or seminary which prepares for pastoral or missionary ministry. We also have a one year Bible school for people of different ages.
This school organisation was established 1924 with the main purpose to support young men in their preparations to become pastors within the Lutheran Church in Sweden. Committed pastors such as Peter Isaac Béen († 1931) and Lars Magnus Engström († 1950) worked hard to find ways to support skilled and poor young men on their way to the ministry. And still is the central purpose of this foundation to support the recruiting and education of evangelical Lutheran pastors.
Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Education Foundation is a part of the confessional movement within the Lutheran church in Sweden as it has shown up in the Church of Sweden. Today the Church of Sweden is a very liberal church with all its signs. Sweden is also a much secularised country with a high rate of divorces, abortions, homo¬sexual partnerships. A highly increasing Islamic population is shaping a new situation with many challenges. Here SELEF has its call from the Lord.
The different works through the three schools within the foundation are - according to the statutes - to be built on the Bible (which is the true word of God, the true witness of Christ the only Saviour, the infallible guide in every aspect it teaches and is trustworthy due to inspiration by the Holy Spirit) and the Book of Concord, which gives us the right understanding of the Scriptures.
The foundation has many international contacts both in Scandinavia and further abroad, in the Baltic States, different countries in Europe, Africa, the U.S.A. and Japan, both in the field of theological education and on the more basic level. The board of the foundation is anxious to deepen these contacts.
Rev. Dr. Bengt Birgersson
Secretary of Education
Lutheran School of Theology in Gothenburg
The Lutheran School of Theology, Gothenburg (in Swedish: Församlingsfakulteten i Göteborg) was created in 1993.
As early as in 1904 a Swedish Lutheran pastor, Peter Isaac Béen, had the vision of creating a theological institution in Gothenburg, but because of lack of support the plans were dropped.
Some 20 years later his vision was revived , and he managed to get support from many pastors and congregations all over Sweden.
He didn't find it possible, however, to create an independent theological institution. Instead he managed to open a Christian High School (now called L M Engströms gymnasium or Lutheran High School Gothenburg) which was to prepare young male candidates for the pastoral ministry within Church of Sweden.
It took almost 70 (or almost 90 years!) for his original idea - an academic, Lutheran theological traning - to be come into existence!
In 1993 the Board of L M Engströms gymnasium decided to create a Bible conservative, Lutheran institution with the aim of training students of theology for the pastoral ministry and other kinds of Christian work.
This institution is now internationally known as the Lutheran School of Theology, Gothenburg, LST, and has now existed for 15 years.
Between 1993 and 1997 LST had its premises within the walls of the Christian High School, but as both institutions grew, LST moved in 1997 to a house located close to the University Library of Gothenburg.
For some years, from 1993 onwards, the Lutheran School of Theology mostly gave supplementary courses. This means that most of the students belonged the (secular) University of Gothenburg, undertakning studies of religion there.
The Board and Staff of LST were not, however, satisfied with being dependent on the agnostic teaching in a secular university.
For this reason LST develop a programme of studies in theology which is totally independent, called TU in Swedish.
The theological programme at LST offers three alternatives for the students. The one-year alternative is accredited as certificate of Theology by the European Evangelical Accrediting Association and the three-year programme as bachelor of Theology (further information on www.eeaa.eu). Besides, we offer a two-year programme in diaconal studies, a programme not yet accredited.
Although the number of students so far hasn't been very big, and there is an intake only every second year, many students have been very successful.
One is now undertaking doctoral studies in Great Britain, and three others have recently started or finished studies post-graduate studies (USA, Norway, China).
It can also be noted that most of the Faculty members are Doctors (D.Th or Ph.D.), these doctorates emanating from three different countries (Sweden, Finland, USA). One faculty member recently got a University position in Great Britain.
Many of the students are now ordained for the holy ministry and serve in different Lutheran churches, several of them serve within the Mission Province.
It can also be noted that our international contacts are both good and reaching far, especially with the Nordic and Baltic countries, but also with Germany, USA and East Africa. Quite many of the students make their internship abroad.
Lutheran High School Gothenburg
The School was founded 1924 by confessional pastors with support from wide groups of faithful Christian in south west Sweden. The aim was double: to develop an educational program independent of the official system that was being influenced by modernism and liberal theology and to make it possible for young men from smaller economical circumstances to achieve the exam of the Gymnasium and so go on to study theology to become pastors in the Church of Sweden.
Since the early 1990´s new legislations in Sweden promote free schools. The school now has around 450 students in three programs, social sciences with classics, natural science and music. Our foundation has required the historical Bishop's palace and an adjacent historical building in down town Gothenburg.
Our Lutheran foundation and profile comes through in the daily work at the school in compulsory bible classes, daily morning devotions and a weekly divine service in Gothenburg Cathedral, often lead by Rev. Jakob Appell or the Principal Rev. Fredrik Sidenvall. We are proud to keep up the tradition on teaching Latin and to offer a course in Lutheran dogmatic.
The School recruits its students from Gothenburg and vicinity but has also a few international students. We take part in different international programs. We have a Higher Thing group that is preparing to take part in Higher Things Youth Conference in USA. We are establishing cooperation with St Paul Lutheran High School, Concordia, Missouri and we support an aid project in Romania. Our ambition is to take all the seniors on a tour to the European continent to visit Wittenberg and Lützen.
In our pedagogic basic view we are introducing the ideas of Aaron Antonovsky and what he refers to as Sense of Coherence.
Our School holds a top position among High Schools in Sweden in terms of students being accepted into Swedish universities.
Rev. Fredrik Sidenvall
Bible School Gothenburg
In August 2007, the foundation established a new education: a bible school (Bibelskola Göteborg). The education is a one year course, open for anyone with interest in Lutheran theology and practice, no matter age or gender. The aim is to deepen the insights of the richness of Christ's Chruch which we receive in Holy Baptism and continue to receive through the Word of God and the Lord's Supper. A significant improvement in the education is a trip to Israel, the world in which the events of the bible took place. The school have various teachers from the Lutheran School of Theology and the Gymnasium. Rev. Jakob Appell is principal and he holds a STM from Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft Wayne IN. The school is a joint venture with "Markusstiftelsen".
Board and administration
Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Education Foundation is lead by a nine member's board, elected by the board of one of the Lutheran confessional associations in Sweden. Chairman is the book store manager Per Bodemar.
The administration and financial office are located in the same house as the Lutheran High School Gothenburg and lead by the controller Eva Odengård.
The board has also employed Rev. Dr Bengt Birgersson to represent the foundation and being responsible for international contacts, to support the board in its leading of the foundation and to execute its decisions.
Lutheran High School Gothenburg is mainly financed by support from the state. Lutheran School of Theology is financed only by donations and fundraising. The Bible School Gothenburg is financed both by some support from the state and by fundraising.
How to reach us?
Lutheran School of Theology in Gothenburg www.ffg.se
Lutheran High School Gothenburg: www.lme.nu
Bible School Gothenburg www.bibelskolagoteborg.se
M.Th. Johannes Hellberg
Rev. Fredrik Sidenvall
Rev. Jakob Appell
Rev. Dr. Bengt Birgersson
Controller Eva Odengård
Chairman Per Bodemar