“I Came Here Because I Felt a Need”
When John Stott wrote that Langham’s vision must be to “unashamedly capture the seminaries of the world for the Gospel,” he had students, future biblical leaders, like Laurence Cenan in mind.
As a student of several Langham-trained scholars at Institutul Teologic in Bucharest, Laurence is learning not only how to study and understand God’s Word, but also how to build a bridge between the Gospel and his culture.
He says, “For the time that I’ve been [at this seminary], I feel like I’m more prepared to actually know what I’m saying and to understand how to preach and explain the Word of God to other people…It has helped me to develop myself and to be able to minister to other people.”
And ministering to other people is something Laurence has been doing since high school, when he would travel with his youth group to churches in the villages surrounding his hometown of Cluj to sing, pray and give small sermons. Even at that young age, he noticed a need for trained pastors able to shepherd congregations with the Gospel.
“These were very small churches, very few members, and mostly older because in Romania the young people move into the city,” he says. “These churches really need people to go and to minister to them . . . It struck me that I could fulfill a need at my church and teach the Word of God.”
When Laurence expressed his desire to attend seminary in Bucharest, members of his church decided to contribute a portion of the cost—and it has enabled him to study under Langham Scholars like Dr. Silviu Tatu and Dr. Corneliu Constantineanu, theological leaders equipped with Ph.D.’s with support from Langham.
As a student of Dr. Constantineanu, Laurence says he’s learning how the church is called to be involved in every sphere of society. This is especially important in a region where communism has helped to create a spiritual vacuum, leaving people vulnerable to fill the void with whatever is at arm’s reach.
“I’d like to bridge two things,” he says. “Like Christian economics or Christian literature. I’d also like to continue to minister to my church. As I said, I came here because I felt a need. I think it’s a need in many, many communities in Romania.”
It’s a relatively new concept in a post-communist country where the church is used to being kept in the margins.
“In this part of the world, one of the greatest challenges and opportunities has to do with the public witness of the church. The church is challenged to move out into society . . . In my opinion, [the church] still has a ways to go to be an authentic voice in the public square,” Dr. Constantineanu says. “Theology is not an abstract study . . . For us, teaching students theology is to teach them about the power of the Gospel, about the new life that is possible in the living Christ. That’s why I’m so excited about this and why I’m in the service of the Gospel.”
Theological leaders living in service to the Gospel. John Stott was convinced that this is where the welfare of the local church rests—in the hands of these dedicated leaders, scholar-saints he called them, equipping future generations of church leaders around the world. It’s why for nearly 45 years, Langham has been supporting the theological training of more than 300 Langham Scholars, readying them to multiply and disciple future leaders like Laurence all over the world.