FAQ - Mount Zion Bible Institute 

1. What is the purpose of the Mount Zion Bible Institute?
2. Why is MZBI's internet training so important?
3. What is the doctrinal position of MZBI?
4. How are the courses chosen?
5. How can I utilize MZBI's materials in my own ministry?
6. What is MZBI's philosophy of learning?
7. How do I download the course files for independent study?

Why is it so important to be able to download MZBI's courses worldwide without charge via the internet? "In many African countries, churches have an average of only one trained pastor for every 20 churches. One pastor from Uganda...told us that his denomination has 1,000 congregations, but only 8 trained pastors to shepherd them. Another...in Zambia told us that his denomination has 675 churches, with only 31 trained pastors...since 1973, 29,000 new Christian churches have been planted in the Philippines; and they expect another 16,000 to be planted in 2001. All the formal seminaries and training institutions in their whole country could never train even 15 percent of the needed pastors for these churches."


1. What is the purpose of the Mount Zion Bible Institute (MZBI) on the Internet?
MZBI exists to glorify God by teaching His Word, distributing courses worldwide without charge via the internet. More specifically, the courses are all designed to glorify God by "humbling the pride of man, exalting the grace of God in salvation, and promoting real holiness in heart and life."

Many countries have English as a first or second language. The need to train native pastors and missionaries is urgent and pressing, and each of them have a great need for materials to disciple their own people. Also, all missionaries need on-going Bible study to maintain their walk with the Lord. (See question 2 below.)

In addition, the English language has become the second language of most countries on earth - for business, government, and education purposes. Because of this, there is a wide open door through the internet for useful English materials into every university campus in the world, and also into the homes of their graduates. Internet-based Bible training can be used mightily of the Lord to change many lives. May it be so, O Lord!


2. Why is MZBI's internet training so important?
Most third world pastors do not have access to a computer or the internet, but many do! And very often there is a western missionary in contact with them who can furnish materials. The following report is from a missions conference*:

"There is astonishing growth in numbers of Christian churches in Africa, Asia, South America, and countries that were formerly behind the so-called iron curtain. This growth has occurred so rapidly that formal training institutions like universities and seminaries will never be able to train enough pastors to shepherd these churches. Studies have shown that there are at least two million preachers preaching in pulpits in these countries every Sunday, who have never had any theological training whatsoever.

"In many African countries, churches have an average of only one trained pastor for every 20 churches. One pastor from Uganda, sitting next to me, told us that his denomination has 1,000 congregations, but only 8 trained pastors to shepherd them. Another one from the Evangelical Christian Church in Zambia told us that his denomination has 675 churches, with only 31 trained pastors. We were told that since 1973, 29,000 new Christian churches have been planted in the Philippines; and they expect another 16,000 to be planted in 2001. All the formal seminaries and training institutions in their whole country could never train even 15pt of the needed pastors for these churches.

"One Chinese pastor from the Peoples Republic of China told us of the phenomenal growth of the house churches in their country, in spite of ongoing difficulties. In many of these churches the pastor will just throw his Bible to his congregation when he is arrested, and the person who catches it automatically becomes the pastor. In some places teenage girls are appointed as "pastors" because they are the only literate people with Bibles. The pastor told us that he is currently running a program of training 20,000 Chinese pastors for these house churches, but mostly without materials, depending upon memory and word of mouth.

"In some of these countries, the church is growing itself to death! The structures simply cannot cope. The structural growth lags behind. The provision of adequate leadership is not keeping pace with the influx of people into the church. There is a vast lack of the most basic Bible knowledge, as well as basic Christian doctrine, amongst church members and even their untrained leaders."

*In March 2000, an international conference was held in Manila, Philippines, on the training of Third World pastors. There were representatives from over 80 institutions in 50 countries. This report is abstracted from attendee Dr. Flip Buys, Principal of Mahlanga Bible College in Gauteng, South Africa, as shared with Pastor Erroll Hulse of Reformation Today magazine, Leeds, England.


3. What is the doctrinal position of the Mount Zion Bible Institute?
The heart desire of MZBI is to point people to Jesus Christ as personal Savior, Lord, and King, through intimate application of the Scriptures for changed lives. Therefore, we focus on application of the knowledge of the Scriptures to the heart.

MZBI holds to the classic conservative evangelical teachings of the Reformation, the historic Protestant faith. These can be summarized as follows.

MZBI Short Statement of Faith:

  • We believe the Bible to be the divinely inspired, infallible, inerrant, plenary, and authoritative Word of God.
  • We believe there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
  • We believe in the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, His deity, His sinless humanity, His perfect life, the eternal all-sufficiency of His atoning death, His bodily resurrection, His ascension to the Father's right hand, and His personal imminent return to earth in power and glory.
  • We believe all men are depraved in their nature since the fall, and justly deserve punishment for their sin in hell. While they can do nothing in themselves to earn God's favor, all men are responsible to call upon God for their salvation.
  • We believe that justification is a judicial act of God on the believer's behalf solely on the merits, blood, and righteousness of Jesus Christ. Further, that regeneration (the new birth) by the power of the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for personal salvation. This salvation is by grace through faith alone.
  • We believe in the Lordship of Christ over His Church; and the observance of the ordinances of Christian baptism and the Lord's supper.
  • We believe in the eternal blessedness of the redeemed in heaven and the eternal doom of the unregenerate in the lake of fire.

A more detailed statement of faith can be found in the Westminster Confession (adopted in 1646) and in the London Baptist Confession (1689).


4. How are the courses chosen?
MZBI is very careful to include as reading materials for the course only theologically conservative, proven, and often classic (widely accepted as authoritative) texts mostly from prior centuries. The authors have withstood the test of time, where Christians over many years have found the texts both very helpful and true to the Scriptures. We avoid the controversies associated with one man over another in our present day.

Our desire is to teach the whole counsel of God. Therefore we are continually seeking to add courses to fill in the curriculum to become a complete lifetime of learning through the entire Scriptures.


5. How can I utilize MZBI's materials in my own ministry?
The MZBI resources are available at no charge. You may use them in any of several ways:

  • in the North America: complete the Application for Enrollment or write to us.
  • Worldwide: contact a foreign branch in your country directly. If there is no foreign branch in your country, write us for one course copy sent by surface mail.

The courses may be reproduced as long as 1) the copyright information is printed or displayed on all reproductions, 2) no changes are made, and 3) the material is not charged for.

In addition, volunteer foreign translations are possible. Please contact us for specifics before beginning any translation work.


6. What is MZBI's philosophy of learning?

Study at Your Own Location

The courses are offered as independent study so that the student can remain in his own surroundings, maintaining his own daily work responsibilities. In this way he can avoid travel expenses, save time, and fit the studies into his own schedule. When there is a local group, there is the added benefit of feedback from others in an environment of trust.

The course materials have wide distribution into several environments:

  • correspondence study through MZBI only in North America, or through one of the foreign branches.
  • individuals working in independent study,
  • groups using the course together, with feedback from a group coordinator. This might be in church classes, home Bible studies, prisons, or home schools.

Administration

The emphasis in all courses is understanding and application of the truth. Grades can weaken the spiritual impact, leading to reliance on self vs. God. The Bible Institute is unaccredited by men, and does not issue diplomas or certificates. Instead, the courses are offered solely for winning the approval of God, as He does a work in our hearts to transform us into the image of Christ.

When printed locally after a course file is downloaded, courses can be used either for independent study (no mailing of lessons), or for traditional correspondence study (lessons reviewed by a course administrator). In "traditional correspondence study," the student returns his written answers to his course administrator.

Course administration (enrollments, distribution of materials, and review of written answers for feedback) can be accomplished by either a pastor, church worker, or chaplain conducting their own local training.

Design

The courses are practical in nature, since practical application, obedience, and holy living seem to be our biggest struggle in the Christian life. Many people tend to take a course in a mechanical way: getting the 'head-knowledge' without a change in the life. Therefore the courses are designed to encourage the student toward understanding and obeying the truth, rather than memorizing information so that a high grade may be attained. To this end, the courses are heart-searching, challenging to the conscience, and practical in encouraging holy living.

We try to avoid the standard didactic approach often used exclusively in formal colleges and seminaries, which uses deduction from a hypothesis to a conclusion only, and can become overly dependent on the intellect to the exclusion of the working of the Holy Spirit. Most courses are therefore centered on studying the Scriptures in the way God intended: meditating on a Bible passage with the Spirit as the teacher, rather than memorizing information and pouring it back out on a test.

Doctrine

We try to avoid using the term "systematic theology," in order to avoid time and energy given to anything other than our main work: "to humble the pride of man, to exalt the grace of God in salvation, and to promote real holiness in heart and life." We bring out the basic core doctrines of the Christian faith which are necessary for salvation, sanctification, and service. When other doctrines present themselves, we try to present both sides of the truth, and encourage returning to unity in the major doctrines.

Audiences

Because the materials are focused on personal application in a realistic daily walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, the courses are used by individuals, pastors, and groups such as home Bible studies and church ministries. Students of MZBI courses also include many who cannot afford, or choose not to pay, the high prices of Christian materials offered in the prosperous marketplaces of Western nations. Therefore the courses are often used in prisons and among pastors and lay people in native churches of underdeveloped countries.

Many students will be in a local church, but will not have experience in personal Bible study. The basic courses will be helpful to this group. Others will have some years in the Christian life, and will be at an intermediate level. Still others will have much Bible knowledge. These may study the advanced courses, which focus on renewing personal intimate fellowship with Christ.

 

7. How do I download the course files for independent study?

PC/Windows

1. right click on the link.
2. select "Save Target As..." option from popup window.
3. when "Save as" window appears navigate to the desired location on your system to save the file.(normaly this is the desktop.) Click "save" button.
4. close browser and either double click the icon of the file that you just downloaded or open the file from within your preferred word processing application.

MAC

1. click and hold mouse button on the link until window pops up.
2. select "download link to disk" option from popup window and release mouse button.
3. when window appears, navigate to the desired location on your system to save the file.(normaly this is the desktop.) Click "save" button.
4. close browser and either double click the icon of the file that you just downloaded, or open the file from within your preferred word processing application.