Timeline

1990
  • The Church of Christ in Zagreb starts a Bible School as one of the ministries of the church, focused primarily on Bible classes for members and friends of the church.
1996
  • Mladen Jovanović becomes director of the School.
  • The School offers courses in Bible, Theology, and Church History.
1999
  • The church brings dr.sc. Thomas Sibley and his wife, Sandra Sibley, onto the ministry staff of the church, with a mandate to develop the school.
  • The school officially adopts preparing Croats as pastors, church planters, and leaders for other Christian ministries as its purpose.
  • Dr. Sibley and Mr. Jovanović work with the faculty to develop three distinct programs of study: Preaching, Ministry, and Biblical Studies.
  • Dr. Sibley raises funds to provide a facility for the school.
  • The school teaches its first ministry training classes, with three young ministers enrolled.
2000
  • The School officially becomes the Institute for Biblical Studies (IBS), which holds classes for 20 students in its own facility.
  • Dr. Sibley and Mr. Jovanović donate books from their personal libraries, which constitute the Institute’s first library.
2001-2003
  • IBS expands its curriculum by adding instructors for Greek, Hebrew, and Church History.
  • IBS is invited to partner with the nationally-accredited Theological fakultet, “Matija Vlačić Ilirik”.
2004
  • Regular faculty expands to seven professors.
  • Curriculum expands to meet European standards.
  • IBS becomes the teaching and training institution for the Council of Churches of Christ in Croatia.
  • IBS begins seeking independent accreditation from the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education, and Sport.
2005
  • IBS establishes a fraternal relationship with Abilene Christian University (USA), to assist in curriculum development, identifying faculty needs, and to help provide needed faculty.
  • The faculty rewrites curriculum to meet accreditation requirements.
  • Administration raises funds to meet the financial requirements for accreditation with the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education, and Sport.
2006
  • Administration of IBS submits all papers for accreditation to the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education, and Sport.  The process was never completed.
  • First graduation ceremony is held, at which four students receive B.Th. degrees. The entire graduating class of four is admitted into graduate schools.
  • Abilene Christian University utilizes IBS facility and resources to offer a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry program in Zagreb. Seven Croatian students complete the first class in this program.
  • IBS’s facilities are expanded with the move of the Library to the Downtown Church of Christ on Amruševa street, in the center of Zagreb. The new space also provides an additional classroom and study center.
  • IBS is renamed Biblijski institut and achieves independent legal status.
  • Additional faculty is added from the USA.
2007
  • Biblijski institut enters a cooperative agreement with the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Osijek (ETS). Biblijski institut’s program in Zagreb becomes a branch of the programs of ETS.  Students of Biblijski institut receive all student rights and are entitled to a fully accredited diploma, per the Bologna Agreement.
  • The school first publishes its academic journal, Kairos: Evangelical Journal of Theology.
  • Biblijski institut’s library implements KOHA, a standard indexing system for educational libraries.
2008
  • Biblijski institut holds its first academic symposium, “Unity and Fellowship of Christians.” Presentations are made by churchmen/scholars from the Baptist and Brethren churches, the Church of Christ, the Pentecostal Union, and the Roman Catholic church.
  • Nina and Andrej Lovše become the first Biblijski institut graduates to earn graduate degrees, when they receive MA degrees in Christian Ministry from Abilene Christian University, through ACU’s program in Zagreb.
  • Biblijski institut holds a second academic symposium, “Actualization of Incarnation: Christ’s Presence in Today’s Time and World.”
2009
  • Supporters of Biblijski institut in the United States form a non-profit support organization, The Central European Christian Education Foundation (CECEF).
  • Cascade College in Portland, Oregon, donates 13,000 books to Biblijski institut’s library.  They give this gift through Oklahoma Christian University.  Several private libraries are added to this gift, including the libraries of the late Dr. Kenneth Shrable and Silas Shotwell.”
  • Many other book donations and funds for the library come from Christian Churches in the northwestern United States, Texas, Ohio, and Kentucky.
  • Biblijski institut holds a third academic symposium, “Evangelical Christianity and Family.
2010
  • Biblijski institut holds a series of lectures, open to the public, on the topic of “Religious Cultures in Croatia.”
  • Biblijski institut promotes the book, A Newcomer’s Guide to the Bible, by Mike Armour.
  • Biblijski institut holds a roundtable discussion, “Religious Communities and Public Relations.
2011
  • Biblijski institut holds a major media event, the Library Open House, which is attended by Zagreb city officials and the deans and faculty from most of the colleges of the University of Zagreb.  This event also garnered attention from all the television stations in Zagreb.
  • Through its partnership with ETS, Biblijski institut confers four B.Th. diplomas and one M.Th. degree.
  • Biblijski institut offers an Intensive Course, “Addictions and the Human Spirit,” taught by American counseling practitioner Dr. John D. Cooke.   This course drew attendees from the College of Medicine and Department of Psychology of the University of Zagreb.
  • Biblijski institut attempts to serve the children of Zagreb by offering the first “Champs Camp” in July of 2011. The event draws 75 children, with another 25 on a waiting list.  Offered every year, the event grows steadily.
2012
  • Biblijski institut’s graduation ceremony sees six graduates receive their B.Th. diploma.  The ceremony also honors Biblijski institut’s History professor, Stanko Jambrek, who had just received his Ph.D. from the University of Zagreb.
  • Biblijski institut sponsors the translation and publication of the Cape Town Commitment.
  • Biblijski institut holds a roundtable discussion, “Who needs Theology?”, open to the churches in Zagreb.
  • The second year of Champs Camp is held, drawing 80 children with another 30 on waiting list.
2013
  • Biblijski institut again holds Champs Camp, with great success.
  • Biblijski institut leads in the publication of Mladen Jovanović’s book, I Riječ Crkvom Postade.”
  • Together with the Croatian Bible Society, Biblijski institut holds the “Week of the Bible.”  This event also involves the University of Zagreb and the Protestant Evangelical Alliance.
    • Displays included a working replica of the 1562 printing press in the library of the University of Zagreb, School of Philosophy.
    • Biblijski institut’s students printed and distributed 2,000 sheets of the 23rd Psalm.
    • Biblijski institut’s students also gave away 1,000 New Testaments to students of the University.
    • The event concluded with the 1st Public reading of the Scripture in the center of Zagreb.  Readers read aloud the Gospel according to Luke in the Franciscan chapel.
  • In partnership with the University of Zagreb, the University of Ljubljana, and the University of Graz, Biblijski institut held an international conference: The Reformation in the Croatian Lands.
    • Roman Catholic Television carried the conference.  Video of this coverage is now stored in their archives.
    • This event drew attention and coverage from the national media
  • Biblijski institut enters a partnership with the College of Bible and Ministry of David Lipscomb University (Nashville TN), much like the partnership with Abilene Christian University that began in 2005.
  • Biblijski institut graduates 8 Students with B.Th. diplomas.
  • Biblijski institut provided “Children’s Bibles” for two elementary schools in Croatia.
  • In addition, 2013 saw the death of Mladen Jovanović, founder and faculty member of Biblijski institut, and a major spokesman for evangelical Christianity in Croatia.
2014
  • Biblijski institut hosts a Jesus Conference, with an agenda directed toward the academy and the church.  This involved Biblijski institut in partnership with Abilene Christian and David Lipscomb Universities, the University of Zagreb, the Theological Institute of Bucharest, and Protestant Evangelical Alliance.  Over 300 people, including scholars from many Christian denominations, participated in the conference.
  • Biblijski institut initiates a Basic Bible Knowledge Certificate extension program in the city of Split, Croatia, with 11 students.
  • Biblijski institut also agrees to plans for a Basic Bible Knowledge Certificate program in Rijeka, Croatia.
  • Biblijski institut published the following books:
    • Reformacija u hrvatskim zemljama u europskom by Dr. Jambrek, (A History of the reformation in Croatia,
    • Biblijski hebrejsko-hrvatski riječnik by Danijel Berković (the first Biblical Hebrew and Croatian Lexicon).
  • Biblijski institut also secured necessary permissions and translated the following books into Croatian, for Biblijski institut’s classroom use:
    • Who Needs Theology by Stanley J. Grenz and Roger E. Olson,
    • Thinking about God by Fisher Humphreys.
  • Biblijski institut graduates 11 students, the largest graduating class to date.
2015
  • Biblijski institut continued to translate and publish books on theology, including Christianity on Trial, by Mark Lanier (IVP Press).
  • CECEF begins a national search in the USA for a full-time fundraiser to work with churches in the USA to provide monetary support for the on-going work of the Biblijski institut.
  • Biblijski institut’s scholarly journal, Kairos: Evangelical Journal of Theology, receives AA rating from the Ministry of Science, Education, and Sport.
2016
  • Danijel Berković, Biblijski institut’s Old Testament Professor, receives his Ph.D. from London (England) Middlesex University.
  • The European Evangelical Accrediting Association (EEAA), an arm of the World Evangelical Alliance, awards Biblijski institut “Candidacy” for accreditation for Biblijski institut’s B.Th. in Ministry, with arrangements for visit in March of 2017.
  • Biblijski institut initiates new certificate programs for the training of church leaders in Zagreb, Rijeka, and Varaždin, Croatia.
  • CECEF hires Brian Walton as a full-time fundraiser for the Institute.
  • Sandra Sibley, a professional “organizational development specialist,” leads Biblijski institut’s staff and faculty in laying the groundwork for the kinds of organizational paradigm shifts Biblijski institut needs to make in the era of the Bologna paradigm, so that the school can become more of a “Learning Community.”
  • Faculty and Staff collaborate to work toward EEAA accreditation.
  • Dr. Perry L. Stepp, an American New Testament theologian with experience in academic administration and accreditation, works with Biblijski institut throughout the months of October – December to help prepare for the SER.
  • Both CECEF and Management Boards agree to identify the successor of Dr. Thomas Sibley as Director.  On 14 December, the Boards agree unanimously to ask Dr. Stepp to become the next director of Biblijski institut, and he accepts.
2017
  • In March 2017, Biblijski institut hosts a visiting team from the European Evangelical Accrediting Association.  At the end of the visit, the team announces that they are recommending that Biblijski institut’s B.Th. in Ministry receive accreditation with EEAA.
  • In April 2017, EEAA’s board votes to grant this accreditation to Biblijski institut’s program.
  • Dr. Perry L. Stepp is installed as the new director/ravnatelj of Biblijski institut.