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Irpen Biblical Seminary

A 20-Year Legacy Steadfastly Honoring Christ and the Word of God

… to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and
who trembles at My Word (Isaiah 66:2).

By Dr. Bob Provost
IBS Board of Trustees
SGA President

Irpen Biblical Seminary has become one of the most influential conservative Bible schools in the CIS.

The history of Irpen Biblical Seminary begins with the vision the Lord gave to Dr. Yakov Dukhonchenko, one of the great heroes of the faith of the Soviet Union. He joyfully endured severe persecution for the sake of the Lord and His precious church. At age 20, shortly after marriage to his beloved Luba, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for preaching the Gospel. Following prison, Yakov (Jacob) resumed what became a lifetime of fruitful ministry, eventually as vice president of the Baptist Union for the entire Soviet Union, and then president of the Ukrainian Baptist Union. In 1990, he was granted an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree by The Master’s Seminary.

New freedom brings major challenges and the need for a new seminary.

While visiting Kiev in 1989, I learned from Pastor Dukhonchenko that the Berlin Wall was being taken down. Surprisingly, he was terribly distraught about it, fearing that freedom would bring a flood of false teachers to destroy their naïve, trusting churches. His concerns were well founded. Before long, foreigners bearing false doctrines arrived with their unbiblical books and began setting up theological schools. As the only alternatives, they were beginning to attract young men from the UECB churches.

Dr. Alexei Brinza, Irpen’s founding president.

I committed to helping Pastor Dukhonchenko maintain a doctrinal fence around their faithful churches that had suffered so much under the communists. He asked me to help him start a seminary. Over time, the Lord provided the leadership, faculty, students, building, and funds to cover operating expenses. Yakov selected Alexei Brinza, the regional pastor from Zaporozhe, to serve as Irpen’s founding president. He knew the Bible from cover to cover, had also joyfully endured great persecution, and was known by all as a humble, loving man of God (Isaiah 66:2). He was the kind of pastor whom Pastor Dukhonchenko wanted to produce at the new seminary. With his beloved Valentina at his side, Dr. Brinza served with great distinction at Irpen from 1991 until May, 2008, when he stepped down to become pastor to the students. Four months later, the Lord called Alexei home.

A careful curriculum was developed and the Lord sent an outstanding faculty.

The first classes were held directly after the first 57 students were selected in February 1991. They were taught by professors from The Master’s Seminary in Los Angeles, including Dr. Richard Mayhue, Dr. George Zemek, and James Stitzinger. For the first two years, the principal teachers were Pastor Alexei Brinza, Pastor Dukhonchenko, and SGA’s Dr. Roman Dechtiarenko.

In 1993, Grace Community Church sent three American TMS graduates to serve as resident professors. They have served faithfully with distinction until the present — Greg and Hu Chon White, Brian and Heidi Kinzel, and Dr. Bruce and Aimee Alvord. TMS graduate John Carbonneau served on the faculty from 2001 – 2007. In recognition of his outstanding service to Christ, The Master’s Seminary granted the honorary Doctor of Divinity to Alexei Brinza in 2002.

The Lord provided a wonderful new facility for the growing seminary.

SGA partners and many others helped provide Irpen’s new facility.

In 2001, a former kindergarten building was purchased, renovated and transformed into a suitable building for the seminary. The Lord raised up more than 1,300 faithful SGA partners: individuals, seven churches, and five Christian foundations to help meet the costs. Churches in the USA and Canada sent teams to complete a substantial amount of the work. Much of the building material was supplied by SGA/Canada. In September 2006, the beautiful new facility was dedicated in a moving ceremony led by President Brinza.

The Lord is Doing Great and Mighty Things

To date, more than 1,200 faithful servants of Christ have been trained and equipped to powerfully impact Ukraine and the other CIS nations. They minister in the churches of Ukraine, develop other training ministries, and are being sent as missionaries throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States.

A converted Jewish graduate led in the development of All Nations Bible Institute in Kazakhstan, and is now developing a training initiative in Israel. There are 15 graduates now serving as directors of regional Bible training ministries, 22 graduates are now Irpen teachers, and an amazing 104 graduates serve as teachers in various Bible training ministries throughout the CIS. Christian Education and Public Ministry graduates are teaching Christian Ethics in the public schools of Ukraine. Perhaps most significant — at least 95% of the alumni are serving in key responsibilities in conservative Bible-preaching churches. The Lord is using them to change Ukraine for the glory of Christ, and to also have a great impact for Him in the other CIS nations.

Current Irpen president Dr. Igor Yaremchuk.

Since May 2008, Dr. Igor Yaremchuk of Zaporozhe has served as Irpen’s president. He is a theologian with the heart of an evangelist and is frequently called upon to preach at evangelistic crusades throughout the world. Assisting him as administrative vice president is Benjamin Brinza, son of Dr. Alexei Brinza.

More than 1,200 students have been equipped for ministry through Irpen.

Since 1994, the Lord has worked through more than 1,500 faithful SGA partners to sustain the operation of this excellent ministry. In the early years, the key sponsors were Grace Community Church of Los Angeles, the owner of a small transportation company in South Carolina, and the owner of a small software company in Michigan. More recently, the principal sponsors have been a Christian foundation that is deeply committed to sound biblical education, and several local churches and individuals.

It is with great joy and praise to God that we celebrate all that He has done in 20 years through Irpen Biblical Seminary. We look ahead in anticipation of that Day when we will see the full results of the work done there. Please keep Irpen in your prayers. It is one of the top conservative evangelical seminaries of our time. May the Lord continue to bless this strategic ministry with faithfulness to His Word until He comes. May all who have prayed and supported this wonderful seminary be greatly encouraged. If you are one of the sponsors, you may rest assured that your offerings have been prudently and wisely used in the training of faithful servants of Christ. We are grateful to God and to you for all that has been accomplished.

One Comment on “Irpen Biblical Seminary”

  1. 1 Brian Kinzel said at 11:50 am on October 8th, 2011:

    Dear SGA,

    What a great article. I love reading about how God is using you. Of course, I thank God always for your partnership for the gospel at IBS. Thank you for making it possible for us to train others.

    Blessings in Christ,

    Brian Kinzel
    Grace Ministries International/Irpin Biblical Serminary
    Kiev, Ukraine

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