Discipleship Transcends All Geographical Boundaries: Tyrannus Online Seminary


6 February 2020 by Stephen Ng –


And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.  But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.  This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

Acts 19:8-10


Paul was at Ephesus. His apologetics did not resonate with the people of Ephesus. They were steep in the worship of the great Artemis, whose image fell from heaven. Ephesus was, in fact, the guardian city of the temple of Artemis.

After he felt that people were hardening their hearts to the gospel that he was preaching, Paul decided that he would spend time training the disciples who would eventually become the pillars of the Ephesian church. For two years, we are told that Paul spent at the school of Tyrannus, “reasoning daily” with the disciples, obviously training them to be disciple-makers.

Paul’s example is emulated when Professor Dr. Paul Cheng Chai Liou decided to use Paul’s strategy in discipleship leading to the establishment of Tyrannus Online Seminary.

According to Professor Cheng, the online seminary “is an innovative online approach to train future church leaders in this region, which includes Malaysia and other ASEAN countries and beyond.”


Professor Paul Cheng


Professor Cheng envisaged that the impact of urbanization in Asia will make it harder for seminary students to live and study full-time for three years at a traditional seminary. “The future of theological education is headed towards an online model,” he said, during an interview with Christianity Malaysia.

The professor adjunct to University Tun Razak has dedicated the last lap of his life – in fact, all his energy and resources he has left – to build Tyrannus to become an online seminary to train pastors and church leaders in Malaysia as well as all over Asia.  

Besides having a Bachelor of Business (1990) from University of Southern Queensland, Master of Business Administration (1991) from Oklahoma City University, and Doctor of Commercial Sciences (1996) from Oklahoma City University, Professor Cheng also has two more feathers added to his hat, when he received his Graduate Diploma of Theology from the University of Auckland in 2012 and later completed his Master of Theology in New Testament with Laidlaw Graduate School of Theology, New Zealand in 2016.

He also holds a Doctor of Business Administration (2007) from the University of Newcastle, Australia, besides being a member of a number of organisations including MIA, MICPA, MIM, MNCC, CPA Australia, CTIM, CIMA UK, and IIA Malaysia. He is a Senior Independent non-executive director of PeterLabs Holdings Berhad, a company listed in Bursa Malaysia.


Tyrannus Online Seminary: “The future of theological education is headed towards an online model.”


Professor Cheng has spent well over two decades to develop the largest home-grown accounting firm in Malaysia, Cheng & Co before he decided to launch into Tyrannus Online Seminary. He is also an approved company auditor, chartered accountant, tax consultant, and New Testament scholar. He is the founder and currently the senior partner of Cheng & Co, a chartered accountants firm established in 1993.

“Currently, Tyrannus is preparing for Asia Theological Association accreditation this year,” he said. “Both Dr. Theresa Lua, General Secretary of ATA and Dr. Jonathan Ro, Associate Accreditation Secretary of ATA have visited us as part of the accreditation process.”

The seminary is also in the midst of forming strategic partnerships with the seminaries to deliver good theological training using Tyrannus as their online partner. A number of the programmes have been taught for the past two years.


An on-site lecture in session.


“We have big plans to make theological education accessible to the ordinary people,” Professor Cheng said. “A number of our local pastors have Master of Divinity or Master of Theology. They can teach our Bachelor’s programmes within their own neighbourhood, while pastors with a Bachelor of Theology degree can teach Certificate level theology to their members. This also allows these pastors to refresh their understanding of theology while they prepare their lay leaders. It can also be a good source of income for the underpaid pastors.”

For more information about Tyrannus Online Seminary, contact Professor Cheng pc5122@yahoo.com or view their website https://tyrannus.online/           


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1 Comment

  1. Whatever formal theological studies be it online or on campus is very academic. It requires a great deal of mental effort and discipline to complete it especially if it is done on a part time basis. To our brothers and sisters who are pursuing it, all the best to you all.

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