Biography: African Bible University Founders

Dr. John (Jack) William Chinchen (1924 - 2019)

Dr. Jack Chinchen
Founder of African Bible CollegesDr. Jack Chinchen
Rev. Dr. John (Jack) William Chinchen, Founder of African Bible Colleges, went to be with our Lord and Savior on Tuesday, February 26, at 6:40 pm at the age of 94. Dr. Chinchen died in Africa, where he served Christ for nearly 50 years as a pioneer missionary and one of the continent’s great trailblazers of Christian higher education.

Dr. Chinchen is survived by his wife, Nell Barksdale Robertson Chinchen of Jackson, Mississippi, who co-founded Christian colleges and universities
with Jack in Liberia (1976), Malawi (1989) and Uganda (2005) - and their seven children - Bill, Vann, Del, Lisa, Paul, Palmer and Marion Sue.  Jack has 39 grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren - along with, as Christ promised in Mark 10, tens of thousands of children who came to know and love God as a result of his 50 years of service in Africa from 1970-2019.

Dr. Jack Chinchen's Timeline

February 26, 2019 at 6:40 pm at the age of 94


Dr. Jack Chinchen went to be with the Lord. He died in Africa where he served Christ for nearly 50 years (1970 - 2019) as a pioneer missionary and as one of the continent’s great trailblazers of Christian higher education.

February 26, 2019 at 6:40 pm at the age of 94


Established a 3rd African Bible College Campus in Uganda

Jack and Nell established a third African Bible College campus known as African Bible University in Kampala, Uganda.

1976 - 2005

Established 4 Radio Stations and a Christian Television

Jack and Nell have established four ABC radio stations in Africa, one each in Liberia and Uganda, two in Malawi (Lilongwe and Mzuzu), as well as a Christian television station that operates from the ABC campus in Malawi.

1976 - 2005


Awarded a Honorary Doctorate from Biola University

Dr. Chinchen was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (LL.D) from Biola University for his pioneering work in Christian higher education in Africa.


Established a 2nd Bible College Campus in Malawi

Jack Chinchens and his wife established a second African Bible College campus in Malawi, where it was again the first 4-year Christian college in the country.  Today the Malawi campus encompass a number of important support ministries including the ABC Christian Academy, the ABC Mission Hospital, Radio ABC and ABC-TV.



Established the 1st African Bible College Campus in Liberia

With the motto, "Faith in Action, God in Motion," the first African Bible College was opened in Yekepa, Liberia. It would be the country’s first 4-year Christian university.

Between 1970 & 1978

Received a Calling to Establish Bible College by Radio

Jack felt called to found Bible College by Radio, which teaches through books of the Bible while interacting with students and graduates of African Bible College. Bible College by Radio has been broadcast across Africa for 45 years on SIM’s ELWA, Trans World Radio, and African Bible College’s own radio stations in Liberia, Malawi and Uganda.

Between 1970 & 1978

Between 1970 and 1978

Received a Vision to Establish Chrisitian Colleges in Africa

While under an Indian Almond tree on the Atlantic in Baffu Bay, Liberia, where he had established the "Vacangelize" program; God gave Jack a vision for Christian colleges in Africa.  Jack’s goal was to provide in Africa the same caliber of higher Christian education that was traditionally only available abroad.  The Chinchen’s modelled the colleges after Moody and Columbia Bible College, with the goal of making the education relevant to the African context while keeping God’s word at the center of all instruction and activities of the institution.

January 1970

Moved from Affluent America to the Jungles of Liberia

Jack and Nell, along with four of their seven children moved to ENI Mission in the jungles of Sinoe County, Liberia. The Chinchen’s first home in Africa was constructed from bamboo mats and on stilts.  During Jacks’s seven years at the mission, he built fourteen buildings and cut a six-mile road through the bush. Jack also initiated one of the first short-term mission trip programs, which he named “Vacangelize” (vacation and evangelization). During their time at ENI Mission, the Chinchens lost two homes to fires, loosing practically everything they owned.

January 1970


A Liberia Evangelist Invited the Chinchens to Africa to Conduct Pastoral Training

A Liberia evangelist, Augustus B. Marwieh, invited Jack and Nell to come to Liberia to train village pastors


Called to be a Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Picayune, Mississippi

Jack Chinchen was called to be the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Picayune, Mississippi, where he became a member of Grace Presbytery and a founding member of the new Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).



Helped Establish Valley Christian High School in Califonia

Jack and Nell helped establish Valley Christian High School in San Jose, where he was a Bible teacher and Director of Evangelism.

1962 - 1965

Pastor of Clallam Bay, Washington,

Jack Chinchen was called to serve as a Pastor of Clallam Bay, Washington.

1962 - 1965


Ordained as a Presbyterian minister

Upon graduation, Jack Chinchen was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and was called to his first church in Clallam Bay, Washington.


Graduated with a Master in Divinity

Jack Chinchen graduated from San Francisco Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity.



Dedicated his Life to Full-time Christian Service

Jack Chinchen dedicated his life to full-time Christian service and enrolled at San Francisco Theological Seminary.


Received his First Bible and Fell in Love with Christ

On his 33rd birthday, Jack Chinchen Received his first Bible from his wife, Nell, and he fell in love with Jesus Christ


1946 - 1956

Manager of Family Orchard

For 10 years, Jack Chinchen managed their family’s pear orchards in the Santa Clara Valley in Califonia.


Graduated with an Undergraduate Degree in Business

After the war, Jack and Nell returned to California where he graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in Business in 1946.


05 November 1945


While serving as an army officer in Gulfport, Jack Chinchen met Nell Robertson and they were married in San Jose, California.


Enlisted in the US Navy During the 2nd World War

At the height of WWII, Jack enlisted in the US Navy.  He was sent to Colombia University in New York and North Dakota for Officer's Training School, then on to Gulfport, Mississippi for training as a Recognition Officer. Jack was Jack was later on commissioned as a Lieutenant JG and assigned to a Destroyer, the USS Maddox, which fought in the Pacific theatre during the war.


30 June 1924


Jack Chinchen was born in Detroit, Michigan.  He was the first born of Arthur and Beth Chinchen and grandson of John D. Crummy, founder of FMC. Jack grew up in San Jose, California, with his brother Stanley
Jack has always loved teaching and preaching God’s Word.  He taught many Bible and Theology courses at African Bible College over the years, but his great love was teaching through the Book of Joshua and teaching his students how to preach.  Jack had a great passion for helping others discover the promises, hope and salvation through Christ found in scripture. His passion for God's Word is reflected in the motto inscribed
on the front gate of all three college campuses, Teaching the Treasures of God’s Truth.

Isiah 18 gave Jack the firm belief that Africa had a great destiny. He looked forward to the Lord’s coming again and believed Africa would be God’s final stronghold for Christ upon His returns.



27 February 2019

The Three Phases in the Life of Dr. Jack Chinchen

(1) Prosperity According to this world; (2). Enslaved by Jesus Christ (3). Glorification with Jesus in the Presence of God Forever... In which phase are you?

02 March 2019

Dr. Jack Chinchen's Final Letter Prior to his Death

African Bible University is dedicated to keeping God's word preeminent, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ paramount...

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