Dr. John Chinchen, African Bible College Founder, Dies at 94

Jack and Nell Chinchen, founders African Bible Colleges in Liberia, Malawi and Uganda

Reverend Dr. John (Jack) William Chinchen, Founder of the African Bible Colleges (ABC) across Africa, has died at a medical hospital in South Africa, the college former president, Dr. Amos Miamen, has informed the Daily Observer.

Dr. Chinchen was 94 years old.

Miamen, who quoted family sources, said Dr. Chinchen died on Tuesday, March 6 in South Africa, where he was flown from his home in Malawi for medical attention.

“Dr. Chinchen’s radio program, “Bible College by Radio” was heard in Liberia, Malawi and Uganda, where the colleges are built. He went to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Tuesday, February 26, 2019, at 6:40 p.m.” Miamen said.

Dr. Chinchen’s ministry on the Continent of Africa spans nearly nearly 50 years as a pioneer missionary and one of the continent’s great trailblazers of Christian higher education.

“He was very good because he educated many of us,” Dr. Miamen said.

The late Dr. Chinchen served as pastor from 1962 to 1976, first in Presbyterian churches in Clallam Bay, Washington; San Jose, California; and the Picayune and Mississippi, in the United States.

In 1969 a Liberian evangelist, Augustus B. Marwieh, invited Jack and Nell to come to Liberia to train village pastors. He became director of the ENI Mission in Sinoe County from 1970 to 1976, before establishing the African Bible College, which remained the first in Africa, followed by the one in Malawi, East Africa that was established in 1991, and then to Uganda in 2005.

Jack and Nell Chinchen founded the African Bible College in Yekepa, Nimba County in 1976, following their seven years of service at the ENI mission in Sinoe county.

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 modeled 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.

His regular bible teaching program, known as “Bible College by Radio” which became so famous in the 80s, contributed to the spiritual up building of many people in the Western and Eastern Africa through the radio stations in Liberia (ELWA), Malawi and Uganda.

The late Dr. Chinchen last visited Liberia in 2014, where he served as orator at the 13th Commencement Convocation of the ABCU in Yekepa, Nimba County, where the first college was established in 1976.

Prior to becoming a missionary and coming to Liberia, the late Chinchen was a commissioned officer in the US Navy assigned in Columbia University, New York in 1944, as part of his civil service to his country.

A memorial service for Dr. Chinchen was held on Wednesday, March 6 at ABC Campus in Lilongwe, Malawi’s political capital, a source hinted this newspaper.

Jack Chinchen was born on June 30, 1924 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, who is now 90.

Dr. Chinchen is survived by his wife, Nell Barksdale Robertson Chinchen of Jackson, Mississippi, who co-founded the Christian colleges and universities with Jack in Liberia (1976), Malawi (1989) and in Uganda (2005) – and their seven children – Bill, Vann, Del, Lisa, Paul, Palmer and Marion Sue.

Others are his 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 –(1970-2019).


  1. May your soul rest in peace, Dr. Chinchen. You will forever be remembered for strengthening Christinaty in Africa


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