Asia Lutheran Seminary

Located in Hong Kong, Asia Lutheran Seminary (ALS) was established by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) in 2005. ALS, by God’s grace, strives to produce students who are personally rooted in the Scriptures and have a passion to share the Gospel with as many people as possible. The foundation of our doctrine is the word of God, as explained in the Book of Concord, 1580. ALS professors believe, teach, and confess that proper use of Law & Gospel provides the only biblical motivation for helping Christians to become like Christ.

ALS consists of three full-time Anglo professors, one full-time Chinese professor, and additional adjunct faculty. ALS specializes in teaching the biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek. ALS uses like-minded Chinese theologians to assist with teaching in the classroom, especially in the area of practical theology. ALS professors also offer support to South Asia Lutheran Evangelical Mission (SALEM), WELS’ sister church and mission partner in Hong Kong.

Fast Facts

  • There are 10 national pastors and 48 current Asia Lutheran Seminary students serving in East Asia.
  • Asia Lutheran Seminary currently serves 209 students in five different program levels (single subject, leadership certificate, associate, bachelor, master).
  • There are about 38 Asia Lutheran Seminary graduates who are working full-time in the public ministry in East Asia.
  • Asia Lutheran Seminary graduates in Hong Kong now serve 11 local churches of the South Asian Lutheran Evangelical Mission (SALEM), WELS’ sister church, with a combined membership of over 2,100 souls.
  • Asia Lutheran Seminary conferred six Bachelor of Theology and nine Master of Divinity degrees in 2020.
  • This past semester, Asia Lutheran Seminary offered a free, online short course. Since May, 199 new students have signed up for this course.
  • Two new teachers joined the staff at Asia Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong. Professor Timothy Matthies is serving as the new Hebrew and Old Testament professor. Mr. Tony Barthels is teaching a “Life of Christ” course as an instructor.

Meet the Team

Professor Steve Witte has served as president of Asia Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong since 2009. Apart from personal evangelism work here in Hong Kong, his mission work is done through the students he teaches and mentors. Missionary Witte previously served as a parish pastor at Emanuel in New London, Wis., from 1985 to 2001 and Beautiful Savior in Green Bay, Wis., from 2001 to 2009.

Professor Witte is married to Mary, and God has blessed them with five children and 11 grandchildren. Hannah, a Martin Luther College graduate, married to Karl Henselin who designs computer programs. She now stays home with her five children where they live in Green Bay, Wis. Charis, a Mary Kay director, is married to Rev. Stephen Kuehl. They live in Columbus, Ohio, with their three children. Seth, an aerospace engineer, is married to Katelyn, an emergency room nurse. They live in St. Paul, Minn., with their three children. Lydia, a lawyer, lives in Green Bay, Wis. Micah oversees a laboratory that works with genetic engineering and lives in Columbus, Ohio.

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Professor Tim Matthies was called to the East Asia team in 2019 to serve as a professor at Asia Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong. He teaches courses in the areas of Hebrew, Old Testament, and the Lutheran Confessions. He previously served as pastor at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church in Washington, Mich.

Professor Matthies was married to Rachel in 2013, and they have two children: Irene, born in 2016, and Zadok, born in 2019.

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Missionary Tony Barthels accepted the call to permanently serve on the East Asia mission team in 2021. He will continue to teach classes both in the classroom in Hong Kong and online to students in East Asia, and he is heading up recruitment for Asia Lutheran Seminary. Solid theological training institutions and well-trained church leaders are in great need, so Asia Lutheran Seminary has been given an incredible opportunity to build up the kingdom.

Before moving to Hong Kong, Missionary Barthels spent 10 years in East Asia where he served as a lay missionary and team leader. He concentrated on building gospel-centered relationships, which often resulted in being able to hold in-home Bible studies. Most of the time this, where we would share the gospel to a room of people who knew nothing of it before walking into that room.

Missionary Barthels is originally from Green Bay, Wis., where his parents and youngest sister live. He has three brothers and three sisters, seven nephews, and eight nieces.

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Praying for Asia Lutheran Seminary

Please pray for Asia Lutheran Seminary, as they train Lutheran pastors and evangelists to reach out to their Chinese neighbors who need God’s grace and forgiveness. We thank God for blessing Asia Lutheran Seminary with its first Chinese professor, and we pray that God continue to lead other Chinese nationals to consider how God might use them in full-time ministry.