The great quest of Bethlehem College & Seminary is for minds and hearts that see and savor the glory of Christ in all things, and spread that experience to the world. For a complete discussion of our Core Values, see the Bethlehem College & Seminary Academic Catalog.
As a church-based institution, all programs of Bethlehem College & Seminary are woven into the life and ministry of Bethlehem Baptist Church. From participation in corporate worship to active involvement in church small groups and ministries, our students will deepen and stretch their faith by treasuring Christ together with the congregation. In addition, our faculty members self-consciously bring the vision, values, and theology of Bethlehem Baptist Church to bear on all of our course readings, lectures, and discussions.
Bethlehem College & Seminary is a confessional institution that embraces the doctrinal beliefs set forth in the Bethlehem College & Seminary Affirmation of Faith. We joyfully embrace the historic Christian teaching on the Trinity and the Incarnation of Jesus Christ as set forth in the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds. We are Reformed in our soteriology, baptistic in our practice, and charismatic in our affections. On secondary matters we allow for a range of perspectives, provided that such positions are held in submission to the inerrant and infallible Word of God.
God is glorified when those who serve and speak do so in the strength that he supplies. Therefore, in all of our teaching, preaching, and service, we make it our aim not to serve God, but to be served by him. He is the Giver; we are the receivers. And the fundamental activity of the soul that expresses this great reality is prayer. Therefore, we are intentional in building prayer into the visible life of our institution, from the classroom to meetings, and from chapel to mentorship. We desire to make it plain that all of our endeavors are done in reliance on God’s power, trusting in his future grace to sustain us so that he receives the glory.
Essential to the foundation of Bethlehem College & Seminary is the truth that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. God’s self-exaltation and our everlasting joy are not at odds. They happen together. His worth is magnified when we treasure him above all things. Our joy in him reflects his glory. The great quest of Bethlehem College & Seminary is for minds and hearts to see and savor the glory of Christ in all things, and spread that experience to the world.
If God has inspired a Book as the foundation of the Christian faith, there is a massive impulse unleashed in the world to teach people how to read. And if God ordained for some of that precious, God-breathed Book to be hard to understand, then God also unleashed an impulse to teach people how to think about what they read—how to read hard things and understand them, and how to use the mind in a rigorous way. Therefore, we endeavor in all of our intellectual inquiry to love God with our minds by thinking deeply and humbly about his word and his works.
As a nation during wartime focuses its collective resources on winning the war, so also we seek as individuals and an institution to focus our resources on the goal of achieving our shared mission. We believe that this involves pursuing strategic simplicity with regard to non-essentials in order that more resources may be channeled to the war effort. As an institution we will seek a wartime approach not only in the use of resources but also in pursuing strategies and processes that are effective in winning the war.
A solid education should be more than intellectual development; it should be marked by spiritual growth and maturity. Therefore, Bethlehem College & Seminary fosters a discipleship culture where intentional, personal relationships strengthen the faith of our students and encourage them toward life-changing maturity and ministry in Christ. Hallmarks of Bethlehem’s discipleship culture include church membership, intentional mentorship, and ministry involvement.
Students entering Bethlehem College & Seminary are placed in small cohorts. The small cohort size allows for productive class discussions as well as the opportunity to develop close, meaningful relationships with fellow students, facilitators, and faculty. In addition, learning is not restricted to the classroom. We believe that providing students with opportunities to see and experience God’s world and to apply God’s Word to it will, by God’s grace, cause the truth and relevance of their education to leave a deeper impact on their lives. Thus, our programs contain a variety of experiential learning opportunities, including field trips, cross-cultural ministry, study and serve abroad, as well as a multitude of ministry opportunities in and around Bethlehem Baptist Church.
We live in a fallen world, under God’s curse and devastated by human sin. This devastation extends to all areas of life: physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual. Therefore, we cannot pursue education insulated from the oppression, tribulations, and pain of the world. Indeed, all of our education must aim at bringing the powerful love of God to bear on this broken world. Therefore, we aim to launch students into the world who will care for the least of these, look after the widow and the orphan, expose the unfruitful deeds of darkness, strengthen weak hands and feeble knees, and most importantly, proclaim Christ crucified for sinners to those who are in desperate need of his grace.
We seek to be what we preach and teach. We desire our personal lives, educational philosophy, and organizational structure to give explicit evidence that we treasure Jesus Christ above all things. Therefore, we make it our aim to be loving, gracious, and honest in all of our communication. We also seek to serve others and consider them better than ourselves. When engaging with those who disagree, we seek to assume the best in them and represent them and their views accurately and fairly. When facing opposition and persecution, we seek to be bold as a lion, speaking the word of God with courage, even as we entrust ourselves to him who judges justly.
Education is not the ultimate goal of a college and seminary. Worship is. Education exists because worship doesn’t. Nothing makes God more supreme and more central than when people are utterly persuaded that nothing—not money or prestige or leisure or family or job or health or sports or toys or friends—nothing is going to bring satisfaction to their aching hearts besides God. Therefore, worship is both the fuel and goal of all of our educational endeavors.
A key part of our mission at Bethlehem College & Seminary is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. This mission is rooted in the biblical vision of the people of God, ransomed by the blood of Christ from every tribe, tongue, people, and language. Therefore, we want to aim students like swift arrows into ministry and the marketplace for the joy of the lost. Though not all students will become missionaries or pastors, we want to equip passionate world-Christians who are cross-cultural ministers of the gospel in their daily interactions and who joyfully and sacrificially support the missionary efforts of their local churches.