Bethlehem College and Seminary has been and continues to be grounded in the local church. We do not simply encourage church membership and service with a general commitment to “the church” but have a rich history and ongoing partnership with two specific congregations that founded our school, host our academic programs, and share our commitments to sound doctrine and to spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things. We also eagerly link arms with a growing movement of like-minded churches committed to God-centered theology and biblically faithful ecclesiology, such as the Treasuring Christ Together Network.
Here are eight key dimensions of Bethlehem College and Seminary’s church-based commitment:
- History: Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis established The Bethlehem Institute in 1998, which became a degree-granting college and seminary in 2009. Bethlehem College and Seminary reflects our founding church’s longstanding commitment to leadership development and theological education.
- Mission: The school’s mission statement is built off of the church’s mission: We exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. As an institution of higher education, Bethlehem College and Seminary carries out this glorious mission by teaching students, equipping men and women to treasure Christ above all things, to grow in wisdom and knowledge over a lifetime, and to glorify God in every sphere of life.
- Theology: The trustees and teachers of Bethlehem College and Seminary gladly embrace the same Affirmation of Faith as the pastors of Bethlehem Baptist Church and The North Church, and congregations in the Treasuring Christ Together Network. This doctrinal alignment means that we agree on massively important foundational truths such as the total truthfulness of God’s inerrant word and the supremacy and sovereignty of God over all things.
- Accountability: While Bethlehem College and Seminary operates with our own faculty, staff, board of trustees, and budget, we carry out our work accountable to local church who are responsible for approving and removing the school’s trustees and approving any changes to the bylaws.
- Facilities: Bethlehem Baptist Church’s Minneapolis campus continues to serve as the home base for Bethlehem College and Seminary’s activities. We teach students in the unadorned simplicity of unused Sunday school classrooms, host weekly chapel services in the church’s sanctuary, and our staff, faculty, and students rub shoulders with pastors and members of Bethlehem Baptist Church. Additionally, The North Church hosts the school’s evening degree programs and periodic school meetings and activities.
- Membership: Most Bethlehem College and Seminary faculty and staff and many students are covenant members of Bethlehem Baptist Church and The North Church, while others are members at like-minded area churches. Pastors of our home churches and partner churches supervise our seminary apprentices in meaningful hands-on ministry as a crucial component of our M.Div. program.
- Leadership: Bethlehem Baptist Church and The North Church members and pastors are represented on the school’s board of trustees, pastors regularly teach classes, supervise apprentices, speak in chapel services and other events, and serve in other ways. The school’s faculty and staff are actively involved as elders and ministry leaders at our governing and partner churches.
- Ethos: The school and our home churches and partner churches share a common commitment to Christian Hedonism, God-centered worship, biblical complementarity, ethnic harmony, global missions, and other formative values that define our institutions.
Thus, Bethlehem College and Seminary was established by the local church, carries out our work in local church facilities, and aims to equip our students for long-term faithful service to the church near and far. We love the local church because the Lord Jesus loves his church and has declared, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” This glorious truth is the inspiration for the theme of our upcoming Serious Joy Bethlehem Conference for Pastors: “I Will Build My Church: Christ’s Promise for His People.”
Please plan to join us in January 2024 for the Serious Joy conference and pray that the Lord will supply our school’s needs and cause us to abound in every good work as we labor in and for Christ’s church.
Brian J. Tabb, Ph.D.
Interim President and Professor of Biblical Studies