October 14, 2012

The President’s Corner: Ground Work for Diminishing the Seminary?

In our previous articles we have discussed Central Baptist Theological Seminary’s participation at John Piper’s Desiring God conference. See, Non-Fundamentalists to Critique Fundamentalism and What Does Central Seminary & John Piper’s Desiring God Have in Common? Each other!

At the time of that writing I also read Central Baptist Theological Seminary (CBTS) president Dr. Sam Horn’s letter, The Road Forward: For the Church, For the Gospel.1 His letter relates to the future of CBTS. It is a “handwriting on the wall” kind of letter. Letters like that tend to give the impression that supporters should brace themselves for a diminishing of the institution. If all things were good and growing at Central, this particular letter would (IMO) never have been written. Dr. Horn notes that the changes for CBTS will be “finalized and announced this fall.”

In Dr. Horn’s letter he asserts that there are other good “evangelical” seminaries. As the president of a seminary, I would think it wise to promote Central’s distinctions and strengths—not assure prospective students there are many other good choices available to them. Dr. Clearwaters always emphasized the differences between Central Seminary and the New Evangelical schools. He didn’t view New Evangelical schools as competing for the same students, because Central had a Biblicist philosophy. If Central’s distinctive doctrinal and separatist positions are not significant, why maintain the diminishing institution? In other words,

Central Seminary used to offer something distinct from the Evangelical schools.
Many are saddened by the ongoing downgrade trajectory and demise of formerly great institutions. Saddened by schools that once took an uncompromising stand for the whole counsel of God, but not anymore. Schools that once would not cooperate with, condone or tolerate doctrinal aberrations, worldliness and ecumenical compromises have turned the corner. The days of fundamental Baptist, separatist distinctives are gone for CBTS as well as Calvary Baptist Seminary (Lansdale)2 and the former Northland Baptist Bible College (Northland International University).3 These schools and their leadership are the originators of and/or advocates for the new wave New Evangelicalism plaguing the New Testament church.

We can be greatly heartened, however, in that the Lord has given us a new generation of Biblicist schools to take their place, schools that have not surrendered the high ground. We are grateful for schools that take a sound stand for the Bible and its mandates for separatism, that are enjoying increased enrollment and expanding programs.


1) Dr. Sam Horn, The President’s Corner: The Road Forward: For the Church, For the Gospel

2) Kevin Bauder & Dave Doran to Join Mark Dever at Lansdale: Is this a Fundamentalism Worth Saving? ... CBS (Lansdale) To Host Haddon Robinson

3) Is Northland “Unchanged?”  ... Is Northland Opposed to the Modern Charismatic Movement?

Related Reading:
Dr. Ernest Pickering: “A Mood of Broadmindedness,” The NEW New Evangelicalism

Central Seminary Ten Years (1966) by Dr. Warren Vanhetloo


  1. Lou, I'd be interested in an article or series of articles profiling some or all of these new schools.

    I've been looking for a place to fellowship for so long that I'm beginning to feel like there's little hope. I'd appreciate a view of some good things going on.

  2. Kev:

    Good to hear from you. I typically suggest contacting individual institutions for the introductory materials. Then go through the process of researching each to find a good fit. With you being in Canada you might contact the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship. They have a members roster with churches and schools listed with contact details. You may need to be a member to get a copy. I have a copy and will see if I can share some that might be in your area. I'll email you additional details.


  3. So, Lou, who (colleges) would you recommend down here in the states?

    1. Dear Christian:

      I better start with a disclaimer and some cover.

      When I recommend a school that does not necessarily mean I recommend or endorse every aspect of said school. Various aspects would include- music standards, majors offered, etc. For example: one college may excel in Liberal Arts and Music, but not so good in theology. Another might excel in ministerial training, but may not be the best choice for liberal arts. I think there are schools that have something offer worthy of looking into for the Christian student.

      Anyone looking at schools for their college student need to do their own thorough research on each. Read the Handbooks, visit the campus, classrooms, attend a chapel and more. There is IMO no one perfect fit. As we have learned through Northland- colleges can change radically within the 4 year degree program time frame. That for some at NIU necessitated leaving prior to completing the 4 year education.

      There is no such thing as a perfect fit, perfect ministry because they are run and staffed by fallible men/women. IMO, choosing a college boils down to personal preference after personal investigation and prayerful consideration.

      Finally, any school that I do not list here does NOT mean I necessarily have a problem with it. Some I may not be familiar with or just not coming to mind at the moment. My list includes:

      Ambassador Baptist College
      Baptist College of Ministry
      Maranatha Baptist Bible College
      Walkright Baptist Bible Institute


  4. Christian:

    Dr. Larry Hufhand publishes a weekly newsletter, The Hufhand Report. Folks can get on the e-mail list for his weekly report by contacting him at- drldhmlh@sbcglobal.net In today’s edition Dr. Hufhand included this timely article,

    Recently someone asked me to recommend a college for their son. I told them that since I retired from being a pastor, I try not to make college recommendation for young people. I do my best not to conflict with the counsel of the pastor of the church. However, as it relates to the Hufhand Report, I can say what I want to say without conflicting with anyone. This is my Report and the views are mine. That being said, recommending a school all depends on what study course a young person is interested in. Some schools are better than others at certain kinds of study. No school is the best in everything.

    Something else to consider given the cost of education, sometimes the best route to go for the first couple of years is in a local college, so the student can live at home. Another consideration is accreditation. In this world of academics, transferring credits is not as easy as it used to be and depending upon the circumstances, one’s inability to transfer credits could very well curtail getting an advanced degree. That being said, other than going into the ministry, there are many fine colleges and universities open to young people today.

    Personally, I would never recommend a young person to go to a secular college, unless it’s for learning a trade, in which case, the IVY TECH schools are excellent for that type of training. Personally, I have no problem recommending Bob Jones University, Pensacola Christian College, and Maranatha Baptist Bible College for almost everything. These are three Schools that I am well acquainted with. Each of them have several schools of study such as Ministry, Business, Education, Nursing, etc. which a student can choose from. They are fine academic institutions. I used to recommend Northland Baptist in upper Wisconsin, but they have taken a turn in a new evangelical direction. They still have much to offer but not very recommendable from my perspective.

    For the ministry, I’m hearing good things about West Coast College in California and Crown College in Knoxville, TN, but the school I like most is Ambassador Baptist College in North Carolina. There’s no chance of coming out of there with anything but a strong, fundamental, independent, Bible education. They take a strong stand on music and have a very strong position against Calvinism and Reformed theology. Something else I like about Ambassador is the Image Factor. With Dr. Comfort and Dr. Beal as the preacher images, young people come out of there knowing what good preaching and the local church is all about, and besides that, they keep the platform hot with outstanding evangelistic preaching coming in from the outside. There are other smaller schools around, like Indiana Baptist College in Indianapolis, and sometimes that’s the best route to take in this tough economy.

    As far as Seminaries are concerned, I know of no independent, stand alone, Seminaries that I can wholeheartedly recommend. There are some fairly descent seminaries, but they are all affiliated with a college, or a Church. I used to be able to recommend, Central Baptist Seminary in MN and Detroit Baptist Seminary in Michigan and Calvary Baptist in Lansdale, PA and Grace Seminary in Winona Lake, IN but they have all gone to seed either on Calvinism and Reformed Theology or have gone down a neo-evangelical path, with little or no music or separation standards.