Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, is a private, non-profit institution of higher education, associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, whose stated mission is "to provide theological education for individuals engaging in Christian ministry." It is one of the largest seminaries in the world [ SWBTS had a non-duplicating headcount of 3,567 students in all schools and all locations as of the 2005-2006 academic year. [ "About Us" "SWBTS Official Website"] ] and is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools [ [ "The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools: Member SChools: Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary" The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada] ] and also by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award diploma, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. [ [ Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Official Catalog p. 11] ] The school uses the Baptist Faith and Message (2000) as its confessional statement (see also the "Southwestern Declaration on Academic and Theological Integrity" [ [ "Southwestern Declaration on Academic and Theological Integrity" Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary] ] ).


The seminary was established in 1908, with B. H. Carroll as its founding president. It grew out of the Baylor University theological department, which was established in 1901. By 1905, Carroll had managed to convert the department of five professors into the Baylor Theological Seminary, but still under Baylor University. In 1907, while Baylor University President Samual Palmer Brooks was on vacation in Europe, B.H. Carroll, then chairman of the Baylor Board of Trustees, made a motion that the department of religion be separated from the University and chartered as a separate entity.

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary received its charter on 14 March 1908, but remained on Baylor's Waco campus until the summer of 1910, when the board accepted an offer made by Fort Worth citizens for a campus site and enough funds to build the first building. The convert|200|acre|km2|sing=on campus was located on what came to be known as "Seminary Hill," the highest natural elevation in Tarrant County. The first building was named "Fort Worth Hall" in honor of the seminary's new location. In 1925, the Baptist General Convention of Texas passed control to the Southern Baptist Convention.

In 1994, the seminary experienced a sudden change in leadership with the dismissal of Russell H. Dilday as president and the appointment of Ken Hemphill.Hawkins, Merrill M., Jr. (2007) "Columns: Glimpses of a Seminary Under Assault" "Baptist History and Heritage" 42(1): p. 117-118] President Dilday was the only president of SWBTS ever to be removed. In the fall of 2005, the Seminary began a new chapter in its undergraduate studies program by instituting The College at Southwestern. Students specialize in a variety of fields and upon graduation will be awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities. Dr. Emir Caner is the current Dean of the College. The Seminary has not been free from controversy, as witnessed by the dismissal of President Dilday in 1994 following the fundamentalist takeover of the board of trustees, the 2006 prohibition on professors or administrators promoting charismatic practices, such as private prayer languages [Staff (December 2006) "Briefs" "Christianity Today" 50(12) p. 17] and the charges of sexual discrimination brought by Sheri Klouda in her 2007 lawsuit. [Staff (3 April 2007) "Lawsuit filed against Southwestern Baptist" "Christian Century" 124(7): p.17] [ [ Thomas, Oliver Buzz (2007) "Having faith in women" "USA Today" 8 April 2007] ] [ [ Thomas, Oliver Buzz (2007) "Having faith in women" "USA Today" 8 April 2007] ] The Klouda lawsuit was dismissed because of church-state concerns and a lack of evidence.


# 1908 - 1914 — Benajah Harvey Carroll
# 1915 - 1942 — Lee R. Scarborough
# 1942 - 1953 — E. D. Head
# 1953 - 1958 — J. Howard Williams
# 1958 - 1978 — Robert E. Naylor
# 1978 - 1994 — Russell H. Dilday
# 1994 - 2003 — Kenneth S. Hemphill
# 2003 - — L. Paige Patterson

Administration and faculty

SWBTS is currently administered by a 40-member board of trustees serving staggered terms of office. Board members are elected by the Southern Baptist Convention. Trustees elect faculty members and administrative officers. Financial support is derived from the convention's Cooperative Program, endowment earnings, gifts and student fees.

Dr. L. Paige Patterson, selected in 2003, is the current president of the seminary. Current (2007) deans include Emir Caner (College at Southwestern), Robert Welch (School of Educational Ministries), David Allen (School of Theology), Keith Eitel (Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions), Stephen Johnson (School of Church Music) and J. Denny Autrey (Havard School for Theological Studies in Houston, Texas).

The full-time faculty includes eighty-eight individuals and there are also forty-seven part-time faculty members.


Southwestern is divided into six schools: The College, The School of Theology, The School of Educational Ministries, The School of Church Music, The Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions, and the Havard School for Theological Studies in Houston, each with its own faculty and degree programs. The school offers 18 tracks of study in areas such as corporate chaplaincy, Islamic Studies, marriage and family counseling, urban evangelism, and social work.

Former seminary President Kenneth Hemphill explained to "Christianity Today" in 2001 that "We are a conservative, confessional institution, and we have not found that our accreditation has caused us to compromise our biblical convictions." Furthermore, "We have found accreditation valuable in that it provides accountability for the institution and credibility for those looking for graduate theological work. It is important to have standards of quality." [Kenneth Hemphill quoted in [ Olsen, Ted (1 July 2003) "Weblog: Texas Court Reinstates $173,000 Fine Against 'Seminary'" "Christianity Today" on-line version only] ]

In 2007 the seminary began an initiative for engaging and transforming culture, its new Center for Cultural Engagement, named in honor of Richard Land. [See [ WRAP UP: Seminary trustees fall 2007 meeting.] ] In line with this initiative, the seminary actively supports intelligent design, having hired prominent intelligent-design advocate William A. Dembski.


External links

* [ Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary]
* [ Norwegian Baptist web-site]

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