Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary is an independent Fundamental Baptist seminary in Allen Park, Michigan, operated in association with the Inter-City Baptist Church in Allen Park. The institution, which was established in 1976, enrolls men for graduate programs in preaching and pastoral theology, leading to the Master of Divinity (M.Div) and Master of Theology (Th.M.) degrees.



The school was opened in September 1976 as Detroit Baptist Divinity School, with an initial enrollment of 30 students. In 1979 the institution applied to the Michigan Department of Education for legal authorization to grant the M.Div and Th.M. degrees. The authorization was granted in March 1980 following state evaluation. The institution then changed its name to Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary and began awarding degrees in 1980. The institution's founder, Dr. William R. Rice, served as its head until his retirement in 1989, when he was succeeded by Dr. David M. Doran.[1]

Affiliations and approvals

DBTS is a member of the American Association of Christian Colleges and Seminaries,[2] but does not claim affiliation with any accreditation organization. The Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth lists DBTS in its directory of institutions of higher education operating in accordance with applicable state laws and conducting programs leading to a degree.[3] Maranatha Baptist Bible College identifies DBTS as one of the two "recognized Fundamental Baptist seminaries" (the other is Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Plymouth, Minnesota, and Virginia Beach, Virginia) whose graduates will be considered for faculty positions even though the institutions are not accredited by an accreditation organization belonging to the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.[4]

Religious doctrine and educational philosophy

DBTS describes itself as fundamentalist, separatist and "unashamedly Baptist," holding to a dispensational approach to the Bible and thus premillennial and pretribulational in eschatology. Additionally, it "is biblicist in theology and stands opposed to and engages in refutation of the charismatic movement, Arminianism, and hyper-Calvinism."[5]

The institution treats the original manuscripts of the Bible as the inerrant Word of God,[6] a position that places it in opposition to the King-James-Only Movement. King-James-Only adherents have criticized DBTS (together with Bob Jones University and other institutions, including Central Baptist Theological Seminary) for playing an influential role in convincing some Independent Baptist groups to adopt modern Bible translations.[7][8][9][10]

The Institute for Creation Research lists DBTS as a "creationist college" that subscribes to the position that "God created all life forms according to the literal interpretation of the Biblical record (six-day creation, recent global flood)."[11]


The DBTS program emphasizes expository preaching based on study of the Bible in the original languages.[5] Accordingly, all degree candidates study Hebrew and Greek in addition to exegesis, Bible exposition, expository preaching, church history, Baptist history, pastoral theology, and church administration. Classes are conducted in a traditional on-campus setting; no classes are available by distance education.[12] All students are required to engage in a weekly ministry in a local church.[5]

In keeping with the belief that that "God ordained men to provide the spiritual leadership of the church in the preaching/pastoral function," the seminary does not award degrees to women, but does enroll women interested in taking courses for personal enrichment or vocational development.[13] Also, DBTS' Seminary Wives' Institute offers the wives of current or former DBTS students a two-year series of weekly instructional sessions intended to prepare them to be "suitable helpers to their husbands both in the home and in the local church" by providing instruction in areas including homemaking, Biblical parenting, public speaking, church event planning, counseling, evangelism, and church planting.[14]


According to DBTS, all nine members of the faculty hold earned doctoral degrees.[15] Dr. David M. Doran, a graduate of Bob Jones University[7] who also holds two master's degrees from Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min. degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School,[16] is pastor of the Inter-City Baptist Church and president of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary. William W. Combs is the academic dean. Widely published theologian Rolland D. McCune was formerly professor of systematic theology and president of DBTS.


The DBTS library collection consists primarily of works relating to biblical interpretation and exegesis, theology, church history, and practical theology, including more than 40,000 monographs, reference works, dissertations, and bound volumes of periodicals. As of 2007, the library was stated to have subscriptions to about 270 print periodicals and about 100 electronic journals.[17]

Publications and outreach

Since 1996 the seminary has published the Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal, presenting "scholarly articles from a fundamentalist perspective." The journal is issued annually.[18] The complete electronic text of the journal was selected for inclusion in The Theological Journal Library, published on CD-ROM by Digento, which describes its publication as including "several of the best conservative, scholarly, evangelical journals in one easy-to-use CD".[19] DBTS also hosts the annual Mid-America Conference on Preaching and the annual William R. Rice Lecture Series, which features presentations on current issues in Christianity.[20] DBTS also is credited as the developer of a widely disseminated tract entitled The Bridge to Eternal Life.[21]


Graduates and former students of DBTS are well represented[citation needed] in the ministry and as faculty members of bible colleges and seminaries. Alumni include:

  • Daniel K. Davey, President and Professor of Practical Theology, Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Virginia Beach, and Senior Pastor, Colonial Baptist Church, Virginia Beach, Virginia [22]
  • Stephen Davey, Founder and Senior Pastor, Colonial Baptist Church, and President of Shepherds Theological Seminary, Cary, North Carolina [23]
  • David M. Doran, President and Professor of Pastoral Theology, Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, and Senior Pastor, Inter-City Baptist Church [24]


  1. ^ "History" on DBTS website (accessed October 13, 2007).
  2. ^ List of members on American Association of Christian Colleges and Universities website (accessed October 13, 2007)
  3. ^ Directory of Michigan Institutions of Higher Education, Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth, February 2007
  4. ^ Why Teach At Maranatha?, Maranatha College website (accessed November 15, 2007)
  5. ^ a b c "Purpose" on DBTS website (accessed October 13, 2007)
  6. ^ DBTS Statement on Bible translation issues, November 1996
  7. ^ a b "FBF, BJU and the NASV" by Stephen Ross, October 2001, published on Wholesome Words website (accessed October 13, 2007)
  8. ^ A 2001 article in Way of Life Literature’s Fundamental Baptist Information Service, "Fundamental Baptist Fellowship Committed to Modern Versions", characterized Bob Jones University, DBTS, and Central Baptist Theological Seminary as having "turned their guns on the defenders of the KJV." However, an April 2001 review by Dr. Thomas M. Strouse, also published by the Way of Life Literature’s Fundamental Baptist Information Service , of the article "The Preservation of Scripture", by William W. Combs of DBTS, describes the Combs article as "a significant service for fundamental Baptists in the arena of bibliology" that "has enunciated once and for all the bibliological watershed for fundamentalists: what does the Bible attest to its own preservation?"
  9. ^ Pastor's Comments on "The Importance of Bible Preservation" and "Would-Be Pastors Attempt To Change Churches from the King James Bible", by Pastor D. A. Waite, Th.D., Ph.D., naming DBTS as one of "four leading Fundamentalist schools" that "either deny or re-define Bible preservation." March 13 and May 1, 2005.
  10. ^ The Dean Burgon Society website (accessed October 18, 2007), names DBTS as one of seven fundamentalist institutions accused of propagating "distortions on Bible versions."
  11. ^ Creationist Colleges, by Henry Morris, Institute for Creation Research website (accessed December 7, 2007)
  12. ^ FAQ on Academic Issues, DBTS website (accessed October 13, 2007)
  13. ^ "Is enrollment open only to male students?" in FAQ on DBTS website (accessed October 13, 2007)
  14. ^ Seminary Wives' Institute on DBTS website (accessed October 13, 2007)
  15. ^ Faculty, DBTS website (accessed October 13, 2007)
  16. ^ David M. Doran biography on DBTS website (accessed October 13, 2007)
  17. ^ DBTS Library website (accessed December 7, 2007)
  18. ^ Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal website
  19. ^ Description of The Theological Journal Library, Digento website (accessed December 7, 2007)
  20. ^ "Media" on DBTS website (accessed October 13, 2007)
  21. ^ Available in six languages from Majestic Media, also disseminated in variant forms by churches and ministries.[1] [2][3]
  22. ^ Seminary Faculty and Administration, Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Virginia Beach website (accessed December 7, 2007) and CBC Pastoral Staff, Colonial Baptist Church website (accessed December 7, 2007)
  23. ^ "Our Pastors" and "Our Pastor," Colonial Baptist Church (accessed December 7, 2007) and "Faculty," Shepherds Theological Seminary website (accessed December 7, 2007)
  24. ^ "David M. Doran," DBTS website (accessed December 7, 2007)

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