Definition and Direction Statement
Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary exists as a Fundamentalist Baptist institution of Christian higher education to disciple vocational Christian workers and leaders for local churches throughout the world.
1. Faith exists as a Bible college.
In 1893, at the Chicago World's Fair, William H. Jordan heard Evangelist D. L. Moody speak about the importance of training Christian workers for the ministry. Deeply impressed by Moody's comments, Jordan developed a burden to establish a school to carry on that vision. Years later, Dr. Jordan started a small, nondenominational Bible school known as the Omaha Bible Institute (OBI) in Omaha, Nebraska. Classes began at OBI in the summer of 1921, and they continued for many years with Dr. Jordan as President of the institute. In the mid-1950's, under the leadership of Dr. John L. Patten, the institute aggressively sought the approval and support of Baptists, and so it changed its name to Omaha Baptist Bible Institute (OBBI). During the late 1950's the curricula expanded, and the institute became a four-year college. In 1960, its name changed to Omaha Baptist Bible College (OBBC). The college soon outgrew its Omaha facilities, and in 1965 the Board of Directors decided to relocate the college's campus to Ankeny, Iowa. This move was accomplished during the summer of 1967, and Faith Baptist Bible College (FBBC) opened for classes that October. The history of the Ankeny campus evidences faith in God for the supply of funds to build the campus buildings. Over the years, the Lord has blessed Faith with beautiful facilities that enhance its ministry as a Bible college.
Meanwhile, Denver Baptist Bible College had been established in 1952 by Dr. Sam Bradford, pastor of Beth Eden Baptist Church in Denver, Colorado. Denver added a seminary program in 1972. Faith and Denver had much in common, and the Boards of both schools decided that a merger was advisable. This was carried out during the summer of 1986.
The mission of FBBC is to provide an intensive biblical, vocational, and general education on the college level with the goal of preparing students to minister effectively in Christian service through leadership positions in and through fundamental Baptist churches and other organizations of like convictions.
As a Bible college, Faith purposes that its students evidence a comprehensive working knowledge of the Bible and of the great systematic truths of Scripture. We insist that all of our four-year graduates complete a Bible major. At Faith, we firmly believe that this Bible major is at the heart of the college curriculum and that it should be taught by the core of the college faculty. We believe in the sufficiency of Christ and of the Scriptures for Christian living, ministry, and a worldview. We stress the need for a biblical and doctrinal ministry instead of mere personal and relational wholeness. We celebrate the gospel of Christ as the great message of the Bible, and so we desire to share this good news with the lost and invite them to make a personal decision to trust Christ as Savior. We hold to traditional dispensationalism and to a non-charismatic position. We interpret the Bible literally, and we believe that God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them in six days (Exodus 20:11). We value our daily chapels and annual Bible conferences because they provide additional opportunities to enhance the biblical education of our students. We believe that the Bible is inspired by God and inerrant, and so we seek to indoctrinate our students in its truth because the Bible is divine in its origin and truthful in its content.
2. Faith exists as a theological seminary.
In 1982 FBBC expanded its five-year Th.B. program into the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in pastoral studies. Then in January of 1986, the Board of Directors established Faith Baptist Theological Seminary (FBTS), transferring the graduate program from the College to the Seminary. The school added two more M.A. programs, in biblical studies and in theological studies. During these early days of the Seminary, the Board of Directors began talks with Denver Baptist Bible College and Seminary to merge the two schools. The merger took place during the summer of 1986, and in the fall of that year, the Seminary began with thirty students in its three M.A. programs and in its three-year Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree program.
The mission of FBTS is to provide an advanced biblical, theological, and ministerial education at the graduate level with the goal of preparing Bible expositors to serve effectively in Christian ministry through leadership positions within Baptist fundamentalism.
FBTS recognizes the truths of God as absolute. Therefore, through the educational process, the faculty members recognize it to be their responsibility, as Christian leaders under the ministry of the Holy Spirit, both to impart truth and to train students to discern truth from error. This includes training in the proper principles of hermeneutics, in the study of the languages in which the Scriptures were originally written, and in the major systems of Christian theologies. We delight in compelling, expositional preaching; and we desire our graduates to preach with conviction from the Bible. We believe in the primacy of the ministry of the Word, and we desire our graduates to evidence this same priority. We view the M.Div. degree program as our primary programmatic offering since it is the professional degree program for ministry. We have designed our M.Div. program to train people to lead by personal example and the teaching and preaching of the Bible. Without detracting from our M.Div. program, the faculty and Board of directors reaffirms its inceptive desire to add the Th.M., D.Min., and Th.D. degree programs in the future.
3. FBBC&TS Exists as an institution of higher education.
As an institution of higher education, we have built a faculty that is composed of highly qualified professors who are actively developing and assessing academic programs and policies. We champion academic freedom on the part of our professors so that they might teach, research, and publish within the parameters of the institution's doctrinal, professional, and positional standards. We appreciate our library which is suitable for our instructional needs and is growing in its ability to facilitate theological research. As an institution of higher education we insist on the transmission of Western culture and critical thinking skills that are characteristic of broadly educated people. Our curriculum, however, is not one wherein the Bible is taught apart from the liberal arts. Instead, we seek to integrate the Scriptures into every academic pursuit so that we might inculcate a truly biblical world-view. We desire that our graduates should evaluate the changing mores of their cultures in light of the immutable truth of Scripture, and so we teach music, literature, history, science, communication, and mathematics toward this end. We also value the contribution of technology to the teaching and learning process.
As an institution of higher education, we seek compliance with accepted standards of institutional integrity, and we value outside, objective assessments by accrediting agencies at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
We have invested millions of dollars to develop a fine residential campus complete with classrooms for face-to-face instruction, with a library suitable for our purposes, with a cafeteria and bookstore, with residence halls, athletic facilities, and a student center, etc. At the same time, we desire to see strategic planning and resource allocations focus more and more on ways to further enhance the educational experiences of our students.
4. FBBC&TS exists as an institution of Christian higher education.
As a Christian institution, we believe in the truth of the Christian gospel, that Jesus Christ died vicariously and that He rose from the dead. We also believe in the exclusivity of this Christian gospel; and so we, together with our graduates, aspire to do the work of evangelism.
As a Christian institution, we not only seek compliance with accepted standards of institutional integrity as revealed in the 66 books of the Bible, we go beyond this, and we desire to display Christian virtue in all personal and institutional dealings. We also hold that Christian faith, rather than mere human reason or experience, leads to understanding because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
5. FBBC&TS exists as a Baptist institution of Christian higher education.
As a Baptist institution, we believe in the primacy of Scripture over creeds and the formulations of councils. We consider the New Testament, especially the Epistles, to be foundational for faith and practice. We hold to the two ordinances: communion as a memorial of Christ's death and believer's baptism by single immersion as a public testimony to the truth of the gospel. We believe in the New Testament origin of the Church and so we distinguish between the Church and the nation of Israel. In our dealings with our constituencies, we stress the centrality of local churches in God's plan for this Age in contrast with His work through parachurch institutions and agencies such as our own. We do believe, however, in the independence of our institution from external control. We champion the separation of church and state, the priesthood of the believer, saved church membership, individual soul liberty, local church autonomy, congregational government, and the two church offices of pastor and deacons. As a historic regular Baptist institution, we seek to indoctrinate our students so that they will live and teach these Baptist distinctives.
6. FBBC&TS exists as a Fundamentalist Baptist institution of Christian higher education.
As an institution, we expect nothing less than complete allegiance to our doctrinal statement, historic position statement, music philosophy statement and other position papers. This expectation extends to the Board of Directors, to the administrators, to the members of the faculty, and to the staff personnel. We are not a fundamental institution that merely believes in the fundamentals of the faith; we are a fundamentalist institution that earnestly contends for the fundamentals of the faith as they were articulated by the apostles: the inspiration of Scripture and its inerrancy, the virgin birth and deity of Christ, His substitutionary death and physical resurrection, and His literal return to the earth.
We value traditional expressions of worship and music in our chapel services, and we try to inculcate this value in our students as they develop biblical convictions concerning worship and ministry. We reject pragmatism as a philosophical basis for ministry. We refuse to cooperate in ecumenical endeavors with apostates and with believers who work with apostates.
We want to avoid activities that appeal to the old sin nature, that conceal the presence of Christ in the life of the believer, and that compromise the Christian testimony of the individual and of the institution. So, we yearn for the abundant life in Christ, for a life of submission to the will of God, for a life that is awakened to righteousness, for a life of holiness and reverence. Therefore, we are careful about what we wear (clothing being modest and appropriate), what we see and hear, what we do with our bodies and our minds, and how we spend our time. We do not want to be conformed to this world, but we want to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We do not seek to produce our own self-righteousness, but we desire that Christ may be at home in our hearts.
Our fundamentalist position should not give rise to an attitude of belligerence or pride. Instead, we seek to glorify God for He alone is worthy of praise. Our fundamentalism stems from our fear of God, our submission to Christ, our commitment to the truth, and our love for people.
7. FBBC&TS exists as a Fundamentalist Baptist institution of Christian higher education to disciple.
Jesus Christ commanded His followers to make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19), and we take His great commission seriously. Faith exists, therefore, as an institution for advanced discipleship. For this reason, we are convinced that Board members, administrators, faculty members, and staff personnel should all model authentic Christian lives before our students. We must all lead as servants, and we must all show what it means to take up our crosses and make sacrifices daily. Students should see Christ in us as they see His transformational power and His virtues. They should desire to know Christ as we know Him. They should follow us even as we follow Christ.
Every building on campus should be a place for discipleship, and every event on the calendar should be an occasion for discipleship. Discipleship should take place in the classroom, in the cafeteria, in the gym, on the athletic field, in the residence halls, in ministry team vans, and during music lessons. Discipleship should take place before, during, and after chapel. As administrators, faculty members, and staff personnel serve in the local churches in the area, they should see how they might seize those opportunities to enhance the Christian service experiences of the students who are working with them.
When we select faculty members, we do not only look at their academic credentials and professional standing, we also look for their passion to train disciples. We expect faculty members to spend time with students outside the classroom so that the educational experiences of our students are not merely cognitive but profoundly affective. We not only want to fill the minds of our students with knowledge, we want them to follow Christ.
At Faith we purpose to provide a campus environment that, like a greenhouse, is conducive for Christian growth. We want to nurture maturity, biblical discernment, personal responsibility, self-discipline, social graces, and good decision-making skills. We have developed a student handbook that governs much of student life, but we do not want to trust in the handbook to produce disciples of Jesus. Instead, as students faithfully follow the handbook, this results in an institutional culture that should encourage Christian growth. For this reason, our philosophy of student discipline is mainly corrective and formative and restorative (i.e., utilitarian and restitutive) rather than punitive (i.e., retributive). Without a handbook, we might encourage our students to adopt a relativist world-view and to live according to the will of unregenerate humanity (1 Peter 4:3); but, on the other hand, with a heavy-handed approach to student discipline, we might encourage our students toward a legalistic view of sanctification. We know that many of our students are young and impressionable, and so we want to disciple them by providing them with discipline, direction, and opportunities for decision-making within the boundaries of the institutional standards. It is our desire that our graduates would apply the unchanging truth of the Bible to the specific situations that they will face during the rest of their lives, with the intended purpose that the prudent principles of Faith's standards of conduct will provide them with good examples of how this is done.
We firmly believe that discipleship takes place as the mentor models the life of Christ before the disciple. For this reason, although we are open to the possibility that a limited number of courses and certificates might one day be offered through online instruction, we resist the possibility that we should offer entire degrees exclusively through online instruction. Disciples must spend some face-to-face time with their mentors, and this is the pedagogical opinion of the faculty and Board of Directors.
8. FBBC&TS exists as a Fundamentalist Baptist institution of Christian higher education to disciple vocational Christian workers and leaders.
Faith stands committed to pressing the claims of Christ upon our students. We want our students to consider vocational Christian service, and we view such a calling as a sacred trust and a high honor. Annually, members of the Board of Directors, the administration, the faculty, and the staff reaffirm their support for the school's objective, as mentioned in the "Historic Position Statement," to train men and women for leadership roles in Christian service within fundamentalism. This is in keeping with our nature as a Bible college and seminary. The College requires a Bible major for all of its four-year graduates, and a second major in an area of vocational ministry (e.g., pastoral studies, missions, local church ministries, sacred music, Christian school education, etc.). All of these other majors are ministry majors because we exist to train vocational Christian workers and leaders.
Without a doubt, church ministry is multi-faceted, and it requires both vocational and volunteer workers; therefore, FBBC&TS prepares people for both vocational and volunteer (or lay) ministry. However, Faith exists to prepare vocational leaders and workers. For example, the Christian School Program graduates teachers who are eligible for licensure to teach in the public schools of Iowa, and some of our graduates are led by God to teach in the public schools. We rejoice with them that they are following God's leading in their lives, but we do not exist to train students to teach in the public schools. The fact that some of our graduates teach in public schools testifies to the credibility of our program and to the submission of our graduates to the will of God for them. While it is true that many of our students have no intention of entering vocational ministry, we know that we can still be of great assistance to them because a Bible education is beneficial for everyone. It is valuable for those who want to serve Christ full-time and for those who do not want to enter vocational Christian service. Some students come to Faith not knowing God's will for their lives. But after studying the Scriptures in classes, sitting through daily chapels, and attending Bible conference or missions conference, they discover God's will for their lives. In this way, too, Faith's Bible education is beneficial. However, even though Faith can be beneficial for future lay workers, the school exists to train vocational workers and leaders. By holding fast to its reason for existence, Faith actually enhances its ability to assist those who attend for reasons other than its main purpose. When the Bible and theology core curriculum and the ministry majors are strengthened, this provides benefit for all who attend.
FBBC&TS does not merely exist to enroll students; we exist to train and educate them. If we existed to enroll students, we might indiscriminately add new degree programs simply to grow our enrollment without any regard for our mission as a Bible college and seminary. We will resist this temptation. We might be bigger if we had broader course offerings, but we want to be faithful to our mission more than we want to have a large enrollment. We exist to train students to become vocational Christian workers and leaders, and so the more students we have, the more we will be able to train and educate. Student tuition payments help to meet our financial need so that we might fulfill our mission as a Bible college and seminary; viewed in this way, tuition funds are a means to an end and not the end in itself. We believe that as we are faithful to our purpose, God will send us students that we might train them. We believe that God is able to take care of us and that we can have a premier Bible college and seminary without being the largest college and graduate school. We may not be the biggest, but we do want to be among the very best at training Christian workers and leaders.
9. FBBC&TS exists as a Fundamentalist Baptist institution of Christian higher education to disciple vocational Christian workers and leaders for local churches.
As Baptists, we believe that the local church is at the center of God's program for this Age. Therefore, we exist to train and educate workers and leaders who will primarily serve in and through local churches. This means that while the Bible and theology courses are at the core of the College's curricula, next to them stand the courses that teach the leaders for the churches (pastoral studies and missions). Next come the courses that prepare assistants to the leaders (local church ministries, sacred music, and secretarial studies). Next come the courses that train graduates to serve in ministries that are sponsored by local churches (i.e., Christian school education in the areas of elementary education, music education, and secondary English education).
The faculty and members of the Board have concluded that before new programs are added, the institution should first review and strengthen its existing programs, beginning at its core (Bible and Theology). As an institution we look forward to adding new degree programs, and we have determined that before any new major is added it must first meet the following criteria: (1) Does this major correspond to the required Bible major? (2) Will the addition of this major and the hiring of the requisite new faculty diminish the prominence of the Bible and theology core faculty? (3) Does this major prepare graduates for vocational Christian service in or through local churches?
Because Faith exists to disciple vocational Christian workers for local churches, we require ministry apprenticeships of all of our B.S., B.A., M.A. in pastoral studies, and M.Div. graduates. We also require all of our resident students, except for first semester ones, to participate in Christian service opportunities in local churches throughout central Iowa.
In addition, we rejoice that our board members, administrators, faculty members, and staff personnel become involved members in their local churches. We require our employees to be involved in local church ministry because we know that this involvement enhances the discipleship process that we have with our students. Faculty members who are deeply involved in the ministries of their local churches, especially in local churches that are similar in philosophy to that of Faith, can work with their students in the practical aspects of local church ministry. This joint effort of ministry, faculty working with students, is an integral part of the discipleship process because when service in the churches coincides with lectures in the classrooms, it makes for a more profound and lasting discipleship experience. In addition, faculty members who, for example, are pastors, or who lead ladies' Bible studies, or who are involved with evangelistic outreaches in the churches will teach at Faith with a greater degree of realism and practicality. This is a good thing, and we value it highly.
10. FBBC&TS exists as a Fundamentalist Baptist institution of Christian higher education to disciple vocational Christian workers and leaders for local churches throughout the world.
Faith's motto is "With the Word to the World," and we are known as a missions-minded institution. Our graduates are serving Christ in many different countries. Currently, a large number of our students participate in cross-cultural ministry experiences (e.g., in our ARRBIA! program, in missionary apprenticeship programs, in ESL ministries, etc.). We envision the day when every college student will be required to obtain a passport before matriculation and is also required to participate in at least one cross-cultural ministry experience as part of his or her collegiate training. We look forward to the day when the school will be able to offer a summer language institute since language is an essential component of a culture, and cross-cultural ministry is enhanced with second language acquisition. We may be a small college, but we have a wide view of the world, and we would like for this growing reality to become one of our distinguishing characteristics. We insist that our graduates be communicators. Therefore, we expect our graduates to be able to write, to speak, and to be able to use technology in communication. We value the "writing across the curriculum" program and similar programs in speech communication and technology application in the college.