Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary

Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary (BLTS), is the training school for pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary
MottoOne Thing Needful
TypeTheological seminary
AffiliationEvangelical Lutheran Synod
PresidentRev. Gaylin R. Schmeling
Academic staff
3 Full-time, 3 Adjunct
Location, ,

44°10′6″N 93°59′21″W / 44.16833°N 93.98917°W / 44.16833; -93.98917Coordinates: 44°10′6″N 93°59′21″W / 44.16833°N 93.98917°W / 44.16833; -93.98917
CampusSmall town


Founded in 1946, BLTS was essentially a department of Bethany Lutheran College (BLC), before the two institutions were officially separated in 1974.[1] BLTS is located adjacent to the BLC campus which overlooks the Minnesota River valley in Mankato, Minnesota, a community of about 53,000. From 1946 through 1974, as a department of the college, the seminary was headed by the "Dean of the Seminary." These deans included Norman A. Madson and Milton Otto. In 1974, the seminary was separated from the college and given its own president, thus the office of "Dean of the Seminary" was eliminated. The first president of the newly separated seminary was Theodore A. Aaberg who was forced to resign due to health issues a few years later. Glenn Reichwald served as acting president for the 1979-1980 school year until Wilhelm W. Petersen was installed as the new president. Upon his retirement in 1997 the current president, Gaylin R. Schmeling, was called.[2]


BLTS awards two different degrees. First and foremost, BLTS exists to train Lutheran pastors for parish ministry. Therefore, it offers a four-year course of study culminating in the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) which is the basic degree for most clergy in North America. Secondly, BLTS offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Lutheran Theological Studies for interested laymen who do not which to enter the public ministry but are interested in a deeper study of Lutheran history and theology.[3] The curriculum centers on the four basic divisions of theology: Biblical Theology, a study of the Bible in its original languages; Systematic Theology, a study of the doctrines gleaned from the Bible; Historical Theology, the study of the history of the Church in relation to the collected doctrines thereof; and Practical Theology, the study of everyday functions of the pastoral office like preaching, teaching, and counseling.

Notable GraduatesEdit

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