Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is a Baptist, non-profit institution of higher education associated with the Southern Baptist Convention; the seminary was established in 1908, and is located in Fort Worth, Texas. It is one of the largest seminaries in the world[1] and is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada[2] the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and the National Association of Schools of Music to award diploma, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.[3] The Baptist Faith and Message (2000) is the seminary's confessional statement (see the Southwestern Declaration on Academic and Theological Integrity).[4] The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy and the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood provide further interpretive guidance related to the seminary's doctrinal positions on the nature of biblical inspiration and gender roles, respectively.[5]

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Official SWBTS Seal.jpg
Former names
Theological Department of Baylor University (1901-05)
Baylor Theological Seminary (1905-08)
Motto“Live Your Calling.”
TypeDepartment (1901-08)
Private (1908-present)
Established1908 (chartered)
Religious affiliation
Southern Baptist
BGCT (until 1925)
Academic affiliation
L.R. Scarborough College
PresidentAdam W. Greenway
ProvostDavid S. Dockery (interim)
Academic staff


B.H. Carroll
Postcard of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1912
B. H. Carroll Memorial Building, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's main administrative building.
Official seal of Southwestern Seminary

SWBTS grew out of the Baylor University theological department, which was established in 1901. By 1905, B. H. 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 Samuel Palmer Brooks was on vacation in Europe, 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. The seminary was established in 1908, with Carroll named as its founding president.[6]

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary received its charter on March 14, 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.[6] The 200-acre (0.81 km2) campus was located on what came to be known as "Seminary Hill," one of the highest natural elevations 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 of the seminary to the Southern Baptist Convention.

The Department of Religious Education and the Department of Gospel Music were established within the seminary in 1915. These departments were eventually converted into schools within the seminary in 1921, becoming the School of Gospel Music and the School of Religious Education. As of 2019, the School of Religious Education is now known as the Jack D. Terry School of Educational Ministries,[7] and the School of Gospel Music is now known as the School of Church Music and Worship.[7]

Conservative Resurgence: Russell Dilday's Dismissal and Ken Hemphill’s ElectionEdit

In March 1994, the seminary experienced a sudden change in leadership with the dismissal of the seminary's 6th president, Russell H. Dilday, during the Southern Baptist Convention conservative resurgence. On March 9, 1994, the board of trustees voted 26 to 7 to dismiss Dilday after 16-years as seminary president.[8] Dilday was called to a board meeting where he was removed without warning and his office was locked while he was still at the meeting, preventing his removal of personal effects.[9] The Associated Press reported that the newly elected trustee chairman stated that the "institution needed new direction for the 21st century." Students gathered in front of the president's home in protest and support for Dilday.[8] The election of Kenneth S. Hemphill as the seminary's 7th president followed, and he served the seminary from 1994 to 2003.[10]

Recent history (21st century)Edit

On June 24, 2003, the board of trustees unanimously elected Paige Patterson as the seminary's 8th president. Patterson previously served as president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for 10 years, thus becoming the second Southern Baptist leader to serve as president for two seminaries within the convention. Patterson also served as the president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1998 to 2000 and was a leading figure behind the Conservative Resurgence movement within the convention.[11]

In 2006 the seminary imposed a prohibition on professors or administrators promoting charismatic practices, such as private prayer languages.[12]

In 2007 a gender discrimination suit in federal court was filed by Professor Sheri Klouda over her dismissal. Klouda claimed she was dismissed from the faculty due to her gender, being a woman.[13] In response, the seminary commented that Klouda was not dismissed but that she would not have tenure.[14][15][16] The Klouda lawsuit was immediately dismissed because of church-state separation-related concerns.[17][18] The federal judge who dismissed the case stated that "Leaders of a prominent Southern Baptist seminary who believe women are biblically forbidden from teaching men were within their rights when they told a female professor to leave", including a statement that the seminary was well within its First Amendment rights to dismiss Klouda.[19]

In 2014, the school received criticism from other evangelicals when it admitted its first Muslim student from Palestine. The Muslim student was enrolled in Southwestern's PhD program in archaeology.[20] Seminary president Paige Patterson defended his decision to accept the student's application, despite criticism.[21]

The School of Preaching was established in 2015 with David L. Allen serving as the first dean. The purpose of the school is to teach students the importance of text-driven preaching. The seminary added two new graduate programs, Master of Arts in Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy in World Christian Studies, in 2016. On April 12, 2017, the executive committee reported to the board of trustees that The college at Southwestern would be renamed in honor of the seminary's second president Lee Rutland Scarborough, becoming the L.R. Scarborough College.[22]

In May, Patterson was criticized for his comments and views on women and sexual harassment. On May 22, 2018, after a 13-hour discussion with the trustee board of Southwestern, Patterson was appointed President Emeritus. On May 30, however, the executive committee of the Southwestern trustees voted to remove all benefits provided to Patterson, including the title of President Emeritus. Patterson was immediately fired from SWBTS.[23] D. Jeffrey Bingham, dean of the School of Theology, was subsequently appointed interim president.[24][25][26]

On February 27, 2019, Adam W. Greenway was elected by the board of trustees as the 9th president of the seminary. He is the first alumnus since Russell Dilday to serve as president, having earned his Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Seminary in 2002. Greenway had previously served as dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.[27]

Administration and facultyEdit

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 Southern Baptist Convention's Cooperative Program, endowment earnings, gifts and student fees.

Dr. Adam W. Greenway is the ninth and current president of the seminary. Current (2019) deans include D. Jeffrey Bingham (School of Theology), Joseph R. Crider (School of Church Music and Worship), Michael S. Wilder (Jack D. Terry School of Educational Ministries), John D. Massey (Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions), and Benjamin M. Skaug (Texas Baptist College).[28]

The full-time faculty includes approximately seventy individuals with nearly twice as many part-time and adjunct faculty members.[citation needed]


Aside from theology, the school offers a wide variety of graduate majors such as apologetics, biblical counseling, Christian education, divinity, Islamic studies, missiology, and music.[29]

Since 1908, Southwestern Seminary has graduated more than 44,000 students. Southwestern's current student body represents 46 states and 45 countries.[30] The seminary's academic journal, Southwestern Journal of Theology has been published since 1958.[31] It is conservative and Baptist in orientation.

In the fall of 2005, the Seminary converted its undergraduate program (baccalaureate school) into the L.R. Scarborough College, later renamed Texas Baptist College which awards Bachelor of Arts degrees in Humanities and Biblical Studies as well as offers undergraduate music programs.[32] In 2007 the seminary began an initiative for engaging and transforming culture, its new Center for Cultural Engagement, named in honor of Richard Land.[33] In line with this initiative, the seminary employed prominent intelligent design advocate William A. Dembski.[34] In 2016, the seminary added a master's degree program in Philosophy. The program was approved by the Board of Trustees and, in January 2017, by the accreditation body, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).[35] Southwestern's then President, Paige Patterson, stated Everybody is a philosopher, the question is are you a good one or a bad one? We are committed to having good philosophers and to making good thinkers and philosophers out of our people.[35]

Southwestern is divided into six schools:

  • The School of Theology
  • The School of Church Music and Worship
  • The Jack D. Terry School of Educational Ministries
  • The Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions
  • The Texas Baptist College

School of TheologyEdit

Established in 1908, the School of Theology trains seminary student for master's or doctorate degrees in theology. Concentrations include biblical languages, apologetics, theology, church history, preaching, pastoral ministry, etc. The current dean is D. Jeffrey Bingham. Students are able to obtain a master's or doctoral degree essential for Christian ministry.[36]

School of Church Music and WorshipEdit

Originally a department within the School of Theology, the School of Gospel Music was established in 1921. The school was renamed to the School of Sacred Music in 1926, a name which it bore until 1957 when the school was renamed the School of Church Music. In 2019, the school was renamed the School of Church Music and Worship.[37] The current dean of the school is Joseph R. Crider.[38][39]

Jack D. Terry School of Educational MinistriesEdit

The Terry School of Educational Ministries offers several different master's and doctoral degrees such as the Master of Arts in Christian Education (MACE). The school was originally a department within the School of Theology until the School of Religious Education was established in 1921. The school was renamed to the School of Educational Ministries in 1997. The school was officially renamed in 2009 in honor of Jack D. Terry.[37] Current concentrations provided in this school include biblical counseling, children's ministry, collegiate ministry, and student ministries. The current dean is Michael S. Wilder[40]

Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and MissionsEdit

In 2005, the division of evangelism and missions in the School of Theology was reorganized as the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions.[41] This division provides students with spiritual mentorship, a solid theological grounding in Scripture, and coursework that equips them to share the Gospel with intelligence, relevance and boldness.[42] The current dean is John D. Massey.[42][43]

Extension CampusesEdit

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has its main campus in Fort Worth, but also offers programs and selected degrees at remote campuses.[44]

  • Master of Arts in Theology (Bonn, Germany)


No. Name Term
1 Benajah Harvey Carroll 1908–1914
2 Lee Rutland Scarborough 1915–1942
3 E. D. Head 1942–1953
4 J. Howard Williams 1953–1958
5 Robert E. Naylor[45] 1958–1978
6 Russell H. Dilday 1978–1994
7 Kenneth S. Hemphill 1994–2003
8 L. Paige Patterson 2003–2018
9 Adam W. Greenway 2019–present

Notable peopleEdit


Name Known for Relationship to SWBTS
Benajah Harvey Carroll Pastor, theologian SWBTS founder and first president
Walter Thomas Conner Theologian Professor 1910-1949
William A. Dembski Proponent of intelligent design Professor of Apologetics since 2006[34]
David S. Dockery Former President of Union University & Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Distinguished Professor of Theology, Theologian-in-Residence
E. Earle Ellis New Testament scholar Research Professor of Theology Emeritus
William Roscoe Estep Baptist and Anabaptist historian, professor Professor of Church History Emeritus
James Bruton Gambrell Theologian Chair of Christian Ethics and Ecclesiology from 1912 to 1914[46]
James Leo Garrett Jr. Theologian Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Theology
T. B. Maston Christian ethicist, Civil Rights advocate Professor of Christian Ethics
C. Barry McCarty Chief Parliamentarian of Southern Baptist Convention Professor of Preaching and Rhetoric
J. Frank Norris Fundamentalist preacher SWBTS trustee
L. Paige Patterson Former president of the Southern Baptist Convention SWBTS eighth president
Lee Rutland Scarborough Professor, evangelist SWBTS second president


SWBTS includes many notable and well known alumni including several different Southern Baptist Convention Presidents, a U.S Senator, a US Governor, U.S. presidential candidates, members of the White House Cabinet of the United States, seminary presidents, pastors, educators, theologians, Civil Rights activists, songwriters, authors, etc.

Name Known for Relationship to SWBTS
Gary Chapman Author of The Five Love Languages series Master of Religious Education / Doctor of Philosophy
Bill Moyers 11th White House Press Secretary for U.S. 36th President Lyndon B. Johnson, Journalist Master of Divinity
James Lankford Junior United States Senator (R-OK), 2015–Present Master of Divinity[47]
Jeff Iorg President, Gateway Seminary (formerly Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary) Doctor of Ministry
Daniel Akin President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Master of Divinity
Louie Giglio Pastor, Passion City Church and founder, Passion Movement Master of Divinity[48]
J. D. Grey 28th Southern Baptist Convention President, Pastor of First Baptist Church of New Orleans, 1937–1972 Master's degree[49]
Ronnie Floyd 60th Southern Baptist Convention President, 2014 - 2016. Master of Divinity
Steve Gaines (pastor) 61st Southern Baptist Convention President, 2016–2018 Master of Divinity
Jack Graham 55th Southern Baptist Convention President, 2002–2004, Senior Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church Master of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry
William G. Tanner President of Oklahoma Baptist University from 1971 to 1976. Bachelor of Divinity / Doctor of Theology
Mark Brister 14th President of Oklahoma Baptist University, Humanitarian, Baptist Pastor Master of Divinity / Doctor of Ministry
George E. Hearn Psychologist and Professor at Louisiana College Master's degree
William Alvin Hatton Featured Missionary in Brazil. Founded Royal Ambassadors in Brazil.[50] Bachelor's Degree (1942-1945)
Mike Huckabee 44th Governor of Arkansas & U.S. Presidential Candidate in 2008 and 2016. Graduate study (one year)
Robert Jeffress Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church (Dallas, Texas) Doctor of Ministry
Larry Lea Televangelist Attended the doctoral program[51]
Phillip Lee, Jr. United States Navy Reserve Rear Admiral Master of Divinity (1990), Master of Religious Education (1998) and Doctor of Philosophy degree (2000)[52]
Fred L. Lowery Pastor of First Baptist Church of Bossier City, Louisiana; Televangelist, "The First Word" Master of Theology[53]
Robert L. Lynn President of Louisiana College from 1975 to 1997 [54]
Baylus Benjamin McKinney Singer, hymnist Seminary student[55]
Erwin McManus Lead Pastor of Mosaic Church Master of Divinity
Don Miller Republican member of the Tennessee House of Representatives M.R.E.[56]
John R. Rice Evangelist and founder of Sword of the Lord fundamentalist publications Attended in 1920
Rick Scarborough former pastor, heads Vision America Master of Divinity[57]
Charles Stanley Pastor, First Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia Master of Divinity
Rick Warren Founder and Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church Master of Divinity
Paul Washer Preacher, Founder/Director of HeartCry Missionary Society Master of Divinity
Jack Frasure Hyles Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, IN (1951 - 2001), Founder of Hyles-Anderson College Master's Degree[58]
Earl Stallings Minister and Civil Rights Movement Activist Master of Divinity
Lester Roloff Evangelist within Independent Baptist movement, controversial operator of girls rehabilitation home Master of Divinity
Charles Robert McPherson Senior Pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Denver, Colorado, 1962-1986 Master's degree[59]
Edwin Barry Young Founder Fellowship Church Master of Divinity


  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ Year of last comprehensive evaluation visit: 2001; "Fall 2011 Data - Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary";"Fall 2008 Data - Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary";"Fall 2006 Data - Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary" The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada
  3. ^ "Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Official Catalog p. 11" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 26, 2007.
  4. ^ ""Southwestern Declaration on Academic and Theological Integrity" Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary". Archived from the original on September 1, 2006.
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  9. ^ Fletcher, Jesse (November 24, 1999). "Russell Dilday". Baptist Standard. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014.
  10. ^ Hawkins, Merrill M., Jr. (2007) "Columns: Glimpses of a Seminary Under Assault" Baptist History and Heritage 42(1): pp. 117–18
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  28. ^ "Faculty | Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary".
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  31. ^ "Home | Baptist Theology".
  32. ^ "Degrees | Scarborough College". Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  33. ^ See Collins, Keith (October 22, 2007). "WRAP UP: Seminary trustees fall 2007 meeting". Archived from the original on November 5, 2007.
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  38. ^ "Leo Day: Dean of the School of Church Music and Professor of Voice". Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Archived from the original on February 4, 2017.
  39. ^ "School of Church Music | Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary". Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  40. ^ "Jack D. Terry School of Church & Family Ministries | Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary". Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  41. ^ Collier, Keith (October 18, 2007). "Evangelism prof Roy Fish honored at SWBTS". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on June 27, 2017.
  42. ^ a b "Roy Fish School of Evangelism & Missions". Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Archived from the original on July 6, 2016.
  43. ^ Thompson, Brent (April 7, 2005). "Former Muslim, El Salvadoran, among 17 new SWBTS faculty". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on June 27, 2017.
  44. ^ "Fall 2011 Data - Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary". Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Archived from the original on March 24, 2009.
  45. ^ Hailey, Cory J. (February 25, 1999). "Robert E. Naylor, dead at 90, led Southwestern from 1958-78". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on June 27, 2017.
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  47. ^ "Campaign-2012: Candidates: Oklahoma: James Lankford: House". The Washington Times. 2012. Archived from the original on August 13, 2014.
  48. ^ "Louie Giglio Books and Ministry". Christ Notes. 2007. Archived from the original on February 23, 2008.
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  53. ^ "LoweryFeatured Speaker for Oklahoma Baptist University Chapel Service, February 14, 2000". Retrieved June 16, 2012.
  54. ^ "Dr. Lynn is slated by Lions", Minden Press-Herald, Minden, Louisiana, September 24, 1975, p. 1
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  59. ^ "Denver Post, August 2, 1986" (PDF). Denver Post. August 2, 1986.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 32°40′55″N 97°20′53″W / 32.682°N 97.348°W / 32.682; -97.348