About Central

A history of transforming students to become effective spiritual leaders

Christian leaders must model a transformed life. Central is committed to seeing students transformed so that they will become effective spiritual leaders for Christ-exalting, biblical ministry.

Central Seminary graduates serve in ministry in nearly every state of the United States, as well as in mission works on many foreign fields.

Foundational Documents

Central is driven by theology, institutional objectives and educational philosophies

Our History


Northwestern Theological Seminary, a part of Northwestern Schools, is founded in Minneapolis by Dr. William Bell Riley, a noted fundamentalist leader.


In the decade after Dr. Riley’s passing, financial pressures force Northwestern’s Board of Trustees to close the seminary.


Students, seminary faculty, and other supporters urge Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters, pastor of the Fourth Baptist Church of Minneapolis, to fill the vacuum in ministry through the establishment of a fundamental Baptist seminary.

With the knowledge and encouragement of the administration of Northwestern Schools, this is done. The Fourth Baptist Church agrees to provide accommodations for the fledgling school within its own facilities. Thus Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Minneapolis is born, opening on September 11, 1956, with a student body of thirty-one students from ten states and a faculty of seven.

Within its first decade, Central Seminary grows to a student body of over 100 students. As Fourth Baptist Church prospers, the seminary enjoys expanded facilities.


Central Seminary establishes a radio station and begins a radio ministry.


Dr. McLachlan succeeds Dr. Clearwaters as president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary.


Dr. Ernest D. Pickering serves as the seminary’s third president.


In the providence of God, Dr.McLachlan answers the call to return to the pastorate of the Fourth Baptist Church and presidency of Central Baptist Seminary. He resigns his ministries as chairman of the departments of Bible, Pastoral Theology, and Graduate Studies at Northland Baptist Bible College and returns to Minneapolis.


Under Dr. McLachlan’s leadership, Fourth Baptist Church and Central Baptist Theological Seminary relocate to an excellent facility in the Minneapolis suburb of Plymouth.


Dr. Kevin T. Bauder is elected to be Central Seminary’s fourth president. During his tenure, Dr. Bauder oversees the expansion of the library and the continued development of the Romanian campus.


Dr. Sam Horn becomes Central Seminary’s fifth president.


Dr. Matt Morrell, senior pastor of Fourth Baptist Church, becomes Central Seminary’s sixth president. A global initative program is established. 


Central introduces a distance education program, enabling anyone to take classes live.  


Central is granted full accreditation with the Association of Theological Schools.