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

1935

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

1947

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

1956

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.

1965

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

1986

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

1988

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

1994

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.

1998

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

2003

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.

2011

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

2015

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

2017

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