Higher education is becoming more difficult, even among secular schools. Among Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries the challenges are even greater. Ongoing anxiety over COVID-19 multiplies these difficulties, and Central Baptist Theological Seminary has had to face them like every other school.

Surprisingly, God has chosen this moment to expand Central Seminary’s ministry around the world. On the one hand, we still have local students who move to Minnesota to attend seminary. For example, last year John Marshall joined us. John has his undergraduate and master’s degrees in Classics from the Catholic University of America. He wanted to train for the pastorate, so he moved from Washington, D.C. to Minneapolis. This year he was joined by his father Brent who just retired from his position as a lawyer with the Justice Department. Now the entire Marshall family is living in Crystal. Brent’s wife Lyn volunteers in our library.

On the other hand, more and more of our students live far from the seminary. In one of my theology classes I don’t have a single student in Minneapolis, but I am teaching students on three continents. If you were to visit our campus, you would see fewer students, but in fact we have more. It’s just that more of them join us from remote locations.

Several years ago Central Seminary began a transition toward in-person distance education. Distance students from many locations join together with on-campus students from Minnesota. They meet in electronic classrooms where the discussion flows as freely as if everyone were sitting in the same room. Pastors in Zambia and the Pacific Islands connect with others in Brazil and Bolivia. Church leaders in Romania and Ukraine pray and learn with students in New York City, Kansas, and (of course) Minnesota.

Our move to distance education has rescued us from COVID-19. Because we were already committed to on-line learning, we could make a seamless transition when Minnesota’s governor clamped restrictions on the number of people who could meet in person. While other schools struggled to meet new challenges, we hardly noticed a difference. Our enrollment has remained steady and has even increased. The ministry of WCTS radio has also expanded with a new FM translator in Plymouth, Minnesota.

Our donors have also remained faithful, in spite of limited public opportunities to give. When we had to cancel our annual “Friends and Family” banquet, the seminary’s friends still responded generously. We are excited to see the ministry of Central Baptist Theological Seminary moving forward during difficult days. Together, we are reaching the world with the gospel.

One opportunity that we have not lost is the annual “Give to the Max” day. Central Seminary has participated in Give to the Max since it was started over ten years ago. The day was originated by GiveMN, an organization that coordinates giving for Minnesota non-profits. Over the years, some of Central Seminary’s most generous donors have taken a special interest in Give to the Max.

This year a donor has offered a $50,000 matching gift. In other words, this donor will match every dollar given (to either Central Seminary or WCTS radio) up to a total of $50,000. Every dollar that you give will turn into two dollars. Together we can turn $50,000 into $100,000. That’s what it takes to keep training church leaders in Europe, Africa, North and South America, and other places.

You can give today by visiting the seminary’s website at www.centralseminary.edu/give or www.wctsradio.com. You can call the seminary between 8AM and 3PM (Central time) at (763) 417-8250. You can mail a gift to Central Baptist Theological Seminary at 900 Forestview Lane North, Plymouth, Minnesota 55441. All gifts given before November 19 will count toward the $50,000 matching donation.

College and university students often graduate with heavy debt—sometimes into six figures. If seminary students had to pay for the full price of their education, they too would owe more than they could pay. Debt would cripple their usefulness. They would not be free to give themselves to ministry for years. Because of donors like you, however, our students pay only a fraction of the cost of their education. When they graduate, they are free to throw themselves into the work to which God has called them.

Central Baptist Theological Seminary sends out In the Nick of Time free of charge. We don’t sell your name to advertisers. We don’t spam you with ads. Only once each year do we let you know about this unique opportunity to Give to the Max. Would you consider supporting Central Baptist Theological Seminary with your donation—a donation that will be doubled as soon as you give it—a donation that will help to prepare Christian leaders around the world? Would you please Give to the Max? I am going to.



This essay is by Kevin T. Bauder, Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Not every one of the professors, students, or alumni of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with every opinion that it expresses.


Thou, Whose Almighty Word

John Marriott (1780–1825)

Thou, Whose Almighty word
Chaos and darkness heard,
And took their flight,
Hear us, we humbly pray;
And, where the Gospel day
Sheds not its glorious ray,
Let there be light!

Thou Who didst come to bring
On Thy redeeming wing
Healing and sight,
Health to the sick in mind,
Sight to the inly blind,
O now, to all mankind
Let there be light!

Spirit of truth and love,
Life-giving, holy Dove,
Speed forth Thy flight!
Move on the waters’ face,
Bearing the lamp of grace,
And, in earth’s darkest place,
Let there be light!

Holy and Blessèd Three,
Glorious Trinity,
Wisdom, Love, Might;
Boundless as ocean’s tide,
Rolling in fullest pride
Through the world, far and wide,
Let there be light!