By Dr Andy Naselli (with Betsy Howard)
1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Bethlehem College and Seminary.
2) Tell us a little about Bethlehem College and Seminary.
John Piper, our chancellor and professor of practical theology and biblical exegesis, summarizes our vision: “In every subject of Bethlehem College and Seminary, the ultimate aim is the same: see Jesus as infinitely admirable and share in the Father’s infinite enjoyment of the greatness of his Son, and then be equipped to show it.”
BCS is the organic outgrowth of The Bethlehem Institute (TBI), which began as a church-based training center that also offered a two-year graduate-level vocational eldership training program in 1998. In 2009 the TBI Board sensed God’s leading to develop TBI into Bethlehem College and Seminary. BCS offers several degrees:
• A.A. in Christian Worldview
• B.A. in the History of Ideas
• B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies with a cross cultural or exegesis concentration
• B.Th. through our Degree Completion Program
• M.Div. through our seminary
• Th.M. through our seminary
And BCS has continued to offer non-credit classes for lay people through The Bethlehem Institute.
Currently 180 students attend BCS.
3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?
All of the degree programs are full-time, but both undergraduate and graduate certificate options exist for students who wish to take courses on a part-time basis.
4) How do Bethlehem College and Seminary students fund their studies?
One of our institutional goals is to keep tuition low so that students can graduate unencumbered by debt. Although BCS does not give any formal financial aid, in effect, every BCS student is receiving a significant scholarship grant because tuition covers only about one-third of the actual cost of providing their education. Currently a year’s tuition in the seminary costs $4,500 and a year of undergraduate tuition $5,540.
5) Does Bethlehem College and Seminary take students from overseas?
While BCS cannot currently offer international student visas, non-U.S. citizens who have permanent residency status are able to apply for admission. We desire to offer more biblical training to international students in the near future.
6) What type of ministry is Bethlehem College and Seminary intended to prepare students for?
Our M.Div. and Th.M. degrees prepare students for pastoral ministry and further scholarship. Our undergraduate programs prepare students for a variety of secular and ministry vocations.
7) When students leave Bethlehem College and Seminary what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into?
Many seminary graduates have become full-time pastors, church planters, and missionaries. Others have gone on to further study to teach. Our Associates Degree and Bachelors Degree students have pursued teaching, tech work, and further education.
8) What is distinctive about what Bethlehem College and Seminary offers compared with other colleges in the US and overseas?
I’m not sure I’m sufficiently familiar with other colleges in the UK and overseas to answer this question accurately. But one of our distinctives is that we are a church-based school, an arm of Bethlehem Baptist Church. And we are intentionally small so that the professors can invest more in the students. The seminary has a cohort-model that accepts only fifteen students a year, and those students take all their classes together.
9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.
BCS just renovated and expanded its library space to over 3,000 ft. BCS students have access to all of its online resources remotely and all of its physical holdings on site. The recent expansion has also drastically increased student study space on campus.
10) Does Bethlehem College and Seminary offer a distance or on-line learning option? If yes, please tell us more about it.
Given BCS’s desire to be church-based with a strong emphasis on discipleship, degree and certificate programs require “in-person” participation. (We provide lay-level theological curriculum for wide distribution through Bethlehem College and Seminary Press.)
My thanks to Dr Andy Naselli and Betsy Howard for taking part in this series of interviews.