While I had just come back to faith and was starting to grow in my home church, First Baptist Church Murfreesboro, I had never envisioned going to seminary. In need of spiritual growth and understanding, everything pointed me in that direction; however, our family is a single income family with four children. My job was crucial and I could not see how I could possibly attend seminary.
Just when I thought that there was no hope, I was surprised by a flyer about a seminary that would be housed in my church. I found out that classes would be done in intensives on Friday night and Saturday and that the tuition was subsidized through the generosity of grants. I finally got it all together and started my seminary journey at Central Baptist Theological Seminary - Tennessee.
This format allowed me to complete my degree without missing any work or taking too much time away from my family. At the same time, I was able to develop an understanding of how to apply the skills from seminary to my sense of calling as a marketplace minister and allowed me to find ways to execute this ministry. After completion of seminary, my home church ordained me and blessed me in this calling.
I am extremely grateful for Central for the work it has done in my life by providing a thought provoking broad theological education.
Word from the President
For over a hundred years Central Baptist Theological Seminary has been offering a hospitable place for study for those called to serve Christ and the church. We believe that God has sustained us for the very purpose of equipping women and men for the ministries of preaching, teaching, leading, caring, and serving. We are a Baptist school by affiliation and tradition, yet we welcome those of other denominations in the Body of Christ. We are both ecumenical and evangelical, believing that in seeking to know and love God truly, we are preparing leaders to form the church as a community of grace.
We delight in the variegated tapestry God is weaving at Central: multi-cultural, diverse, and free. We seek to "receive all as Christ" and by the Spirit to kindle the spiritual gifts each brings to our common calling. We believe that community shapes identity and calling; thus, we seek to allow our shared life in worship (leitourgia), service (diakonia), and participation (koinonia) to form us after the likeness of the Triune God. We seek to be trinitarian in our shared life at Central. We believe that true identity emerges within the context of mutual respect and self-giving, which is essentially the life of God.
Hospitality marks our life at Central, which is God’s welcoming nature. God’s triune hospitality is expressed through human community. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity-a distinctive affirmation we make among the monotheistic faiths-recognizes a divine communion of persons who cooperate undividedly in all their creative, redemptive, and sanctifying work towards the world. The self-giving of the inner life of God, its perichoresis, spills over into all creation. The goal is to bring redeemed creatures into the glorious communing life that they themselves share from all eternity. We are invited to join this dance.
We pray that if you are seeking a way to undertake an intentional process of formation for vocational ministry or to deepen your life of faith that you will consider becoming a part of this community. We are seeking God together and welcome your participation.
Molly T. Marshall