Bethel Seminary is an evangelical seminary founded by John Alexis Edgren in 1871 in Chicago where for fifty years it was the Swedish Department of the University of Chicago Divinity School. In 1914, the seminary relocated to St. Paul under the aegis of the Swedish Baptists (later known as the Baptist General Conference and most recently as Converge Worldwide). Swedish pietism has deeply influenced the school's development. The educational philosophy of the seminary is constantly being refined by the question: "What kind of leadership does the 21st century church need?" The curriculum seeks to address 1) theological wisdom, 2) personal and spiritual wholeness and 3) leadership ability.
In 1977 the seminary established a campus in San Diego, CA because of the ethnic diversity and spiritual opportunities. In 1995, Bethel was invited to engage in a management agreement with the Seminary of the East, founded by Conservative Baptists in the Northeast Corridor. In 2002, the four sites of the Seminary of the East (Philadelphia,PA; Auburn, MA; Flushing, Queens NY; Metro Washington, D.C.) formally became an integral part of Bethel Seminary.
As with most other seminaries, Bethel provides graduate theological education for students living in the metro Twin Cities and San Diego or who have temporarily located there to pursue an education. Degree programs on the East Coast are all in a modular format and utilize local ministry mentors. The seminary also provides a SemPM "delivery system" for students living within 150 miles of the St. Paul campus who come to campus once a week. Bethel pioneered a third "delivery system" for persons already engaged in ministry. The InMinistry degree program serves students around the world.
The seminary is affiliated with Converge Worldwide (Baptist General Conference) although it serves students from more than 50 denominations. The seminary offers 10 graduate degrees and 11 certificate programs. The seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and by the Higher Learning Commission of the North central Association of Colleges and Schools.
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- Bethel Seminary official site