Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary
The Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary (BMATS or BMA Theological Seminary) is an institution in Jacksonville, Texas, owned and operated by the Baptist Missionary Association of America.
|Motto||"Earnestly Contending for the Faith"|
|Location||Jacksonville, Texas, United States|
|Affiliations||Baptist Missionary Association of America|
The BMA Theological Seminary Divisions of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies are accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) to award the Associate of Divinity, Bachelor of Arts in Religion, Master of Arts (Religion), Master of Arts in Church Ministries, and Master of Divinity degrees. The SACS institutional accreditation is used by BMA Seminary to determine institutional eligibility for Federal Student Aid. BMA Seminary (Graduate Studies Division) is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada to award the Master of Divinity and the Master of Arts in Church Ministries degrees. BMA Seminary is a member of the Council of Southwestern Theological Schools, the Forest Trail Library Consortium, and the American Theological Library Association.
The purpose of the undergraduate and graduate studies is to provide accredited theological education for equipping individuals for Christian service and leadership roles; to support the educational needs of the churches and agencies of the BMAA and other groups who share a common commitment to the authority of Scripture; and to serve as a resource center for critical thought and research in a context which nurtures the historical, doctrinal character of the churches of the BMAA.
Highlights of history
On May 26, 1950, the BMAA voted to consider an invitation from the Texas chapter to make Jacksonville College Seminary in Cherokee County in east Texas a project of the national association. At its next annual meeting on March 14, 1951, the association selected a committee of five to investigate proposed locations for the founding of a national seminary. Definite action was taken by the B.M.A. of America on March 17, 1954, when a committee composed of D. N. Jackson, G. D. Kellar, J. W. Duggar, E. B. Jones and L. H. Raney was authorized to select twenty others to serve with them to draft and present at the next annual meeting a definite proposal of how and when to begin a seminary. The first trustees, elected on March 30, 1955, were D. N. Jackson, W. J. Dorman, M. E. Childers, W. C. Lacy, A. R. Reddin, L. H. Raney, H. A. Purtle, C. O. Strong, Alfred Jones, C. L. Hall, D. D. Morgan, G. D. Kellar, J. W. Pope, J. Howard White and W. S. Gordon.
The first trustees were granted authority to select a site, acquire property, secure a faculty, and solicit funds from the churches of the national association. Jacksonville, Texas, was selected for the permanent location. A land grant of ten acres was given by Dr. J. M. Travis and William S. Gober. Another seven acres were acquired at a later date. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on October 15, 1956, and all but the chapel of the new seminary complex was completed in time for the first classes to begin on September 8, 1957. Fifty-seven students from six states made up the first class. There were five faculty members and one secretary in the first year of school. Dr. G. D. Kellar served as president; Dr. W. J. Dorman, as dean; John W. Gregson, as registrar; Dr. D. N. Jackson and Harold Brunson as professors. The administrators also taught. Mrs. John W. Gregson was secretary and bookkeeper. Most of the first faculty had already been serving as the faculty of Jacksonville College Seminary which by authorized arrangement was merged with the newly established national seminary.
Dr. Gerald D. Kellar served as president from June 1956, to May 1967. Dr. John W. Gregson succeeded him as president and served from June 1967, to November 1971. Dr. Philip R. Bryan, dean since 1967, served as acting president from November 1971, to March 1973, at which time Dr. John W. Duggar began to serve. A new library building was begun shortly after the groundbreaking on May 21, 1963, and was completed in time for dedication and a grand opening on February 18, 1964. It was named Kellar Library. On January 18, 1971, the seminary was granted associate membership in the Association of Theological Schools. A new library addition was begun in 1980 with the dedication and grand opening on February 17, 1981. The trustees named it the John W. Duggar Library Annex. It doubled the size of the library which now has holdings of more than 70,000 volumes. In December 1982, the seminary was designated as a Candidate for Accreditation by the Committee on Standards and Reports of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. August 1, 1983, Dr. Philip R. Bryan succeeded Dr. John W. Duggar as president of the seminary. In December 1986, accreditation was granted by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Reaffirmation of accreditation was received in December 1991 and again in December 2001.
In 1992, the seminary library became a member of the Forest Trail Library Consortium. A major renovation campaign was initiated during the 1993-94 school year. More than $200,000 was raised and applied to repairing and remodeling of student housing. May 18, 1999, Dr. Charley Holmes succeeded Dr. Philip R. Bryan as president of the seminary. In August 2003, the seminary received initial certification from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education to offer graduate theological education at an extension site on the campus of Central Baptist College in Conway, Arkansas.
Earnestly Contending for the Faith: A Fifty-Year History of the Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary (1955-2005) was prepared by Dr. John Gregson in 2006 in honor of the seminary’s Golden Anniversary. In January 2008, the seminary was granted accreditation in the Association of Theological Schools.
Progress has been made under every administration, and the seminary continues to grow in students, faculty, financial support, and outreach ministry to preachers, lay workers and churches of the Baptist Missionary Association of America and other Christian groups.
Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary 2009-10 catalog, pp 6–7, http://www.bmats.edu/Catalog_2008_2010.pdf
- Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary 2009-10 catalog , pp 6-7, http://www.bmats.edu/Catalog_2008_2010.pdf