Trinity Southwest University

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35°09′58″N 106°35′29″W / 35.16600°N 106.5913°W / 35.16600; -106.5913

Trinity Southwest University
Established1990; 32 years ago (1990)
AffiliationThe Association of Christian Schools International
Executive DeanSteven Collins
New Mexico
United States

Trinity Southwest University (TSU) is an unaccredited evangelical Christian institution of higher education with an office in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Principally a theological school that encompasses both the Bible college and theological seminary concepts of Christian education, it offers distance education programs and degrees in Biblical Studies, Theological Studies, Archaeology & Biblical History, Biblical Counseling, Biblical Representational Research, and University Studies.


TSU was founded as Southwest Biblical Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where it provided Bible-oriented education for local students. In 1989 it relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico. According to TSU, in 1990 it began an official association with "an internationally-known Bible college and seminary" (not identified), but it became an independent institution of higher education in 2001.[1]

Most TSU students enroll in distance education. As of 2007 the typical student was an adult between 40 and 49 years old. At that time, the school occupied a former church in Albuquerque.[2] As of October 2021 its location was described as "a strip mall in Albuquerque."[3]


TSU is evangelical Christian in its orientation; it calls itself "trans-denominational". The school holds that biblical scripture, specifically "the ancient Hebrew Tanakh and the New Testament", is the "divinely inspired representation of reality given by God to humankind, speaking with absolute authority in all matters upon which it touches".[4]

Affiliations and accreditation status[edit]

TSU is not accredited by any accreditor recognized by the United States Department of Education. The institution's position is that "any governmental association or oversight ... is inappropriate for a faith-based organization or institution, and constitutes a fundamental violation of church/state separation".[5] Accordingly, students are ineligible for governmental financial assistance. The institution states that it operates in New Mexico under a religious exemption authorized by state law. TSU is a member of the Association of Christian Schools International.[5]

Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project map in the area of Eastern Kikkar in the Jordan Valley of Jordan


Since 2005, TSU's Executive Dean, Steven Collins, has directed excavations at Tall el-Hammam in Jordan, a Bronze Age settlement which he argues was the biblical city of Sodom.[6][7][8] He has written several books on the theory,[9][10] which has been extensively covered in the media.[11][12][13] Other biblical archaeologists have rejected the identification because it is inconsistent with biblical literalist chronology;[14][15][16] according to Christianity Today, "few archaeologists outside of those working on the excavation team believe that Tall el-Hammam is Sodom."[17] Collins' response to these criticisms include a book published by TSU, The Kikkar Dialogues, which presents conversations he has had with other biblical archaeologists.[18]

Collins and his colleagues claim that Tall el-Hammam was destroyed in a sudden catastrophe, based on the discovery of burnt brick, melted pottery and geophysical signatures of high temperatures.[19][20] In a 2021 paper, they argued that this was a meteor air burst similar to the Tunguska event.[21] Soon after its publication, physicist Mark Boslough, who is cited in the paper, raised several concerns about its contents and the background of its authors, and Elisabeth Bik, an expert in investigating scientific misconduct, identified possible doctored images.[3]


  1. ^ History, Trinity Southwest University, archived from the original on December 11, 2010, retrieved March 10, 2012
  2. ^ Richard Metcalf (November 26, 2007), "Consolidation, a Name, and a School", Albuquerque Journal, archived from the original on December 19, 2013
  3. ^ a b Marcus, Adam (1 October 2021). "Criticism engulfs paper claiming an asteroid destroyed Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah". Retraction Watch. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  4. ^ Doctrinal Position Archived 2018-08-23 at the Wayback Machine, Trinity Southwest University website, accessed March 10, 2012
  5. ^ a b Affiliations, Trinity Southwest University, retrieved March 10, 2012
  6. ^ "Tall el-Hammam, Jordan". Biblical Archaeology Society. 2021. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  7. ^ Collins, Steven (2007). "Sodom: The Discovery of a Lost City". Bible and Spade. Associates for Biblical Research. 20 (3): 72.
  8. ^ Collins, Steven (2007). "A Response to Bryant G. Wood's Critique of Collins' Northern Sodom Theory" (PDF). Biblical Research Bulletin: The Academic Journal of Trinity Southwest University. TSU Press. 7 (7): 27. ISSN 1938-694X. Archived from the original on August 15, 2009.
  9. ^ Collins, Steven (2014). The Search for Sodom and Gomorrah. TSU Press. ISBN 9780615910086.
  10. ^ Collins, Steven; Kobs, Carroll M.; Luddeni, Michael C. (2015). The Tall Al-Hammam Excavations, Volume 1. Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 9781575063690.
  11. ^ "Archaeologists Return to Excavate Possible Site of Biblical Sodom". Popular Archaeology. June 6, 2012. Archived from the original on October 18, 2016. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  12. ^ "Archaeologists Excavate Massive Ancient Gateway in Jordan". Popular Archaeology. September 2012. Archived from the original on 16 October 2015. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  13. ^ "Possible site of ancient Sodom yields more finds". Popular Archaeology. September 28, 2015. Archived from the original on December 8, 2018. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  14. ^ Govier, Gordon (April 2008). "Looking Back: Claims to new Sodom locations are salted with controversy". Christianity Today. 52 (4): 15. Archived from the original on April 18, 2008. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  15. ^ Merrill, Eugene H. (2012). "Texts, Talls, and Old Testament Chronology: Tall Hammam as a Case Study" (PDF). ARTIFAX – the Bible Archaeology News Magazine. The Institute for Biblical Archaeology and the Near East Archaeological Society. 27 (4): 20–21.
  16. ^ Bolen, Todd (February 27, 2013). "Arguments Against Locating Sodom at Tall el-Hammam". Biblical Archaeology Society. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  17. ^ Govier, Gordon (2021-09-24). "Sodom Destroyed by Meteor, Scientists Say. Biblical Archaeologists Not Convinced". Christianity Today. Retrieved 2021-09-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ Collins, Steven (2014). The Kikkar Dialogues. TSU Press. ISBN 9780615909998.
  19. ^ Gerson, Ian (June 5, 2014). "Making the Case for Sodom". Popular Archaeology. Archived from the original on October 8, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  20. ^ Beamon, Cindy (May 11, 2016). "Signs of a Cosmic Blast: Local researchers find evidence of fiery end for Sodom in Bible". The Daly Advance. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  21. ^ Bunch, Ted E.; LeCompte, Malcolm A.; Adedeji, A. Victor; Wittke, James H.; Burleigh, T. David; Hermes, Robert E.; Mooney, Charles; Batchelor, Dale; Wolbach, Wendy S.; Kathan, Joel; Kletetschka, Gunther (2021-09-20). "A Tunguska sized airburst destroyed Tall el-Hammam a Middle Bronze Age city in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea". Scientific Reports. 11 (1): 18632. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-97778-3. ISSN 2045-2322. PMC 8452666. PMID 34545151.

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