Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary began in the fall of 1971 as "The School of the Prophets." A charter was granted by the State of Louisiana. The purpose of the school was to provide theological education for those whom God called to vocational Christian service. By action of the Board of Trustees, the location of the school was changed to Little Rock, Arkansas; the name was changed to Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. A charter was granted by the State of Arkansas in March 1972; and the first session of classes began with Founders' Days, August 23-25, 1972. Four professors offered classes to 28 students. The Seminary conducted classes for three years in the facilities of Olivet Baptist Church, Little Rock, Arkansas.
In 1975, the Seminary negotiated the purchase of the Reformed Jewish Temple and Hebrew School located at 1255 Poplar Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. The Seminary conducted classes during the 1975-76 school term in Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. The purchase of the Temple and Hebrew School was finalized in August 1976, and the Seminary moved into the new debt-free facilities in October 1976. In 1982, the Seminary purchased the adjoining property at 1257 Poplar, which housed the Ora Byram Allison Memorial Library and an administration building.
In 1994, friends of the Seminary made available an eight-acre campus in Germantown, Tennessee. The Seminary renovated the facilities and in January 1996 moved to the new campus debt free. The new campus provided classrooms, offices, library, the chapel, a cafeteria, a gym, bookstore, childcare facilities, lounges, and resource rooms all under one roof. The new campus provided a pleasant, welcoming environment for learning. The move to the Germantown campus allowed the Seminary to expand its course offerings into the evenings and provide more opportunities for the wives of students to enroll in classes and be involved in Seminary life.
In 1996, a group of concerned and committed men formed the Mid-America Student Housing Foundation for the purpose of providing student housing. A dear friend of the Seminary donated thirty-two acres in Olive Branch, Mississippi, for housing only twenty minutes from the Seminary. The first one hundred units of student housing opened in August 1998.
From the beginning of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, the administration and faculty have desired to establish a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching, Bible-teaching, soul-winning branch campus in the northeastern part of the United States. Since 1983, the Seminary has actively pursued this dream. In 1987, the Northeast Branch was approved by the Board of Regents of the State University of New York to offer the Master of Divinity degree. The Seminary purchased ten acres in the heart of the Capital District in the State of New York in February 1988, constructed a 15,400 square foot building, and started classes in the fall of 1989. The focus of the Northeast Branch is to train pastors for evangelism and planting Southern Baptist churches throughout this heavily populated and strategic area of America.
In March of 2001 Mid-America was able to purchase 15 acres within 3 miles of the existing northeast campus. The property includes 24 existing apartments to be used for student housing. In addition, plans were proposed and approved for construction of additional apartments as well as buildings to house the northeast campus.
During the fall of 2003, our neighbor in Germantown, Methodist Hospital, contacted Dr. Spradlin and the board of trustees with an offer to purchase the Germantown campus. In December 2003, the sale was completed, and Methodist Hospital extended to us a 3-year lease so we could stay in the existing facilities while we were in the process of building a new campus. We began to search to a suitable location to build a new campus; in the summer of 2004, our search ended. On June 6, 2004, Bellevue Baptist Church voted to give Mid-America 35 acres of land with Interstate 40 frontage on Appling Road! We purchased an additional 16 acres adjoining this property in order to co-locate student housing with the main campus.
Construction was completed in the summer of 2006, and classes began that fall. This is the first time in the history of Mid-America that God has allowed us to build a campus suited to our own needs. God is so good to Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.
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