Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary is an institution created and nurtured under the auspices of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention, Inc. During the current academic year LBTS we will continue to celebrate our fortieth year. We were established in March 1976.
When Liberian Baptists formed their convention in 1880 they were intentional in the hope that education would be an important part of their lives. They believed then and now that the Gospel is best served in cooperation of all human faculties: heart, soul, strength, and mind (see Luke 10:27). Steps toward Baptist educational institutions in Liberia began in 1887 with the establishment of Ricks Institute in Virginia. Other schools, primary and secondary in focus, followed.
Finally, the dream from 1880 included a seminary. In the late 1960s LBMEC President, Rev. Dr. William R. Tolbert, Jr. called for such a school. And, so, in 1976 Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary came into being. (See a more detailed account below.)
The Seminary operates under the proprietorship of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention, Inc. through a Board of Trustees approved by the LBEMC. The chief executive officer is a president whom the Board of Trustees elects.
The history of the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary began in 1880 when the constitution of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention was written. During the 1964 Annual Session of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention held with Mt. Galilee Baptist Church, Caryesburg, Rev. Dr. William R. Tolbert, Jr., President of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention since 1958 made the following statements:
Let me remind you that the builders of our constitution in 1880 set out as one of the targets to be hit by them and succeeding generations, “the establishment of theological institutions for the training of young men for the ministry.” Since then, eighty-four long years have rolled by and, sad to say, not one such institution has been founded, neither is any even in sight. How disappointing and disheartening, to say the least, this can be to any serious minded Baptist, concerned about carrying out the objective of the Convention.
In response to Dr. Tolbert’s annual message, Rev. Bradley D. Brown, a Southern Baptist Missionary, then assigned in Grand Bassa County, quickly focused upon the necessity of leadership for a central Baptist Bible Training Center for Liberia.
In 1969, during the 55th Annual Session of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention held at Shiloh Baptist Church, Virginia, the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention, with cooperative effort of the then Southern Baptist Mission in Liberia gave birth to the Baptist Training Center.
The Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary was opened formally during a special convocation service in March 1976. Given his proven leadership abilities, Director Rev. Bradley D. Brown was elected to serve as the first President of the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary.
The first graduation, with twelve students, was held in December 1979, with the late Dr. William R. Tolbert, Jr., President of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention, delivering a challenging address to the graduates. It was most fitting that he should be the speaker at what would be the only commencement he would attend.
The Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary obtained full accreditation for its degree programs from the Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA) in 1983. (In these post-war and post-Ebola days we are renewing our credentials.)
Rev. John Mark Carpenter was elected the second President of the Seminary in 1984 and served until 1990. His leadership strongly emphasized evangelism, church planting and Theological Education by Extension (TEE).
Rev. James A. Park succeeded Rev. Carpenter as the third President of the Seminary in January 1992, and classes reopened (from the civil crisis) in April, 1992. He served until 1995. Rev. Theophilus Allen and Rev. Moses A Rouhlac, Jr., served as Acting Presidents of the Seminary from 1996 until 1998.
Dr. Lincoln S. Brownell, Jr., a 1984 alumnus of LBTS became the fourth President and the first Liberian President of the Seminary on August 24, 1998. He served until 2006. Following the end of his tenure in May, 2006, the Management Team headed by Dr. Tidi Speare-Stewart, Acting President, assumed the leadership of the Seminary.
Rev. Arnold Hill, a Baptist minister and business executive, recently residing in the United States, became the fifth LBTS President in October 2009. He served until March 2013.
The Rev. Toby Gbeh became Acting President and served in that capacity through the end of 2013.
On November 22, 2013 Rev. Dr. Richard Francis Wilson was elected by the Board of Trustees as the sixth LBTS President. The conditions of his election included a one-year term of service through the generosity of Mercer University, a partner in ministry with the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention. Wilson was installed in March 2014 and, then, in August 2014 his term of service was extend through 2016.
Dr. Momolu Armstrong Massaquoi, PhD, was elected as the 8th President, after Dr. Terry L. Henry, whose tenure ended in December, 2019.
A capable, qualified, and committed faculty offers some of the best seminary training in Liberia and Africa. Graduates of the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary are assured of an opportunity to establish a good spiritual and academic foundation.
The seminary welcomes qualified women and men who desire preparation for ministry, whether in the local church or in larger society. While committed to Baptist roots and principles, the seminary is open to all members of the body of Christ. Non-Liberian students are welcome under the stipulations of the Liberian government.
More than 600 students have passed through our halls, all earning degrees that have prepared them for service around the world. Those graduates serve in many capacities, ranging from the local church, to denominational service, to public service, to private business and industry.
Graduates of LBTS have been accepted and have graduated from graduate schools in Liberia, across Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The future is bright for continued opportunities for higher education.
The Mission of Seminary
The mission of the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary is to provide educational and professional training for men and women called to the vocation for practicing Christian ministry through the local church, and other arenas of Christian ministry
The Vision of Seminary
The vision of the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary is to cultivate in our students, faculty, staff, and graduates an awareness of the demands of the Gospel that encompass “heart, soul, strength, and mind” (Luke 10:27) that, in turn, encourages a life of discipleship and service, locally and globally.
Our Identity and Faith
With Christians world-wide we share basic convictions. We worship God. We strive to follow Jesus. We commit to the study of the Bible in which we find the witness to the truths of God’s eternal activity as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. We strive to become the Body of Christ, that is, the church, in word and deed.
With Baptists world-wide we affirm that every human is competent to approach God and find in God the grace that allows us to lead lives of service and hope. We affirm that faith in God through Jesus the Christ is the source of our being reconciled and, that through faith we are called to a holy vocation to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior” (2 Peter 3:18).
Therefore, Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary strives to be a free and faithful learning community that
Reads and studies the Bible;
Engages the traditions in the history of the church;
Nurtures the Body of Christ, which is the church;
Upholds the prophetic demand to confront the world’s evils with hope;
Seeks peace with justice for all;
And supports the freedom of all humans to confess or deny faith in Christ.
We worship God as a dynamic presence in the world that creates, redeems, and sustains through the Godhead of Father/Son/Holy Spirit.
We strive to follow Jesus of Nazareth, whom we confess to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
We read the Bible as the authoritative witness to the power of the fullness of God in history in covenant with the seed of Abraham and Sarah, and their descendants, to be a light to the nations, which reached a defining pinnacle in the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
We participate in the continuing adventure of being and becoming the Body of Christ, which is the church.
We know that history confirms the reality of evil in the world and, too, that evil prevails when good people do nothing (Edmund Burke).
We understand that the Gospel lived demands that disciples pursue peace and justice and, therefore, we strive to identify with the least of these in our one world who, too often, are neglected or devalued.
We resist efforts of those who would restrict the freedoms of women and men created in the image of God in order to coerce acceptance of cultural, social, and political limits upon a faithful reading of the Bible.
We embrace the local church as a lively representation of the Body of Christ that can and should join with other local churches in order to work together to bear witness to the Gospel and to promote the Gospel as a certain hope for this world and the world beyond.
We affirm that God alone is the author of grace and that God alone is judge. For that reason we respect the conscience of others, even those with whom we have significant disagreements. Our goal is to affirm what we believe, to declare it as clearly as we can, and to invite a conversation within our communities of faith and beyond about what the Gospel demands from followers of Jesus.
The Seminary Seal
The Seminary seal announces the motto of the school and is a reminder of our heritage and legacy. “Walk worthy of the vocation” is as clear a statement of purpose as we need.
In five words, “Walk worthy of the vocation,” the reflective reader hears practical (“walk”), ethical (“worthy’) and theological (“vocation”) reminders about the broad foundation of seminary education.
The remaining four words, “wherewith ye are called,” is what makes the motto evangelical in the best sense of the word. From its first appearance in the writings of Martin Luther, “evangelical” meant “shaped by the good news.” The motto’s final four words remind us that all Christians are called to discipleship and that some are called as preachers, teachers, healers, and more.
The integrated image of Bible, Cross, and Crown is a graphic depiction of the importance of seeing that the Bible remains open so that all may be free to read and reflect upon the salvation history that becomes clear from creation to “new creation,” both in people (2 Cor 5:17) and in the groaning of creation (Rom 8:20-23), and hope for “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev 21:1). The image also reminds us that the Cross rises above our frailty as a call to discipleship that includes striving for maturity. The Crown is the confession that our hope rests in the worthy lamb (Rev 4) at whose feet every crown should be thrown.
The Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary is an educational enterprise of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention, Inc.. The affairs of the institution are administered by the President under the under the governance of the Board of Trustees.
The current members of the Board of Trustees are, as follows:
Aaron Marshall Chair
Mariama Getaweh Vice Chair
Ophelia H. Saytumah Vice Chair
Olu Q. Menjay Ex-officio
Momolu Massaquoi Secretary
Emile D. E. Sam-Peal Member
Morris Siah – LBMEC Member
Louise Mapleh Member
Eva Morgan Member
Emmanuel James Member
Lela H. Samuels Member
Collin Teah Jr. Member
Tomah Floyd Member
Ignatius Satiah Member
Louis Roberts Member
Joseph N. Boakai Honorary member
The Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary obtained full accreditation for its Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Bachelor of Arts in Religious Education degree programs from the Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA) in 1983. During the war years our status lapsed, but we have re-engaged the process and already have welcomed representatives of ACTEA to our campus for review and consultation. Our feet are, once more, on the path toward compliance with the highest standards.
LBTS is also one of the institutions of tertiary education in the country duly recognized and accredited by the National Commission on Higher Education, Republic of Liberia, NCHE/RL, to grant bachelor’s degrees. Consequently, the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary is a member of the Association of Liberian Universities (ALU).