Maranatha Makes Historic Announcement

Many of us had the privilege of knowing our founder, Dr. B. Myron Cedarholm. He was a passionate preacher, a highly educated man, and a committed Baptist who loved the local church. His zeal and singleness of purpose continue to impact Maranatha today.

Dr. Cedarholm founded Maranatha on the philosophy that students are well equipped to minister in churches and to reach the world for Jesus Christ through a Christ-centered, biblically based liberal arts education in an environment marked by intellectual rigor and inquiry.

Consider with me how Maranatha has expanded its ministry opportunities and academic programs and established its quality over the last decade—especially in the last several years.

Maranatha: History in the Making

Realizing growth

  • Maranatha Baptist Seminary stands as the flagship of the College’s local church purpose and Baptist, fundamental, and dispensational identity.
  • Global Encounters is engaging hundreds of students with foreign missions around the world.
  • Maranatha is training more than 1,400 student in 31 majors, 34 minors, 4 associate programs, and seven graduate programs.
  • Our nursing program is accredited through the CCNE.
  • The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has approved a Master of Education degree.
  • Our ROTC program continues to perform at top levels statewide.
  • Students learn through service in business, political and other internship and fieldwork opportunities.
  • Study abroad with Spanish immersion provides opportunities for service with Baptist missionaries.
  • Accounting students qualify to become CPAs and the biology pre-med degree opens the door for students to enter the medical profession.
  • Bridge to Campus students in three locations coast-to-coast utilize high definition video conferencing to attend first year classes.
  • Over 200 undergraduate and graduate classes and 4 programs are offered through distance education to  students around the world.
  • Maranatha competes in NCAA Division III and NCCAA Division II men’s and women’s sports.

It is clear that the “DNA” for what Maranatha has become was present in her infancy and that our founder would be pleased with her development to maturity.

Finding clarity  

But Maranatha has neither been a traditional Bible college nor a traditional liberal arts college, which is an issue that has often led to us being misunderstood. For example:

  • Prospective students and donors  have no indication by our current name that Maranatha has majors and  programs other than those offered by a traditional Bible college.
  • We are categorized among a few regionally accredited Baptist Bible colleges, yet none of them offer as wide a range of majors.
  • The international academic community defines a college as a two-year institution and a university as a four-year institution. A number of our students are pursuing tent-making occupations as they assist mission work in foreign countries, and it is important that their degrees are well regarded.

Three years ago, to “make the message plain,” we adopted a strategic initiative to improve the recognition and understanding of who we are as a Christian institution. To best define who we are, we believe our name must reflect what we are. And in every way, we are a University.


On this significant day in our history, we are announcing the official change of our name from Maranatha Baptist Bible College to Maranatha Baptist University.

Growth and development are positive and natural results of a healthy organization, a concept displayed through the natural world of biology and the biblical doctrine of progressive sanctification. We believe Maranatha Baptist University simply reflects what Maranatha is and has been for many years.

Staying true  

Maranatha exercised extensive due diligence and sought the counsel of many as we made this decision. Moving forward, we will:

  • Stay true to our foundation and the distinctives that are as important to our alumni, friends, and prospective students as they are to us.
  • Always be Baptist, dispensational, and evangelistic. We will never abandon our separatist position.
  • Always emphasize the local church and hold fast to our mission—to develop leaders for ministry in the local church and the world “To the Praise of His Glory.”

Looking ahead   

Our spring semester will be filled with anticipation as we develop a refreshed brand identity that our University family can embrace and rally behind.

An exciting part of this experience will be the choosing of a new mascot. I’m thrilled to walk through this process together with our faculty and staff and students as well as our alumni and friends. I trust it will provide everyone in our University family a measure of excitement as you participate with us and watch each piece unfold. We invite you to follow us on Facebook and on our website as we share our progress with you in many different ways.

As a University, we trust God will “enlarge our coast” as we continue to train leaders who desire to preach the Word, reach the lost, serve in the local church, and live looking for His soon return.

Ultimately, we want Jesus Christ to be pleased and lifted up with all that transpires in the months ahead. May we ever remain true to Him and always be “To the praise of His Glory.”