Welcome to the first edition of the Maranatha Baptist Theological Journal. This peer-reviewed journal is the product of Maranatha Baptist Bible College and Seminary.

The purpose of the Maranatha Baptist Theological Journal is to promote biblical scholarship from a Baptist, dispensational, and conservative theological position.

Articles will be academic and practical, biblical and theological, focused on the needs of the pastor and church leader, and, above all, faithful to God’s Word.

Maranatha Baptist Seminary and Maranatha Baptist Bible College educate men for pastoral and related ministries and women for ministry opportunities in cross-cultural studies, counseling, and other biblically-based ministries.[pullshow]

Maranatha seeks to strike a balance between the necessary academic studies suitable for an advanced education with the practical experiential needs of the fulltime minister. Therefore, Maranatha Baptist Seminary has chosen to hire men as fulltime professors in the academic areas of biblical studies, theology, history, and languages. Professors in pastoral studies and cross-cultural studies are adjuncts who are currently involved in the area of ministry in which they teach; in this way, our students will be learning from current practitioners in the arenas of practical theology.

Maranatha also seeks to assist men and women who desire to remain where they are, while still obtaining some biblical education. Some of these may already be in a ministry they do not want to leave. Others are not in fulltime ministry and have no call to be, but they may want to enhance their ability to serve in a volunteer capacity in their churches. Still others are interested in entering ministry, but are unsure of God’s call on their lives and are not yet ready to uproot their families and move to begin their seminary education. Toward these ends, Maranatha Baptist Bible College offers an online Bible Certificate program, consisting of our undergraduate Bible core, and an online Masters of Arts in Bible. This allows those who wish to remain in their current location to actively pursue formal education. Maranatha Seminary also offers virtual classes; these are our traditional semester-based classes offered through the internet, using technology on the Seminary site that allows the student to see and hear both the professor and the students, to view the class notes, PowerPoints, and other materials the professor uses, and to ask questions and participate in the discussion in real time. Maranatha Baptist Seminary also offers one-week modules in January, May, and June.

Maranatha believes that a Christian servant is most effective when he or she has a comprehensive working knowledge of the Old and New Testaments and systematic theology. Maranatha believes that the interpretation of Scripture needs to be thoroughly grounded in a grammatical-historical hermeneutic that is based on a dispensational approach to the Scripture. Maranatha believes that the most effective Christian servant is one who gives himself to the diligent study of the biblical text itself, especially in the original languages if at all possible. The rewards of a thorough academic preparation and continued study of the Word over a lifetime of ministry are eternal.

Maranatha also believes that the education of a person in ministry, whether as a vocation or volunteer, is a continuing process. For that reason, Maranatha has begun its own Theological Journal to assist individuals in their ongoing education. The Maranatha Baptist Theological Journal seeks, therefore, to provide for the serious student of the Word a continuing series of articles from which the teacher or preacher may draw upon for sermon preparation, teaching, evaluation of theological trends, background information, proper exegesis, and other areas of interest and benefit for the ministry. While the majority of the articles will be written by the Maranatha Baptist Bible College and Seminary faculty and administration, contributing writers from our movement will also provide additional articles periodically.

This initial volume will be different than following volumes. In this volume, we seek to identify who we are, by providing you with articles that outline the primary theological qualifiers of Maranatha. We are a Baptist institution, thankful for our heritage, and adhering to a New Testament ecclesiology. We are fundamentalists, for we believe that there are core doctrines of Scripture that cannot be compromised without losing the truth of Scripture and the confidence of salvation. We are dispensational, which means that we hold to a literal, or perhaps better called, a normal interpretation of Scripture. We are ministry-oriented. All of the academic tools and positions would be worthless if our students were not committed to serve in local churches, mission fields, schools, and other Christian ministries. We are theologically conservative. The Maranatha Position Statement that concludes this volume is an extension and explanation of our doctrinal statement that will give the reader a clearer understanding of Maranatha’s theological positions. We trust that you will be blessed and challenged as you read this first issue of the Maranatha Baptist Theological Journal.

Larry R. Oats