Maranatha has a rich and uncompromising heritage in Baptist fundamentalism. I came to the campus as a junior in 1974 with no under-standing of the ancient origins, recent history, or defining principles of Baptists. I left the campus several years later to serve the Lord, profoundly appreciative of our heritage and thoroughly committed to the practice of Baptist distinctives.
The duty to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints is part of Maranatha’s institutional fabric. As I continued study in several other schools, I discovered that the dedication, resolve, and sacrifices necessary to fundamentalist principles were lacking. My professors at Maranatha not only taught the important truth of biblical separation inherent in fundamentalism, but they were daily living the principles. These professors could have taught in other more prestigious schools, but they chose to minister “outside the camp” in special fellowship with Christ and following His example. It was apparent to this young student that it had cost something for them to serve the Savior in the context of obedient separation from apostasy and compromise.
One only has to reflect on the name “Maranatha”—Behold, He comes—to know that the College is committed to a dispensational hermeneutic. The last stanza of the school hymn reads:
“Maranatha”, He cometh! Behold in the sky,
A SHOUT! a VOICE, the TRUMP OF GOD! Our Lord is drawing nigh!
Believe Him, receive Him, look up and thou shalt be
TO THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY with Him eternally!
Church-age believers are looking for His coming in the Rapture. After that, the Lord will again begin to deal directly with Israel, keeping His promises to His chosen nation and completing His plan for her millennial prominence.
Maranatha recognizes God’s unique plans for both Israel and the church. Maranatha’s mission, defined by God’s plan for making Himself known in this dispensation, is to train leaders for ministry in the local church and in the world. Preparation for ministry requires local church involvement, as well as personal witness to the world in the context of campus discipleship. Leadership opportunities on campus and in local church participation, prepare students for serving the Lord in any life vocation. They learn the importance of discipline, duty, and deference to others, as well as the highest values in time and for eternity.
Volume 1 of the Maranatha Baptist Theological Journal (MBTJ) features four articles. The first three describe Maranatha’s foundational distinctives. Maranatha’s position theologically is Baptist, fundamental, and dispensational. The institution’s methods and goals for student discipleship are described in the last article of this volume.
Our hope is that this volume will both inform readers of Maranatha’s identity and advance them in spiritual understanding and Christian living. If these goals are realized, we will be grateful to the Lord.