B. H. Carroll Theological Institute is a free-standing community of Christian scholars with multiple sources of funding and a self-perpetuating board of governors. It is distinctively Baptist. It affirms those articles of Christian faith and practice which have been surely held and expressed in historic Baptist principles and practices. It operates in cooperation primarily with, but not limited to, Baptist churches. It also cooperates with other Great Commission Christians who are on the cutting edge of ministry.
Carroll emphasized two dimensions of theological education as equally important: academic excellence and practical application. He challenged students to develop keen intellects, but he also showed them how to apply knowledge in meaningful ways. His desire was for leaders in the churches to be equipped with all the tools for ministry and to know how to use them effectively. Carroll’s vision was to make this theological education accessible and affordable to all Christian leaders – to every worker and teacher in the church, in addition to those persons called to full-time vocational ministry. In 1905, he put it this way:
If we ever intend to make the Texas Baptists the greatest spiritual force in the world and to be potential in shaping the destiny of our state and nation, we must provide at home for the right and adequate training of a great host of spiritual leaders. Not to do it is a sin. We may not devolve this responsibility on others, nor can we safely postpone the work.
Carroll Institute perpetuates and extends this legacy. We will provide accredited theological education that is academically excellent and practically applicable in a way that it is accessible and affordable to every Christian leader. This is a vocational school: we will train professional ministers. Yet, in a fuller sense, this is a theological institution: we will “institute,” or invest persons with a spiritual charge. That charge is not limited to full-time ministers but will be shared with all Christian leaders called to prepare for ministry.
Carroll Institute is non-traditional and innovative, but it will sustain the DNA of Carroll’s legacy, as defined by L. R. Scarborough: it will be denominationally anchored as a distinctively Baptist institution responsible to Baptist churches; it will teach the Word of God; and it will magnify both scholarship and spiritual life. We will use creative approaches to theological education and its delivery. At the same time, we are reviving a heritage and perpetuating a legacy for those who remain loyal – loyal to historic Baptist principles – loyal to our Lord, His Word, and His commission – loyal to our and future generations. We hope that by providing a common ground for those who remain loyal, this new seminary also might help to bring healing to a wounded denomination.