B. H. Carroll Theological Seminary “coming home” to FBC Arlington’s Wade Building
IRVING, Texas (Oct. 23, 2023)–B. H. Carroll Theological Seminary, which will officially become a part of the East Texas Baptist University in late 2024, is making a move from its offices in Irving to the location where it originally began—in downtown Arlington, Texas.
The seminary’s offices will occupy a floor of First Baptist Church’s Wade Building, a six-story office building adjacent to the church’s main campus. The move also means B. H. Carroll’s annual PhD colloquies, graduations, and other conferences will be held on site, for the first time since it left the location for Irving in 2015.
Just as the move is bringing the seminary “full circle,” the merger of East Texas Baptist University and B. H. Carroll Theological Seminary has been described as a homecoming in many ways. Twenty years ago, B. H. Carroll began in the minds of Texas Baptist theological educators who wanted to create a more accessible model to equip ministers for leadership in the church. As Carroll Seminary merges to become a part of ETBU, it becomes a strategic missional partner with the Baptist General Convention of Texas in educating and equipping ministry leaders for the work of the church.
Offering an online graduate theological educational model, Carroll Seminary’s offices have been located in the metroplex since its inception in 2004. With this educational partnership with Texas Baptists, the administrative leadership of both institutions decided the Seminary should be centrally located in Tarrant County and in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
Carroll Seminary will make its move into the Wade Building at First Baptist Arlington in January 2024. Coming home to its original location, the seminary will host office space for faculty and staff as well as offer opportunities for in-person classes, seminars, and conferences.
“From the beginning of our institution, our commitment has been on affordable, achievable, accessible, and accredited theological education,” B. H. Carroll President Dr. Gene Wilkes said. “One of our goals has always been to invest in people, rather than in brick and mortar. This move will allow us to be more efficient with our financial resources and more deeply integrate our services with a partnering church. From there, we will reach out further into the churches across Texas and beyond to recapture our vision for distributed seminary education, which was severely challenged during the COVID pandemic.”
Dr. Thomas Sanders, ETBU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs commented, “First Baptist Church, Arlington has a rich history of creative ministries that seek to live out the Great Commission. Dr. Dennis Wiles, Pastor, has certainly continued that tradition over his tenure and serves as a role model to pastors across the state. I can think of no better location in the metroplex than in a building named for former pastor and BGCT executive, Dr. Charles Wade.”
The chairs of both school’s boards echoed the hopes expressed by Wilkes and Blackburn. B. H. Carroll Chair Dr. Leon Leach said B. H. Carroll’s vision since its founding in 2004 has been to offer affordable, accessible, achievable, and accredited theological education. “This merger of the two institutions connects B. H. Carroll with a university with a similar vision, a rich history, and a kindred desire to prepare students for service in the church,” he said.
James Webb, chair of ETBU’s Board of Trustees, shared his enthusiasm for the merger opportunity, “East Texas Baptist University and B. H. Carroll Theological Institute have the same mission to equip Christian servant leaders to follow their calling to God and humanity; the opportunity for greater Kingdom impact can be achieved through a strategic educational and ministry partnership to fulfill the Great Commission.”
The joining of the two institutions enables B.H. Carroll students to access resources including financial aid, additional scholarship opportunities, and student services. Upon approval of the merger, East Texas Baptist University will become a doctoral degree granting institution.
“This partnership is less of a new merger and more of a family reunion,” Dr. Tommy Sanders, ETBU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs said. “The founding faculty members of Carroll had strong ties and history with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the wider world of Baptists. We share educational, theological, and denominational heritage. I am thrilled to see these leaders reunite around the common goals of Texas Baptists.”