Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (BTSR) was formed in 1991 in celebration of historic Baptist values, as Baptist life in the South moved sharply toward a narrow theological perspective. Consequently, historic Baptist freedom is a hallmark of BTSR: freedom to question, freedom to discover, freedom to learn, and freedom to serve in Jesus’ name. Originally the seminary was birthed by the Alliance of Baptists. It has since been nurtured by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Baptist General Association of Virginia.
From a modest curriculum, we have grown into an expansive network of learning experiences, including online learning and academic partnerships with Virginia Commonwealth University, Averett University, Eastern Mennonite University, and the Religious Freedom Center at the Newseum Institute. Students can also take advantage of cross-registration programs with Union Presbyterian Seminary and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University,
BTSR’s unique ethos finds expression in several ways. Excellence in ministry and academics are core values at BTSR. As a seminary we seek to create a tapestry where both academic and ministry threads are distinct, yet where they cooperatively enliven the training of women and men for ministry. At the core of all we do are three emphases: spiritual formation, global mission immersion, and a practical ministry focus.
A towel and basin is at the heart of the seminary. Taking our cue from Jesus washing the disciples’ feet (John 13), we strive to grow servant leaders. We have over 700 graduates serving all around the world: in local congregations, social service agencies, educational institutions, chaplaincies, on the mission field, and beyond. It is the goal of BTSR to equip every student to serve with both the practical and theological tools needed for ministry. As a symbol of the servant leadership they are being prepared for, graduates receive a personalized towel the evening before graduation, a symbol they take with them through their ministry to remind them of the importance of embracing a servant’s heart in all they do.