John W. Rawlings School of Divinity
Troy Temple, B.S., M.A., Ph.D.
Dean, School of Divinity
Professor of Theology and Family Ministries
Gabriel Etzel, B.S., M.A.R., M.Div., D.Min., Ph.D.
Online Dean, School of Divinity
Professor of Theology and Christian Leadership
Adam McClendon, B.A., M.Div., Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Residential Programs
Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality and New Testament
Mary Lowe, B.A., M.Ed., M.A.P.M., Ed.D.
Online Associate Dean, School of Divinity
Professor of Christian Education
Since June 2018, the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity has been an associate member of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Candidacy status with ATS was granted in February 2019. As of January 2020, the school is accredited by the Commission On Accrediting of the ATS.
A listing of program directors can be viewed on the Program Director webpage.
The John W. Rawlings School of Divinity is an outgrowth of the vision of Dr. Jerry Falwell, the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church. Dr. Falwell believed in Christian education. He believed that one of the most effective means of winning millions to Christ is by training young men and women to serve the Lord in aggressive, evangelical, soul-winning Baptist churches as pastors, staff, and members. Liberty University (then Lynchburg Baptist College) was founded in 1971 to help achieve that goal. At the heart of the college’s curriculum for all students were classes in Bible. As the college grew and reached University status, the Bible Department grew into the School of Religion, providing Bible classes for students in every major and offering majors designed to prepare men and women for vocational Christian service.
Another need, however, still existed. Professional, graduate level training was needed for graduates of Liberty University and other colleges desiring graduate theological education as preparation for ministries in churches similar to Thomas Road Baptist Church. In 1973, Lynchburg Baptist Theological Seminary was created to address that need. It began with an enrollment of 41 students with Dr. Jerry Falwell serving as President and Chancellor.
In 2015, approval was granted by Liberty University’s Board of Trustees to combine the School of Religion with the Seminary into the School of Divinity. The School of Divinity provides quality, well-rounded education, based on academic excellence, emanating from the belief that Christian education should be superior, not inferior, to that provided by other schools. The School of Divinity is committed to the principle that a person’s most effective ministry will be in conjunction with a local church, and the vision of the School of Divinity is to equip Christians to reach the entire world through aggressive New Testament church evangelism.
The John W. Rawlings School of Divinity is characterized by commitment to the core doctrines of the faith and providing significant experiences to develop practical ministry skills.
The faculty of the School of Divinity are committed to model both scholarship and practice for students. Graduates are grounded in the knowledge of God’s Word, a desire to impact the world for God’s kingdom, and the skills to engage the culture with the gospel.
Evangelism is a core value throughout the curriculum. Every faculty member and student is expected to manifest a compassion for the lost and a desire to see their salvation.
The School of Divinity is committed to the local church, and prepares graduates to enter into local church leadership positions. As such, experiential learning is essential to the School of Divinity’s programs of study.
The Mission of the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity
The John W. Rawlings School of Divinity exists to come alongside the local church to help it fulfill the Great Commission. In accordance with the mission of Liberty University and within the historic Baptist tradition, the School of Divinity provides undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate programs that train students for traditional, Christian ministry positions. The School of Divinity offers programs designed to equip people for lay ministry, global leadership, church leadership, and advanced scholarly research.
As a Christian community, the School of Divinity seeks to cultivate spiritual growth and faithful service to Christ and His church. As an academic community, the School of Divinity seeks to impart knowledge and necessary skills to men and women for service and leadership in Christian ministry. As a service community, the School of Divinity seeks to respond to the needs of local churches and Christian ministries as they participate in worship, global evangelism, discipleship, and scholarship.
Program Goals and Objectives
In keeping with its stated mission, the School of Divinity strives to achieve the following institutional goals:
We seek to provide an environment in which students are encouraged to strengthen their commitment to Christ, certify their call to service, and develop an abiding love for God and His Word.
We seek to develop a lifestyle of actively communicating the Christian faith through personal integrity, evangelistic witness, and responsible scholarship.
We seek to foster an awareness of the Christian’s responsibility to be a productive member of society and to be responsive to the needs and concerns of diverse cultures.
We seek to develop cognitive skills for ministry and scholarship through rigorous interaction with the biblical text and disciplines related to professional vocation.
We seek to provide theological, historical, and intellectual understandings necessary for a self-conscious, critical, and Christian response to the world.
We seek to develop communicative, administrative, and relational skills necessary for professional competence.
We seek to provide opportunities for students to explore the moral dimensions and ethical implications of their chosen vocation.
We seek to cultivate sensitivity to others and a concern for world evangelization through local church ministries and vigorous defense of the gospel.
We seek to develop biblical and scientific expertise in establishing, developing, and sustaining growing churches and ministries.
- Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (Ed.D.)
- Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.)
- Doctor of Philosophy in Bible Exposition (Ph.D.)
- Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical Studies (Ph.D.)
- Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Leadership (Ph.D.)
- Doctor of Philosophy in Theology & Apologetics (Ph.D.)
- Master of Arts in Applied Ministry (M.A.)
- Master of Arts in Biblical Languages (M.A.)
- Master of Arts in Biblical Studies (M.A.B.S.)
- Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics (M.A.)
- Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (M.A.C.M.)
- Master of Arts in Church Planting (M.A.)
- Master of Arts in Educational Ministries (M.A.)
- Master of Arts in Global Studies (M.A.G.S.)
- Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.)
- Master of Arts in Sports Chaplaincy (M.A.)
- Master of Arts in Theological Studies (M.A.T.S.)
- Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
- Master of Divinity in Professional Chaplaincy (M.Div.)
- Master of Religious Education (M.R.E.)
- Master of Theology (Th.M.)
- Post Graduate Certificates
Center for Apologetics & Cultural Engagement
The culture around is changing and Christians need to be prepared to defend their faith both from internal and external challenges to Christianity. To this end, the Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement partners with departments across Liberty University and with other organizations to equip students, faculty, and the wider Christian community. The Center resources Liberty University and Christians worldwide by hosting various events and featuring a website with articles and video clips from our Fellows, Liberty lecturers, and scholars from around the world.
The Center’s Distinguished Senior Fellows are Liberty faculty members from various University departments who are known as outstanding scholars in their field and have years of experience engaging the culture. These Senior Fellows take part in faculty/student engagement events, are featured in videos on our website, take part in our theological fellowships, and serve as advisors to the Center.
The Center also includes an interdisciplinary Student Fellowship Program. Student Fellows are Liberty students of various majors who have excelled academically and have the goal of leading in cultural engagement. Student Fellows have the opportunity to learn from our Senior Fellows, serve as ambassadors for the Center, and research and write in the area of apologetics and cultural engagement.
The Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement is a cooperative effort between the School of Divinity and the Seminary designed to inform and equip individuals to engage culture by addressing the biblical, theological, philosophical, and cultural questions of today’s world from a distinctively Christian worldview.
Center for Chaplaincy
The culture in which chaplains serve is progressively becoming more secular and pluralistic. Chaplains are faced with ministry challenges not previously experienced. The Center for Chaplaincy prepares students to minister effectively in the changing environment by providing exceptional education, research, publications, outreach opportunities, and strategic partnerships. Educationally, the Center develops cutting-edge curriculum to best prepare students to be biblically sound spiritual leaders and soul care providers. Further, the Center designs and conducts research to advance understanding for chaplain-care and leadership. Additionally, the Center produces and encourages scholarly chaplain publications to advance effective evangelical chaplain ministry. Furthermore, the Center organizes and promotes chaplain outreach locally and globally. Finally, the Center forms strategic partnerships across Liberty University and with other like-minded Universities and organizations to synergize education and ministry efforts.
The Center for Chaplaincy’s purpose is to educate and equip chaplain students to bear the Presence and Message of Christ wherever God calls them.
Center for Youth Ministries
The world’s youth population ages 10-24 has grown to 1.8 billion and is at a historic high. There is some estimation that 40% of the world’s population comprises all those under the age of 24. The growing trend of religious non-affiliation among young people continues to be a concern to pastors, youth pastors, parents, and churches. This demographic is one of the greatest mission fields in the world, not to mention that many countries’ definition of “youth” is expanding upward to the age of 39.
The Center for Youth Ministries partners with departments across the university to assist local churches, pastors, youth pastors, and parents with resources to help understand the culture of youth in the world in which they live. The Center also seeks to help equip students who are training for youth ministry, as well as those who currently serve youth in ministry, by providing training in a co-curricular effort alongside the Department of Christian Leadership and Church Ministries.
The Center for Youth Ministries exists to recruit, equip, and network those called to youth work, in both the local church and youth organizations, to carry out the Great Commission to students and their families.
Programs of Study
The programs of the School of Divinity are open equally to all men and women who meet the entrance requirements. Our purpose is to provide educational experiences for personal enrichment or professional training. We encourage the students to be all they can for God, and we are confident He will direct them to places of service. However, it is important for our students to know that we are a training agency not an ordaining agency. Ordination is the responsibility of a local church or, in some cases, a denominational body, each of which has its own criteria.
Evaluation of Transfer Credits
Credit toward the master’s-level Divinity degrees (excluding the Th.M.) will be given for those courses taken at an institution in which a grade of C- or better was earned and which are equivalent to courses offered at the School of Divinity. Course work must have been completed no more than ten years prior to application of transfer of credit. Transfer credit into either the Th.M. or D.Min. program is limited to six hours in which the student has received a grade of B- or better. For the Th.M., course work must have been completed no more than 10 years prior to application of transfer of credit. For the D.Min., course work must have been completed no more than seven (7) years prior to application of transfer of credit. Internship credit is not transferable.
Only courses and degrees from institutions accredited by accrediting agencies recognized by the Department of Education will be evaluated for transfer credit. (e.g., SACSCOC, TRACS, ABHE, etc).
Credits from a prior degree on the same academic level earned through Liberty University are considered transfer credits.
John W. Rawlings School of Divinity Graduate Programs Advanced Placement
Liberty University undergraduate School of Divinity students admitted to the graduate School of Divinity may petition the Graduate Transcript Evaluation Office for permission to substitute advanced electives for select foundational courses that are a significant duplication of course content covered in similar courses taken by the student at the undergraduate level. Advanced Placement can be applied if petition meets the following criteria:
- Advanced Placement based on completed coursework will be able to Liberty University graduates only.
- Liberty University students may only request Advanced Placement for 300-400 level undergraduate courses taken at Liberty University in the specific subject area.
- These 300-400 level courses must have been passed with a grade of B or higher.
- Only the courses below are available for Advanced Placement substitution:
Course List Code Title Hours CHHI 520 History of Christianity I 3 CHHI 525 History of Christianity II 3 HOMI 500 Preparation of the Sermon 3 NBST 515 New Testament Orientation I 3 NBST 520 New Testament Orientation II 3 NGRK 505 Greek Language Tools 3 NGRK 525 Beginning Greek II 3 OBST 515 Old Testament Orientation I 3 OBST 520 Old Testament Orientation II 3 OTCL 505 Hebrew Language Tools 3 OTCL 520 Beginning Hebrew I 3 OTCL 525 Beginning Hebrew II 3 THEO 525 Systematic Theology I 3 THEO 530 Systematic Theology II 3
- If approved, student must take electives in the discipline(s) of the Advanced Placement substitution (Example: approved CHHI 520 History of Christianity I (3 c.h.) substitution, student must take elective with a CHHI prefix).
- Students who earned the bachelor’s degree at another institution must take the Institutional Challenge Exam (ICE exam) in order to qualify for Advanced Placement.
Institutional Challenge Examinations (ICE)
To apply for credit by examination, other than Advanced Placement, a student must submit a formal request. Residential students must submit requests to the School of Divinity; online students must submit requests to the ICE Coordinator. Each ICE attempt incurs non-refundable fees which are noted in the Fees chart of the Expenses and Financial Policy section. ICE requests are subject to the following guidelines:
- The majority of the course work for any program of study must be earned through Liberty University. Each program specifies the minimum number of hours which must be completed through Liberty. ICE credit hours do not count toward this minimum.
- The minimum passing score for graduate Institutional Challenge Exams is a B minus according to the grading scale in use at the time the exam is taken.
- A passed ICE is awarded a grade of “P” (passing) and does not count toward the student’s grade point average.
- A student may not take the Institutional Challenge Exam if the course has previously been taken or is currently being taken.
- ICE may only be attempted once per course.
- ICE may not be taken during the drop/add period.
- ICE credit may only apply to the following courses:
Course List Code Title Hours CHHI 520 History of Christianity I 3 CHHI 525 History of Christianity II 3 NBST 515 New Testament Orientation I 3 NBST 520 New Testament Orientation II 3 NGRK 505 Greek Language Tools 3 NGRK 520 Beginning Greek I 3 NGRK 525 Beginning Greek II 3 OBST 515 Old Testament Orientation I 3 OBST 520 Old Testament Orientation II 3 OTCL 505 Hebrew Language Tools 3 OTCL 520 Beginning Hebrew I 3 OTCL 525 Beginning Hebrew II 3 THEO 525 Systematic Theology I 3 THEO 530 Systematic Theology II 3
Degree Candidacy is granted when the student completes all prerequisites and is in good academic standing.