Thank you for taking the time to read this short introduction to John Leland Baptist College. It is intended to provide some initial information about the College. In particular, it discusses the need for a college like John Leland, how the college operates, and how pastors of supporting churches will help oversee the affairs of the college.  And finally, we trust that you will sense our burden for John Leland College and see just how important and worthwhile this undertaking is for the young people of our Baptist churches.
What we are attempting to build here at John Leland is a fully accredited four-year college and graduate school that will offer something for all the young people of our independent Baptist churches and others who may be led to study here.  As such, the college will teach courses in subjects other than the Bible and will offer degrees in fields like History and Music. At present, our non-ministerial young people have two options concerning a college education: 1) they can choose a secular college or university with all its evolutionary indoctrination and ungodliness; or 2) they can choose from one of the many Arminian Baptist colleges with all their doctrinal error. While we do share considerable common ground with our Arminian brethren and wish them no ill, they have little or no appreciation for the Doctrines of Grace within a moderate Calvinistic framework--such as we hold here. Therefore, neither of these alternatives are viable options for our young people wishing to pursue a college education. Presently, I know of no college that holds to our Baptist beliefs which offer any career choices for our non-ministerial young people.

It should be noted that virtually every other denomination, regardless of their size, has at least one fully-accredited college or university for its young people—AND WE HAVE NONE! We desperately need a college where any or all of our young people can go and prepare for the career they believe God is leading them into.

We appreciate and support the work of every sound Bible College and Institute, and like them, John Leland will be first and foremost committed to helping young men and women prepare for Christian ministry. However, some of our church schools are limited in the courses they can offer, and many of our young people are interested in more advanced studies in the languages, history, and theology. Presently, there is little to pick from in the way of Graduate Schools and Seminaries. John Leland Baptist College was started to help fill that need.
We firmly believe that pastors and missionaries should be well-grounded in the Word of God. Certainly, every God-called preacher should prepare for the ministry even if it is not in the formal setting of a college classroom, but what better way is there to prepare than in a structured classroom setting under ordained Baptist preachers who have acquired expertise in different areas of the Bible. Our Lord himself set the precedent for formal training by spending three full years preparing twelve men to carry out his work.
Plans for the college began in 2003 under the authority of the Seventh Street Baptist Church in Cannelton, Indiana and continued under Bethel Baptist Church, Williams, Indiana. In 2011 the oversight of the college was transferred to the Grace Baptist Church of Georgetown, KY and operates as a mission endeavor of Grace Baptist Church. However, given the nature and work of an institution of higher learning, the college will work in conjunction with a governing Board of Trustees composed of the Pastors of financially supporting Baptist churches. These trustees will help oversee and direct the affairs of the college in which Grace Baptist Church will respect the majority opinion of the Trustees in matters such as faculty appointments and curriculum. With this kind of cooperation, we can build and maintain a college that truly reflects the combined wisdom and leadership of our Baptist fellowship. 
Currently, the college stationary and other literature carries the motto “The Tradition Begins.”  The tradition we will establish at Leland is a college that offers the highest level of Biblical and academic scholarship—in which the pursuit of truth in all its forms is our supreme goal. God places a very high premium on learning and knowledge—just read the Book of Proverbs, and He is honored through the careful study of his word and even of his creation in Science and Mathematics.  There is no other field of study more worthy of our time and energy than the study of God’s word. In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Therefore, we will make no apologies for the rigorous study of the history, languages, and theology of the word of God. No matter what major a student pursues at John Leland he or she will receive an education in and through the Holy Scriptures.
John Leland Baptist College is all about learning to better prepare ourselves to serve Christ and advance the cause of his Church. The Bible says that “fools hate knowledge” (Prov. 1.22) and that “Instruction” and “knowledge” are to be chosen above silver and choice gold (Prov. 8.10). We could quote dozens more; however, one would think that with all these “Divine” pronouncements in favor of education, Baptist people, who are known for being “people of the Book,” would put a higher premium on learning. Unfortunately, many in our Fellowship do not! By diminishing the pursuit of knowledge, we are showing our disdain for one third of the “First and Great Commandment.” Jesus said “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matt. 22.37). Tragically, I’m finding more and more preachers and pastors who have virtually no appreciation for this “aspect” of loving God. We love God with “all our minds” by applying our minds not only to the study of his Word but to the study of the entire creation and history of civilization. The hand of the Lord is seen virtually everywhere in Biology to Mathmatics, in Physics to History, in Geography to Music—to name a few! Anything our infinite God has had a part in is worthy of our investigation and study. In fact, the study of his creation and work among men is one of the chief ways to honor and glorify the Lord! May God help us all to love Him more with all our hearts, and with all our souls, and with all our minds!

Needless to say, an undertaking as we have presented here can only be accomplished with the cooperative leadership and support of our churches. In chapter three of the Book of Nehemiah, it is recorded that Nehemiah presented to the people his burden to rebuild the gates and walls of Jerusalem, and the Lord used it to convince the very men and women whose help he needed. It is our prayer that the Lord will use this short presentation to convince you of the need of a school like John Leland and that you will join us in our effort to rise up and build a college for all the young people of our Baptist churches.

We are seeking the financial support and help of our sister churches. I ask that you will share this introductory letter about John Leland with other leaders of your church and discuss the possibility of helping us to establish a college for our young people. I would be happy to present the work of the college to your church. Please contact me and arrange a date.  Again, I thank you for your time and look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely and in Christ,
William Van Nunen, Dean
John Leland Baptist College







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