TBI exists, under the authority of God’s inerrant Word,
to spread a passion for the supremacy of God
in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ
by equipping men and women to treasure Christ above all things,
to grow in wisdom and knowledge over a lifetime,
and to glorify God in every sphere of life.
The ultimate goal of all that God does in history is to display his glory for the eternal enjoyment of his people. Both creation (Isaiah 43:7) and redemption (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14) have this ultimate aim in view. Our enjoyment of him above all that he has made is essential to glorifying him for all that he is. Therefore, we are called to join God in gladly glorifying God in all we do (1 Corinthians 10:31).
The glory of God shines most brightly in the glory of his Son, Jesus Christ. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Paul describes the heart of his message as “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Therefore, our passion for the glory of God makes us a gospel-permeated and cross-centered ministry. When we speak of the glory or the supremacy of God we mean the glory and the supremacy that are revealed supremely in Jesus Christ, shining most brightly through the gospel of his redeeming death and resurrection.
There are no bounds to this supremacy. Therefore, the centrality and supremacy of God in all things is the defining reality for us at Bethlehem and shapes the ethos of our life together. This vision of God and ministry and life is rooted in Scripture, and the preservation of the vision depends on our allegiance to the Bible and its preeminence in all our thinking.
Therefore, we believe that all theological and ministerial education should be radically God-centered, Christ-exalting, and Bible-saturated. It should be truth-driven rather than audience-driven. It should approach every intellectual and practical issue with the primary questions: What does this have to do with God? What does the Bible have to say about this? How can Christ be magnified in this? And how does the Gospel bear on this?
TBI is theologically-driven. One essential summary of the theological truths and practical values that defines the conviction of our leaders and governs our teaching (both at Bethlehem and in TBI) is the Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith. All elders in the church and all regular teachers in TBI embrace the truth of this Affirmation.
Our courses and seminars are designed to pass on to men, women, and teens, a vision of God, a knowledge of his Word, a love for his church, and a passion to reach out to the world’s poor and hurting with the gospel. We want to make these courses as accessible as possible by offering them on all of Bethlehem’s campuses, and providing curricula that can be used for church-based theological training in other churches or in small groups.
TBI is called an “institute” to communicate that we value the life of the mind and the careful study of Scripture. It also communicates that we are a training center, because our goal is to equip the saints to do the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12), and to love in very authentic, relevant, and practical ways. TBI exists to systematically impart biblical knowledge and practical training for Christian leadership and ministry in the 21st Century. Our passion is to teach biblical truth in such a way that our students will long to center their lives on God, to exalt Jesus Christ, to cherish his gospel above everything else, and to live out this good news in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Specifically, our goal is to target and train potential and existing leaders (lay people, Sunday school teachers, nationals, missionary candidates, missionaries, seminary students, and pastors) who will in turn equip the saints to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. We believe this is the essence of the work of the ministry and what it means to be effective witnesses of Christ to the lost. Our ultimate goal is that men, women, and children from every tribe and tongue and people and nation might joyfully magnify the infinite worth of Jesus Christ and live for the praise of God’s glory in affection, thought, word, and deed.