Christ above all earthly powers.

Applications are now being accepted for Philosophy Meets the Road with Dr. Mark Coppenger!

The Institute of Public Theology was established to help equip pastors and Christian leaders to wield the sword of the Spirit effectively in the world which God has created.

Founding Faculty

Dr. Tom Ascol

President, Founders Ministries

Dr. Voddie Baucham

Dean of Theology, African Christian University

Dr. Tom Nettles

Retired Professor of Historical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Full-Time Faculty

Dr. Scott Callaham

Dean, Institute of Public Theology

Adjunct Faculty

Travis Allen

Teaching Pastor, Grace Church

Dr. Richard Barcellos

Pastor, Grace Reformed Baptist Church

Dr. Mark Coppenger

Managing Editor, Kairos Journal

Dr. Ben C. Dunson

Editor-in-Chief, American Reformer

Dr. Conrad Mbewe

Founding Chancellor, African Christian University

Dr. Jim Orrick

Pastor, Bullitt Lick Baptist Church

Dr. James Renihan

President, IRBS Theological Seminary

Dr. David Schrock

Pastor, Occoquan Bible Church

Dr. Carl Trueman

Professor of Biblical & Religious Studies, Grove City College

Chad Vegas

Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church

Rev. Dr. Tim Yates

Academic Dean, China Reformed Theological Seminary

Upcoming Courses

Natural World & Theology

Ministry of Worship

English Composition II (COMP 112)

How to Apply

Applications to IOPT can be made at any time. Once a complete application is submitted, the admissions board will review it and respond. The application process takes time so the sooner an application is received before a given semester, the more likely that the applicant, if accepted, will begin courses in the forthcoming semester.

The application process for full-time students involves three parts.

First, the applicant must complete the admissions application. Second, two recommendations for the applicant must be submitted (one must be the pastor of the applicant). Third, the applicant must read No Place for Truth by David Wells (Ligonier | WTS Books | and submit a book review of 2,000 to 3,000 words. Please follow the Chicago Manual of Style. There is an application fee of $75.

A review of a given application will not begin until all three parts of the application have been received by IOPT. Applicants can expect to hear back from the admissions board within approximately one month of the entire application being submitted.

Applications are also accepted for those who desire to audit a class. The process includes an abbreviated application, short questionnaire, and simplified pastoral recommendation. Please go here to begin the application to audit a course.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did Founders start this project?

From its inception in 1983, Founders has been committed to the recovery of the gospel and the reformation of local churches. Today, the great challenge facing gospel ministers and the churches they serve is carrying out the great commission and the great commandment in the face of increasingly hostile worldviews without being intimidated, indoctrinated, or inhibited. The Institute of Public Theology aims to train a coming generation of pastors and Christians to know the times, preach the Word, believe the Word, and do the Word. Click here to stay up-to-date.

Is this a seminary?

It is similar in some ways but has been designed without many of the limitations that tend to govern the modern seminary approach to theological education. We are committed to academic excellence, theological integrity, and to teaching the core curriculum that is common to the best seminaries. We will not, however, teach classes that are not germane to rigorous, Christian living and ministry. Nor have we built the scope and sequence of our classes to satisfy any secular accrediting agency. Our goal is excellent, God-honoring instruction by godly, qualified men who have blood mixed with their convictions. That is, their lives and ministries demonstrate that they have more than a theoretical commitment to the truth that they teach. They are unapologetically committed to a biblical worldview and will teach their subject in a way that encourages faithful Christian living and ministry in a pagan society. Click here to stay up-to-date.

How much does this cost?

We offer all of our classes at $300 per credit hour. This rate compares favorably with many theological training institutions, and we strongly encourage IOPT students to request tuition support from their churches.

Are there any scholarship opportunities?

IOPT will match your church’s donation up to 50% of the tuition cost (IOPT will cover a maximum of $450 per class). For example, if your church donates $300 for your class, IOPT will match that $300 and you will only be personally responsible for the last $300. If you have any questions or would like to participate in this program, please email us at

What types of degrees do you offer?

Starting in 2023, IOPT offers the following degree opportunities:

  • Graduate Certificate in Public Theology
  • Graduate Certificate in Biblical Exposition
  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Theology
  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Arts in Public Theology

Visit our Academics page to learn more!

What types of classes will you offer?

We offer courses in biblical languages, systematic theology, ethics, philosophy, historical theology, exegesis, cultural apologetics, logic/rhetoric, political theology, and pastoral ministry. Click here to stay up-to-date. 

Are these classes going to be transferrable?

From the earliest years of the Founders Online Training Center (which began offering courses more than twenty years ago) various seminaries have granted credit to students who have taken courses with us. These seminaries have sought us out based on the quality of instruction received by our students. We will provide proper documentation for courses completed to any student who seeks to transfer them to another institution. Click here to stay up-to-date.

Is this online or in-person training?

Courses will be taught both in person and via electronic transmission. Students who enroll to complete the full coursework will be expected to attend two in-person, week-long courses per year in Cape Coral, Florida. Click here to stay up-to-date.

Is this only available for prospective pastors?

No. The curriculum is designed for pastors and pastoral candidates, but classes will be available for other serious-minded Christians who are accepted into the Institute. Click here to stay up-to-date.

How do I audit a course?

Applications for those who desire to audit a class are accepted. The process includes an abbreviated application, short questionnaire, and simplified pastoral recommendation. Click here to apply to audit a class.

The application fee for auditing courses is $50, and the tuition is $400 per course.

I am not a native speaker of English and I live outside of the U.S. Can I apply to IOPT?

Yes. We require a 79 on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) for international students who (1) are not native speakers of English, and (2) did not earn a bachelor’s or higher-level degree from a U.S. institution.

Please note that IOPT does not yet offer full-time resident student programs, therefore we cannot help a prospective student apply for an F-1 student visa.

About Tom Ascol

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.

Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry and Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous.

Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website. He and Donna have six children along with three sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have fourteen grandchildren. 

About Voddie Baucham

Voddie Baucham wears many hats. He is a husband, father, former pastor, author, professor, conference speaker, church planter, and a board member for Founders Ministries. He currently serves as Dean of Theology at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia.

Dr. Baucham’s area of emphasis is Cultural Apologetics. Whether teaching on classical apologetic issues like the validity and historicity of the Bible, or the resurrection of Christ; or teaching on biblical manhood/womanhood, marriage and family, he helps ordinary people understand the significance of thinking and living biblically in every area of life.

It is impossible to understand his approach to the Bible without first understanding the path he has walked. Raised in a non-Christian, single-parent home, he did not hear the gospel until he was in college. His journey to faith was a very unusual and intellectual one. Consequently, he understands what it means to be a skeptic, and knows what it’s like to try to figure out the Christian life without relying on the traditions of men. As a result, he speaks to ‘outsiders’ in ways few Bible teachers can.

Dr. Baucham holds degrees from Houston Baptist University (BA in Christianity/BA in Sociology), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (D.Min.), an honorary degree from Southern California Seminary (D.D.), and additional post-graduate study at the University of Oxford, England (Regent’s Park College).

Dr. Baucham and his wife, Bridget, have been married since 1989, have nine children and are committed home educators.

About Tom Nettles

Tom Nettles was born in Brandon, Mississippi to a loving, Christian family. He was raised in a godly church throughout his entire life. Although he had an earlier profession of faith, Tom came to Christ during his first year of seminary while leading singing during a revival meeting in Perrin, Texas.

Dr. Nettles is a graduate of Mississippi College (BA) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv and PhD). He is widely regarded as one of the foremost Baptist historical theologians in America.

Dr. Nettles has served on staff at four churches starting in 1965 and has taught seminary since January 1976. Tom has most recently served as the Professor of Historical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he was Professor of Church History and Chair of the Department of Church History. Prior to that, he taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.

Along with numerous journal articles and scholarly papers, Dr. Nettles is the author or editor of fifteen books. Among his books are By His Grace and For His Glory; Baptists and the Bible; James Petigru Boyce: A Southern Baptist Statesman; and Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles H. Spurgeon.

Dr. Nettles and his wife, Margaret, have three children and five grandchildren.

About Dr. Scott Callaham

Scott N. Callaham is Dean of the Institute of Public Theology. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy (Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy in Old Testament). He is the lead editor of World Mission: Theology, Strategy, and Current Issues, as well as the author of Biblical Aramaic for Biblical Interpreters in both English and Chinese. Dr. Callaham has served as a pastor, chaplain, cross-cultural international missionary, conference speaker, Bible translator, and seminary professor. He has written book chapters and journal articles spanning Hebrew grammar and syntax, biblical theology, preaching, pastoral ministry, missions, worship, and songwriting. He is the host of the Daily Dose of Aramaic podcast and a composer of Chinese worship music for congregational singing.

About Travis Allen

Raised in Golden, Colo., Travis joined the military in 1988, where God regenerated him to new life and faith in Christ. Travis was educated for pastoral ministry (The College at Southeastern, B.A.; The Master’s Seminary, M.Div.), and further prepared by working at Grace to You and ministering at Grace Community Church.

Travis is now the teaching pastor at Grace Church, where he equips the saints for the work of ministry. His aim is to proclaim Jesus Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so he may do his part in presenting everyone mature in Christ.

He met and married Melinda in 1993, and God has given them five wonderful children.

About Dr. Richard Barcellos

Dr. Richard Barcellos received a B.S. from California State University, Fresno, an M.Div. from The Master’s Seminary, and a Th.M. and Ph.D. from Whitefield Theological Seminary. Dr. Barcellos is pastor of Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Palmdale, CA. He is author of Trinity & CreationThe Covenant of Works, and Getting the Garden Right. He has contributed articles to various journals and is a member of ETS.

About Dr. Mark Coppenger

Mark Coppenger is a former professor of Christian Apologetics at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, senior pastor of Evanston Baptist Church in Illinois, director of Baptist Collegiate Ministries at Chicago’s Northwestern University, and managing editor of Kairos Journal.

He holds degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Vanderbilt University (Ph.D.).

About Dr. Ben C. Dunson

Ben C. Dunson is the Editor-in-Chief of American Reformer, an online journal of Christian social commentary. He is also a Visiting Professor of New Testament at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Greenville, SC, and a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America. He lives in the northern suburbs of Dallas, Texas, with his wife and four boys.

About Conrad Mbewe

Conrad Mbewe has served as pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church since 1987. He is a graduate of the University of Zambia, the Cape Town Baptist Seminary, and the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Missions. He is the founding Chancellor of the African Christian University. He is a blogger and an author. His latest book is God’s Design for the Church (Crossway, 2020). He is also the editor of the Reformation Zambia magazine.

He is married to Felistas and they have 6 adult children, and 4 grandchildren.

About Dr. Jim Orrick

Jim Orrick, Ph.D., is pastor of the Bullitt Lick Baptist Church, author of Mere Calvinism and Seven Thoughts that Every Christian Ought to Think Every Day: Laying a Foundation for a Life of Prayer.

About David Schrock

David Schrock is the pastor for preaching and theology at Occoquan Bible Church in Woodbridge, Virginia. David is a two-time graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a founding faculty member and professor of theology at Indianapolis Theology Seminary. David is the author of Royal Priesthood and Glory of God along with many journal articles and online essays, specializing in both systematic and biblical theology. He blogs at Via Emmaus, and is editor-in-chief at Christ Over All. David and his wife, Wendy, have three sons and one daughter.

About Dr. Carl Trueman

Carl Trueman is a professor of humanities at Grove City College in Pennsylvania.  Born in Dudley, UK,  he has previously been a faculty member at the Universities of Nottingham and Aberdeen (UK) and Westminster Theological Seminary (PA). He was also formerly Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Ambler, Pa. He enjoys running, listening to rock/classical music, and doing what his wife tells him.

About Chad Vegas

Chad is the founding pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in Bakersfield, Calif. After completing his MA at Talbot School of Theology, and serving as a pastor at RiverLakes Community Church, Chad was called to plant Sovereign Grace. He is also the founding board chairman of Radius International, an organization that trains people to plant churches among unreached language groups. He has been married to Teresa since 1994, and they have 2 children.

About Rev. Dr. Tim Yates

Rev. Dr. Tim Yates, Academic Dean (2009-present) and Dean of M.A. Biblical Counseling (2002-present) at China Reformed Theological Seminary, Taipei, Taiwan. BS Biblical Studies/BA Counseling, Geneva College, M.Div. 1989, D.Min. Counseling 1997 (project on illustrating the relationships between systematic theology and counseling) , Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, PA. He graduated with his PhD in Theology-Apologetics at NorthWest University with his thesis entitled Adapting Westminster’s Moral Law Motif to Integrate Systematic Theology, Apologetics and Pastoral Practice about how a lex Christi framework integrates practical theology, engages worldviews, and critiques psychology. Dr Yates has published one book (completely revised second edition, 2024) Westminster Foundations: God’s Glory as an Integrating Perspective on Reformed Theology, also published in Chinese. Married 40 years to Barbara, with seven children (four daughters and oldest son are married) and eight grandchildren.

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Join us in Southwest Florida on September 6, to hear from Dr. Tom Ascol and to celebrate IOPT's first set of graduates!
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