Christ above all earthly powers.

Applications for the first Institute of Public Theology class are now being accepted. Scroll down to learn more!

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. Jared Longshore

Vice 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

Adjunct Faculty

Travis Allen

Teaching Pastor, Grace Church

Dr. Mark Coppenger

Managing Editor, Kairos Journal

Dr. James Dolezal

Associate Professor of Theology, Cairn University

Dr. Jim Orrick

Pastor, Bullitt Lick Baptist Church

Chad Vegas

Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church

Initial Courses

Pillar and Buttress (Church History 1)

In-person attendance required

The Pastor and The Public Square

Cultural Apologetics

In-person attendance required

That The World May Know (Preaching)

Philosophy Meets The Road: Maps and Cases

The Rise and Triumph of the Ancient Ethic: Biblical Ethics in the Modern World

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 | ChristianBook.com) 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.

Application

Begin the process by filling out our online admissions application form.

Recommendations

Invite a pastor and one other reference to submit a recommendation on your behalf.

Book Review

Read No Place for Truth by David Wells and submit a book review of 2000-3000 words.

Application Fee

There is an application fee of $75.

Application Period Begins
April 1
Class Registration Opens
May 17
Applications Due
August 1
First In-Person Class Begins
August 23

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

We intend to offer classes at the rate of $300 per credit hour. The Institute is a three-year program, carefully focused track of study that can be completed with 63 credit hours. This is 20-30 hours less than more traditional seminary courses which will result in less expense than most three-year MDiv plans. Click here to stay up-to-date.

We are not offering formal degrees. Our goal is excellent training, not official recognition by any accrediting agency. Our graduates will receive a certificate declaring the completion of the course of study. Click here to stay up-to-date.

We will 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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

AUGUST 28 Convocation with Dr. Everett Piper
Save the date for a convocation with Dr. Everett Piper! This event is free and open to anyone. Registration details will be coming soon.​

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 Jared Longshore

Jared Longshore was born in Central Florida and grew up in a Christian home and church. He received the blessing of hearing the gospel of Jesus many times, trusting Christ at a young age. In college, the Lord worked in him a desire to preach and shepherd God’s people. Dr. Longshore is a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University (BA) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv and PhD).

Dr. Longshore has served multiple churches in Florida and is currently serving as the Associate Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Fla. In addition to his pastoral role, Dr. Longshore has spoken at multiple conferences across the country on the topic of Manhood and Womanhood. He has taught multiple courses through the Founders Study Center on a variety of topics, including his current courses on Christian Maturity and Christian Leadership.

Along with many online articles, Dr. Longshore has authored, edited, and contributed to multiple books, including By What Standard?, Wisdom for Kings and Queens, and Strong and Courageous. He serves as a board member and Vice President of Founders Ministries.

Dr. Longshore and his wife, Heather, have seven children.

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 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. 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. James Dolezal

James E. Dolezal is associate professor of theology in the School of Divinity at Cairn University in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. He is the author of God without Parts (Pickwick, 2011) and All That Is in God (Reformation Heritage, 2017).

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 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 Everett Piper

Author of the national best-seller, Not a Daycare: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth. Piper served as president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University for 17 years during which time he led his school from relative obscurity to a position of national recognition and influence. Piper presently serves as a contributing columnist for The Washington Times. His commentary on religion, education, leadership and politics is featured in local and national media outlets coast to coast. Piper has been a guest on FOX News Special ReportFOX and FriendsFOX Business ChannelFOX The Story with Dana Perino, the Glenn Beck ShowThe Factor with Bill O’ReillyNRA TV, the Dana Loesch ShowThe Adam Carolla ShowThe Rubin Report with Dave Rubinthe Tucker Carlson Show, The Huckabee Showand the 700 Club with Pat Robertson.  He has also provided guest commentary for dozens of talk-radio programs and has filled in as guest host for the likes of Michael Medved, Mike Gallagher and Tony Perkins.

Dr. Piper is the 2016 recipient of the Jeane Kirkpatrick Award for Academic Freedom.  His viral op-ed, This Is Not a Day Care, it’s a University, which became his second book, was featured by NBC Today as one of its top ten news stories of 2015.Piper has been a featured speaker in dozens of venues including the Values Voter Summit, the Council for National Policy, the Young American Foundation, the National Congress for Families, and the inaugural ceremony for the United States Department of Health and Human Service’s and Office of Civil Rights creation of a new division for religious freedom. Go here to listen and watch these and more.

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