A story of cooperation
The history of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary is the story of cooperation, as two Mennonite groups established ministry training programs and reached out to strengthen those programs by joining with others.
Mennonite Biblical Seminary
Mennonite Biblical Seminary (MBS), one of the two seminaries in the history of AMBS, began in Chicago in 1945. MBS students — from Canada, the U.S. and beyond North America — shared classes with Church of the Brethren students from Bethany Theological Seminary.
MBS inherited the mission of several efforts at theological education which emerged in the late 1800s among Mennonites in the central U.S. These efforts included Wadsworth (Ohio) Institute; Mennonite Seminary in Halstead, Kansas, which became Bethel College; and Witmarsum Theological Seminary, the Bible department of Bluffton University, Bluffton, Ohio.
Goshen Biblical Seminary
Goshen (Indiana) College, which began in 1894, established a Bachelor of Theology curriculum in 1933. The Bible department became Goshen Biblical Seminary (GBS) in 1946.
Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries
These two schools began an association in 1958 when MBS moved to Elkhart, Indiana. The Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries partnership continued to grow and in 1969 GBS joined MBS on the Elkhart campus. The step of incorporating as one seminary came in 1994.
Although both seminaries represented Mennonite denominations, AMBS has always welcomed students of all faiths, coming from primarily — but not necessarily — Christian traditions.
Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
Now, as Anabaptist expressions of following Jesus Christ are being discovered and reclaimed by a wide variety of people around the globe, the AMBS learning community lives into this tradition with its new name, adopted in August 2012: Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.
For more on our history, view the AMBS entry in the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO).
Partnerships and cooperation continue to be part of the story. AMBS continues cooperative efforts with the following institutions:
- Bethany Theological Seminary and Earlham School of Religion, both in Richmond, Indiana, allow students at each institution to register for courses at the other two schools while paying tuition at the home school. Learn more
- Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Students enrolled in master’s-level programs at CMU receive a 50-percent tuition discount for all online AMBS courses they take.
- Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, has a collaborative arrangement with AMBS in which Canadian students can complete a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree at Grebel and apply eligible credits toward a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree through AMBS. Occasional cross-listed courses are also offered. Learn more
- Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and AMBS offer cross-registration options for specific online courses during the academic year.
- Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, provides their Master of Divinity students with the opportunity to complete a concentration in Peace Studies at AMBS. Learn more
- Goshen (Indiana) College offers elective courses in conflict transformation. Learn more
- Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College offers an Environmental Sustainability Leadership semester for students in the MA: Theology and Peace Studies program and the Master of Divinity (MDiv) program. Learn more
In 1995, the predecessors to these two denominations adopted the shared Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective. Both denominations are also national member churches of Mennonite World Conference, which adopted seven Shared Convictions in 2006. AMBS is also one of the seminaries of the Mennonite Education Agency.