The Institution

Charter Granted in 1962

In 1961, Dr. Robert Witty, Pastor of Central Baptist Church, presented the need for a seminary in Jacksonville, Florida to several Southern Baptist pastors. In May 1962, Dr. Witty secured pastors who signed the charter application. On June 13, 1962, the State of Florida granted the charter. Central Baptist Church agreed to provide space and office assistance for the new institution.

Business of the Seminary was conducted until 1968 by the Board of Trustees, with Dr. Witty as Chairman. In 1970, Dr. Witty became the first full-time President. In May 1982, Dr. Gene Williams, an evangelist and former seminary professor, was appointed the second President.

In August 1988, a church building and property in Lithonia, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta) were donated to the Seminary. In June 1991, construction of new facilities began. In August 1991, the Seminary moved its main campus to this location.

In May 1992, Dr. James Bryant, a former pastor, was appointed the third President.

Dr. James Flanagan joined the institution in 1982, serving as a faculty member and later as Vice President for Academic Affairs. He served as the interim President from April 1, 1993 until May 13, 1994 at which time he was then appointed the fourth President.

Dr. Steven Steinhilber joined the Luther Rice staff in 2012, graduated with his M.Div. from Luther Rice in 2015, and served as Executive Vice President since 2016.  Dr. Steinhilber was appointed as the fifth President in July 2021.