Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, Southern Evangelical Seminary is a conservative evangelical seminary that offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees in Christian apologetics, theology, philosophy, biblical studies and more. The seminary was established in 1992 by Ross Rhoads, a former pastor of Calvary Church in Charlotte and Noran Geisler, a leading Christian apologist and theologian. Rhoads’ burden for evangelism and Geisler’s concern to defend the Faith combined in the two-fold vision of Southern Evangelical Seminary to evangelize the world and to defend the historic Christian Faith. It was officially incorporated in the State of North Carolina on January 6, 1992.
The first classes began in September of 1992. Southern Evangelical Seminary grew rapidly, attracting students from all over the United States and several other countries. From the beginning it attracted national attention by its unique program in evangelism and classical apologetics. The first graduate received his degree in 1995. Ross Rhoads was appointed as the first President of the Seminary. Norman Geisler would assume the presidency and remain in that position until 2006.
In the late summer of 2003, Southern Evangelical Seminary completed the building of its own 23,000-square-foot (2,100 m2) facility on a ten and one-half acre lot located at 3000 Tilley Morris Road, Matthews, North Carolina. In the Fall of 2004 Southern Evangelical Bible College was established to offer students the opportunity to complete an undergraduate degree. For a few years, starting in 2006 Alex McFarland, a long time friend of the seminary, was president. Alex’s blend of apologetics and evangelism was found to be a perfect fit for SES which includes both of these in its two-fold mission statement: To evangelize the world and defend the historic Christian faith.
In Spring of 2007 the Veritas Graduate School of Apologetics at SES was approved to offer the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. In the Spring of 2008, a 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) facility was added, which doubled the library, tripled the bookstore, and provided more classroom space for students in the growing residency program. The new building also houses a radio station and a state of the art studio for recording.
Richard Land, formerly noted as President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and a stalwart voice of theological and social conservatism was named president on July 1, 2013, expanding the appeal and reach of Southern Evangelical Seminary.