Providing an education through online technology gives ILT the freedom to have a diverse Lutheran faculty and student body from around the world, while keeping tuition rates and overhead costs low. Work towards your degree at your pace and still have the ability to work a full-time job and stay active in your own congregation.


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Dennis Bielfeldt, Ph.D.


(605) 692-9337


In 2018 the Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT) received initial institutional accreditation from the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE). Since ABHE-accredited institutions are recognized by both the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the US Department of Education (USDE), the ILT degree or certificate is a very significant academic achievement and credential.

ILT began with the hope of establishing a house of studies that would again presuppose the “hermeneutic of the Lutheran Reformation.” It began without funds, but with hope that God would find a way actually to accomplish the training of the next generations of faithful Lutheran preachers and teachers. Looking back, I can see now that we were very bold. We lived by the hope that ILT could grow and develop, and thus boldly created new programs and structures.

Our first academic program, defined in 2009, was the Pastoral Ministry Certificate (PMC). We subsequently developed a Master of Divinity, a Master of Sacred Theology, a Master of Arts in Religion, and a Doctor of Ministry degree. We were bold to think we could do this because of a hope that Christ had gifted to us.

In the 2019-2020 catalog there are many new programs, e.g., a Life in Christ Certificate, a Master of Ministry, a Master of Military Chaplaincy, and, most significantly, a Ph.D. program. We have, from the beginning, believed that the development of competent and faithful pastors depends profoundly on having competent and faithful professors to teach them.

We are bold to think that we can train future, faithful professors here at ILT. Since we believed that we had the faculty, the library and the technology to develop a first-class Ph.D. program, we were bold last year to ask ABHE for a substantive change in programming. They granted it. Stay tuned for more boldness to come!

Some believe that boldness is a type of edginess. We are OK with being called “edgy.” We do things in new ways and teach profoundly the great Christian intellectual tradition to students who have not heard or can no longer remember. Our common past has become “edgy” because of the forgetfulness of our present. But the study of the past entices students to escape the tyranny of their present. We are humbled to have a bold calling in presenting students with common remembering. May all our students be bold in their studies!

In Christ,

Dennis Bielfeldt, Ph.D.

Institutional Learning Outcomes

ILT graduates will understand Scripture, as centered in Jesus Christ, in its historical and cultural contexts, as well as discern its implications within the contemporary cultural contexts in which they live and serve.

ILT graduates will distinguish among differing theological perspectives, exhibiting openness in theological adjudication and interaction as all are brought beneath Christ and his cross.

ILT graduates will learn the skills to live their Christian vocations in a manner that is biblically faithful, theologically sound, and culturally relevant.

ILT graduates will be equipped to propose innovative solutions to traditional and emerging problems through diverse fields of study in the light of God’s Word.

ILT graduates will exhibit lifelong Christian discipleship by seeking truth and participating ethically in learning communities.


The Institute of Lutheran Theology is committed to institutional transparency. In an effort to be transparent and to share important information with potential students and donors, ILT makes institutional information available to the public on its website. The Consumer Info page gives information concerning student retention, graduation, and debt rates as well as other information relevant to learning about how ILT operates.

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