Great Plains Baptist Divinity School was established in 1977 and originally called Great Plains Baptist College. In 1989 the governors determined that graduate level training in the historic Baptist faith which honored Jesus Christ in all programs and procedures was desired by churches of like faith and practice.

The School is a completely local church Bible school where we can offer some of the advantages which other institutes might afford. It is less expensive (tuition free, due to being supported by churches of like faith and having teachers who give their time without charge); fully intertwined with the local church; has smaller classes offering better opportunity for personal involvement, and practical training by pastors, missionaries, and associates active and skilled in the ministry. We are like a family with an atmosphere of close concern for each other. Our purpose is to help develop real spiritual character, while biblically and academically training students for service in churches holding to the New Testament historic Baptist faith and practice.

Great Plains Baptist Divinity School was established and still remains under the total autonomy of the Empire Baptist Temple. Ronald L. Tottingham, PhD, LitD, STD, long-time pastor, educator, author, and military & corrections chaplain is the founder and current chancellor of GPBDS. He is well known throughout the United States and mission fields abroad and in several circles besides the ministry. Pastor Tottingham established (1974) and pastored for over three decades the Empire Baptist Temple, one of the largest unaffiliated Baptist churches in the Dakotas. The church maintains several ministries throughout the Sioux Empire, some reaching around the globe.

The school holds to those old-fashioned tenets and traditions that true Baptists have believed, held, and promoted since the New Testament Baptist Church was founded by Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. We believe that "whatsoever the Holy Scriptures say is so," and regard them as the full and final authority for all faith and practice.

This school will NOT be known as Calvinist or Armenian. We are an unaffiliated historic Baptist school. Our doctrinal position is not based upon the philosophies of the theologians, but upon the eternal Word of God. We believe that doctrinal soundness and church planting should be the heartbeat of all New Testament Baptist Churches.

Great Plains Baptist Divinity School is a ministry of Empire Baptist Temple, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which authorizes and administers all aspects of the school, and is financially supported voluntarily by other churches of like faith and practice.


Recognition and Accreditation
Yearly Format
Immersion Ministry