Free Theological University of Giessen

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Free Theological University of Giessen (FTH)
motto Bible-based, scientific, practical
founding 2008 (1974 as FTA)
Sponsorship Association for evangelical theology and training
place to water
state Hesse
country Germany
Rector Stephan Holthaus
Students 173 WS 2019/20
Employee 22 (including 16 FTE )
including professors 10

The Free Theological University Gießen (FTH) (formerly Free Theological Academy (FTA)) is a state-recognized theological university in Gießen with an evangelical character. With 180 full-time students, it is one of the largest evangelically-oriented theological training institutions in German-speaking countries.

The FTH describes itself as "true to the Bible , scientific and practical" and works within the framework of the Evangelical Alliance . The students come from various regional and free churches . Many graduates (over 1000 so far) become full-time employees in free churches or regional church communities , others work as missionaries , Bible school teachers, theological lecturers or in similar professions (currently in over 40 countries).

General information

The FTH was founded in Seeheim in 1974 as FTA by the founding rector Cleon Rogers jun. founded. In 1975 she was granted study grants ( BAföG ) by the Ministry of Science in Hesse according to the Church Professions Ordinance. In 1981 she moved to Rathenaustraße in Giessen. After moving to Schiffenberger Weg between 1986 and 2001, their campus is now back on Rathenaustraße. The rector was Helge Stadelmann from 1994 to 2015 . Stephan Holthaus took over the rectorate in 2016 .

Studies and degrees

The main building of the Free Theological University

In addition to the six sub-disciplines of theology, it offers “Islamic Studies” and “Philosophy” as related sciences.

The range of courses includes two modularized courses in Protestant theology - a six-semester BA (180 ECTS points) and a consecutive four-semester MA (120 ECTS points). External study achievements in related sciences can be credited up to an amount of 20 ECTS.

Entry requirements are the general higher education entrance qualification or other access authorizations according to the Hessian Higher Education Act (§ 54 HHG). The FTH is currently not authorized to award the doctoral degree . According to the Science Council , the FTH Gießen "primarily trains pastoral staff for its own church"; the “theological work” is “focused on the requirements of free church parish practice”.

According to the resolution of the Protestant-theological faculty convention of October 2010, study achievements at accredited universities in free-church or independent sponsorship for the course for the First Theological Exam / Magister Theologiae are generally and generally not recognized. In individual cases, comparable written performances can be classified as equivalent.

Accreditation process

Institution and courses

In April 2004 an application was made to the Ministry of Science in Hesse for state recognition (accreditation) as a university. The Science Council published on 8 May 2008 an opinion on the accreditation of the FTH (formerly FTA). In it, the relevant working group of the Science Council stated that teaching and research at the FTH correspond to the scientific standards of a university, and recommended that the State of Hesse examine the desired “intermediate position between university and technical college”. The Science Council granted institutional accreditation for five years. 17 of the 18 members of the Scientific Council's working group voted for accreditation.

On October 1, 2008, the State of Hesse issued the university permit for five years and in November 2010 declared it to be a “state-recognized university”. After the courses were accredited on May 18, 2010 by the Agency for Quality Assurance through the Accreditation of Study Programs ( AQAS e.V. ) for five years, the two courses in Protestant theology (Bachelor of Arts / Master of Arts ) were reaccredited on May 24, 2016 ) for another seven years (until 2022). On October 28, 2013, the Science Council granted institutional reaccreditation for a period of three years. After the fulfillment of the requirements was determined on March 11, 2015, the reaccreditation was valid until 2018 and was granted in April 2018 for a further five years.


In 2010 the FTH was awarded its first professorships by the State of Hesse. Armin Daniel Baum received a W-2 professorship for New Testament Studies and Heiko Frank Wenzel an interdisciplinary professorship for Old Testament and Islamic Studies . The professorship for practical theology, newly established in 2012, is held by Helge Stadelmann . Christoph Raedel and Friedemann Walldorf were appointed to the professorships for systematic theology and the history of theology and for missiology and intercultural theology, newly established in the 2014 summer semester . With Ulrike Treusch's appointment to the newly established chair for historical theology, all theological departments were covered by a full professorship in research and teaching for the 2014/2015 winter semester. In 2015 Stephan Holthaus took over the newly established professorship for Christian ethics and apologetics with a focus on business ethics, in 2017 Christof Sauer took over the "Endowed Chair for Religious Freedom and Research into the Persecution of Christians", in 2019 Carsten Ziegert another professorship for the Old Testament and Philipp Bartholomä holds a professorship for practical theology with a focus on community development.


In the course of the accreditation process, the FTH changed its commitment and thus fulfilled one of the requirements of the Science Council for freedom of research, in whose report it says:

“The FTA is still committed to the divine inspiration of Holy Scripture, its complete reliability and highest authority in all questions of faith and conduct of life” and underlines its respect for and love for the Bible as a prerequisite for evangelical theology. An unconditional adherence to the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures, as it is asserted in the so-called Chicago Declaration on the inerrancy of the Bible, is no longer understood by the FTA as an exclusive standard for the interpretation of Scripture. The FTA has thus created the necessary prerequisites for scientific work and a scientific interpretation of the Bible at the FTA. "

- Statement on the accreditation of the Free Theological Academy Gießen (FTA), p. 50

The new confession of the FTH is also based on documents such as the confession of Westminster and describes the Bible as an error-free word of God in the linguistic and historical human word. From the FTH's point of view, this also expresses its long-standing reading of the Chicago Declaration . It is not appropriate "to measure Scripture by standards of truth and error which are alien to its historical origin and purpose" (from Article 13).

The FTH recognizes the Apostles' Creed and the principles of the Evangelical Alliance . She professes to believe in the inspiration, inerrancy and human form of the Bible and advocates historical, literary and philological research into the biblical scriptures in order to do justice to the respective historical contexts, the personalities of the biblical writers and the various literary genres of the biblical texts . In addition, it is based on documents such as the Lausanne Commitment of 1974, which calls on Christians to break out of their “ecclesiastical ghettos”, to work for the evangelization of non-Christian areas of society and also to live up to their social responsibility.


60% of the funding comes from donations and 20% from tuition fees and rental income. As a private university, the FTH does not receive any government or church grants. Organizationally, the FTH is subordinate to the Association for Evangelical Theology and Education (FTA eV), which also has a specialist bookshop on the site, the Institute for Ethics & Values and the Institute for Israelogy .



  • Philipp Bartholomä: Practical Theology
  • Armin Daniel Baum : New Testament (Head of Department and Vice Rector for Research)
  • Stephan Holthaus : Ethics and apologetics with a focus on business ethics (Rector)
  • Christoph Raedel : Systematic Theology and History of Theology (Head of Department)
  • Christof Sauer : Religious Freedom and Research into the Persecution of Christians
  • Helge Stadelmann : Practical Theology (Head of Department)
  • Ulrike Treusch: Historical Theology (Head of Department)
  • Friedemann Walldorf : Mission Studies and Intercultural Theology (Head of Department)
  • Heiko Frank Wenzel : Old Testament
  • Carsten Ziegert: Old Testament

Honorary professors

University lecturers

  • Stephen Beck: Practical Theology
  • Meiken Buchholz: Mission Studies and Intercultural Theology
  • Walter Hilbrands : Old Testament (Head of Department and Dean)
  • Carsten Polanz : Islamic Studies
  • Cleon Rogers III: Old Testament and Semitic Languages
  • Jan Carsten Schnurr: Historical Theology
  • Berthold Schwarz: Systematic Theology
  • Joel White: New Testament


The extended college

Unscheduled professors and visiting scholars also teach. A “Dean of Students” is available for personal development, and another employee is available for mentoring .

See also


  • Reinhard Scheerer: Confessing Christians in the Protestant Churches in Germany 1966–1991. History and shape of a conservative evangelical awakening. Haag and Herchen, Frankfurt am Main 1997, ISBN 3-86137-560-5 .
  • Friedhelm Jung: The German Evangelical Movement. Baselines of their history and theology. (Zugl .: Marburg, Univ., Diss., 1991) 3rd, extended edition, Verlag für Kultur und Wissenschaft, Bonn 2001, ISBN 3-932829-21-2 .

Web links

Commons : Freie Theologische Hochschule Gießen  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  2. Hessian State Statistical Office: The students at the universities in Hesse in the winter semester 2019/20, reference number B III 1 / S - WS 2019/20, November 2019
  3. a b c Basis of the FTH , accessed on April 11, 2018.
  4. See statement by the Wissenschaftsrat , p. 12 (PDF file; 219 kB), accessed on April 11, 2018.
  5. See statement of the Science Council (PDF; 834 kB), p. 26, accessed on April 11, 2018.
  6. Resolution 3 of the plenary assembly 2010: Recognition of study achievements at accredited universities of applied sciences in free church or independent sponsorship for the course for the First Theological Exam / Magister Theologiae. Pages 4–5 (PDF file; 169 kB), accessed on April 11, 2018.
  7. Resolution 1 of the plenary assembly 2011: Recognition of study achievements at accredited universities of applied sciences in free church or independent sponsorship for the course for the First Theological Exam / Magister Theologiae. Page 1 (PDF file; 170 kB), accessed on April 11, 2018.
  8. FTA Giessen seeks state recognition , accessed on April 11, 2018.
  9. See statement of the Wissenschaftsrat , pp. 13, 22 (PDF file; 219 kB), accessed on April 11, 2018.
  10. See statement of the Science Council , p. 14 (PDF file; 219 kB), accessed on April 11, 2018.
  11. Homepage of the FTH: Who we are , accessed on March 5, 2019.
  12. AQAS eV: Resolution on the accreditation of the study programs (PDF file; 300 kB), accessed on April 11, 2018.
  13. Press release No. 13 of April 30, 2018 of the Science Council , accessed on April 30, 2018 (PDF).
  14. Gießener Zeitung from April 15, 2010 ( online )
  15. Gießener Zeitung of December 22, 2010 ( online ).
  16. ^ Gießener Zeitung from December 15, 2012 ( online ).
  17. ^ Homepage of the FTH: Kollegium , accessed on March 5, 2019.
  18. Gießener Zeitung of October 6, 2014: New professor at the Free Theological University , accessed on April 11, 2018.
  19. See statement of the Science Council , p. 8, 21f (PDF file; 219 kB), accessed on April 11, 2018.
  20. ^ Förderverein für Evangelical Theologie und Bildung eV: FTA work areas , accessed on April 11, 2018.

Coordinates: 50 ° 34 ′ 23 "  N , 8 ° 41 ′ 34.1"  E