written by Ingrid Johnson


History of LBI and GVLC
written by Ingrid Johnson, class of 1954 and staff member

The Lutheran Bible Institute (LBI) grew out of a prayerful commitment to the instruction of the laity within the Lutheran church. One of the founders, Samuel Miller, was called to be the first Dean.  Originally conducted as a school at First Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, where it was organized on February 4, 1919, it later found a more permanent home of its own in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1929 after renting an old seminary building.  Affiliate schools were established in Seattle, Washington (1944), Teaneck, New Jersey (1948), and Los Angeles, California (1951).  All are now operated independently.  California separated from its Minneapolis parent organization in 1971 and Seattle in 1973.  Teaneck LBI became known as Luther College of the Bible and Liberal Arts when college courses were added.  It has since become known as Lutheran Bible Ministries (Northeast) and no longer operates a school.  The Seattle LBI now operates as Trinity College.

In 1961 LBI moved to Golden Valley, a suburb on the western edge of Minneapolis.  In 1967 The Lutheran Bible Institute established Golden Valley Lutheran College as a 2-year coeducational liberal arts located on the beautiful 30-acre campus.  Dr. Bernt Opsal was the president of the college.   In response to the prospect of declining enrollment and increased debt predictions, the school was closed in May of 1985.  However, the other ministries which had long been a part of LBI continued.

Early in 1987 Mount Carmel Camp with its existing debts was sold to the newly established Mount Carmel Ministries.  Shortly afterwards the Psalm of Life radio ministry became a part of Mount Carmel Ministries.  Rev. Johan Hinderlie, who was the Executive Director of Mount Carmel Ministries, also continued the duties of radio preaching.  From 1986 to 1987 he had been the president of LBI/GVLC.

At the time of the closing of the college, it was anticipated that the sale of the college property would enable the organization to repay its debts and realize enough money to carry on its Bible ministry.  Several proposed sales of the property failed to materialize.  In March of 1988 a moratorium imposed by the City of Golden Valley blocked any possible sale of the property, and the purchase agreements signed by Global Ministry Village in the spring of 1987 were eventually nullified.  During this time Rev. Howard Sortland served as president of LBI/GVLC.  In June of 1989 the campus property was lost to the mortgage holders and later sold by them to the state of Minnesota for the Arts High School.  The Lutheran Bible Institute retained attorney Paul Sortland to continue litigation against the City of Golden Valley.  This process failed due to rulings against the college on technical grounds.

In 1989 the LBI/GVLC offices were moved to St. Anthony Village, a northeast suburb of Minneapolis, where the correspondence course ministry, Bible teaching in congregations, the processing of college transcripts and other business continued.  In the summer of 1990 Lutheran Bible Ministries/Midwest was formed as a new and separate legal entity.  Lutheran Bible Adventure “Walk Thru the Old Testament” seminar ministry was begun later that year after acquiring exclusive rights from “Walk Thru the Bible Ministries” of Atlanta, Georgia, to offer these seminars to Lutheran congregations by Lutheran presenters.  “Walk Thru the New Testament” seminars were offered beginning in 1992 after the first New Testament presenters were trained late in 1991.  In the fall of 1994 Lutheran Bible Ministries became a part of The Lutheran Bible Institute.  During this time Karelyn Anderson served as president.  She resigned from this position in 2000.  Lutheran Bible Ministries was at that time also able market the seminars to Episcopal and Catholic congregations. 

At the end of 2003 the Bible correspondence course material was given to the Association of Free Lutheran Bible School. At that time Larry Boatman was given permission to get a copy of the LBI/GVLC alumni database.  The offices in St. Anthony Village were closed in May of 2006.  The LBI/GVLC academic transcripts were transferred to Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Seminar ministry office work and other office procedures were conducted by one person in her home for awhile.  In 2007 the seminar ministry was turned over to Mount Carmel Ministries.  The corporations of The Lutheran Bible Institute, Golden Valley Lutheran College and Lutheran Bible Ministries/Midwest are all inactive at this time.  Mount Carmel continues its ministries.