Fuller Theological Seminary

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Fuller Theological Seminary
Fuller Theological Seminary logo.png
Type Seminary
Established 1947
President Mark Labberton
Location Pasadena, California, United States
Campus Urban
Website fuller.edu
Payton Hall on the Pasadena Campus

Fuller Theological Seminary is a seminary in Pasadena, California, with several regional campuses in the western United States. The seminary has approximately 4,000 students from 90 countries and 110 denominations,[1] and has been described as "arguably the most influential [seminary in America], by number of pastors and educators trained."[2]


Fuller Theological Seminary was founded in 1947 by Charles E. Fuller, a radio evangelist known for his Old Fashioned Revival Hour show, and Harold Ockenga, the pastor of Park Street Church in Boston. With its founding, the seminary's founders sought to reform fundamentalism from its separatist and sometimes anti-intellectual stance of the 1920-40 era.[3] Fuller envisaged that the seminary would become "a Caltech of the evangelical world."[3]

Most of the earliest faculty held to theologically and socially conservative views, though professors with differing perspectives arrived in the 1960s and 1970s.[3] There were tensions in the late 1950s and early 1960s as some faculty members became uncomfortable with staff and students who did not agree with Biblical inerrancy.[3] This led to the people associated with the seminary playing a role in the rise of neo-evangelicalism.[3] More recently, the seminary's "philosophy is gaining pivotal play both in Christian and secular arenas."[2]

Richard Mouw served as president of Fuller from 1993 to 2013. In 2006, a Los Angeles Times article labeled him as "one of the nation's leading evangelicals".[4] In July 2013, Mark Labberton took over as the new president of Fuller. Labberton had previously served Fuller as Director of the Lloyd John Ogilvie Institute of Preaching since 2009, and retains his position as Lloyd John Ogilvie Associate Professor of Preaching alongside the presidency.[5] Mouw remains at Fuller as Professor of Faith and Public Life.[6]

Theology and academics[edit]

Fuller is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Fuller's student body of approximately 4,000 includes students from 90 countries and 110 denominational backgrounds.[1]

Fuller admits evangelicals from both conservative and liberal perspectives.[2] The seminary is also frequently at the center of debate among religious and secular intellectuals on issues ranging from politics, religion, science and culture.”[2] Fuller instructors have been cited as proposing a different perspective on the conservative/liberal debate: "We need to be the voice of a third way that flows out of biblical values, instead of buying into the political ideology of either the right or the left."[7]

Schools and degrees[edit]

Fuller Theological Seminary is organized into three schools of theology, psychology, and intercultural studies. The seminary emphasizes the integration of the three and many students take courses in more than one school. The seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges,[8] and offers 18 degree programs, including 7 master's degrees and 11 advanced degrees.[9]

School of Theology[edit]

The School of Theology is the oldest school at Fuller and blends academic theology and practical ministry training. Many graduates from the School of Theology serve in roles as pastors, teachers, or lay ministers at churches of almost every denomination—throughout the U.S. and the world.[10]

The School of Theology offers the following degrees: Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Arts (MA) in Theology, MA in Theology and Ministry, Doctor of Ministry (DMin), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Theology, and Master of Theology (ThM). The MA, ThM, and DMin degrees are also offered in the Korean language,[11] and the MDiv and MA in Theology and Ministry can be earned completely in Spanish.[12]

School of Psychology[edit]

Fuller's School of Psychology opened in 1965 and is the first seminary-based psychology program to receive accreditation from the American Psychological Association. The School of Psychology consists of two different departments: Clinical Psychology and Marriage and Family. Research in the School of Psychology takes place within the context of Travis Research Institute,[13] named after the school's founding Dean, Lee Edward Travis. Distinctive centers have been established for biopsychosocial research; the study of stress, trauma, and adjustment; research in psychotherapy and religion; and child and adolescent development research.

The School of Psychology offers the following degrees: MA in Family Studies, MS in Marital and Family Therapy, Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Clinical Psychology, andd Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (Psychological Science, nonclinical).

School of Intercultural Studies[edit]

The School of Intercultural Studies was founded as the School of World Mission in 1965. The school equips students to serve in ministries and organizations with a cross-cultural focus. More than 3,500 alumni/ae are now serving in over 150 countries in a wide range of cross-cultural contexts and areas of work including missions and nonprofit organizations, church planting and pastoral ministry, education, and international development.[14]

The School of Intercultural Studies offers the following degrees: MA in Intercultural Studies (in English and Korean language), MA in Global Leadership (earned primarily online), ThM in Missiology (in English and Korean), Doctor of Ministry in Global Ministries (in Korean), Doctor of Missiology, and PhD in Intercultural Studies.


In May 2009, Fuller opened its 90,000-square-foot (8,400 m2) David Allan Hubbard Library that incorporated the former McAlister Library building at its main campus in Pasadena, California.[15]

In addition to its main campus in Pasadena, Fuller Theological Seminary offers classes at eight regional campuses located in the western United States: Fuller Northwest (Seattle), Fuller Bay Area (Menlo Park), Fuller Sacramento, Fuller Orange County (Irvine), Fuller Arizona (Phoenix), Fuller Colorado (Colorado Springs), and Fuller Texas (Houston). The seminary also offers a number of distance learning courses, either completely online or in hybrid formats. Five of the master's degrees can be earned in flexible programs without relocating to one of the campuses: the Master of Divinity, MA in Intercultural Studies, MA in Theology and Ministry, and MA in Global Leadership.[16]

Social issues[edit]

Like many seminaries and institutions of higher learning, Fuller Seminary has taken a stand on various social causes and has seen many individual students and faculty express diverse views. While Fuller has its own policy statements, the seminary is very open to difference in opinion among students and faculty.[17] The seminary's current president, Mark Labberton, marched in favor of comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in 2013.[18] Others at Fuller, as expressed in the Fuller forum, have expressed support for the "Black Lives Matter" movement as an integral part in raising awareness for civil rights.[19] In 2015, some faculty at the seminary called on Christians to openly discuss, with respect, issues related to race, gender, sexual orientation, refugees, and immigrants.[20] While the seminary officially recognizes marriage as "between a man and a woman", the seminary did allow an LGBTQ student club to organize on campus; the club, "OneTable", became the first LGBTQ group organized within an evangelical seminary.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "About Fuller". Fuller Theological Seminary. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Rifkin, Alan (November 23, 2003). "Jesus With a Genius Grant". Los Angeles Times Magazine. Retrieved December 23, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Marsden, George M. (1987). Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8028-3642-7. Retrieved November 30, 2009. 
  4. ^ Kang, K. Connie (December 2, 2006). "Aiming to Clarify the Meaning of a Loaded Word". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Mark Labberton Faculty Profile". Fuller Theological Seminary. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Richard J. Mouw Faculty Profile". Fuller Theological Seminary. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  7. ^ Tu, Janet I. (October 28, 2004). "Religious moderates finding their voice". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 8, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Member Schools: Fuller Theological Seminary". Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Facts and Figures :: Fuller". Fuller Theological Seminary. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  10. ^ "About the School of Theology". Fuller Theological Seminary. Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Korean Programs". Fuller Theological Seminary. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Centro Latino". Fuller Theological Seminary. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Travis Research Institute". Fuller Theological Seminary. Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Vocational Placement". Fuller Theological Seminary. Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  15. ^ "Fuller Theological Seminary Celebrates Opening of New Library". Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Flexible Degrees". Fuller Theological Seminary. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Institutional Commitments". fuller.edu. Retrieved April 27, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Fuller Seminary students, staff march on Pasadena City Hall for immigration reform". pasadenastarnews.com. Retrieved April 27, 2016. 
  19. ^ "A conversation on why Black Lives Matter to White churches". Fuller Studio. Retrieved April 27, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Conversations the Church needs to have in 2015". fuller.edu. Retrieved April 27, 2016. 
  21. ^ "LGBT group finds acceptance at evangelical college". USA TODAY. Retrieved April 27, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°08′55″N 118°08′24″W / 34.14861°N 118.14000°W / 34.14861; -118.14000