Wesley Biblical Seminary
|Motto||WBS - the difference.|
|President||John E. Neihof Jr.|
|Location||Jackson, Mississippi, United States|
Wesley Biblical Seminary is a multi-denominational, graduate school of theology within the evangelical, Wesleyan-Arminian tradition. The seminary, founded in 1974 and located in Jackson, Mississippi, USA, serves men and women who come from thirty denominations from all across the United States and a number of other countries. WBS has its main residential campus in Jackson, and a virtual campus made up of students from around the globe.
Wesley Biblical Seminary exists to advance Christ’s Kingdom through the Church and make disciples of Jesus by offering life-transforming theological education producing Spirit-filled, shepherd-theologians and leaders for the 21st century, who demonstrate an unwavering commitment to Trinitarian faith, Christ-centered holiness, Biblical authority, and personal accountability.
History and governance
The founding of Wesley Biblical Seminary grew out of the need for adequately prepared pastors within the Methodist tradition in the Deep South. In 1974, under the leadership of Ivan C. Howard, the founding president, a group of interested persons representing historic Methodism participated in the establishment of a theological seminary committed to graduate-level educational ministry in the Deep South. On July 22, 1975, Wesley Biblical Seminary was incorporated as an independent, non-profit educational institution with its charter, bylaws, and statement of faith duly adopted at the first Board of Trustees meeting on September 20, 1975.
The seminary is governed by a Board of Trustees composed of ministerial and lay leaders who represent the rich diversity of the Holiness tradition. The diversity of the board reflects that of the student body in being composed of both men and women and being interracial, international, and interdenominational in background. The seminary depends primarily upon gifts and pledges of concerned individuals, groups, and local churches for operational, capital and endowment funding.
The seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) and the Commission on Accrediting with the State of Mississippi. WBS recently received a renewal of its accreditation from ATS.
- Ivan C. Howard, 1974–1977
- Eldon R. Fuhrman, 1977–1985
- Harold G. Spann, 1985–1995
- Robert Lawrence, 1995–1997
- Ronald E. Smith, 1998–2010
- James L. Porter, 2010–2013
- John E. Neihof Jr, 2013–present
Master of Divinity
- M.Div (78 hrs)
- M.Div Biblical Languages (84 hrs)
- M.Div Teaching (85 hrs)
- M.Div Honors Research (85 hrs)
Master of Arts
- M.A. Biblical Literature
- M.A. Theological Studies
- M.A. Christian Studies
- M.A. Apologetics
Doctor of Ministry
- D.Min Transformational Leadership
WBS Online began in 2004 with 15 students in a pilot program. Since then, the online program has grown to 70 students from 10 countries around the world, including India, Germany, Russia, and the Caribbean. In January 2008, WBS received approval of the online program from ATS.
The heart of WBS Online is the Master of Divinity degree aimed at professional training for men and women in full-time Christian service. Most of the online students are employed full-time, many have families, and have roots in communities making it difficult to relocate for graduate school.
Effective in the Fall of 2010 WBS online began an M.A. in Apologetics available online and in residence. The program has been designed to help students interact effectively in post-modern society.
The Spring of 2015 marks the launch of a D.Min degree at WBS. The Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership is for Christian leaders who possess a M.Div or equivalent and are serving in ministry. It is a three-year, part-time program with a major project.
Faculty and administration
- Steve Blakemore, Assistant Professor of Christian Philosophy (2001)
- Jane Stauble, Director of Library Services (2013)
- Gareth L. Cockerill, Professor of New Testament (1979)
- Matt Friedeman, Professor of Evangelism and Christian Education (1987)
- Rebecca Luman, Assistant Professor of Christian Education (2002)
- Rick Boyd, Professor of Biblical Interpretation (2014)
- Carey Vinzant, Assistant Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology (2013)
- John Neihof, President (2013)
- Gareth Lee Cockerill, Vice President for Academic Affairs (1979)
- Rob Pocai, Executive Vice President (2013)