Westminster Theological Seminary

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Westminster Theological Seminary
Westminster Seal.png
Motto in English
The whole counsel of God[1]
Type Private
Established 1929
President Peter Lillback
Students 560 (2015)
Location Glenside, Pennsylvania, United States
Campus Suburban
(Glenside, Pennsylvania, and London, UK)
Website Westminster Theological Seminary

Westminster Theological Seminary is a Presbyterian and Reformed Christian graduate educational institution located in Glenside, Pennsylvania, with a satellite location in London, England. According to Roger E. Olson, it has had an influence on evangelicalism far beyond its size.[2]


J. Gresham Machen Memorial Hall

Westminster Theological Seminary was formed in 1929, largely under the leadership and funding of J. Gresham Machen.[3] Though independent, it has long had a close relationship with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, which Machen helped found in 1936. The first president of the Seminary was Edmund Clowney, who served from 1966 until 1984. He was followed by George C. Fuller and Samuel T. Logan. In 1982, the California branch of Westminster became an independent institution, Westminster Seminary California, and in 2009 the Dallas, Texas branch was established as Redeemer Theological Seminary. The current president is Peter Lillback, who also serves as a professor of Historical Theology.[4]

Westminster was accredited in 1986 by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada[5] and received accreditation in 1954 by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.[6]

Plans for a New Seminary

The “school of the prophets” was lost to Old School Presbyterianism. The great theologians of old Princeton — Alexander, Miller, Hodge, etc. — might still be buried in the cemetery plot of Princeton, but so also was buried their historic stand for the faith once delivered unto the saints. Re-organization of the trustees was now done and signers of the infamous Auburn Affirmation placed on the board. It was only a matter of time the fruits of liberalism would be manifest in the teachings of the classrooms.

Recognizing that sad truth, the Rev. Walter Buchcanan, pastor of Broadway Presbyterian Church in New York City, invited on June 17, 1929 a group of teaching and ruling elders to the University Club to respond to these developments. The following statement was approved by the group of elders: “Resolved: that this group will support the loyal members of the former Board of Directors of Princeton Theological Seminary in any step they may see fit to take (1) toward prevention by legal means the misuse of the Seminary’s funds, or (2) toward the formation of a new Seminary if they decide that it is necessary.” A wide latitude was allowed in this resolve, as you can see. Despite the new liberal members, see if we cannot keep Princeton Seminary from digressing away any further from the faith, but failing that, the possibility of a new seminary is on the table as well.

There were meetings taking place in other cities as well. Philadelphia was the site of a meeting of elders, including one in which finances were pledged for one year of the new seminary. The historic meeting which launched the new seminary took place on July 18, 1929 with seventy-eight teaching and ruling elders present at the YMCA in Philadelphia. The name of Westminster Theological Seminary was chosen at this meeting. An executive committee was chosen as composed of six (6) teaching elders and eight (8) ruling elders.

The teaching elders represented were: Maitland Alexander, Roy T. Brumbaugh, Walter Buchanan, Samuel Craig (a founder of P&R Publishing), Charles Schall, and Frank Stevenson. Ruling elders Roland Armes, Edgar Frutchey, Frederick Paist, James Runkin, T. E. Ross, James Schrader (also a founder of P&R Publishing), John Steele, and Morgan Thomas were also present. Dr. Robert Dick Wilson, J. Gresham Machen, and Oswald T. Allis served as advisers.[7]

Early Life of The Seminary

The happy fruition of this meeting on that same year of 1929 was September 25, in which fifty students gathered at the Seminary campus at 1528 Pine Street in Philadelphia - and a seminary was born!

Before moving to its present location at 2960 Church Rd, Glenside, PA, Westminster Theological Seminary was first situated in a residence owned by Professor Oswald T. Allis. As Dr. Allis and his family moved to the top floors of the building, the first floor was reconfigured for an assembly room and chapel where daily prayer services were held, a room which would accommodate about sixty-five people.

On the first floor were small offices for the Registrar and the Secretary of the Seminary, as well as the dining hall and kitchen. The dining hall operated under the management of the Student Dining Club. There would be about forty-five men taking their meals there regularly, at a cost of about $6.50 per week. One evening a week was set aside for times of fellowship and singing following the dinner hour.

Classrooms and the Seminary library were located on the second floor of the building. The library held about 5,000 volumes at its inception. Three classrooms were also on this second floor, with about eighteen students typically in the largest class.

Theological position[edit]

All trustees and faculty members are required to affirm their agreement with the theological perspective presented in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, the core doctrinal statements of many Presbyterian denominations.[8]

Courses and publications[edit]

The Seminary currently offers the following degrees: Master of Divinity (Pastoral Ministry; Counseling; General Ministries), Master of Arts in Religion (Biblical Studies; Theological Studies; General Studies), Master of Theology, Doctor of Philosophy, and Doctor of Ministry.[5][9]

Westminster publishes the semi-annual Westminster Theological Journal.[10][11]





William Edgar

Scott Oliphint

Church History[edit]

Jeffery Jue

Peter Lillback

Carl Trueman

New Testament[edit]

Gregory Beale

Vern Poythress

Brandon Crowe

Old Testament[edit]

Iain Duguid

Jonathan Gibson

Elizabeth Groves

Stephen Coleman

Practical Theology[edit]

Sandy Finlayson

Kent Hughes

Timothy Witmer

Systematic Theology[edit]

David Garner

Lane Tipton

Carlton Wynne

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Westminster Seal". Westminster Theological Seminary. 2009. Retrieved December 26, 2010. 
  2. ^ Olson, Roger E. (2007). Pocket History of Evangelical Theology. InterVarsity Press. p. 70. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Marsden, George M. (1995). Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 33. 
  4. ^ "Faculty Profile: Peter Lillback". Westminster Theological Seminary. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Member Schools: Westminster Theological Seminary". Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Retrieved July 20, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Institution Directory: Westminster Theological Seminary". Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Retrieved July 22, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Orthodox Presbyterian Church". opc.org. Retrieved 2017-09-18. 
  8. ^ "Board Affirmations and Denials" (PDF). Westminster Theological Seminary. 3 December 2008. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Degree Programs". Westminster Theological Seminary. Retrieved July 22, 2010. 
  10. ^ "The Westminster Theological Journal". Westminster Theological Seminary. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  11. ^ "The Westminster Theological Journal". WorldCat. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Home - Westminster Theological Seminary". Westminster Theological Seminary. Retrieved 2016-11-19. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°05′56″N 75°10′34″W / 40.099°N 75.176°W / 40.099; -75.176