As Academic Dean of Westminster, it is my great pleasure to offer you this brief introduction to the academic philosophy of the Seminary, rooted as it is in the belief that it is possible-- indeed, imperative -- to marry both academic rigor and pastoral excellence within a sound, biblical curriculum.
Westminster Theological Seminary exists to train men for the ordained gospel ministry, to educate men and women for service in Christ's church, and to give opportunity to those who wish to pursue research into specialized areas of theological interest. To these ends, we offer courses leading to the award of an MDiv (our flagship degree), MAR, MA, DMin, ThM and PhD. Within these degrees, students are also able to specialize in such areas as urban ministry, counseling, biblical studies and theology.
Because Westminster is committed to the Bible as the inspired word of God, we believe it is important for students to learn the biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek in order to wrestle with the text as God originally gave it. This provides the foundation for a Westminster education. We also believe, however, that it is necessary not simply to read the Bible but also to interpret it and apply it correctly. For this reason, we place a high premium on biblical theology (learning how all of the Bible points to, and speaks of, Christ); systematic theology (learning how all of the Bible teaches one coherent message about who God is and what he has done); apologetics (learning how to articulate and defend the faith in modern society); church history (learning how the church has wrestled with issues of text and context over the years); and practical theology (learning how to preach and apply the Bible in the church today). In each of these areas, Westminster stands within the broad Reformed tradition epitomized in the Westminster Standards; but in each we also have our own distinctives which mark a Westminster education off from that available at other seminaries: we teach redemptive history, Van Tilian apologetics, and biblical counseling. In addition, given the centrality of MDiv and of training for pastoral ministry, we place a high premium on preaching and pastoral care. Indeed, Westminster is almost unique in having a Dean of Students whose time is devoted almost entirely to the spiritual nurture of the student body.
In sum, Westminster represents the best of the Reformed tradition as a whole, as expressed through its own unique and particular distinctives.
We invite you to study the Scriptures with us at Westminster. You will find yourself not only challenged by your studies here, but transformed personally for more effective work in God's kingdom.
Hope to see you on Campus!