Redeemer's Full Independence

September 27, 2009

Westminster and Redeemer_full independence agreement

PICTURED (left to right) - (in the front) Steve Vanderhill, WTS MDiv 1993, President of Redeemer; Rev. Peter Lillback, WTS PhD 1985, President of Westminster; (in the back) Keith Mitchell, Redeemer Trustee; Jim Sweet, Director of Special Projects and Special Counsel; George Mackenzie, WTS Trustee and Board Treasurer; William Edgar, WTS MDiv 1969, Faculty Moderator and Professor of Apologetics; Rev. George Cottenden, WTS Trustee and Board Secretary; Rev. David Garner, WTS PhD 2002, Vice President for Advancement and Associate Professor of Systematic Theology; Dick Dabney, Chief Operating Officer

Dear Valued Friends of Westminster,

This past February in Dallas, TX, Westminster Theological Seminary participated in a public worship service to launch our Dallas satellite campus as Redeemer Theological Seminary. In our official signing ceremony at Westminster in Philadelphia on August 10, President Peter Lillback and new Redeemer President Steve Vanderhill completed the full investiture of independence to our daughter seminary. The entire Westminster administration echoes President Lillback’s words, “We are praying that God will bless Redeemer as it continues to carry on the Gospel witness of Westminster Theological Seminary as expressed in our historic distinctives.”

This fall here in Philadelphia, Westminster Theological seminary begins its semester as a strong and active octogenarian. Since 1929, Westminster has been blessed with the remarkable calling to prepare servants of Christ’s Church. For the new group of eager and exceptional students who will enter our halls this year, we delightedly sustain the calling at the core of Westminster since its inception: to form students in God’s unchanging Word, to proclaim this living Word boldly from the mountaintops, and to engage the world with the transforming power of these Scriptures.

As our founder J. Gresham Machen put it, “Let it not be said that dependence upon a book is a dead or an artificial thing. The Reformation of the sixteenth century was founded upon the authority of the Bible, yet it set the world aflame. Dependence upon a word of man would be slavish, but dependence upon God’s word is life. Dark and gloomy would be the world, if we were left to our own devices, and had no blessed Word of God.”
(Christianity and Liberalism, Revised Edition, 67)

Machen got it right. There is nothing old-fashioned about whole-hearted devotion to the Scriptures, because these words are life. Sadly, the flash of religious trends and the compromises of modern scholarship have misled many in our days. While the questions of the twenty-first century are complex and require carefully reflective answers, the living Word of God proclaimed by the Reformers, by Machen in the 1920’s, and by Westminster in 2009, remains the living answer.

At the end of September, please look for a letter from President Lillback, in which he reaffirms the relevant mission and vision of Westminster. Because of our great needs and greater opportunities, Dr. Lillback will also be seeking your prayerful and financial support. Indeed we are most grateful for your partnership in advancing the ministry of God’s Word through Westminster Theological Seminary.

Sincerely, in Christ,
Rev. David B. Garner, PhD
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology
Vice President for Advancement