Westminster Theological Seminary

Westminster Theological Seminary is a Presbyterian and Reformed Christian graduate educational institution located in Glenside, Pennsylvania. According to Roger E. Olson, it has had an influence on evangelicalism far beyond its size.[2] It is considered by many to be one of the most influential Seminaries worldwide, particularly in the Reformed and Evangelical movements of the 20th and 21st Centuries.[3] Beyond Westminster's impact in the theological realm, the pioneering work of Albert Groves and his students has produced the codification of the Westminster Leningrad Codex, which underlies all modern Bible Software.[4]

Westminster Theological Seminary
Motto in English
The whole counsel of God[1]
PresidentPeter Lillback
Students692 (2017)
Location, ,
United States
CampusGlenside, Pennsylvania
WebsiteWestminster Theological Seminary


Westminster Theological Seminary was formed in 1929, largely under the leadership and funding of J. Gresham Machen.[5] Though independent, it has long had a close relationship with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, which Machen helped found in 1936. The Seminary was founded by members of the faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary, following a controversy over the perceived liberal direction that Princeton was beginning to take.[6] Westminster Theological Seminary considers itself to be the faithful continuation of Princeton's historic theological tradition. Many of the founders of Westminster, including J. Gresham Machen, John Murray, and Cornelius Van Til, had been professors at Princeton prior to the controversy.[7] 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 (now Reformed Theological Seminary, Dallas, 2017). The current president is Peter Lillback, who also serves as a professor of Historical Theology.[8]

Westminster was accredited in 1986 by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada[9] and received accreditation in 1954 by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.[10]

Theological position

In Philadelphia on September 25, 1929, J. Gresham Machen declared the following in his inaugural address:

"We believe, first, that the Christian religion, as set forth in the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church, is true; we believe, second, that the Christian religion welcomes and is capable of scholarly defense; and we believe, third, that the Christian religion should be proclaimed without fear or favor, and in clear opposition to whatever opposes it, whether from within or without the church, as the only way of salvation for lost mankind. On that platform, brethren, we stand. Pray that we may be enabled by God’s grace to stand firm. Pray that the students who go forth from Westminster Theological Seminary may know Christ as their own Savior and may proclaim to others the gospel of his love."[11]

The current board and faculty continue to hold to this original vision.

In 2016 Westminster Theological Seminary published an eighty-seven page monograph entitled, Seeing Christ in All of Scripture: Hermeneutics at Westminster Theological Seminary.

It was edited by the President, Peter Lillback with contributions from Drs. Poythress, Duguid, Beale and Gaffin. On page one the four contributors are referred to as “four of Westminster’s leading scholars”. In a blurb on the rear of the monograph, Lillback states, “This little work is presented to the public as an introduction the hermeneutical method of the Westminster faculty.” He says something very similar on page four of the introduction. He goes on to say in the introduction:

“…classic Reformed emphases on the covenantal unity of the Bible highlight the necessity of an organic Christ-centered interpretation of Scripture. All of Westminster Theological Seminary’s faculty and board members have committed to this confessional hermeneutic since the seminary’s founding. The seminary today continues to believe that the hermeneutical methods identified in the Reformational tradition of Westminster is biblically sound and in fact essential for a high view of Scripture in an age of doubt, controversy, and compromise.”[12]

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.[13]

Courses and publications

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.[9][14]

Westminster publishes the semi-annual Westminster Theological Journal.[15][16]


Current faculty

Notable alumni

See also


  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. DeRose, Stephen (2018-05-15). "Top 10 Evangelical Seminaries in the U.S." Successful Student. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  4. DeRose, Stephen (2018-05-15). "Top 10 Evangelical Seminaries in the U.S." Successful Student. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  5. Marsden, George M. (1995). Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 33.
  6. "History". Westminster Theological Seminary. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  7. "History". Westminster Theological Seminary. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  8. "Faculty Profile: Peter Lillback". Westminster Theological Seminary. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  9. "Member Schools: Westminster Theological Seminary". Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  10. "Institution Directory: Westminster Theological Seminary". Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  11. from appendix A, “Westminster Theological Seminary: Its Plan and Purpose,” which previously appeared in J. Gresham Machen, What is Christianity? And Other Addresses, ed. Ned Bernard Stonehouse (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1951
  12. Lillback, Peter A., ed. (2016). Seeing Christ in All of Scripture: Hermeneutics at Westminster Theological Seminary (PDF). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Westminster Seminary Press. pp. 1–7. ISBN 978-0-9980051-2-6.
  13. "Board Affirmations and Denials" (PDF). Westminster Theological Seminary. 3 December 2008. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  14. "Degree Programs". Westminster Theological Seminary. Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  15. "The Westminster Theological Journal". Westminster Theological Seminary. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  16. "The Westminster Theological Journal". WorldCat. Retrieved August 21, 2011.

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