ABOUT US: THE STORY OF REDEEMER SEMINARY
Theological education in the United States was originally available only to students who were tutored and mentored by able ministers. In the eighteenth century, a number of pastors were widely known for their willingness to take students under their oversight and guide their reading. Often a single minister mentored many students at a time.
When formal theological seminaries were organized, one of the first was the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church at Princeton, New Jersey, where instruction began in 1812. Founded by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, the seminary held to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms as its doctrinal standards.
J. Gresham MachenPrinceton excelled under the leadership of distinguished teachers who devoted themselves vigorously and effectively to the development, propagation, and maintenance of the Reformed faith. Among those best known as teachers of the great scriptural system of theology set forth by Princeton’s first professor Archibald Alexander were Charles Hodge, J. A. Alexander, B. B. Warfield, and J. Gresham Machen. But eventually a movement surfaced to end Princeton’s adherence to scriptural theology, and in 1929 Princeton Theological Seminary was reorganized under modernist influences.
Among the Princeton faculty who loved the Reformed faith were Robert Dick Wilson, J. Gresham Machen, Oswald T. Allis, and Cornelius Van Til. Almost immediately after Princeton’s reorganization, these four men founded Westminster Theological Seminary, and, with others who were invited to join the teaching staff, continued the exposition and defense of the Reformed faith. Over the years, Westminster has prospered as it maintained the infallible Scriptures as its foundation.
Westminster Faculty Woolley, Van Til, Machen, Allis, Stonehouse, Murray, MacRaeSince its founding in 1929, Westminster has been training “specialists in the Bible” who have gone on to minister the gospel through churches, schools, and kingdom ministries around the world. In 1999, Westminster began a campus in Texas to extend the knowledge of the glory of God in Christ through offering graduate level theological education grounded in the seminary’s core values and serving churches and communities in the Southwestern United States. By God’s grace, the campus in Texas grew in students and faculty and its graduates now serve churches and ministries across the United States.
As Westminster and its campus in Texas have developed since 1999, the board and faculty of Westminster have recognized it is strategic for the mission of the seminary that Westminster and the campus in Texas pursue the mission as two distinct institutions which share in the theological commitments upon which Westminster was founded. In order for the daughter campus in Texas to be distinguished from its mother seminary, the campus in Texas is now established as Redeemer Theological Seminary and is governed by its own board of trustees.
According to its founding document, the primary purpose of Redeemer Seminary is “to form men for the gospel ministry, who shall truly believe, and cordially love, and therefore endeavor to propagate and defend, in its genuineness, simplicity, and fullness, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in the inerrant and infallible Word of God and summarized in that system of religious belief and practice which is set forth in the Confession of Faith and Catechisms of the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and which is integrally related to the fundamental principles of Presbyterian church government; thereby, cultivating and sustaining genuine Christian devotion with sound learning.”
Located near the heart of the expanding DFW metroplex, Redeemer Seminary offers seminary training in a vibrant urban setting. With the help of Park Cities Presbyterian Church and other area churches, Redeemer is preparing ministers of the gospel, campus ministers, church planters, biblical counselors and other leaders for service in Christ’s church.
Redeemer Seminary is governed by a self-perpetuating board consisting of up to twenty four trustees. Each member of the board is required by the charter to subscribe to a pledge of a character similar to that required of the Faculty. The President of the Seminary is charged with administrative responsibility. Academic policies are established by the Faculty, subject to review by the board; all members of the Faculty sit with the board in an advisory capacity.
As of the date of this publication, the Board of Trustees includes:
Mr. Brad Bradley, Trustee; Dallas, Texas
Rev. A. Craig Chapman, Trustee; Rye, New York
Rev. Mark Davis, Trustee; Dallas, Texas
Mr. Jack Denman, Trustee; Dallas, Texas
Mr. Glenn (Tim) Dorr, Trustee; Manchester, Massachusetts
Dr. Clanton Harrison, Trustee; Dallas, Texas
Mr. Russell Johnson, Secretary; Dallas, Texas
Dr. Tyler Martin, Trustee; Fremont, California
Mr. G. Keith Mitchell, Jr., Chairman; Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Dr. Robert Norris, Trustee; Bethesda, Maryland
Rev. Leo Schuster, Vice Chairman; Houston, Texas
Rev. Michael Sharrett, Trustee; Lynchburg, Virginia
Mr. Steven Vanderhill, President; Dallas, Texas
Mr. Blake Woodall, Treasurer; Dallas, Texas
Redeemer Seminary exists to “extend the knowledge of the glory of God in Christ until that knowledge covers the earth as the waters cover the sea” (see Habakkuk 2:14). We offer graduate-level theological education.
Our specific mission is to support the church in its mandate to equip the saints for ministry. We pursue this mission in three ways. First, we seek to form men for ordained gospel ministry as pastors, teachers, evangelists, missionaries, and other tasks specified by the church. Second, we seek to train men and women to serve Christ in kingdom ministries other than those that require ordination. Third, we seek to serve as a center for Christian research and scholarship and to communicate the fruits of our labors to the church and the world.
In the pursuit of our mission, we hold to the following core values:
The triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is worthy of the worship of all people in all places of his dominion, and this fact must be the fundamental motive for every human activity.
Scripture, as the “very Word of God written,” is absolutely authoritative and without error.
Reformed orthodoxy, as informed by the system of doctrine contained in the Westminster Standards, represents faithfully and accurately what Scripture teaches.
Biblical theology (in the tradition of Geerhardus Vos) and presuppositional apologetics (in the tradition of Cornelius Van Til) are among the crucial methods to be used in interpreting and applying the teaching of Scripture and in developing a biblical worldview.
A learned ministry set in the lifestyle of humble and “holy affection” for Jesus Christ is essential in today’s church and world and must be modeled by the board, administration, faculty, and students.
A fundamental mandate of the church, discipling the nations for the glory of Christ, requires culturally sensitive, theologically competent ministers who have both the ability and the passion to apply “the eternal word” of Scripture to “the changing world” in which God has placed us.
Because there is “one body and one Spirit,” all who would “build up the whole body of Christ” must “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Redeemer is committed to Scripture and to the systematic exposition of biblical truth known as the Reformed faith. Copies of the Westminster Confession of Faith are available from the Admissions Office. In addition to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, the Seminary treasures the rich and harmonious diversity of creeds and confessions within the historic Reformed tradition. In particular, it recognizes that the system of doctrine contained in Scripture is also confessed in the Three Forms of Unity (the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort). Redeemer desires to be used in training ministers of the gospel and others for service in those churches committed to the Three Forms of Unity as subordinate standards.
Based on our core values, the curriculum of the Seminary includes:
Theism and philosophical apologetics, which establish the presuppositions of the gospel;
The languages of the Bible, biblical introduction, biblical exegesis, biblical history, and biblical theology, which defend and expound the Scriptures;
Systematic theology, which is the logical setting-forth of the system of doctrine the Scriptures contain;
Church history, which records the history of God’s dealings with his people after the close of the apostolic age;
Homiletics, church government, liturgics, pastoral theology, missions, urban ministry, biblical counseling, and Christian education, which concern the presentation and application of the gospel to the modern world.
The specific purposes of Redeemer Seminary:
Redeemer Seminary is to form men for the gospel ministry, who shall truly believe, and cordially love, and therefore endeavor to propagate and defend, in its genuineness, simplicity, and fullness, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in the inerrant and infallible Word of God and summarized in that system of religious belief and practice which is set forth in the Confession of Faith and Catechisms of the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in the form they possessed in 2001, and which is integrally related to the fundamental principles of Presbyterian church government; thereby, cultivating and sustaining genuine Christian devotion with sound learning.
It is to provide men who are capable and competent in interpreting and applying the Word of God, who will be humble, zealous, and faithful pastors devoted to the upbuilding and strengthening of the Church of Jesus Christ.
It is to provide for the church, primarily the Presbyterian and Reformed churches that share the Seminary’s commitments and heritage, ministers and others who understand contemporary culture and are able intelligently and faithfully to defend and proclaim the Christian faith and to oppose heresy and unbelief.
It is to support and advance the labors of those engaged in the ministry of the gospel by offering the means for continuing theological education.
It is to furnish training in Scripture and theology to men and women who are preparing to serve Christ and his Church in vocations other than the gospel ministry so that the whole body of Christ may be enriched.
It is to promote harmony and unity among all of those who, by their words and deeds, demonstrate that they believe and love and live by the teachings of God’s Word.
It is to provide for the church leadership that is theologically and intellectually excellent with talents related to vocation.
It is to serve as a center of training and study for the ministry to the non-Christian world, that the mission of the Church may be advanced through the provision of theological education to present and future leaders in the world-wide mission of the Church.
It shall also prescribe courses of study; employ all necessary professors, teachers, assistants and officers; acquire, receive, hold, employ and deal with such property, real or personal, as may be lawful and necessary to carry on the work of the Corporation; publish and dispose of such pamphlets, literature, or books, as may be required in the conduct of such work; grant such certificates and diplomas as are usually granted by like institutions; grant the degrees: Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and such other degrees as may from time to time be approved by the Board of Trustees and the regulatory and/or supervisory agencies responsible for overseeing the Seminary’s educational pursuits; and perform such other functions as are usually or properly connected with the work of educational institutions of similar character.
SPIRITUAL FORMATION – Growing in Grace at Redeemer Seminary
A central aspect of Redeemer’s mission is to “form men for the gospel ministry.” And it is our intention to contribute to the spiritual formation of all of our students, male and female, in the various degree programs. While theological education is a significant part of this “forming,” we believe that theological education alone will not adequately fulfill that mission goal. Formation is more than education; it also involves what B. B. Warfield called the “religious life” of theological students. Redeemer is committed to a first-rate academic training, but we are also committed to the equally high standard of helping our students “grow in grace” as they study for ministry.
In theological education, we believe there should be no separation between learning and godliness as the goal of learning. The New Testament speaks of truth that is in accord with godliness (Titus 1:1) and of godliness that is produced through the knowledge of Christ (1 Peter 1:3). Our concern about the intellectual preparation of students for gospel ministry, and for service in the kingdom of Christ, must never be divorced from a concern for character traits that are necessary for Christian ministry.
A minister must be learned, on pain of being utterly incompetent for his work. But before and above being learned, a minister must be godly. You are students of theology; and, just because you are students of theology, it is understood that you are religious men—especially religious men, to whom the cultivation of your religious life is a matter of the profoundest concern. In your case there can be no ‘either-or’ here—either a student or a man of God. You must be both. —Benjamin B. Warfield
As Warfield reminds us, there is something wrong with a student of theology who does not study. But there may be something equally wrong with a theological student who only studies. The mastering of Greek paradigms, Hebrew syntax, exegesis, systematic theology, apologetics, and church history takes significant effort. But as rich as those things are in their capacity to point us to the Christ of Scripture and to his church, it is possible to study those subjects in all their richness and yet be spiritually bankrupt in the end. Just as we design our academic curriculum for intellectual growth, we also have sought to design it for growth in godliness and holiness.
Cooperation with Churches
Growth in grace is not something that can happen within a theological seminary alone. Christ gave the church to his people as the place where they receive the means of grace. Christian growth in godliness is to be a process that takes place in the context of the church. Redeemer’s goal can only be fulfilled when the Seminary, the students, and the church work in cooperation. Therefore we seek to foster good relationships with local churches where seminarians may worship, serve, and be mentored during their days of theological study. We value the input and advice of these churches and their leaders as we work with students.
Office of the Dean of Students and Chaplain
The primary responsibilities of the Dean of Students and Chaplain are to provide pastoral care, counsel, and encouragement for the students. The Dean of Students and Chaplain are available for consultation throughout the academic year and are eager to provide, in cooperation with local churches, mentoring support for students during the entire period of their theological education.
Ministry Preparation Contract
As part of the first course in practical theology, all Master of Divinity students are required to complete a Ministry Preparation Contract in which they commit themselves to involvement in a local church, the completion of mentored ministry assignments, and the pursuit of personal growth in grace. This contract unites the Seminary and the local church in providing opportunities, support, and encouragement for students as they prepare for ministry. Progress in the completion of the commitments made in the Ministry Preparation Contract is monitored through an annual interview with the Dean of Students or Chaplain.
The Seminary provides regular opportunities for worship and prayer through chapel services conducted by students, members of the Faculty, and visiting speakers, who are often local pastors. There are also weeks when the chapel times are entirely devoted to prayer.
Student conduct is under the supervision of the Dean of Students. The institution reserves the right to dismiss from the institution a student whose conduct is found to be unsatisfactory.
Unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on school property, or as part of any activity of Redeemer, is forbidden and will result in dismissal. Smoking is not permitted in any Seminary building. The use of alcoholic beverages on campus is not permitted. Firearms are prohibited on campus. For other specific questions regarding conduct, the Seminary refers to the Westminster Standards, as based on Scripture, as a standard for behavior.
The Honor System
A cherished aspect of community life at Redeemer is the honor system. The responsibility for maintaining all aspects of this system lies directly with each member of the community.
The honor system is, of course, based upon the entirety of Scripture, but it finds its roots particularly in the eighth and ninth commandments (Exodus 20:15-16) as those commandments are expounded and applied in the Westminster Larger Catechism, Questions 140-145 (copies of the Westminster Standards are available from the Admissions Office).
Students are required to sign the “Response to the Honor System” as part of each registration. In this statement, the student affirms that he or she has read the materials describing Redeemer’s honor system, understands what the responsibilities are, and affirms his or her willingness to abide by the policies indicated.
Two specific expressions of this honor system are the pledges required on all examinations, papers, and projects at the Seminary.
Students are asked to affirm the following statement for all examinations and tests and may be asked to sign this pledge on the cover or first page of examinations:
I pledge my honor that I have neither given nor received any assistance—verbal, written, or electronic—on this examination beyond that specifically permitted by the instructor in charge.
Students are asked to write out and to sign this pledge at the end of every paper:
I understand and have not violated the Seminary’s position on plagiarism.
For projects, theses, and dissertations, students are asked to sign the statement regarding plagiarism found on a separate sheet in the “Redeemer Thesis and Dissertation Format Guidelines,” available from the Librarian.
All members of the community are asked and expected to uphold and protect this honor system that “we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness,” which “is good and pleases God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:2-3). Any confirmed or proven violation of the honor system will normally result in suspension for one year from the Seminary. Students may not transfer to Redeemer credit hours for courses taken at another school during the period of suspension.
Counseling for students
Counseling is provided by the deans, faculty members, and, when deemed necessary, by professional practitioners. For further details, students should contact the Dean of Students.
The Dean of Students Office should be regarded as the umbrella for addressing all complaints. For information regarding the process of filing a grievance or to file a grievance, please contact the Dean of Students Office.
DALLAS CAMPUS RESOURCES
The Seminary occupies facilities in a commercial high rise office building. The 7,000-square-foot suite offers two classrooms, a library, administrative and faculty offices, a student computer lab, videoconferencing capabilities, and a kitchen. The Seminary’s facilities also contain the office of the Southwest Church Planting Network, a ministry of five PCA presbyteries in the Southwest.
Library (See the Library page for more complete information)
The library contains nearly 16,000 volumes and subscriptions to approximately 50 periodicals. The library’s collection may be searched online and students have access to the ATLASerials database. Students may also use the extensive resources of several major theological libraries nearby.
The student computer lab offers computers loaded with software for biblical and theological studies, word processing, and Internet access. Software programs for biblical and theological studies include: BibleWorks, BibleWindows, Accordance, Greek Tutor, Hebrew Tutor, Master Christian Library, Theological Journal Library, Van Til CDROM, John Calvin Collection CDROM, and E. J. Brill’s Dead Sea Scrolls database of texts and images.
The Seminary maintains a limited bookstore offering some textbooks and students are encouraged to shop their favorite bookseller. Students may find textbook requirements listed in the syllabus for each course.
The Seminary does not provide student housing at the campus but will assist students in locating housing in the area. Apartments in the area range from $600-900 per month for 1-2 bedrooms. The Seminary can sometimes help students locate new room-mates. Inquire with the Director of Recruitment about your housing needs.
Women’s Seminary Fellowship
Women’s Seminary Fellowship is a fellowship organization composed of women students, wives of students, faculty wives, and staff women. The objectives of the organization are to nurture and encourage biblical thinking and a Christian worldview, and to provide fellowship and ministry opportunities.
The Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation
Since 1968, the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) led a biblical counseling movement teaching people how to explore the rich wisdom of Scripture and apply it to the complexities of human life. CCEF continues to strive to fulfill its mission “to restore Christ to counseling and counseling to the Church.” It accomplishes its mission through classes, curriculum, counseling services, and an annual conference.
CCEF’s School of Biblical Counseling offers certificate programs that train pastors and lay leaders to counsel those who need help in their lives and relationships. These certificates are intended for believers who have a heart for people, who know that God’s Word and God’s Spirit change lives, and who see the church as the community God uses to support his work of change.
Many of the Seminary’s biblical counseling courses are taught by CCEF faculty who travel to Dallas or teach through distance education technology. For information on how coursework taken for CCEF certificates can be transferred to Redeemer’s degree programs, consult the Seminary. More information on the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation may be found at www.ccef.org.