As I think back to my seminary days in Escondido and the decisions which eventually brought me there right out of my undergraduate program, I am very thankful for God’s providence in allowing me to study at Westminster Seminary California. As a son of a broadly evangelical minister, I was very new to Reformed theology back then. I had done only a little bit of reading in the Reformed tradition, but it was already challenging many of my life-long assumptions. What really “sold” me on Westminster Seminary California during my seminary search was the unashamedly confessional approach to theological study at WSC. While other schools offered various strengths, I was increasingly convinced that I needed a theological education which reflected the breadth and convictions of the historic Reformed confessions (Westminster Confession of Faith, Heidelberg Catechism, etc.). I was tired of superficialities and fads, and I knew that WSC would offer a corrective. Happily, it offered not only a corrective to my personal lack of a solid theological foundation; it also offered a time of fruitful preparation for pastoral ministry because each course in the curriculum reflected a commitment to biblical Christianity and the belief that doctrine and Scripture are directly applicable in the life of the church.
Has Westminster Seminary California prepared me for my work now as a pastor in a Presbyterian congregation? Well, I’m not sure I always saw WSC as doing this to the exclusion of preparing me for other things. For example, I spent several years in campus ministry in southern California, and I was quite amazed at how useful my WSC studies were in equipping me for the secular university campus. For several years now, I have been working on a graduate degree in historical theology, and here again I can say that my understanding of historic Reformed theology was an invaluable help in navigating through the challenges of theological and historical study at the graduate level. In recent months, I have had the opportunity to do regular counseling with some of the members of my church, and again I can say that the WSC course of study was vitally important in giving me the categories and knowledge that I found useful for Christian counseling. These days, I do a lot of preaching and teaching and preparing of worship services. There is not a day that goes by when I do not pull from my training at Westminster Seminary California.
Out here in New England, it is just amazing how hungry believers are for historic Christianity—the solid doctrine of the Gospel, God-honoring worship, and biblically faithful churches. I am thankful for how one relatively small seminary in San Diego County effectively prepared me to serve in the capacity of a Presbyterian pastor, and I trust that WSC will continue to equip others for Christian service of different kinds in many different places.