Executive Secretary for Latin American Fellowship of Reformed Churches
Editor of Reforma Siglio 21
Bill was raised in pastor's home and is a third generation Westminster graduate (his father and grandfather both graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia).
He currently lives in San José, Costa Rica with his wife Aletha and his four children: Chantel, William, Austin, and Michelle.
William Green III
Why did you choose to attend WSC?
I have the privileged status of being among the first graduates of Westminster Seminary California. My mother prayed often that her son would serve the Lord in the ministry, but it was primarily thanks to my father that I ended up at WSC in Escondido. My grandfather, William Green Sr., entered Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS) in Philadelphia in its opening year, and was a good friend of Machen, Murray and the other founders of WTS. My father, William Green Jr., attended WTS in the 1950's, and I believe that I was conceived there!
When Dad heard that Westminster was starting a campus in California, and when he saw the roster of professors, he strongly encouraged me to attend—despite of the fact that there was no seminary facility (only rented offices in San Marcos!) and despite of the limited library at the time. His reasons were more than sentimental—the denomination in which my father served at the time was experiencing turmoil in several theological and practical areas, and Dad felt that an education at WSC would give me the biblical foundation necessary for ministry in our times. He was not mistaken.
What were the most significant things that you learned/gained during your time at WSC?
Aspects of my seminary studies which have served me well over the past 25 years of ministry include the following:
- The foundation in biblical languages cannot be emphasized enough!
- The broad readings we did in various areas of theology by both conservative, but also liberal theologians, prepared us to confront all sorts of ideas. When I began our church planting effort in Costa Rica, I was very surprised to find general people on the street actually echoing ideas first promoted by liberal, secular theologians. However, I was prepared to answer! Twelve years ago the Lord placed on me the responsibility of giving leadership to the Latin American Fellowship of Reformed Churches ("CLIR" in Spanish). A broad theological understanding has been very important for this task also.
- WSC’s preparation in apologetics has also been foundational for our ministry here and has been blessed by God. We have been able to establish a Reformed Publishing effort for Latin America, and through articles and books I have addressed issues in ways that many are not doing. It seems as though the Lord reserves the hard cases for us, as we have been thrown into various situations of evangelizing to Marxist atheists, Brazilian ‘espiritistas’, and other difficult individuals. We take on these challenges, however, confident that God’s Word is sufficient and powerful to expose sin and bring salvation. And by God’s grace this has happened!
- The emphasis and passion for preaching that I inherited from my father was honed and deepened at WSC. I have worked in several mission settings and have observed how easily “ministry” positions become merely administrative positions.
How did your education at WSC equip/prepare you for your present and/or future roles and responsibilities?
Personally, I am grateful for my professors who demonstrated over and again from the Scriptures that God will build his Church through the preaching, exposition and teaching of the Scriptures. This appreciation has bound me to a commitment to "preach the word in season and out of season," which has been my chief goal for my ministry. No matter what administrative tasks have been given me (which have been many), I have asked the Lord to use me first and foremost in proclaiming the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ.
As Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ calls us to proclaim his lordship, salvation and coming kingdom. I praise the Lord for all who have encouraged, trained, and accompanied me during these past 28 years of preparation and ministry. A special thanks goes to the faculty and friends of Westminster Seminary California for the great effort and "risk" they took upon opening up this seminary - especially given that first motley bunch God brought to them!
What advice would you give to prospective students considering graduate theological education?
God has blessed the efforts [of the faculty at WSC] abundantly, and I urge any student contemplating seminary to give serious consideration to Westminster Seminary California. God has used this institution to bless many ministries through their firm commitment to Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, and Soli Deo Gloria!