Westminster Seminary California
WSC Book Soon to be Released!
WSC Book Soon to be Released!

Keep your eyes peeled (I know, as painful as that might be). There's a new book soon to be released later this summer: Westminster Seminary California--A New Old School, written by W. Robert Godfrey and D. G. Hart. This book was written to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Westminster Seminary California. Recently there have been some who claim to know what the seminary is all about, but such purported "histories" reveal more about the critics than they do the seminary.

The book has seven chapters:

1. The Call of the West

2. Heritage from the East: Roots of the Vision

3. The Founders, Their Vision, and Their Work

4. The Faculty

5. Changing Evangelical Environment

6. Challenges Among the Reformed

7. The Growing Old School

In a word, the seminary has sought to carry on the legacy of Old School Presbyterianism, an ethos embodied in the Scriptures, carried on in 16th and 17th century Reformed theology, trumpted from Old Princeton through the mighty pens of the Hodges, B. B. Warfield, Geerhardus Vos, and J. Gresham Machen, and subsequently planted in the sun-soaked earth of Southern California. Though WSC is is relatively new, it is nonetheless an Old School institution, hence a new old school.

The book spells out not only our history, details of key events in the seminary's life, but also our key theological committments within the broader evangelical culture. As one who has read a pre-publication draft of the book, I can tell you that it is as much about WSC as it is about the changing evangelical theological landscape on the West Coast. One of the chief contentions of the book is that WSC has never waivered in its committment to the Reformed faith, but rather, the changing and fluid evangelical scene around the seminary has certainly changed. Once committed to such things as biblical inerrancy, for example, many evangelical institutions have drifted from their doctrinal moorings, and they have done so in a relatively short amount of time. WSC has held the same ground for thirty-plus years. We have not moved to the right; the surrounding theological culture has moved significantly to the left.  

Nevertheless, as a whole, WSC is marked by the following five characteristics.

1. Biblical. WSC is committed to:

  • the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible.
  • the Christ-centered character of all the Bible.
  • the Bible's comprehensive regulation of faith and worship.
  • the Bible's authority in all it teaches about all callings and all of life.

2. Confessional. WSC is committed to:

  • the teaching of the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity as a faithful summary of the teaching of the Bible.
  • the priorities of the confessions which we believe are the priorities of the Bible.
  • the confessions as vitally relevant for the life of the church today.
  • the confessions as faithful guides to minsters for the work of the ministry today.

3. Pious. WSC is committed to:

  • cultivating piety in the hearts and lives of its students.
  • encouraging growing faith in the promises of God and growing holiness of life in all Christians.
  • teaching students to preach faithfully, expositing and applying the whole counsel of God.
  • developing knowledge of and involvement in evangelism and missions.

4. Scholarly. WSC is committed to:

  • careful and thorough engagement with the best scholarship.
  • a scholarly development and defense of Reformed orthodoxy.
  • encouraging students to love God with all their minds.
  • preparing pastors for the church who have had an excellent scholarly education.

5. Passionate. WSC is committed to:

  • being valiant for truth.
  • pursuing our faith and work with zeal, not calm indifference.
  • serving Christ, His Gospel, and His Church

As an institution, we are firmly committed to these principles. If you're interested in finding out more about WSC and reading this book, you can find an excerpt here. Tolle et Lege! Take up and read!