In the course of celebrating God’s faithfulness and blessing on Westminster Seminary California (WSC) over the past 30 years, we are also planning for the future. We are seeking ways to attract more excellent students, to strengthen the faculty, to solidify our finances, and to build the buildings—particularly student housing—that we need for our work.
In addition to these plans for the future, the Board of Trustees has established a very special study committee. (At first glance a committee may not seem very important, but I think this one is.) At the urging of former president and former Board chairman Bob den Dulk, and the present Board chairman Ron Prins, we now have a committee studying how to insure the future faithfulness of the seminary to the Bible, the Reformed confessions, and the mission of WSC.
We have established this committee not because of any current problems or concerns. This committee was born of a Board-faculty discussion in which we together looked at the history of two Christian schools (a college and a seminary) which had dramatically moved from their original commitments and mission. We do not want that to happen here, and so have decided that while we enjoy a clear and united passion for our mission, we need to do all we can to plan for future faithfulness.
The committee is composed of members of the Board, faculty, administration, and outside consultants. Our hope is to analyze the causes of unfaithfulness in schools and adopt measures that will protect our seminary from unfaithfulness for many years in the future.
We recognize that the contemporary environment in which we live is not a friend to the Bible or to Reformed orthodoxy. I often think of that phrase of Walter Lippmann: “the acids of modernity.” There are so many factors that can eat away at the foundations of a school. We want to try to understand those “acids” and guard against them.
One factor that is clear to us is the need for the Board, faculty, and administration to know fully what our commitments are. We need to understand our belief in the inerrancy of the Scriptures and why that is so important. We need to know the content of the Reformed confessions so that our commitment to them is well-informed.
A second factor is that we not only need to know that our commitments are to the Bible and to the Reformed confessions, but we need to also embrace them with passion. The confessions in particular must not be viewed as museum pieces – important for times past, but not so relevant for today. The confessions must remain the living conviction of WSC about the most important truths for the church and the ministry today.
A third factor is our determination to be honest with our supporters. Too many schools in the past have projected commitments to which they did not really hold. We want to tell the truth and the whole truth about where we stand today as an institution. The Board and faculty unanimously have subscribed to our confessions. They have also unanimously endorsed the “A Testimony to our Time” statement that we adopted some years ago to communicate where we stand as a seminary on many of the controversies that in some cases go beyond the explicit statements of our confessions. We recognize that only as WSC and its supporters stand together will we remain faithful.
We are working hard with this committee to insure the faithfulness of WSC for future generations, but we know that ultimately our future is in the Lord’s hands. With the Psalmist we pray, “I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand; rescue me…” (Ps. 31:14, 15). Please pray with us for this committee and for WSC that the Lord will keep us faithful to his Word.
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Permissions: You are permitted to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do NOT alter the wording in any way and you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred.