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Wesley Biblical Seminary
Motto Loving God with a whole heart through Scholarship, Worship, and Service
Established 1974
Type Seminary
President Dr. Ronald Smith
Dean Dr. Ray Easley, Academic Dean
Faculty 7 Full-time / 9 adjunct (online)
Students 140
Location Jackson, MS, USA
Campus Urban
degrees M.Div., M.A.

Wesley Biblical Seminary is a multi-denominational, graduate school of theology within the evangelical, Wesleyan-Arminian tradition. The seminary, founded in 1974 and located in Jackson, Mississippi, USA, serves men and women who come from thirty denominations from all across the United States and a number of other countries. WBS has its main residential campus in Jackson, MS, and a virtual campus made up of students from around the globe.


About the Seminary


Mission Statement

The mission of the seminary is to provide graduate-level, theological education for persons preparing for Christian service and to promote an understanding of and renewal in the Wesleyan-Arminian tradition. This mission is accomplished by nurturing spiritual life, guiding the development of biblical and theological understanding, and improving ministry skills. The desired outcome is persons who are competently prepared to fulfill their role in the global mission of the church.

History & Governence

The founding of Wesley Biblical Seminary grew out of the need for adequately prepared pastors within the Methodist tradition in the Deep South. In 1974, under the leadership of Dr. Ivan C. Howard, the founding president, a group of interested persons representing historic Methodism participated in the establishment of a theological seminary committed to graduate-level educational ministry in the Deep South. On July 22, 1975, Wesley Biblical Seminary was incorporated as an independent, non-profit educational institution with its charter, bylaws, and statement of faith duly adopted at the first Board of Trustees meeting on September 20, 1975.

The seminary is governed by a Board of Trustees composed of twenty-five ministerial and lay leaders who represent the rich diversity of the Holiness tradition. The diversity of the board reflects that of the student body in being composed of both men and women and being interracial, international, and interdenominational in background. The seminary depends primarily upon gifts and pledges of concerned individuals, groups, and local churches for operational, capital and endowment funding.


  • Subsequent to the death of Dr. Howard, Dr. Eldon R. Fuhrman was elected president in 1977. Dr. Fuhrman served the seminary as president for eight years and returned to full-time teaching in 1985.
  • Dr. Harold G. Spann assumed presidential leadership July 1, 1985, and retired from the office in June 1995.
  • Dr. Robert Lawrence accepted the election as his successor and took office July 1, 1995, and served for two years.
  • Dr. Ronald E. Smith received a unanimous election to serve as the fifth president of the seminary in January, 1998, and moved into the office on July 1, 1998. Dr. Smith recently announced his resignation and is expected to step down at the end of the 2009-2010 academic year.


The seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in North America (ATS) and the Commission on Accrediting with the State of Mississippi. WBS recently received a full 10-year renewal of its accreditation from ATS.

Educational Programs


Master of Divinity

  • Pastoral Ministry
  • Evangelism
  • Missions
  • Family Life
  • Teaching
  • Honors Research

Master of Arts

  • Biblical Literature
  • Theological Studies
  • Christian Studies
  • Apologetics (starting in the Fall of 2010)

Online/Distance Education

WBS Online began in 2004 with 15 students in a pilot program. Since then, the online program has grown to 70 students from 10 countries around the world, including India, Germany, Russia, and the Caribbean. In January 2008, WBS received approval of the online program from ATS.

The heart of WBS Online is the Master of Divinity degree aimed at professional training for men and women in full-time Christian service. Most of the online students are employed full-time, many have families, and have roots in communities making it difficult to relocate for graduate school.

Faculty and Administration


  • Sandra Richter, Professor of Old Testament (2008)
  • M. William 'Bill' Ury, Professor of Systematic Theology (1989)
  • Gareth L. Cockerill, Professor of New Testament (1979)
  • Matt Friedeman, Professor of Evangelism and Christian Education (1987)
  • Rebecca Luman, Assistant Professor of Christian Education (2002)
  • Daniel Burnett, Director of Library Services (2007)
  • Paul Tashiro, Professor of Old Testament Languages(1991)
  • Steve Tsoukalas, Assistant Professor of Apologetics and Christian Thought (2008)
  • Steve Blakemore, Assistant Professor of Christian Philosophy (2001)

Adjunct Faculty

  • John Oswalt, Adjunct Professor of Old Testament
  • Jim Reed, Adjunct Professor of Counseling
  • Chris Stratton, Adjunct Professor of Greek Exegesis
  • Phil Bence, Adjunct Professor of Church History and English Bible
  • Scott Engebretson, Adjunct Professor of Old Testament
  • John Spano, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy
  • Chris Bounds, Adjunct Professor of Theology
  • Rob Lewis, Adjunct Professor of New Testament
  • William Sillings, Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Ministry


  • Ronald Smith, President/Professor of the History of Christian Thought (1998)
  • Ray Easley, Vice-President for Academic Affairs/Professor of Pastoral Ministry (1987)
  • Tom Halford, Vice-President for Student Development (2000)
  • Janice Crosby, Chief Financial Officer (1999)
  • Jack Lee, Director of Operations (2000)
  • Bryan Easley, Associate Director of Distance Learning/Adjunct Professor of Leadership (2004)

External links


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