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Western Seminary

Western Seminary Logo
Motto Gospel-centered Transformation.
Established 1927
Type Seminary
President Randy Roberts
Students 730
Location Portland, OR 45°30′43″N 122°36′22″W / 45.512°N 122.606°W / 45.512; -122.606,
San Jose, CA37°13′52″N 121°57′36″W / 37.231°N 121.96°W / 37.231; -121.96,
Sacramento, CA 38°37′05″N 121°22′19″W / 38.618°N 121.372°W / 38.618; -121.372
Campus Urban
Colors Blue and Gold

Western Seminary is a conservative, evangelical, and non-denominational theological seminary rooted in the Conservative Baptist Association. The seminary has campuses in Portland, Oregon, as well as in San Jose and Sacramento in California. The seminary offers Master’s Degrees in Divinity, Counseling, Intercultural Studies, and Theology along with Doctoral Programs in Ministry and Missiology. Western Seminary provides alternative learning options for students through the Center for Lifelong Learning, the seminary’s distance education program.


Theology and Philosophy of Ministry

Though Western Seminary students come from a large number of Christian denominations and non-denominational churches, the faculty teaches a conservative and evangelical Christian doctrine, with a progressive philosophy of ministry in and alongside the Church.

The faculty of Western Seminary regard the Bible as the infallible and inerrant word of God, which may be accurately understood through a grammatical-historical model of interpretation. They place a strong emphasis on the practical ministry application of any interpretation of scripture. The Faculty Teaching Position may be viewed at the official website.


Western Seminary is accredited to award master's and doctor's degrees by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and is an accredited member of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.

The seminary is also a partner with Jerusalem University College in Jerusalem, Israel, as well as a charter member of the Institute of Theological Studies (ITS).


Portland Baptist Bible Institute was organized in the winter of 1925 through the work of Walter B. Hinson. In the following year, further efforts were begun to establish a graduate-level seminary to provide a theological education of greater depth in the Northwestern United States. The Western Baptist Theological Seminary was officially dedicated on October 4, 1927.

The Board acquired a mansion and 5 acres (20,000 m2) of land on the west slope of Portland's Mt. Tabor in 1944. Additional structures were built and classes convened at the new site in the fall of that year. The Portland campus continues to operate at this site today.

To date, Western Seminary has opened several extension campus locations in the Western United States to support residential studies in other major cities. The first branch campus was launched in San Jose, CA in 1986, followed by another in Phoenix, AZ in 1988. A Sacramento, CA campus was opened in 1991, as was the Seattle, WA campus in 1992. Since this time, the Phoenix and Seattle campuses have become independent seminaries.

Western’s presidents have been reputable leaders in theological education, including Dr. Earl D. Radmacher (from 1965-1989) and Dr. Bert Downs (from 1998-2008). The current president is Dr. Randal Roberts (2008-).

Western has developed many solutions to help non-residential students complete their coursework. Western was one of the earliest institutions to offer the Doctor of Ministry degree. In 1981, Western began a distance learning program that served hundreds of students per year in study centers across America and overseas through interactive video curriculum. In adapting courses to DVD and CD-ROM formats, the Western Seminary Center for Lifelong Learning offers distance learning courses on demand. Today, alternative course scheduling options on the different campuses also allow students to complete their studies as either part- or full-time students.

In 2005, Western expanded its training sites along the west coast by establishing hybrid learning cohorts in such cities as Seattle and Richland, WA; Reno, NV; Bakersfield, CA.


The Spurgeon Fellowship Journal was inaugurated in October 2007 in an effort "to equip pastors to bring classic pastoral wisdom to bear upon modern ministry challenges." The journal is published online three times a year, focusing each edition on one of three areas: The Pastoral Identity, The Pastoral Task and the Pastoral Confession. Journal articles are contributed by Western Seminary faculty, as well as theologians and pastors around the country.

Notable alumni

  • Mark Bailey - President of Dallas Theological Seminary
  • Nathan Baxter - Assistant Professor of Communication Arts, Gordon College
  • Phyllis Bennett - Author of several books published by Women of Faith, Women's Ministry Director, Adjunct Faculty at Western Seminary
  • Catharine Coon - Founder of Children of Hope relief project, Uganda
  • Bob Cryder - Founder and director of Bob Cryder Team Ministries (deceased)
  • Bert Downs - Former president and current chancellor of Western Seminary, Southwest Conservative Baptist Regional Director
  • Mark Driscoll - Preaching Pastor and co-founder of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, co-founder Acts 29 Network, author
  • Jack Hafer - producer of To End All Wars, Boulevard Pictures
  • Wendell Hawley - Vice President & editor-in-chief at Tyndale House Publishing
  • Moyer Hubbard - Associate Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Director, Th.M. Program, Biola University
  • Dan Jarrell - Teaching Pastor of Changepoint Church in Anchorage, Alaska
  • Dan Kimball - Pastor of Vintage Faith Church, author of several books including The Emerging Church, Emerging Worship, and They Like Jesus But Not The Church
  • Tim LaHaye - Pastor, author/co-author of many books including the Left Behind series and How to Study the Bible for Yourself
  • Robert Lewis - Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock Arkansas, author of The Church of Irresistible Influence
  • John MacMurray – Co-author of To Own A Dragon (with Donald Miller)
  • Karl Payne - Pastor, Seattle Seahawks NFL Team chaplain
  • Rene Schlaepfer - Teaching Pastor of Twin Lakes Church in Santa Cruz, California
  • Tom Schreiner - Associate Dean, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Bob Tebow - Founder of Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association in The Philippines; father of 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow
  • Steve Tracy - Professor of Theology and Ethics at Phoenix Seminary
  • Robert A. Vogel - Director of Applied Ministry, Carl E. Bates Professor Christian Preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Bruce Ware - Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Stu Weber - Founding pastor of Good Shepherd Church in Boring, Oregon, author of several books including Four Pillars of a Man's Heart and Tender Warriors
  • Bruce Wilkinson - Founder of Walk Thru the Bible Ministries, author of several books including 7 Laws of the Learner, Walk Through the Bible, and The Prayer of Jabez


External links



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