I’ve been enjoying this new book which summarizes the history of Westminster Seminary California: A New Old School, edited by W. Robert Godfrey and D. G. Hart. Since Andrew and I graduated from WSC over five years ago, both of us have a vested interest in this book. One emphasis of this book is a big reason why I studied at WSC: its commitment to Reformed/Presbyterian theology and confessions. As the book notes, all Christians have some form of confession; every Christian believes at least some doctrine.
“No Christian who reads the Bible can escape some kind of creedal conclusions in the sense that he makes some decision about the meaning of the Bible. To speak of the Bible’s meaning, as Westminster’s faculty always understood, was to talk in terms of doctrinal affirmations and denials. Being a Christian without doctrine was impossible. The best approach, as the importance of the creeds at Westminster demonstrated, was for Christians communally to summarize those doctrines into a coherent whole that would inform the life and ministry of Christ’s church.”
“Still the anti-confessional bias of many American evangelicals challenged Westminster California to ask again and again whether the teachings and practices of Reformed confessionalism were still necessary or worthwhile in the contemporary church. But through these reflections Westminster California forged an increasingly self-conscious confessional identity as the years went by. It became even more confident of the truths of the Reformed confessions.”
WSC started out by upholding, affirming, and teaching the Westminster Standards. In 1993 they added the Three Forms of Unity to further bolster their Reformed confessional identity.
“Far from watering down its confessional identity, this action actually underscored the importance of confessional Reformed Christianity for its education. This decision also helped assure that students would be well versed not only in Reformed theology generally, but also in the church’s confessional expressions of the truth. Adding to the confessional identity of Westminster California is the reality that the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity are essentially agreed at almost every point, showing the unity of Reformed Christianity.”
If you have any interest in Westminster Seminary California – whether a former or current student, former or current parent(s) of a student, or if you are curious what WSC is all about, I highly recommend this book: A New Old School. Also worth noting is that the Kindle version is currently at the special introductory price of $4.99 (here on Amazon).