The Design and History of Faith Theological Seminary
Faith Theological Seminary traces its origin to Princeton Theological Seminary and the days of the great Modernist-Fundamentalist controversy that centered in that institution.
Faith Theological Seminary traces its origin to Princeton Theological Seminary and the days of the Modernist-Fundamentalist controversy that centered in that institution. Since this stronghold of the historic Christian faith was under the jurisdiction of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., it was vulnerable to the changing ecclesiastical majorities in General Assemblies. The Presbyterian Church as a whole stood firm as a beacon of orthodoxy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The conflict ensued between those who began to accept the historical-critical systems of interpretation and those who did not. By political manipulation, the board of control was altered and the whole direction of Princeton was changed. The conservative majority of the faculty thus suffered defeat, and many of them left.
The spirit of Princeton survived however in 1929 under the leadership of J. Gresham Machen who helped organize a faculty consisting of Oswald T. Allis, Robert Dick Wilson, Allan A. MacRae, John Murray, Paul Woolley, Cornelius Van Til, Rienk Bouke Kuiper, and Ned Stonehouse. They found quarters for a new seminary (Westminster Theological Seminary) in two townhouses in Philadelphia, housing students in the Drake Hotel.
In 1936 the disruption in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., over the organization of The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions brought about a new Presbyterian Church of America. Dr. Machen became the primary leader in the battle for preserving the historic Christian faith. Upon the death of Dr. J. Gresham Machen, on January 1, 1937, the great cause for which he stood fell into some disarray.
In the summer of 1937, Carl McIntire, Alan A. MacRae, Roy Brumbaugh, Harold S. Laird, and Roland Armes founded FTS to be an institution honoring the Lord through its witness to the faith once delivered to the saints, affirming the infallible Old and New Testaments as the only rule of faith and practice. Francis A. Schaeffer was a student at the time, and worked tirelessly to assist Dr. Allan A. MacRae in helping get the seminary established. Dr. Allan A. MacRae became the first President of the Seminary in 1937 and remained so until 1971. Rev. Carl McIntire became the second President from 1972-2002. Dr. Norman Manohar became the third President in 2002 until the present.
The Seminary initially conducted its classes at the Sunday School Building of Faith Bible Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware from 1937 to 1941. The Seminary gradually grew in size, resources, and constituency and through the generous gift of a friend, occupied a nearby mansion, Huston Hall, where it enjoyed the blessing of God to a marked degree. Once again the Seminary outgrew its quarters in Wilmington; in 1952 it purchased the Widener Estate property in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, in a lovely residential section less than a mile north of the city limits of Philadelphia. This was the home of the Seminary from 1952 to 1997. From 1997 to May 2004 Faith Theological Seminary operated from 1001 W. 70th Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Beginning in Fall 2004, the Seminary has operated from Baltimore, Maryland with authorization from the Maryland Higher Education Commission as a non-profit, religious, degree-granting institution (as set forth in sub-section 11-202.1 of the Education Article). Members of many groups who feel the importance of conservative and scholarly training in Bible study, which is uncompromising in its stand for the historic Christian faith, share in the support of this work and come as students to secure its advantages. As stated in the founding Charter, “The system of doctrine contained in the Scriptures, and expounded in the historic Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, shall form the basis of the instruction. True piety is to be nurtured, and an attitude of devotion and constant prayerfulness inculcated.”
The books and financial records are always open for responsible inspection and are audited annually by certified public accountants. The graduates of the Seminary are serving in many capacities, as pastors, missionaries, chaplains, teachers, and workers in specialized fields around the world. God has significantly blessed their ministry.