History

Western Reformed Seminary was founded in 1983. This year marked the anniversaries of many significant events on the religious calendar.

Foremost is the 500th anniversary of Luther’s birth. WRS inherits and communicates the Reformation spirit of sola fidei and sola scriptura. Thorough training and submission to God’s inerrant Word in precept and practice were ingredients in the ministries of reformers like Luther and Calvin, and reformation today requires no less of its leaders.

Three hundred years earlier than the founding of the Seminary, organized Presbyterianism came to America. Francis Makemie arrived from Ireland in 1683 to plant churches based on the biblical pattern of the church as refined by the reformers in Scotland. American Presbyterianism, evangelical and reformed, is the heritage emphasized at WRS.

J. Greshem Machen

One other significant date in church history should be noted. 1983 was the golden anniversary of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. It was founded in 1933 by J. Gresham Machen due to the growing and controlling unbelief within mainline Northern Presbyterianism. Dr. Machen’s action to preserve true biblical missions was the rallying point for separation from apostasy in carrying on the spiritual succession of American Presbyterianism.

In the same era, Dr. Machen and other conservative scholars were active in defending historic Christianity against the modernistic onslaught. They did not rely upon empty rhetoric or carnal weapons. Quite the contrary, these godly men wielded the truth in a scholarly manner that was irrefutable.

Desiring to promote in the northwestern United States the full-orbed Reformed theology which Dr. Machen and other Princeton scholars had bequeathed to Presbyterians standing on the Fundamentals, several Bible Presbyterian men took steps to establish an independently controlled Reformed seminary in Tacoma, Washington. The plan was approved by the Northwest Presbytery of the Bible Presbyterian Church in 1982, and in 1983 the school was incorporated in the state of Washington. In 1985 the Bible Presbyterian General Synod recognized WRS by unanimous vote as an approved independent agency meriting its support and confidence.

Western Reformed Seminary has grown from a part-time evening school to a full-time graduate institution offering a full slate of courses in several master’s programs. Not only have Bible Presbyterian students profited from training at the Seminary, but those from other evangelical denominations have also joined our student body because of our bond of fellowship in the inerrant Scriptures and the common salvation once delivered to the saints.