The great theologians of Princeton Seminary championed Reformed Christian scholarship during the early 20th century.

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The Heroic Stand of Our Founder

The great theologians of Princeton Seminary championed Reformed Christian scholarship during the early 20th century. Internationally renowned, the faculty included the insightful biblical interpreter Geerhardus Vos, the steadfast defender of biblical inerrancy B.B. Warfield, and the esteemed New Testament scholar J. Gresham Machen.

In the 1920s, the mainline Presbyterian church struggled with liberalism. J. Gresham Machen set the terms of the debate with his book Christianity and Liberalism. He argued that liberalism teaches not a lesser form of Christianity, but an entirely different religion.

Princeton compromised by reorganizing its board to include members tolerant of liberalism. Princeton’s new leadership slowly transformed the seminary from an institution that trained biblically faithful ministers to a mirror that reflected the shifting trends in the mainline Presbyterian church.

Machen left the prestige of Princeton to stand for the truth of the Bible. He knew that theological compromise would harm the spiritual power of the church.

Machen left the prestige of Princeton to stand for the truth of the Bible. He knew that theological compromise would harm the spiritual power of the church. His fight for Christianity cost him a great deal. Not only did Machen lose his position at Princeton, but his church also declared him guilty of insubordination and stripped him of his credentials as a minister.

In 1929, Machen founded a new school, Westminster, with senior faculty members from Princeton and bright young scholars to carry on Princeton’s noble tradition. Machen’s prize faculty (John Murray and Cornelius Van Til, among others) shared his sacrificial heart and vision for robust theological education. They followed Machen to Westminster in order to build a new stronghold for Reformed theology and train the next era of passionate Christian pastors and theologians.

Machen’s faculty and their successors equipped generations of incisive scholars and bold preachers throughout the 20th century. Their scholarship and commitment to the Word of God established Westminster as one of the most highly regarded Reformed institutions in the world. Their teaching and writing heavily influenced Christian leaders in America and abroad, including John Piper and Timothy Keller.

Today, our expert faculty train students with the insight, conviction, and ingenuity they inherited from our founders. Their distinct, robust teaching method empowers students with exegetically grounded systematic theology, biblical counseling, presuppositional apologetics, redemptive-historical hermeneutics, Christ-centered preaching, and extensive historical theology.

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