The Dallas Theological Seminary is an evangelical theological seminary located on Swiss Avenue, Dallas, Texas. The institute is well-known for popularizing the Free grace theology as well as the theological system called Dispensationalism. Dallas Theological Seminary has several campuses in different locations such as Washington, D.C., Houston, and Dallas. It also has extension campuses in Nashville, San Antonio, Austin, Guatemala, Australasia, and Arkansas. In this article, we are going to learn more about the history of the Dallas Theological Seminary.
Dallas Theological Seminary opened in 1924 with twelve students who wanted to study with Bible teacher Lewis Sperry Chafer. After a year, the school was incorporated by the state under the name Evangelical Theological College. Even if the school was unaffiliated, the seminary still served the people who have faith in evangelical Protestantism. Aside from that, the seminary also welcomed qualified men in that has sympathy with their doctrine.
The Dallas Theological College was the first seminary that offered a four-year course for the master of theology degree. The new curriculum included introductory theology courses that are provided in three-year programs. Aside from that, the program also gave additional emphasis to Greek and New Testament exegesis, systematic theology, and English Bible exposition. The institution started to offer courses in missions, practical theology, Christian education, and church history in 1935. Aside from the four-year Th.M. program for college graduates, the seminary program also features a year of study that leads to an S.T.M. for those that graduated from a three-year Th.D, and three-year seminary course.
In 1936, the institution’s name was changed to Dallas Theological Seminary and Graduate School of Theology. Between 1952 to 1953, the institution’s next major building, the Lewis Sperry Chafer Chapel, was constructed. Seven years after, the Mosher Library, which is a library that can accommodate up to 500 students, with a vast collection of 125,000 volumes, was built in 1960. Ten years after that, the school’s faculty increased to twenty-eight, and its enrollment went from 300 to 543.
In 1976, the students who enrolled at the Dallas Theological Seminary had increased to 1,000. This made the seminary one of the five most significant Protestant seminaries in the whole world. In 1980, the Dallas Theological Seminary started offering a doctor of ministry degree program was begun. These programs were instituted in San Antonio and Philadelphia. In 1993, Dallas Theological Seminary began to its extension programs in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Houston. After a year, they also applied it in Tampa, Florida. That same year, the Association of Theological Schools accredited the Dallas Theological Seminary. Four years after its accreditation, the school’s enrollment increased to 1,802.
From its founding up until 1952, Lewis Sperry Chafer served as the institution’s president. He was succeeded by John F. Walvoord, who served from 1952 to 1986. After that, Donald K. Campbell took over and supervised the school from 1986 to 1994. Charles R. Swindoll succeeded Campbell, and he served until 2001 when Mark L. Bailey took over. Bailey served as the school’s president until 2020, and Dallas Theological Seminary alumni Mark Yarbrough replaced him.