Fuller Theological Seminary

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blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
I was checking out a local church's website to try and get a feel for what they believe. Their statement of faith gave me some idea, but it was general (in comparison to the Westminster, 1689, etc). The pastor of the church graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, so I thought I'd take a look at their site to find out additional info.

From their "What We Believe and Teach" page:

Not long after the great evangelical awakenings, the Evangelical Alliance, led by Thomas Chalmers in 1846, stated its faith in a cluster of nine affirmations: 1) the inspiration of the Bible; 2) the right and duty of private judgment in the interpretation of the Scriptures; 3) the Trinity; 4) human depravity; 5) the meditation of the divine Christ; 6) justification by faith; 7) conversion and sanctification by the Holy Spirit; 8) the return of Christ and judgment; 9) the ministry of the Word.

Still later, in 1910, five fundamentals were identified to distinguish evangelicals from the liberalism that threatened the church: 1) the miracles of Christ; 2) the virgin birth of Christ; 3) the satisfaction view of the atonement; 4) the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures; and 5) the bodily resurrection of Christ.

Following this evangelical pattern, the Fuller Statement of Faith includes ten central affirmations which we "hold to be essential" to our ministry: 1) the existence, perfection and triune nature of God; 2) the revelation of God in creation, history and in Jesus Christ; 3) the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures; 4) God's creation of the world and humankind, with humanity's rebellion and subsequent depravity; 5) the person and work of Jesus Christ, including his deity, virgin birth, true humanity, substitutionary death, bodily resurrection, and ascension to heaven; 6) the Holy Spirit's work in regeneration and justification; 7) growth in the knowledge of God and Christian obedience; 8) the church as the creation of the Holy Spirit; 9) the worship, mission and service of the church; 10) the return of Christ to raise the dead and to judge the world.

Any examination of the Fuller Statement will indicate how careful we have been to include all the basics of the historic faith, from God's creation of the world out of nothing to the separation of the wicked from God's presence in final judgment. No central doctrine of Scripture as highlighted in the Reformation and reemphasized in the great Evangelical Awakening has been omitted. Beyond that, our faculty and trustees "acknowledge the creeds of the early church and the confession of the Protestant communions to which they severally belong."

I was just curious if anybody knew how this seminary compares to reformed seminaries some of you have attended or are attending, as to differences and similarities?
 

tdowns

Puritan Board Junior
Complete hearsay......

This is just what I've heard, from living near it, but I have never been there or studied it.

* It is allowed, for teachers to teach that the bible is not infallible and/or inerrant.

* It is strong in the Christian psychology department.

*It provides a good education, but is a mix of evangelical/liberal.

*My Pastor has at least one degree from there, but he also has an M.D., he speaks highly of it, but is also a guy who knows how to find and establish truth despite being taught error. He is a super intellect, so I respect his opinion that it's a good school.

* Another one of our Elders, another super intellect, and great teacher, is a Professor there. He and my Pastor, from my understanding, both consider themselves Calvinists.

The general "feeling" I've gotten from conservatives, is they don't like the school.

Like I said, real empirical data;), but that's the feeling I've gotten from hearing people talk about it; a good place to get an education, but not your consistent, reformed, conservative doctrine.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
The joke is, I forgot who said it, that you were more likely to find a creationist at the Berkeley than an inerrantist at Fuller.

That being said, I like the "old" Richard Mouw. About 3 out of 5 things he says are fantastic. The other two sometimes make you cringe. (He debated Gary North on economics one time and Mouw said that when he {Mouw} got to heaven he would finally be able to read all of Karl Marx's works).
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
See George Marsden's history of Fuller, Reforming Fundamentalism. It's a brilliant history of an institution attempting to establish a west coast version of "old Westminster" without the confessions and the ecclesiology.

There is also a fascinating study of E. J. Carnell, by Rudolph Nelson, The Making and Unmaking of an Evangelical Mind: The Case of Edward John Carnell.
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
See George Marsden's history of Fuller, Reforming Fundamentalism. It's a brilliant history of an institution attempting to establish a west coast version of "old Westminster" without the confessions and the ecclesiology.
Looks like an interesting book to read. My initial response was going to be "An unsuccessful attempt?", assuming he may have written negatively about the attempt. I googled the book, and came across a news clip at the Fuller website that spoke about George Marsden's January visit to Fuller where over 300 from the seminary community attended. I guess he couldn't have come down too hard on the seminary if they wanted him to come speak there.
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
This is just what I've heard, from living near it, but I have never been there or studied it...
Thanks for your post. It must be pretty good if your pastor speaks highly of it and your elder teaches there. (of course that's just hearsay on my part, since I've never met your pastor or elder)
 

calvinich

Puritan Board Freshman
Fuller is definately liberal. James White got a degree from there, though.

I think a conservative can get a good education in a liberal institution. Whether it is advisable when there are good conservative institution is another matter for discussion.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Notice that their statement mentions the inspiration and authority of the Bible, with no mention of inerrancy or infallibility. This is because Fuller officially abandoned inerrancy and infallibility about 30 years ago.

The problem is that, when Fuller was founded in 1947 (the late Carl F. H. Henry being a member of the founding faculty), the school was part of the recently-established neo-evangelical movement, which wanted the Church to be more engaged with the world and to also engage in more rigorous theological and biblical scholarship, while disengaging itself from the fundamentalist movement of the 1920s and 1930s.

The problem with walking that tightrope is that, eventually, you've got to fall on one side or the other. In the long run (60 years on), Fuller is on the way to becoming the Harvard Divinity School of the West Coast instead of the Greenville Seminary of the West Coast.

It's definitely not the type of school envisioned by Carl Henry and Wilber Smith 60 years ago.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Notice that their statement mentions the inspiration and authority of the Bible, with no mention of inerrancy or infallibility. This is because Fuller officially abandoned inerrancy and infallibility about 30 years ago.

Actually, they do mention infallibility. What blhowes posted is not Fuller's statement of faith.

http://www.fuller.edu/employment/hr/statement.asp

III. Scripture is an essential part and trustworthy record of this divine self-disclosure. All the books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, are the written Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. They are to be interpreted according to their context and purpose and in reverent obedience to the Lord who speaks through them in living power.
 
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