Question and Answer
OPC and Seminary Choice
Is there any difference between the west coast seminary and the east coast seminary in the OPC? In other words, other than geography, how would one decide which seminary to go if the decision were down to these two?
I assume that you mean Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia) and Westminster Seminary California. Neither of these is officially affiliated with the Othodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). The Christian Education Committee does routinely visit these and other seminaries and provide information on them to the General Assembly. You may procure such information by requesting it, either from the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly or the General Secretary of Christian Education.
Historically, the OPC has had a strong relationship with Westminster east and west, having OPC ministers and ruling elders on their respective faculties and boards. The OPC does not operate a seminary. The church typically recommends several as options from which men may choose, e.g. (in alphabetical order), Covenant Theological Seminary, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Mid-America Reformed Seminary, Northwest Theological Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary, Westminster Seminary California, and Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia). (All of the preceding seminaries—with the possible exception of Covenant Seminary—include OPC ministers on the full-time regular faculty.)
There are thus many seminaries that the OPC recommends as meeting the curriculum requirements set forth in the Book of Church Order. In addition, the OPC has a Ministerial Training Institute, which offers seminary level courses in order to supplement seminary education.
As I said, the OPC recommends both Westminster east and Westminster west as options from which men may choose. Historically, the assembly has encouraged pastors and churches to support these seminaries by prayer and monetary contributions.
In my opinion, either Westminster east or Westminster west is a fine option. While they may have some slight differences in emphasis, to my knowledge both affirm the Westminster standards, and both have qualified and godly professors. Personally, I would find it difficult to decide between the two.
Here is what I would suggest if you have narrowed down your choices to these two seminaries: Secure a catalog from each and compare them. Talk or correspond with recent graduates of each institution. If possible, visit both campuses, sitting in on representative classes, arranging in advance to meet with someone in the admissions office. Then decide.
I pray that this answers your questions. If you need anything clarified, please feel free to write.
"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)
The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.
The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.
While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.
You will receive an answer by email. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.
The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.
Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been editedall personal references are removed, Scripture references may be added, and sometimes portions are expandedto make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.