Bookmark and Share
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

DALLAS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

DALLAS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY. Dallas Theological Seminary, a nondenominational Protestant school, is located on Swiss Avenue in eastern Dallas. The seminary opened in the fall of 1924 with twelve students who proposed to study with Bible teacher Lewis Sperry Chafer. The school was incorporated by the state on February 16, 1925, under the name Evangelical Theological College. Though denominationally unaffiliated, the seminary served those of like faith in evangelical Protestantism and welcomed qualified men in sympathy with their doctrine. In 1926 friends purchased the first portion of the present campus on Swiss Avenue. The following year memorial gifts provided for the construction of Lidie C. Davidson Hall and D. M. Stearns Memorial Hall. In 1929 George T. Besel of Philadelphia purchased an apartment house, thus adding to the Swiss Avenue frontage to complete the five-acre campus.

The seminary pioneered in offering a four-year course for the master of theology degree. The new curriculum incorporated essential theology courses offered in three-year programs and gave additional emphasis to systematic theology, Greek and New Testament exegesis, and English Bible exposition. Since 1935 courses in practical theology, missions, church history, and Christian education have been made available. In addition to the four-year Th.M. program for college graduates, the seminary program included a year of study leading to a S.T.M. for those having graduated from a three-year seminary course, as well as a three-year Th.D. for those having completed a Th.M.

The name of the school was changed to Dallas Theological Seminary and Graduate School of Theology in July 1936. The next major building, Lewis Sperry Chafer Chapel, was erected during 1952–53. Mosher Library, suitable for a student body of 500 and a collection of 125,000 volumes, was added in 1960. In the 1972–73 term the faculty numbered twenty-eight. Enrollment averaged 300 between 1950 and 1965, and in 1972–73 reached 543. In 1974–75 Academic centers I and II were built.

By 1976 the student body had increased to 1,000, making the seminary one of the five largest Protestant seminaries in the world. A doctor of ministry degree program was begun in 1980, and programs of the seminary were instituted in Philadelphia and San Antonio. In 1993 Dallas Theological Seminary began a three-year master's program in Biblical counseling and a two-year master's program in Biblical exegesis and linguistics, the latter in conjunction with the Summer Institute of Linguistics. The school began extension programs in Houston and Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1993, and in Tampa, Florida, in 1994. Also in 1994, the school was accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. In 1998 the school's enrollment was 1,802. Lewis Sperry Chafer was president from 1924 to 1952, John F. Walvoord served from 1952 to 1986, and Donald K. Campbell from 1986 to 1994. Charles R. Swindoll assumed the post in 1994, and Mark L. Bailey succeeded him in 2001.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Dallas Morning News, April 10, 1986, May 15, 1992. Dallas Times Herald, August 8, 1976. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

"DALLAS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/kbd05), accessed November 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.