“What Hath God Wrought” Fifty Years of Dallas Theological Seminary Part I: God’s Man and His Dream -- By: John A. Witmer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 130:520 (Oct 1973)
Article: “What Hath God Wrought” Fifty Years of Dallas Theological Seminary Part I: God’s Man and His Dream
Author: John A. Witmer

“What Hath God Wrought”
Fifty Years of Dallas Theological Seminary
Part I:
God’s Man and His Dream

John A. Witmer

[John A. Witmer, Librarian and Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary.]

October 1, 1924, the first class sessions of the new Evangelical Theological College (original name of Dallas Theological Seminary) were held in Dallas, Texas, a growing southwestern city of more than 200,000.1 Thirteen young men from California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Washington, in addition to Texas, formed the charter class. President Lewis Sperry Chafer led a resident faculty of three and a visiting faculty in English Bible and expository teaching of six leading Bible teachers. All facilities, including student quarters, were housed in a leased apartment building at 1519–23 Hughes Circle, on the near south side.

At the start of classes for the fiftieth year Tuesday, September 4, 1973, 595 young men gathered from most of the states and twelve foreign countries. President John F. Walvoord, Dr. Chafer’s successor, leads a resident faculty of 36, supplemented by five Bible conference speakers. Dallas Seminary now owns more than eleven acres in near east Dallas approximately two miles from the heart of

the metropolis of close to 900,000. Four major buildings valued at more than $1,000,000 already occupy the campus. A $2,000,000 academic center made up of two buildings will be completed during this jubilee year. Additional property and buildings surround the main campus block.

Dallas Theological Seminary is the largest independent evangelical seminary in the world. More than 2,000 alumni are serving the Lord Jesus Christ around the world as pastors, missionaries, educators, chaplains, evangelists, and in other Christian ministries. Many hold strategic positions of leadership and influence. Comparing details from the first year of the Seminary’s life with ones from the jubilee year produces the heartfelt exclamation, “What hath God wrought” (Num 23:23).

God’s Instrument

The leading human instrument God used in the founding of Dallas Seminary was Lewis Sperry Chafer, who served as President and Professor of Systematic Theology until his death August 22, 1952. Born February 23, 1871 in the Rock Creek community of Ashtabula County, Ohio, he was the son of a Congregationalist minister who died of tuberculosis when Lewis was eleven. His spiritual birth came as a child of seven. As a youth of fourteen he was deeply impressed by a sermon by an evangelist named Scott on the grace of God. The ...

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