The Master’s Seminary opened its doors in 1986 to provide post-graduate theological training on the campus of Grace Community Church. Until then, the men of GCC would fill vans and commute daily to Talbot Theological Seminary, the nearest option for theological training. Eventually, there were so many students—nearly a hundred—that Talbot allowed GCC to start an extension campus and began to send their faculty to the church campus.
This continued for nine years. But when the dean of Talbot resigned, Dr. Irv Busenitz, a member of the extension’s faculty, decided it was time to start a new seminary. On March 31, 1986, he met with Dr. John MacArthur to discuss the possibility.
They founded The Master’s Seminary in the fall of that year with ninety-five students and four full-time faculty members: Dr. Irv Busenitz, Dr. Marc Mueller, Dr. Charles R. Smith, and Professor Donald G. McDougall. Dr. Charles R. Smith served as dean and Dr. MacArthur as president. In 1988, TMS received regional accreditation with The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
As we look back, we see the hand of God gathering a group of men and knitting their hearts together. Our founding members were united in sound doctrine and committed to the quality, integrity, and vision for the seminary. They were wholly dedicated to investing their lives in the men who trained at TMS.
Our product has always been simple: we produce preachers. That was and is the uniqueness of our seminary. Our job is to produce one product, an expositor of the Word. We have always believed that expositors are born from sound theology, an accurate view of Scripture, a precise hermeneutic, and comprehensive understanding of the biblical languages. But expositors are not just crafted in the classroom. They are produced within the local church. When our students walk out of class, they step onto the campus of Grace Community Church. Here they are called to daily practice the truths they are taught in the classroom. None of this is possible without intentional discipleship between faculty and students. As expositors, we are held to a higher standard, one that requires a life of holiness. Who better to encourage and exhort our students than seasoned pastors have dedicated themselves to preparing them for ministry?
One word sums up the legacy that is entrusted to the men who come to TMS: faithfulness. Above all, our preachers are faithful to the Word of God. Over 1,800 graduates now faithfully preach the Word in forty-five countries and six continents. And growing number of international students are training at TMS in preparation for service in their home countries. What began with ninety-five students has grown into an institution with twenty-two full-time faculty training almost 600 men. Our carefully-crafted curriculum holds true to our unwavering commitment to the worship of God, the authority of His Word, the priority of the local church, the mission of gospel proclamation, and the purity necessary for spiritual leadership.
In the years before The Master’s Seminary, Dr. Busenitz’s office was located at the back of the chapel. Every time he walked into that dark chapel, he prayed that one day God would fill it with men preparing for ministry. God has bountifully answered that prayer. Our fervent prayer is that He would continue to do so.