About DTS

A History of Dallas Theological Seminary

Founding and Growth

Chafer in Class
 
Dr. Chafer teaching

In the fall of 1924 the first student body of Dallas Theological Seminary met to study under the noted Bible teacher, Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer. This class of thirteen students was the result of Dr. Chafer’s burden and vision to found a seminary that would emphasize expository preaching and teaching of the Scriptures.

In 1935 the Seminary pioneered the four-year Master of Theology (ThM) degree, which is a year longer than the three-year Master of Divinity (MDiv) offered at most other seminaries. The ThM gives all the essential theological courses offered in a three-year curriculum with additional emphasis in systematic theology, Hebrew and Old Testament exegesis, Greek and New Testament exegesis, and Bible exposition.

In 1974 the Seminary instituted the two-year Master of Arts (MA) program in Biblical Studies for students whose ministries would not require the in-depth language training of the ThM program. The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree began in 1980 to provide further pastoral training for seminary graduates to meet the changing demands of ministry. In 1982 the Seminary began the MA in Christian Education so students could receive specialized training for Christian ministries. In 1987 the MA program in Cross-cultural Ministries was inaugurated to give specialized missions training. In 1993 the Seminary launched a three-year MA in Biblical Counseling and a two-year MA in Biblical Exegesis and Linguistics. The latter program is offered jointly with the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics located in south Dallas.

Outstanding leadership and scholarly expertise have characterized the Seminary’s presidents: Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer (1924–52), Dr. John F. Walvoord (1952–86), Dr. Donald K. Campbell (1986–94), and Dr. Charles R. Swindoll (1994-2001), and Dr. Mark L. Bailey (2001–).

Throughout the Seminary’s history it has steadfastly maintained its allegiance to biblical truth. A Doctrinal Statement articulates the beliefs of Dallas Theological Seminary, and each year the faculty and members of the boards reaffirm their agreement with this statement.

Historical Milestones

2013
Approved fully online MABS degree
Offered all students Logos Bible Software
Established Mobile Seminary program
2011
Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MA/CL)
2010
Dedication of the Miller Prayer Chapel
2009
"Marriage and Family" DMin cohort established
Knoxville initiative
Certificate of Graduate Studies completion program for non-graduate alumni
2008
Washington Hall single-student apartment complex completed
"Women in Ministry" DMin cohort established
2006
First online course in Chinese offered
2005
Campbell Academic Center renovated
Master of Arts in Media and Communication (MA/MC) degree program
Approval by ATS to offer the full ThM and MA/CE programs in Houston
2004
Online education program
Approval by ATS to offer the full MA(BS) degree at Atlanta and Austin extensions
DMin program in Spanish offered through SETECA
Chafer Chapel renovated
2003
Reaffirmation of accreditation with both SACS and ATS for 10 years
2002
Swiss Tower student apartment complex completed
2001
Mark Bailey became fifth president
1999
Reaffirmation of Accreditation with ATS for 10 years
Atlanta and Austin extension programs
1994
Charles Swindoll became fourth president
Tampa extension program established
Accredited by Association of Theological Schools
1993
Houston and Chattanooga extension programs established
Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling
Master of Arts in Biblical Exegesis and Linguistics program
ThD nomenclature changed to PhD
1992
Christian Education in DMin program
1991
Certificate of Graduate Studies program started
1990
Joined Association of Theological Schools
1988
San Antonio extension program established
1987
Master of Arts in Cross-cultural Ministries program
1986
Donald Campbell became third president
Center for Christian Leadership established
1981
Master of Arts in Christian Education program started
1980
Doctor of Ministry program started
1970
Summer School program launched
Master of Arts in Biblical Studies program
1969
Accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Name changed to Dallas Theological Seminary
1960
Mosher Library erected
1953
Chafer Chapel construction completed
1952
John F. Walvoord became second president
1936
Name changed to Dallas Theological Seminary and
Graduate School of Theology
1935
Master of Theology (ThM) program started
1934
First issue of Bibliotheca Sacra published on campus
1927
Davidson Hall, first permanent building, erected
Doctor of Theology (ThD) degree program initiated
1926
Current campus site purchased
1925
Doctrinal statement officially adopted
1924
Evangelical Theological College established
Lewis Sperry Chafer became first president