Lewis S. Chafer, 1924–1952
Dr. Chafer was the founder and first president of DTS. With a background in the Bible Conference Movement, Chafer saw the need for a seminary that provided rigorous biblical and theological training that was grounded in the inerrant truth of Scripture. During his travels as an evangelist and Bible teacher, he developed a desire to create an institution that would train pastors and teachers to preach and teach God's Word accurately within a dispensational, premillennial framework. C. I. Scofield, the prominent dispensational theologian, greatly influenced Chafer’s shaping of the DTS curriculum.
In addition to his work as president, Chafer taught systematic theology and authored an eight-volume work on the subject. This collection was the first distinctly premillennial, pretribulational, and dispensational theological survey within Protestant orthodoxy. His investment in the spiritual and theological formation of his students and the field of systematic theology was foundational to the role of DTS in building up the body of Christ worldwide.