Deeply concerned about the inroads of modern unbelief in higher education, a number of Brethren pastors and laymen in Ashland, Ohio, laid plans for founding an institution of higher theological education, where positive biblical standards of Christian faith and life could be established and maintained.
The founding board called Dr. Alva J. McClain to be president of this new institution, Grace Theological Seminary. He brought to this position his high attainment in scholarship and wide experience as a successful pastor and teacher. The seminary opened for its first semester in Akron, Ohio, in the fall of 1937, with a student body of 39.
Grace Theological Seminary's clear Christian testimony and educational ideals aroused widespread interest among Christian leaders and schools throughout this country. The seminary moved to Winona Lake, Indiana, two years later at the invitation of the Winona Lake Bible Conference. After this change in location, the seminary experienced steady growth, even during the years of World War II. New degree programs were offered, regional accreditation was achieved, and graduates went out to serve the Lord as pastors, missionaries, teachers, chaplains and leaders in other types of Christian ministries around the world.
Grace Seminary quickly earned a worldwide reputation for excellence in preparing men and women for ministry. Over the years, the seminary faculty members have authored scores of books, contributed many articles to scholarly and religious journals, and assisted in the production of Bible translations such as the New American Standard Bible, the New International Version, the New King James Version and the New Living Bible.
In 1991, a special consortium was held with Christian ministry leaders from across the United States. As a result, the mission and values of the school were redrafted based on the goal of translating the unchanging doctrinal foundation into the contemporary world in which graduates minister. Shortly thereafter, a major revision in the Master of Divinity curriculum was implemented, and the Doctor of Ministry program was added to provide professional education for pastors and other ministry leaders.
The seminary has the advantage of sharing a campus and administrative facilities with Grace College, an accredited four-year liberal arts college with a strong Christian emphasis. It was under the sponsorship of Grace Theological Seminary that Grace College came into existence in 1948.
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