This is an article from the March 1984 issue: Revolution in Missions at Trinity

Dallas Theological Seminary

Not Only at Trinity!

Dallas Theological Seminary

Dallas Theological Seminary is experiencing both new and renewed commitment to the challenges of world evangelization. New sentiment is coming from students now becoming equipped for ministry to unreached peoples. Renewed excitement is coming from a reminder of the missions vision that was an integral part of the seminarys foundation.

In 1921 a group of godly men felt the need to establish a new and different training school. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, a noted Bible teacher and personal evangelist, had seen problems in some of the theological schools of his day. Chafer observed that these schools centered on academic training of the mind more than spiritual preparation of the heart. Often they put other academic disciplines on a par with the study and understanding of the Word of Cod.

Dr. Chafer wrote, "I have felt for a long time that there is an imperative need for an entirely new departure in the training of men for the ministry. The major study should be centered around the Bible."

With this on his heart, Chafer and others determined that this new school would be different. It would be different because it would focus on Biblical training. Each student would carefully study all 66 books of the Bible. It would be different because it would focus on the clear communication of God's word. It would be different because it would be started and directed by men with a heart for evangelism and the world. Later, in 1924. Dr. Chafer's vision became a reality when a temporary board founded the Evangelical Theological College and Dr. Chafer became the first president. tn 1935 the name was changed to Dallas Theological Seminary.

Chafer's friendship with C.I. Scofield, founder of the Central American Mission (now CAM Iternational), also influenced the early development of the seminary. Part of Scofield's purpose in starting the mission was to focus attention on Central America, an area of the world overlooked by many evangelical Protestants of the day. Thus, the mindset of reaching unreached areas became part of the heart of the leadership of the seminary. Chafer served as directory, of the Central American Mission for a few of its early years, and his dream was to see an entire graduating class of the seminary go to the mission field.

A little later in the development of the seminary, one young student of Chafer's grew in his heart for the world. When he graduated, he felt the strong desire to go to China, begun to expand the faculty of the World Mission Department, and his resolve was now strengthened to make Dallas Theological Seminary a major contributor to world missions.

Largely because of the role of the faculty in the World Missions Department and the role students play in missions mobilization on the campus, student interest in and commitment to missions has increased in recent years. Ron Blue, Walt Baker, and Ed Pentecost each with more than it years of overseas missions service, comprise the full-time faculty. They are often joined by visiting lecturers. missionaries on furlough or study leave who leach for one year. Example: Pal Cate. a visiting lecturer in 3979 1980. and his wife had recently returned from ministry in Iran with International Missions, a mission working exclusively with Muslim, Hindu, and Chinese people groups.

All students are exposed to principles and needs in world missions through two required courses introduction to World Mission," end an elective from other course offerings. Those offerings include:

Christianity in Muslim Lands; History of the Non Western Churches; Theological Education in the Non Western Churches; Applied Cultural Anthropology; Principles of Church Growth: A Biblical Theology of Missions; A Practical Theology of Missions; Strategy of Modern Missions; Missions Strategies for Unreached Peoples; and many more.

The student activities are organized through the Student Missions Fellowship (SMF). This is led by six students. chosen by other students from different class levels. Each of the SMF leaders, working under faculty supervision, gathers 8 IS other students to constitute a 'task force," Each task force works in different areas of interest and need on and off the campus. These groups often help to build relationships between students as well as with the faculty.

Here are just a few of the student directed missions activities at Dallas Theological Seminary:

  1.  Each summer a number of students go overseas for a MS] (Missionary Summer Internship). After a history of growing participation, now somewhere between 30 and 60 students, plus their families, go on an MSI each year. This year more thin 100 students expressed an Interest in overseas exposure for this summer.
  2. Each year a week tong missions conference suspends the normal class schedule and extends the spring semester. This began at the request of the students over 25 years ago. During each conference, missions speakers and representatives from more than 30 mission boards are on hand to interact with students and faculty. This year over 120 students are involved in planning and administrating the missions conference for the entire student body.
  3. Each year a number of prayer groups form on campus, groups usually meeting weekly. These prayer cells are convened around different parts of the world, such as Asia, or around blocs of peoples, such as Muslims or Chinese. Typically 30 20 groups involve at least 300 200 students. This year over 300 students expressed a desire to participate in prayer by using the new monthly prayer sheet put out by SMF.

More than 300 seminary alumni now serve in 96 countries with over 52 denominational and interdenominational mission boards. Many other Dallas alumni who have assumed pastorates communicate an understanding and heart for missions in local churches in the United States and Canada.


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