Fuller Theological Seminary was founded in 1947 by radio evangelist Charles E. Fuller, of the “Old Fashioned Revival Hour,” in partnership with Harold John Ockenga, pastor of Park Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts.
At first, Harold Ockenga, Charles Fuller and the others thought they would be able to host classes at the famous Craven Estate in Pasadena. It was very formal, which led some professors to be a bit apprehensive about how they were teaching such humble and sacrificial theology in such elaborate a setting. Wilbur Smith was embarassed by his office. He thought it was entirely too formal.
Classes were held at the Cravens Estate, otherwise known as "Highgate," for one day. After the first day of classes the police came and told them that the building was not sanctioned for classes and they had to find another location. Faculty offices, as well as the library, could remain at the estate.
On the second day of classes Daniel Fuller stood in the driveway of the Cravens Estate and directed students to Lake Avenue Congregational Church. Thankfully Charles Fuller was very good friends with the pastor of Lake Avenue, James Henry Hutchins, who arranged for classes to be taught at the church.
In 1953, the seminary moved to the present location of its main campus.
Harold John Ockenga (1947-1954, 1960-1963)
"'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me,' Matthew 16:24
"The cross is the center point, the home base, the theme song of the Biblical preacher. All preaching, whether evangelisitic or edifying, must revolve around the cross of Calvary. No other subject is so calculated to be the touchstone of human character as is the cross. When I initiated my ministry, a grand old preacher advised, 'Always preach the cross. Let the cross be central. Subordinate all other doctrines to the cross and God will bless your ministry.' He was right,"
from Power Through Pentecost, p. 112.
Edward John Carnell (1954-1959)
"Fellowship can never be experienced apart from commitment. Love is such a strange- yet infinitely satisfying- datum that only the lover knows of its inner dimensions.
"If it is impossible to enter the heart of another person independently of commitment, how much less can we know the love of God apart from faith? Who can comprehend the peace of sins forgiven, who save the man who has passed through the despair of the low? Who can realize what it means to feel the arms of God undergird him, who save the lonlely heart which has lost its way?
"Tasting Christ is... but another instance of pudding tasting. What the chef may show that the pudding is able to assuage the hunger of the body, the final proof is in the actual taste; and each man must do this for himself. Thus with Christianity: are its premises able to satisfy the whole man? Is Christanity nourishing and clean? If it is not then rational man ought to pass it by in favor of a more satisfying option. But if it is, then to refrain from tasting would be foolish. 'O taste and see that Jehovah is good.' (Psalm 34:8).
"This is the sum of the matter: Since we must suffer for something, let us endeavor to suffer for the right,"
from A Philosophy of the Christian Religion, p. 516.
David Allan Hubbard (1963-1993)
"Whatever we can say about our evangelical faith must be said in response to what God has told and shown us. Otherwise we can never break through our own experience; we can never surmount our own limitations, theology- what we believe about God- can never move beyond private opinon, personal hunch, individual intuition or group consensus, unless God takes the lead in revelation. Theology will be nothing but religious anthropology, a study of human conviction about religion, wherever the phrase 'God has revealed himself to be...' does not stand at the beginning of our creeds.
"Our humanity is too weak, our sin too vile, for us to understand who God is and what he is like unless he tells us. Made of dust and in revoolt against our Maker, we cannot understand hoim on our own.
"But God has come to our aid and shown us the wonder of his person, the dignity of his name. On information and in words he himself has supplied by his revelation we can begin to talk about his eternal character and his triune nature. But that revelation gives us no license for presumption. In fact, it increases our humility. It labels the vessel in which we hold our understanding as earthen to the core. So affirm we must, because God who is has spoken. But because it is God who has spoken, our affirmations are modest ones. And they can only be authentic when they are informed by his own self-affirmations. The ultimate truth and glory belong to him, not to our expressions about him,"
from What We Evangelicals Believe, p. 21.
Richard J. Mouw (1993-2013)
"This is what civility comes to, finally: an openness to God's surprises. When that openness marks our lives, we have learned patience- along with the flexibility and tentativeness and humility and awe and modesty that will inevitably come to the patient heart. And since none of this is possible without a clear sense of who we are, and to whom we belong, the patient heart will also be a place where convictedness has found its home,"
from Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World, p. 169.
Mark Labberton (2013- present)
"The life-changing good news of God's saving love in Jesus Christ encompasses every dimension of our humanity and every aspect of God's re-creation of the world. Evangelism explains and calls people to respond to Jesus Christ, who wants to make every person and every thing (including every form of injustice and oppression) new. That is our hope and our commission as God's people. This holistic vision is the heart of God for the world. Our theology and our worship are meant to reflect that through lives that share God's heart for righteousness and justice,"
Featured here are some of our faculty members from our history. Each contributed to Fuller Theological Seminary and their fields in unique and extraordinary ways. Click on their names to check out some of their publications. While our current faculty is dynamic and worth the attention, this space is dedicated to those faculty of our past who have retired.
This section will continue to be updated. Please visit again soon!
From left: Harold John Ockenga (President), Charles E. Fuller (Founder), Everett Harrison (New Testament), Harold Lindsell (Registrar and Professor of Missions, later Academic Dean), Wilber M. Smith (Apologetics), Arnold Grunigen (Trustee), and Carl F. Henry (Theology) @ the Cravens Estate.
MORE TO COME....
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges granted accreditation to all three schools of Fuller Seminary in 1969.
In 1973, Fuller Seminary opened its first regional campus in other cities for the training of lay persons in the context of the local church.
By 1979, regional campus programs were operating in six cities in the western U.S.
Here is where we are today: