Founded in 1876, Calvin Theological Seminary is the oldest denominational ministry and the sole theological seminary of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, which is comprised of approximately 300,000 members in over 1,000 congregations across the US and Canada. A majority of ordained ministers who serve in CRCNA congregations have received their primary theological education at CTS.
Yet nearly half of the students at CTS are from denominations other than the CRCNA. Close to 300 men and women come from over 40 different denominations from around the world to receive their theological education in one of the four Masters programs (MDiv, MA, MTS, ThM), the Doctor of Philosophy program (PhD), or a variety of ecclesiastical certificate programs offered at CTS. With a focus on preparing students for biblical, authentic, contextual, and life-changing ministry rooted in historic Christianity, CTS provides a foundation that connects the best of the Reformed tradition with the contemporary ministry practices essential for tomorrow’s leaders.
Profile of CTS
All Christian seminaries prepare students for Christian ministry, but each in its own way, with its own atmosphere, marked by its own pattern of loyalties and expectations. Accordingly, Calvin Theological Seminary shares much in common with sister seminaries in the great Presbyterian and Reformed branches of the Christian Church-a strong confessional heritage, for example, and, beneath it, a love of the Bible in all its riches. How remarkable that Christians come to the world with this book in their hands.
And CTS shares with evangelical seminaries a reverence for the force and beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Where else in this sorrowful world do we find power to raise the dead?
But, at the same time, Calvin Theological Seminary also has her own flavor and character. CTS is the mother of Calvin College, a famous child, one of the most respected Christian liberal arts colleges in North America. So, expectably, CTS offers students a solid program of studies, a stout platform of Bible, theology, history, apologetics, and missions on which to build their ministry. How else could a student ever presume to speak for God or even for the church?
With her Center for Excellence in Preaching and her deep ties to The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (the Institute annually serves thousands with fresh thinking on worship practices), CTS offers students, ministers, and worship leaders first-class education, and continuing education, in preaching and worship.
Respecting students as brothers and sisters in Christ, members of the CTS faculty create a welcoming atmosphere for students and assign a manageable workload. They know that learning is best inside a cradle of grace and goodwill. So professors pray with students and also accompany them on field trips. Professors make it their business not to see whether students learn, but rather to see to it that students learn. Meanwhile, North American and international students learn each other’s names and something of each other’s cultures.
Seminaries are sometimes smorgasboards, or even battlegrounds, of conflicting Christian loyalties. By contrast, CTS faculty, staff, and administration share a single Reformed vision of an interconnected Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation, with Jesus Christ at the center, and the people of God as the witnesses, agents, and models of God’s purpose to make all things new.
Taken together, these characteristics give Calvin Theological Seminary not only a profile, but also a mission in the world. The Seminary’s job is to lend her particular passions and strengths back to the Holy Spirit who gave them, so that the Spirit may inspire students, faculty, staff, Board, and alumni/ae to declare God’s purpose in the world and to make it their own.
More About CTS
At Calvin Theological Seminary, we provide solid theological preparation for contemporary ministry around the world. We have been since 1876. As you can imagine, we’ve learned a few things during that time.
REFORMED THEOLOGY IS OUR FOUNDATION. We believe the Bible is God’s Word. It forms the foundation and norm for all theological activity and church ministry. We are committed to grow in our understanding of the Word, to be formed by it, and to proclaim it to others. We exist to serve the church and prepare people to serve everywhere. Click image on right to view pamphlet, “What It Means to Be Reformed.”
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE IS OUR STRENGTH. We meet the highest standards of education in ministry. Over 30 full- and part-time faculty members are dedicated to continuing our tradition of being one of the finest Reformed theological institutions in the world.
FORMING THE WHOLE PERSON FOR MINISTRY IS VITALLY IMPORTANT. We believe that to be most effective, people must be formed in every part of their lives-head, heart, hands, and relationships. To do this, our faculty members make sure that interactions between them and their students are enriching and meaningful. We pay special attention to limiting class size to support these interactions.
TAKING AN INTEGRATED APPROACH IS KEY TO EQUIPPING PEOPLE FOR MINISTRY. We offer several programs of study to help meet the needs of the church and your ministry:
- Master of Divinity (M.Div)
- Master of Arts (M.A.)
- Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.)
- Master of Theology (Th.M.)
- Ecclesiastical Program for Ministerial Candidacy (EPMC)
- Doctor of Philosophy
- Certificate Programs
We increase the effectiveness of these programs by making sure the curriculum for each integrates biblical, theological, and ministry perspectives. The result is a strong theological education that graduates find is foundational, instructive, and invaluable for the demands of their vocation.
LIVING AND LEARNING IN COMMUNITY IS THE BEST WAY TO PREPARE. Over 300 men and women from all over the world make up our student body. Their rich diversity of backgrounds helps shape each other through study, prayer, social events, and service projects. They find a welcoming community on campus and in the city of Grand Rapids. Clean, safe, and attractive, Grand Rapids has a low cost of living, especially when compared to larger cities. And, with a population of just over 200,000, the city offers a high quality of life thanks to a wealth of arts, culture, entertainment, and recreation. As part of the beautiful West Michigan area, Grand Rapids is only a half hour away from the white-sand beaches of Lake Michigan, the sixth largest freshwater lake in the world and a major tourist destination.
CONNECTED TO THE CHURCH. While our student body comes from more than 40 different denominations from around the world, Calvin Theological Seminary is owned and operated by the Christian Reformed Church in North America. This vital church connection grounds us in our mission to prepare people to lead in ministry and to build Christ’s church.
ACCREDITATION. Calvin Theological Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. The following degree programs are approved:
- MA (Bible and Theology)
- MA in Educational Ministry
- MA in Evangelism and Missions
- MA in Pastoral Care
- MA in Worship
- MA in Youth and Family Ministries
Calvin Theological Seminary is approved for a Comprehensive Distance Education Program.
The Commission’s contact information is:
The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada
10 Summit Park Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15275
AFFILIATIONS. Calvin Seminary is affiliated with several organizations related to theological education:
- American Theological Library Association
- Association for Clinical Pastoral Education
- The International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education
- Chicago Area Theological Library Association
- The Scriptorium: Center for Christian Antiquities
- Associate School of Jerusalem University College
MINISTRY PARTNERS. When it comes to equipping people for ministry, we maintain vital relationships with many ministry partners. These organizations tremendously enrich CTS students’ opportunities for learning. Our students can get involved with them at whatever level they choose.
- Calvin College - offers the comprehensive resources of a liberal arts college in the Reformed tradition of historic Christianity, including the materials and services of the Hekman Library.
- Christian Reformed Church in North America - provides the connection to our denomination that has over 1,000 congregations in the U.S. and Canada with 300,000 members who follow Jesus Christ and embrace Reformed theology.
- CLI (Christian Leaders Institute) - provides free ministry training online for Christian leaders.
- Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Program - aims to strengthen and sustain pastors in ministry through mentoring, peer learning, and continuing education.
See also - Centers and Institutes.