Erskine College exists to glorify God as a Christian academic community where students are equipped to flourish as whole persons for lives of service through the pursuit of undergraduate liberal arts and graduate theological education
Erskine Theological Seminary
The mission of Erskine Theological Seminary is to educate persons for service in the Christian Church.
Erskine College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500.
The three-fold purpose for publishing the address and contact numbers of the SACS Commission on Colleges is to enable interested constituents:
1. to learn about the accreditation status of the institution;
2. to file a third-party comment at the time of the institution’s decennial review; or
3. to file a complaint against the institution for alleged non-compliance with a standard or requirement.
Other inquiries about Erskine College, such as admission requirements, financial aid, educational programs, etc., should be addressed directly to the college or seminary and not to the Commission’s office.
Erskine Theological Seminary
Erskine Theological Seminary is accredited by the States and Canada, and the following degree programs are approved:
MDiv, MA in Educational Ministries, MA in Practical Ministry, MA (Theological Studies), DMin, ThM
The following extension sites are approved as specified:
- Approved for complete MDiv, MA in Practical Ministry, and DMin degree programs: Columbia, SC
- Approved for more than 50 percent of a degree program but not complete degrees: Augusta, GA; Florence, SC; Greenville, SC; Charleston (Summerville), SC
- Approved for a Comprehensive Distance Education Program
To contact ATS: Commission on Accrediting, Association of Theological Schools, 10 Summit Park Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15275; Telephone: 412-788-6505; Website: www.ats.edu
Status in Other States
The Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (GNPEC) has authorized Erskine Theological Seminary to offer instruction in Christian Education, Church Music, Counseling Ministry, Divinity, Ministry, Practical Ministry, Theological Studies, and Theology. Questions related to GNPEC’s authorization may be directed to: Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission, 2082 East Exchange Place, Suite 220, Tucker, GA 30084-5305; 770-414-3300; 770-414-3309 (FAX); www.gnpec.org.
Educational Effectiveness Statement
The Board of Commissioners of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) has had a policy for many years that requires schools to publish a statement regarding the school's educational effectiveness. Erskine Seminary has established the percentage of students who obtained employment related to their degrees within a year of graduation as criteria for effectiveness. Data used to evaluate student success relates to the Erskine Theological Seminary Mission Statement by providing information on how well the seminary succeeds in its goal to "educate persons for service in the Christian Church."
The Erskine Theological Seminary Graduating Student Questionnaire (GSQ) compiled by the Association of Theological Schools provides data on employment status for students at the time of graduation. Table 10 of the 2010-2011 Erskine GSQ indicates that 65% of the Seminary's 2011 graduates were already employed in full or part-time work (at least 20 hours/week) at the time of graduation, 22% were working less than 20 hours/week, and the remaining 14% were unemployed. Among the respondents of the 2009-2010 Erskine GSQ, 69% of the 2010 graduates were already employed with 20 or more hours/week, 23% were employed with less than 20 hours/week, and 8% were unemployed at the time of graduation.
The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States came into existence in November 1782, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Associate Reformed Synod of the South, today called the General Synod, was organized in 1803. One of the most serious problems confronting the Church in the early period of its history was to secure ministers to serve its scattered congregations and carry on missionary work in the rapidly-growing population. Since the Church had a deep heritage in Scotland, with a long emphasis on an educated clergy, the need for a theological seminary was keenly felt. The first attempt to fill this need was made in 1822 when the Synod appointed two pastors to provide theological training for young ministerial candidates. The Seminary had no buildings, no books, and no money. When one professor died in 1829 and the other left in 1831 to accept work in Pennsylvania, the Synod began plans for an institution to provide scholastic and theological training of ministerial candidates.
In 1836, the Synod opened an academy in Due West, South Carolina and the following year added a professor of divinity and incorporated the institution under the name of “Clark and Erskine Seminary.” The addition of the professor of divinity in 1837 was the beginning of Erskine Theological Seminary.
In 1839, Clark and Erskine Seminary was reorganized, and the faculty was enlarged to establish the first four-year denominational college in South Carolina. The name of the institution was shortened to “Erskine College” about 1843, and in the following years the Seminary functioned as an adjunct of Erskine College.
In 1858, the Seminary became a separate institution, but continued to operate under the same Board of Trustees as Erskine College. During the Civil War, the student enrollment was greatly reduced in both the College and Seminary, resulting in the sharing of teachers between the two faculties. In 1926, the College and Seminary again combined resources, and the Seminary became the professional school of Erskine College, an arrangement that continues to exist.
Erskine Theological Seminary is committed to love and serve God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. We acknowledge that the Father has given Jesus Christ as head over all things for the Church, and by his grace and Spirit we seek to serve him faithfully by making disciples and equipping saints for the work of ministry, so that the body of Christ may be built up. At Erskine, we seek to serve God as part of the Protestant evangelical tradition, and all faculty members subscribe ex animo to the following definition of an evangelical Christian, adopted by our host denomination, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church:
The word “evangelical” comes from a Greek root meaning “good news,” and it refers to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In a broad sense, evangelicals are people who believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word and that an individual can become a Christian only by accepting Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. Evangelicals believe:
1. The Bible alone, being God-breathed, is the Word of God Written, infallible in all that it teaches, and inerrant in the original manuscripts.
2. That there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
3. In the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, in his Virgin Birth, in his sinless life, in his miracles, in his vicarious and atoning death through the shed blood, in his bodily resurrection, in his ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in his personal return in power and glory.
4. That for the salvation of lost and sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
5. In the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
6. In the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; that they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
7. In the spiritual unity of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Erskine Theological Seminary is committed to the truthfulness, authority, and centrality of the Bible. We affirm “the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the written Word of God, the only perfect rule of faith and practice.” (This statement comes from the ARP Form of Government [V.C.1:a (3)]. The ARP Church issued a more extensive statement about Scripture in 1979, which included the following assertions: “The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God without error in all that it teaches” [Minutes of the General Synod, 1979, p. 23]. “We believe that the Holy Spirit reveals Christ to us through the Holy Scripture which is the Word of God written. While we do not have the original autographs as evidence, we believe on faith that God’s Word in its entirety was accurately recorded by the original writers through divine inspiration and reliably transmitted to us” [Minutes of the General Synod, 1979, p. 76].) We seek to be faithful to the Bible by examining the Scriptures in the original languages, interpreting the Biblical texts faithfully, and applying the teachings of Scripture to all aspects of human life and to all people, both inside and outside the Church. The Bible holds the preeminent and central place in all facets of Erskine Seminary’s scholarship, teaching, and worship.
Erskine Theological Seminary is committed to the Reformed Tradition. We believe that the tradition of Biblical interpretation, theology, and Christian practice stemming from the Calvinistic wing of the Protestant Reformation is faithful to Scripture, and that this tradition can speak truthfully and powerfully to the contemporary world. As a part of this commitment, Erskine Seminary seeks to be faithful to the doctrinal standards of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, as set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. Two-thirds of all faculty members are required to be members of denominations that subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith or some other Reformed Confession, with the goal being that a majority of faculty members be Associate Reformed Presbyterians.
Erskine Theological Seminary is committed to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We believe that faculty members, staff and students from non-Reformed denominations are an important part of our community, and we respect the diversity of denominational distinctives and doctrinal stances as we seek to prepare candidates for ministry. Similarly, we recognize that men and women from a variety of ethnic, economic, geographical, and cultural backgrounds have important contributions to make to the task of theological education. We are convinced that the varied perspectives represented in the Erskine community help enable all of us to see more clearly the multi-faceted diamond which is the universal Church. At the same time, we affirm that our common ground is more fundamental than our differences, and we seek to explore that common ground by providing a core curriculum to all students, a curriculum that includes the traditional emphases on the Bible, theology, Church history, and ministerial functions.
Erskine Theological Seminary is committed to the needs and spiritual growth of its students. We seek to create an educational climate that brings about growth in Christian character and fosters the spiritual formation of students, faculty, and staff. We believe that collegiality is an important mark of such a climate, and we seek to foster close relationships within the community by restricting classes to small enrollment, by ensuring easy student access to faculty, and by worshiping together regularly. Moreover, we recognize that there are many students for whom traditional theological education would not be a viable option, and we seek to meet the needs of these students by providing a program of distributive education that includes courses taught both at off-campus sites and through distance education.
Erskine Theological Seminary is committed to its role as a resource for the whole Christian Church. We seek to minister to the broader Church by providing a program of continuing education (conferences, seminars, and special lectures) addressing the needs of both clergy and laity in the Church. Our faculty and staff members seek to be engaged fully in the Church’s life and activities through teaching and serving ministries in their own and other churches, denominations, and missions agencies. Our faculty members also seek to advance the Gospel by contributing at a scholarly level to the Church’s discussions about theology, history, culture, and ministry.
While Erskine Theological Seminary is the seminary of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and has educated many ARP students of theology in preparation for the ministry, our students come from a wide variety of denominations. These denominations include (among others) the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church in America, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Southern Baptist Convention, the National Baptist Convention, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church, the Reformed Episcopal Church, the Pentecostal Holiness Church, the Assemblies of God, and other free-church bodies. The University Senate of the United Methodist Church has approved Erskine Seminary as an appropriate institution for its ministerial candidates to study, provided that they were enrolled at Erskine prior to July 1, 2007, and remain enrolled continuously until the completion of the degree. United Methodist students who enroll at Erskine after this time may do a portion of their study at Erskine and may then transfer to a United Methodist seminary to complete their education.