Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary began in 1995 with the acceptance of four seminary students from the Heritage Reformed Congregations (HRC). Classes officially commenced on August 9, 1995, under the leadership of our president, Dr. Joel R. Beeke. When we first opened, the vision of PRTS was to provide a high quality, four-year seminary program for men accepted by the HRC to train for pastoral ministry. After one year that vision broadened to include training men from other denominations, providing that they meet the admission requirements and adhere to the Reformed confessional tradition represented in the Three Forms of Unity or the Westminster Standards. In 1998 the Free Reformed Churches of North America (FRC) chose to train their theological students at PRTS, at which time Dr. Gerald M. Bilkes became the second full-time professor, teaching Old and New Testament Studies.
Within five years PRTS had outgrown its building. Receiving degree-granting status from the State of Michigan and several other approvals were contingent on a new facility as well. Construction began on our current facility in northeast Grand Rapids and the doors were opened in November of 2004. In October of 2005, we opened and dedicated the Puritan Resource Center, a unique part of our library intended to allow people around the world access to a wide variety of Puritan literature and to gain a deeper appreciation for the Puritan tradition. Dr. David P. Murray joined the full-time faculty in 2007 as Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology. In 2010 Dr. William VanDoodewaard became Associate Professor of Church History at PRTS. Over thirty visiting professors round out our faculty.
From 1995 until the present, PRTS has graduated over sixty students; many other part-time and non-program students have attended throughout the years. Alumni are serving the church in various ways: pastoring, preaching, teaching, pursuing further education, international missions, domestic missions, and church planting.
The specific goals of theological training at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary are:
- To prepare men for the gospel ministry who will be able to understand and expound the Scriptures and who will truly believe, cordially love, and faithfully endeavor to propagate and defend Reformed theology.
- To develop in the student an understanding of biblical experience and to promote his commitment to practical godliness, devotional piety, and Christian conduct in his personal, family, and ministerial life.
- To equip the student with teaching, ministry, counseling, and leadership skills as well as to facilitate an understanding of human relationships, Christian living, and church administration, thereby assisting him to become a sound, sensitive, and edifying servant of the Word in his future ministry.
- To provide for the church of Jesus Christ a supply of able and faithful ministers, missionaries, evangelists, and teachers qualified to divide the Word of truth rightly, to defend the Reformed faith and world view, and to win souls for Christ, caring for their eternal welfare and striving to promote holiness and peace among their people.
Since there is a pervasive impact of Reformed principles on all of life and on every aspect of the Christian ministry, the seminary aims to diligently expound, apply, and defend these goals and perspectives in every division and department of its curriculum