In an address to Princeton Theological Seminary, Benjamin B. Warfield made this statement: “It is customary to say that the theological seminaries are training-schools for the ministry. Properly understood, that is the right thing to say. But it is not very difficult, and it is very common, seriously to exaggerate the function of the seminary under this definition. It is not the function of the seminary to give young men their entire training for the ministry. That is the concern of the presbytery; and no other organization can supersede the presbytery in this business. The seminary is only an instrument which the presbytery uses in training young men for the ministry. An instrument, not the instrument.” (The Presbyterian, November 22, 1917, 8–9).
We concur with Warfield that the purpose of the seminary is to serve the presbytery in fulfilling its responsibility to train those under its care. To that end, the seminary’s purpose equates to that of the presbytery’s and dictates its emphasis. The purpose of the Free Presbyterian Church of North America, and, therefore, the purpose of its educational arm, Geneva Reformed Seminary, is as follows:
- To glorify God in the Trinity of His sacred persons, according to the Scriptures;
- To declare the whole counsel of God and remain faithful to His inspired and infallible Word, the Bible, with particular emphasis on the following truths: the total depravity of man as fallen in Adam; the three-fold function of the law as a mirror to expose and condemn sin, thus shutting men up to Christ as their only hope of gaining acceptance with God, as a curb to deter and restrain the unconverted, and as a rule of life for the regenerate; the limitations of the law, in that it can neither effect justification in an unsaved person nor sanctification in a saved person; the sole mediation and saving merits of the Lord Jesus Christ; and His atoning death, bodily resurrection and ascension into heaven to be the advocate and great high priest of His people;
- To labor for the salvation of the lost by the preaching of the gospel of Christ and calling them to repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ;
- To seek the edification of Christians by teaching them the Scriptures and by pointing them continually to the all-sufficient Christ, the author and finisher of their faith;
- To oppose all expressions of human self-righteousness and to give prominence to the glorious truth of justification by faith in the merits of Christ’s righteousness, which God freely imputes to His people through faith alone;
- To promote and participate in worldwide evangelism through biblically sound and separated mission activity;
- To promote scriptural and godly worship, with special emphasis on prayer, sound biblical preaching, the right administration of the sacraments, and a proper keeping of the Sabbath;
- To contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3), opposing the enemies of the gospel, especially the antichristian system of Roman Catholicism and the unscriptural Ecumenical and Charismatic movements, thus rejecting the compromising policy of neo-evangelicalism in favor of biblical separation;
- To stimulate fellowship with Bible-believing men and churches who are separated unto the gospel of God;
- To surrender the entire work of the ministry to God for the work of the gospel, looking to Him to revive His work in this age of apostasy and to maintain the witness of this church until the glorious personal return of the Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.