Seeing Christ in All of Scripture: Hermeneutics at Westminster Theological Seminary

Lillback, Peter A., ed.; Poythress, Vern S., Duguid, Ian M., Beale, G.K., Gaffin Jr., Richard B..

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Dr. J. Gresham Machen established Westminster Theological Seminary to produce "specialists in the Bible" who would preach and teach ‚"the whole counsel of God." Following Machen's lead, Westminster has historically stood for the truth of Scripture. One dimension of this commitment is that Westminster teaches its students to preach Christ from the entire Bible; from both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

In order to fulfill its founding vision, Westminster's faculty members, throughout the seminary's history, have taken an "ex animo" vow, that is, a sincere, heartfelt commitment, to the Westminster Standards. These confessional documents, the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, are held as the best expression of the system of biblical truth-- "the whole counsel of God"-- thus far developed in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is from these documents that the seminary takes its name.

This introduction calls attention to the consistency of biblical interpretation that exists today at Westminster Theological Seminary. The harmony among the theological disciplines at Westminster is due to a shared method of interpreting Scripture, a shared hermeneutic, that is drawn from Westminster's confessional standards. Although expressed in distinctive ways, Westminster's hermeneutic remains cohesive and compatible throughout the theological curriculum. It is my privilege, then, to introduce this collection of brief essays written by four of Westminster's leading scholars. Herein, you will find a witness to the hermeneutical unity at Westminster through the perspectives of Dr. Vern Poythress, Dr. Iain Duguid, Dr. Greg Beale, and Dr. Richard Gaffin. Their reflections span the whole of Scripture and express the deep continuity that courses through the diverse fields of biblical interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary.


“Westminster Theological Seminary has long taught and emphasized that Christ is the main theme of all Scripture. Recently, however, there has been controversy there over how he is the theme, especially of the Old Testament. I confess that this controversy has confused me. But Seeing Christ in All of Scripture: Hermeneutics at Westminster Theological Seminary has been a real help. It is certainly the clearest writing in the controversy so far, and it expresses very well the position that the seminary came to embrace. I’m hoping that it will get a wide readership.”

John M. Frame

“This is as clear a statement of the ‘Westminster way’ of reading Scripture of which I am aware. Anyone who wonders what Westminster Theological Seminary is all about would do well to consult this interdisciplinary commentary on Christ–centered biblical hermeneutics.”

Kevin Vanhoozer

“The organism of divine Christ–centered verbal revelation that we know as the Bible is both more deeply encultured and more profoundly transcultural then any of us ever grasps; but Westminster Theological Seminary has always led the pack in this quest, and still does, as the present book shows. It is very much on the right lines.”

J. I. Packer