Our purpose at Westminster Presbyterian Theological Seminary is summed up in Titus 1:9. We seek to train each student to fulfil the Biblical pattern of a church leader: “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.”
1. “Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught …”
Elders need to have been taught the Word. But knowledge of the Word is not enough. Church leaders are called to hold fast to the Word, knowing it to be trustworthy. At WPTS, through rigorous study of Holy Scripture, our faculty seek to inspire confidence in its inspiration, inerrancy, authority, sufficiency and perspicuity.
2. “that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort …”
To exhort (parakaleo / παρακαλέω) means to encourage, or make an earnest appeal. Both are necessary. In the ministry of the Word, we need to hear the earnest appeal of the gospel, as well as be encouraged and strengthened by sound doctrine.
3. “and convict those who contradict.”
This is not a call for argumentative or polemical leaders. Rather, we need able men who are willing to uphold the truth and refute error – not proudly, but humbly and lovingly.