Statement on Forming Women for Ministry

Jan 1, 2017


About Western Theological Seminary

Located in Holland, Michigan, WTS offers 16 graduate programs online, in residence, in English, and Spanish for women and men preparing for faithful Christian ministry. WTS was founded in 1866 when seven of the eight members of Hope College’s inaugural graduating class wished to become ministers and petitioned their denomination to allow them to complete their education in Holland. Since that time, WTS has been preparing women and men for a lifetime of ministry all around the world in many ministry and denominational contexts.

By Western Theological Seminary

Western Theological Seminary upholds the full participation of women in the life and ministry of the church.

Throughout Scripture, we see God calling and appointing women to teach, preach, and lead God’s people.

We uphold the biblical witness as we prepare women and men to lead the church in mission. As a faculty, we also want to declare clearly our unwavering and unanimous commitment to the education and ordination of women to all forms and offices of ministry and leadership to which they have been called by God—whether inside or outside the church—including the Ministry of Word and Sacrament.

In welcoming women students to all of its programs and encouraging women in their vocations, we as an institution have a steadfast commitment to the women we welcome, which includes our commitment to establish an environment in which their education and calling will be properly nurtured and affirmed. We expect all who join our faculty to abide by this commitment.

Making room for differences:

At the same time, we recognize that the role of women and the status of the leadership and ordination of women is a point of disagreement in many denominations, churches, Christian organizations, and among some of our students. We are dedicated to being a community that upholds academic freedom and the free discussion of ideas inside and outside the classroom when done in the spirit of faith-seeking understanding.

We do not believe that differences of opinion on this matter should keep Christians from maintaining fellowship with one another or celebrating the Lord’s Supper together. Therefore, we welcome men and women students who hold different views on the matter of the role and ministries of women and seek to support all of our students in their God-given callings.

We also want to nurture ties with churches and institutions that hold different views.

We do expect, however, that all students, regardless of their personal convictions, will acknowledge the full rights and status of all their fellow students in their degree program. Maintaining these commitments well requires practical wisdom.

May the triune God pour bountiful wisdom and grace on our entire community as we all—students, staff, board of trustees, and faculty—seek to follow the one who prayed “that they be completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23).

October 2017
Revised January 2024

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