Covenant Theological Seminary

Covenant Theological Seminary
Motto Rooted in grace for a lifetime of ministry
Type Private
Established 1956
Affiliation Presbyterian Church in America
President Mark Dalbey
Students 812
Location St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Campus Suburban
Affiliations North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada

Covenant Theological Seminary, sometimes known as Covenant Seminary,[1] is the denominational seminary of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).[2][3] It is located in the St. Louis, Missouri suburb of Creve Coeur, and its purpose is to train leaders for work in the church and the world especially as pastors, missionaries, and counselors. It does not require all students to be members of the PCA, but it is loyal to the teachings of its denomination. Faculty must subscribe to the system of doctrine as outlined in the Westminster Standards.[4]


The seminary was established by Christians in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, (which later merged with the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod to form Reformed Presbyterian Church-Evangelical Synod), who believed that their denomination, born out of resistance to rising liberal influences, needed a strong theological school of its own. In 1956, Covenant College and Seminary began with eleven students on a plot of land a few miles west of St. Louis, Missouri (having split from Faith Theological Seminary[5]). The seminary continued to grow in both size and reputation in the years that followed. In 1964, having outgrown its space, the liberal arts undergraduate school, Covenant College, along with its students, faculty, and staff, moved to Lookout Mountain, Georgia to the site of a former luxury hotel.[6] In 1966, the two institutions formally divided. In 1982, following another denominational merger (known as the "joining and receiving") between the Reformed Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in America, Covenant Seminary became the national seminary of the PCA, which elects and oversees the work of the seminary's Board of Trustees.[7][8]


As a fully accredited seminary by North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1973[9] and Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada in 1983,[10] Covenant offers several academic degrees: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts (in Educational Ministries, Theological Studies, Counseling, or Exegetical Theology), Master of Theology, and Doctor of Ministry.[10]

The seminary is doctrinally committed to the Reformed faith and Covenant theology, and it believes the Bible to be the inspired and inerrant word of God.[4]

The seminary is also home to the Francis Schaeffer Institute,[11] which encourages Christians to engage contemporary culture in a compassionate way with the truth-claims of the gospel.[12]

Covenant also publishes an annual theological journal, Presbyterion.

Head of Covenant Theological Seminary

As of 28 April 2012, Mark Dalbey was the Acting President of Covenant Theological Seminary. On this date his office announced the decision by the Board of Trustees, that Bryan Chapell, the current President of Covenant Seminary, would be transitioning from sabbatical to a newly created position of Chancellor on 1 June 2012. On that date Dalbey would assume the position of Interim President.[13][14][15] 1 February 2013 brought the announcement that Chappell had taken a pastoral call in Illinois with resignation as Chancellor effective 15 April 2013.[16] On September 26, 2013, Dalbey was inaugurated as President.[17]

Notable alumni


  1. Greg Edwards (7 May 2007). "Praying in style". St. Louis Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 2012-05-19. Covenant Seminary, the seminary of the Presbyterian Church in America, has broken ground on a...three-story...administrative...building on Conway Road...scheduled for completion in August 2008, said Dr. Bryan Chapell, seminary president.
  2. Covenant Theological Seminary, Records
  3. American Council on Education, American Universities and Colleges, 15th ed., Walter de Gruyter, 1997, ISBN 3-11-014689-4, p. 885.
  4. 1 2 Doctrine
  5. Harriet A. Harris, Fundamentalism and Evangelicals, Oxford University Press, 2008, ISBN 0-19-953253-2, p. 260
  6. William F. Hull, Lookout Mountain, Arcadia Publishing, 2009, ISBN 0738566446, p. 94.
  7. Rick Nutt, "The Tie That No Longer Binds: The Origins of the Presbyterian Church in America." In The Confessional Mosaic: Presbyterians and Twentieth-Century Theology, Milton J. Coalter, John M. Mulder, and Louis B. Weeks (eds.), Westminster John Knox Press, 1990, 066425151X, pp. 236–256.
  8. The Presbyterian Church in America: Taking the Reformation into the 21st Century
  9. Covenant Theological Seminary, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
  10. 1 2 Covenant Theological Seminary, Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.
  11. Scott R. Burson and Jerry L. Walls, C.S. Lewis & Francis Schaeffer: Lessons for a New Century from the Most Influential Apologists of Our Time, InterVarsity Press, 1998, ISBN 0830819355, pp. 14–15.
  12. Francis A. Schaeffer Institute
  13. "Bryan Chapell steps down as President of Covenant Theological Seminary; appointed to new position of Chancellor". The Aquila Report. 28 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-13. The following news release was sent out by Mark Dalbey, Acting President of the Seminary.
  14. "Why Covenant. Leadership transition. Communication from the Board of Trustees Regarding Leadership Transition at Covenant Seminary.". Covenant Theological Seminary. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-13. Effective June 1, 2012, Dr. Chapell will...assume the new position of Chancellor. As Chancellor, Dr. Chapell will focus on representing the Seminary among its external constituencies...upon his return from his current sabbatical.
  15. Bryan Chapell (9 May 2012). "Why Covenant. Leadership transition. Letter from Dr. Chapell. A time of transition.". Covenant Theological Seminary. Retrieved 2012-05-13. of June 1, 2012...I will assume the Chancellor responsibilities following my current sabbatical.
  16. "Dr. Chapell Named President Emeritus as He Accepts Pastoral Call: Communication Regarding Dr. Bryan Chapell". ByFaith Magazine. Lawrenceville, Georgia. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-03. At the regular quarterly meeting of the Covenant Seminary Board of Trustees on January 25, 2013...Interim President Dr. Mark Dalbey...appointed <Chapell> Adjunct Professor of Practical Theology.
  17. Inauguration Celebration for President Dr. Mark Dalbey

External links

Coordinates: 38°38′37″N 90°27′08″W / 38.6437°N 90.4521°W / 38.6437; -90.4521

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