Philosophy of Education
Our purpose statement reads, “Capital Seminary and Graduate School exists to prepare graduate and post-graduate students for advanced ministry opportunities by offering educational programs that integrate a biblical worldview with theory and practice.”
The key elements of Capital Seminary and Graduate School’s philosophy of education include:
- Educational programs characterized by rigor and relevance
- Faculty who live according to a biblical worldview and use it to flavor their teaching
- Theory based on current research which drives the education and provides for future learning
- Practical experience which brings life and meaning to the classroom experience
- Students with a vision to be engaged in faith based service
Ezra, the Old Testament Scribe, can serve as our mentor. Upon returning to Israel with a group of exiles in the sixth century BC, the Scriptures declare that Ezra “devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel” (Ezra 7:10). In this same way we desire our students to master the content, to be changed by concepts being learned, and then to use the material in their work and ministries.
This process of knowing, being, and doing is embedded in our philosophy of teaching and learning that impacts all areas, including the professor, student, learning environment, and course content.
Faculty members become more like mentors and colleagues in the learning process, instead of the authoritative informational reservoir. They become caring friends who model the content in their personal walk of faith. The Capital Seminary and Graduate School student is viewed as a self-directed adult, who brings to the classroom community a wide variety of life experiences, making them a rich resource for learning. Therefore, the Capital Seminary and Graduate School learning environment is less dependent on one-way transmittal techniques, but emphasizes interactive methods that tap the experiences of the learner. The classroom becomes an educational workshop to systematize, evaluate, and apply the content in order to impact hearts and sharpen ministry skills. In so doing, the learners “own” the learning processes with the professor.
Capital Seminary and Graduate School will be a premier, evangelical, globally-accessible, technologically-advanced, competency-based, multi-campus, strategically-partnered academic institution of biblical higher education.
- Premier: By “premier” we mean that Capital will provide quality education with excellence in every possible way to the honor and glory of God.
- Evangelical: By “evangelical” we mean that Capital will embrace an unqualified commitment to an historic, orthodox position on the crucial and essential doctrines that demarcate the Christian faith while allowing for denominational distinctions and interpretive differences on second-order doctrines on which equally biblically committed and believing Christians may disagree.
- Globally-Accessible: By “globally-accessible” we mean that Capital will leverage economies of scale, be financially affordable, be adult-learner focused, maximize alternative delivery models, and will be culturally and linguistically relevant.
- Technologically-Advanced: By “technologically-advanced” we mean that Capital will leverage all available technologies to make biblical higher education available through multiple platforms, to multiple constituencies, in a cooperative learning environment.
- Competency-Based: By “competency-based” we mean that the Capital curriculum will equip students with skill-sets that ministry practitioners can practically employ or can teach to others rather than focus on scholarship as an end in itself or on historic curricular models as static definitions of the seminary.
- Multi-Campus: By “multi-campus” we mean that Capital will be both a vertical campus and virtual campus appropriately designed for the 21st century adult learners rather than a horizontal campus seminary designed for residential students.
- Strategically-Partnered: By “strategically-partnered” we mean that Capital will reach-out to leading churches, mission agencies, equipping institutions, and Christian ministries in order to more fully embed the educational experience of students in the practical environment of real world ministry.
- Academic Institution: By “academic institution” we mean that Capital will be academically rigorous and appropriately accredited.
- Biblical Higher Education: By “biblical higher education” we mean that all programs of study will be taught from a biblical worldview perspective and that the Bible will remain the curricular foundation as the school develops leaders who understand the importance of a biblical worldview and its application to every aspect of life and vocation.
In the early nineteen twenties, several Bible institutes existed in Washington DC. One, the American Home Bible Institute, emphasized correspondence courses and home Bible study. The second, the Washington School of the Bible, stressed Bible training to prepare full-time Christian workers in this country and abroad. The third had a burden for reaching the Jewish community. In 1938, these three entities merged to form the Washington Bible Institute. The vision of those who founded the institute was that "first emphasis shall be upon Bible courses," and that vision is still being fulfilled today.
Glenn W. Wagner became the first president in 1940 and served as president until 1944 when he resigned to work with the service men serving in World War II. George A. Miles was elected to the presidency in 1945. In 1956 the name was changed from Washington Bible Institute to Washington Bible College. Two years later, a three-year graduate school was begun - Capital Bible Seminary - to provide seminary education on the East Coast in a nondenominational and biblical atmosphere.
Outgrowing the facilities in Washington, D.C., in 1969 the College, and later the the Seminary, moved to its current 63 acre campus in Lanham, Maryland. Ten years later, a separate building for the Seminary was constructed. In 1995, the Seminary extended its influence by teaching classes in various church locations in Northern VA, and in 2005 a permanent facility was established in Springfield, Virginia.
In 1984, George A. Miles retired from the presidency, and Dr. Harry E. Fletcher was appointed to be the third president, serving until 1991. Dr. John Sproule became the fourth president in 1992 and served until 1994. Dr. Homer Heater was appointed the fifth president and retired to the classroom in 2005. In the same year, Dr. Larry Mercer was elected the sixth president and served until 2011.
On July 20, 2011, Dr. George M. Harton was appointed by the Board of Directors to be the interim president.
On January 22, 2013, the Maryland Higher Education Commission approved Lancaster Bible College's acquisition of the academic programs of Washington Bible College and Capital Bible Seminary. As Lancaster Bible College takes the lead in this new venture, a collaboration emerges from more than 150 years of combined history between these two institutions. Driven by a common vision, we now move forward as one, creating better synergy in seamless education opportunities and cost effective use of resources, directly benefitting our students and living out the love of Jesus Christ for all the world to see.