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:
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.
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.