When many evangelicals at points north, east, and west think about seminaries in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the first one that usually comes to mind is Dallas Theological Seminary. The school has played a Texas-size role on the national map of conservative American Protestantism in recent decades. It has been the longtime bastion of premillennial dispensational theology, in a line of succession stretching from professor Charles C. Ryrie and alumnus Hal Lindsey back through presidents John F. Walvoord to seminary founder and C. I. Scofield disciple Lewis Sperry Chafer.
The prominence of DTS (which does not stand, as some wags have joked over the years, for Dispensational Theological Seminary) comes not only from sales of the Ryrie Study Bible or Lindsey's The Late, Great Planet Earth. In recent decades, through the conciliatory work of DTS theologians like Darrell Bock and former president (and current chancellor) Charles Swindoll, its dispensational theology has moved into the background. These days its influence is felt mostly through the national ministries of alumni such as Ken Taylor (The Living Bible), Tony Evans (the Urban Alternative), Joseph Stowell (Moody Bible Institute), Bruce Wilkinson (The Prayer of Jabez), and the late J. Vernon McGee (Thru the Bible Ministries).
But there is another important institution of evangelical theological education in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex with longer, more purely Texan roots, which is relatively unknown in evangelical circles outside the Southwest. And it happens to be the world's largest Protestant seminary: the Southern Baptist Convention's Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.
Rough and Tumble Roots
The world of the Southern Baptist Convention and its ...