There are two Biblical mandates which explain why there is a need for Western Pennsylvania Theological Institute. The first of these is found in II Timothy 2:15, where the believer is instructed to |
"Study to show thyself approved unto God." The second is found in Matthew 28:19-20, where Christ instructs the church to preach the Gospel, baptize converts, and then be
"teaching them all things whatsoever I have commanded you." Thus, it is seen that Christians have an obligation to learn more about the Word of God, and the local church has the responsibility to see that this instruction takes place.
WPTI seeks to help the Fundamental Baptist churches of this area fulfill those mandates. Our name explains our goals. First of all, we are in Western Pennsylvania. We believe that having a Bible institute in this area serves several purposes. First, it helps local churches train their people. The pastor has oversight as to what his members are being taught because he has immediate access to the curriculum and the professors, and he has continual contact with his students. Parents benefit by seeing first hand not only what their children are being taught, but who is doing the teaching. The church as a whole benefits because they get to watch their future leaders grow spiritually and academically. Secondly, a regional institution helps churches keep their people. How many times have we seen some of our best church members get called into ministry, and then watched as they moved to another part of the country to receive their education? A local college allows people to prepare for future service without having to abandon their current areas of service. In this same vein, having an institute in the immediate area allows people to receive advanced Bible training without having to uproot their families. A man can prepare for the ministry without needing to sell his house, find a new job, disrupt his children’s education, and leave the church that he serves in and loves. Undoubtedly there are many people in our churches that would like to take a few college-level Bible classes for their own enrichment, but are not going to move in order to do so. The local institute makes it possible.
WPTI is a Theological Institute. Webster’s dictionary defines an institute as "an intensive course of instruction relating to a particular field." We believe that it is important for students to be trained in doctrine and theology. Christians are to be
"rightly dividing the Word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15), and pastors are to
"Preach the word…with all longsuffering and doctrine" (II Timothy 4:2). Theology classes will be offered every semester, and much emphasis will be placed on the exegetical study of the individual books of the Bible. While courses in practical Christian training will be offered, the heartbeat of the school is a rigorous, comprehensive, Bible education. Pastor Kurt Skelly has said, "Theological training is a discipline to be pursued rather than a diversion to be perused". WPTI exists to make this type of education a reality for the people of Western Pennsylvania.