Some institutions come into being as a result of extended and careful planning on the part of certain individuals, but not so Toronto Baptist Seminary. It was born in a time of crisis to fill an immediate and urgent need. The Lord so ordered the circumstances that the beloved Founder had no alternative but to launch an educational scheme which, to human eyes, seemed an almost overwhelming responsibility.
The Gospel Witness of August 27th, 1925, contained a momentous article by the Editor, Dr. T. T. Shields, setting forth the foundation principles of “The Toronto Baptist Pastors College” which he proposed to establish. Modernism was rampant in many of the theological institutions, and safe evangelical training schools were either situated at a distance or were not committed to teaching our distinctive Baptist doctrines.
McMaster University, hitherto the logical training centre for Baptist ministers, was definitely following the existing trend toward Modernism, in spite of the strong protest of many Evangelicals in Ontario and Quebec, the spokesman for whom was Dr. Shields. Something must be done at once. One brief sentence in The Gospel Witness of December 23rd, 1926, announced the fulfilment of the Founder’s purpose and the culmination of this important missionary project:
“Toronto Baptist Seminary, the new Baptist College rendered necessary by the inroads of Modernism, will open its classes on January 4th, 1927, in the Seminary Building, 337 Jarvis Street, Toronto.”
So wisely did the founders of this institution build that in spite of the passing of the years and the changing economic, social and religious conditions, the same principles are still considered to be the most sound, and they still govern the policy of Toronto Baptist Seminary.