History & Heritage

Edinburgh Theological Seminary has a long history. 

Originally the Free Church of Scotland College, its roots date back to the 1843 and the Disruption. This was when 450 evangelical ministers, in protest at the interference of the state in the affairs of the Church, left the Church of Scotland to form the Free Church of Scotland. 

One of the first priorities of this fledgling denomination was to train its ministers so they opened the first Free Church College in November 1843. The current premises on the Mound have been in use since 1907.

We are now one of the oldest theological colleges in Scotland.

Roots in the Scottish Reformation

ETS stands in a rich theological and historical tradition which has its roots in the Scottish Reformation of 1560, an event which, in contrast to its more popular but false caricature, was actually a time of liberation and renewed opportunity, not just for the ecclesiastical elite but for the whole populace. 

At the same time, there was also a renewed discovery of the message of the Bible which brought about an eagerness to study its doctrines in great detail. Courses at ETS are taught within that same objective to understand the Bible in all its profound authority.

A Strong Theological Heritage

Our doctrinal basis is the Westminster Confession of Faith, a pivotal document which continues to underpin mainstream Presbyterian traditions. 

However, while our courses are taught within this context, students are expected to interact creatively and meaningfully with other theological traditions and to familiarise themselves with current trends in theology and Biblical studies.

Robust Training for Mission in the Modern World

Based on unchanging biblical doctrines, this heritage firmly underpins our theological training for mission in the contemporary world. Our well-designed programmes are ideal for training ministers and pastors, those preparing for mission, as well as those who simply want to develop their understanding in biblical studies, theology, history and pastoral application.

Our students leave the seminary prepared for meaningful ministries, equipped with a deep understanding of God and his word.