Southern California Seminary is a private institution of higher education which has been dedicated to teaching from the inerrant Word of God for over 70 years. Our main campus is located in San Diego, California, and is directly adjacent to Shadow Mountain Community Church, under the leadership of Dr. David Jeremiah. SCS is committed to offering the highest quality biblical education at modest tuition.

Our Mission

Southern California Seminary’s mission is to bring glory to God by assisting local churches to equip believers of various cultures and languages to live and minister biblically based on the inerrant Word of God. This equipping includes building biblical knowledge, Christian character, and ministry skills—all at modest tuition.


“At Southern California Seminary, we teach the Bible first and foremost.  It is our main textbook.  It is the grid through which all life is evaluated.  We believe that our seminary exists to equip and train godly men and women to know the Word, apply the Word and to use God’s inerrant Word both in ministry and vocational settings.

The great commission given to us by our Lord demands that we make disciples of all nations.  It is our desire to reach out to as many peoples of the world as we possibly can. SCS Alumni are serving in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil, Peru, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Korea, the Philippines, China, Japan, India, England, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Turkey, Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda, Cape Verde, Bahrain, and certain other Middle-Eastern countries, and twenty-nine of the United States, including chaplains in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Where will you serve?

If anything here resonates with your desires, perhaps Southern California Seminary is the place for you.

Dr. Gary Coombs
President of Southern
California Seminary

THE History OF SCS

The history of SCS stands as a testimony to the providence of God who brought together three institutions dedicated to teaching the doctrines and lifestyle of the Bible to the next generation. In 2005, the school changed its name from Southern California Bible College & Seminary to Southern California Seminary. The new name better reflects the emphasis on both our theology programs and our behavioral science programs. SCS offers a variety of undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. We offer programs in English and Korean at the main campus in El Cajon, CA and at our teaching site in Los Angeles, CA.

Linda Vista Baptist Bible College and Seminary
Dr. Otto Reese, pastor of Linda Vista Baptist Church, founded Linda Vista Baptist Bible College and Seminary in 1946. The college provided a four-year course of instruction for men and women desiring a biblically based undergraduate education while the theological seminary prepared men and women for full-time Christian service. In 1969, the college and seminary moved twenty miles from Linda Vista Baptist Church to its present site. In 1996, Dr. Reese departed to ever be with his Lord and Dr. Gary Coombs was appointed President.

Southern California Bible College
Fletcher Hills Bible Church of El Cajon founded Fletcher Hills Bible College as an extension ministry in 1970. The four-year college began with a class of eight students and the first Bachelor of Arts degrees were awarded in the spring of 1973. The college was restructured in 1976 as a non-profit corporation with the name Southern California Bible College. In 1978, the college moved to the facilities of College Avenue Baptist Church in San Diego, which provided room for growth and development. Dr. George Hare was called to be president of SCBC in 1979.

San Diego Bible College and Seminary
San Diego Bible College and Seminary was founded in 1970. Its goal was to prepare sincere Christians for the service of God by providing a complete education in Bible by extension using programmed-learning pedagogy. Five degree programs were offered, from Associate of Arts in Bible to Doctor of Ministry. Local churches, mission boards, or other Christian organizations were invited to qualify as an adjunct SDBC&S campus. Domestic and foreign students enrolled.

Southern California Bible College and Seminary
In July 1997, SCBC and SDBC&S merged with LVBBC&S. The name Southern California Bible College & Seminary was formulated to reflect a broader outreach. Dr. Coombs continued as President and Dr. Hare was appointed Chancellor and remained in that role until 2015 when David Jeremiah accepted the role as Chancellor of Southern California Seminary. In 2020, SCS became an associate member of The Association of Theological Schools (ATS).

SCS Distinctives

Southern California Seminary is more than just another seminary. Our distinctives cumulatively make our institution unique among biblical seminaries in a day and age where the Word of God is not taken at face value, and core doctrines are being diluted.

The Bible and its Interpretation

a. We believe not only in the inerrancy of the autographs of Scripture, but in their sufficiency.  We believe that God supernaturally caused the human authors, while using their individual vocabularies and styles, to write the exact words which perfectly expressed the revelation of God.  Thus the very words of the autographs were inspired, not merely the ideas.  The practical implication of this belief for teaching is that the words of Scripture themselves are important, not merely the ideas behind the words.  Therefore we encourage students to distinguish between similar words and to attend carefully to grammatical distinctions in the biblical text.  This belief causes us to recommend English translations that practice formal equivalence, and, indeed, to recommend that the student study the original languages of the Bible whenever possible.  We employ a literal grammatical-historical hermeneutic in our interpretation of the Scriptures.

b. Because we hold to the sufficiency of Scripture we understand that the mastery of Scripture is essential.  We desire to use the Bible as the primary textbook in every course of instruction.  This desire causes us to have students read the Scriptures themselves, rather than books about the Scriptures; to apply Scriptural truth to every area to which it speaks; and to require that every student in the Seminary major in Bible.  At SCS we are proud to state “The Bible is our main textbook.”

A Focus on Creationism

Our literal grammatical-historical hermeneutic gives us a proper and biblical understanding on the origins of all things.  We affirm the Genesis account of Creation, that it was done by God (who was ever-existent) in six literal days.  We believe that Adam and Eve were literal people and the garden was a literal place.  Because the genre of Hebrew poetry in the Bible has such pronounced characteristics, we reject the notion that the Creation account in Genesis is poetic, and we choose to classify it as historical narrative.

Church Centered

The Scriptures identify ministry in this dispensation with the Body of Christ and with the local churches which manifest that Body.  We recognize that God has placed all believers in this dispensation into a living organism called the Body of Christ, whose head is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  We also understand that God has ordained fellowships of believers, which meet to remember the Lord, and has given these local fellowships leaders who meet specific biblical lifestyle qualifications.  We further recognize that the Scriptures are silent as to the establishment and governance of Bible Seminaries, but we recognize the responsibilities of individual believers to build up the body of Christ in the exercise of spiritual gifts, including teaching and pastor-teaching.


A Dispensational Framework

Our literal, historical, and grammatical hermeneutic produces an approach to the Scripture that makes careful distinctions between similar things.  We distinguish between words which differ while acknowledging that the words may share similarities.  We carefully discern the original recipients of each portion of Scripture in an attempt to determine if we are included or excluded from that group.  We apply Scripture to the same extent as we are included in the group addressed.  This careful, normal approach to interpreting Scripture identifies us as dispensationalists, people who distinguish between Israel and the Church and the Church and the Kingdom.  While allowing each faculty member the freedom to interpret and teach various biblical texts, we are neither ultra-dispensationalists, who start the church sometime after Acts 2, nor “progressive dispensationalists” who teach that the Davidic kingdom has already begun, although it is not yet in its fullest form.  If we must wear a name with an adjective, we would prefer to be called “classic” or “traditional” dispensationalists.

Equipping Emphasis

Ephesians, Chapter Four teaches that “He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastor-teachers for the equipping of the saints unto their works of ministry.”  Because we believe that every believer is a priest and is spiritually gifted, we see our role as one of equipping every saint to serve by glorifying God and edifying the church.  We are, therefore, more excited about what the students can do than what the professors can do, and we see our teaching as preparation for divine service rather than the acquisition of knowledge for knowledge’s sake or pride.   Indeed, in this sense, we identify more closely with the Body of Christ than with the academy at large.

Incarnational Orientation

Seminaries have often been guilty of proclamation without incarnation.  We desire not only to proclaim the truth, but to model its use and application to life through our administrators and faculty.  Thus our walk outside the classroom becomes every bit as important as our words inside the classroom.  In respect of this truth and considering our belief in the priesthood of all believers, faculty members are encouraged not to distance themselves or isolate themselves from students, but rather to relate authentically with students as members together of the Body of Christ. 

Diverse Student Body

Every educational institution, either by practice or design, targets one or more subsets of humanity for its services.  By intent we declare that we desire to help equip Christians from every race, ethnicity, continent, and language group to serve the living God and His church.  We desire that our campus be a multi-cultural, multi-lingual environment in which diverse peoples can flourish in an educational context as they are equipped to serve Jesus Christ.  Our purpose is to offer our educational ministry in such a way that it is affordable to groups often bypassed by private Christian education because of financial inability.


Educational Approach

Philosophy of Education

Inasmuch as God’s Word is the standard by which all things are measured, Southern California Seminary affirms the following philosophy of education.

  1. The principle that all truth is God’s truth will be applied appropriately in each course.
  2. It is the responsibility of the instructor to encourage the student to learn, and the student must be an active and sincere participant in the educational process.
  3. God requires and graciously enables each believer to learn and apply His Word as the student submits to the Holy Spirit. Therefore the instructors should expect the best from each student.
  4. The Scriptures are given to completely equip the believer for every good work; therefore, it is the responsibility of the instructor to go beyond the communication of biblical truth and to apply it to the student’s life.
  5. The instructor takes the responsibility to encourage the student to master the foundational truths of the course.
  6. In order to motivate students to learn it is the instructor’s responsibility to build the need for the course material before delivering the content.
  7. Since the purpose of biblical education is to glorify God and serve others, it is the responsibility of the teacher to equip students for service.
  8. Christian education is intended to impact the whole person. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the teacher to encourage ongoing spiritual growth.

Institutional Objectives

Trustees, administrators, and faculty must acknowledge institutional objectives in writing. The institutional objectives of Southern California Seminary are to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of biblical truth based on the authoritative, inerrant Word of God, from a literal grammatical-historical hermeneutic.
  2. Integrate biblical truth and principles into personal and professional life.
  3. Exhibit the communication and teaching skills necessary to train others.
  4. Apply academic research and critical thinking skills essential for understanding and defending the Christian faith.
  5. Manifest service and ministry skills useful within the local church and other Christian ministries.
  6. Evidence skills for on-going personal and spiritual growth.
  7. Demonstrate the appropriate skills necessary to care for the spiritual needs of believers.
  8. Communicate and understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Notice of Nondiscrimination

Southern California Seminary does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities. Dr. Gino Pasquariello, Provost/CAO has been designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies at Southern California Seminary. Inquiries may also be directed to the San Francisco Office for Civil Rights.

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