Where were the PCA’s founding fathers educated?

In Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) on January 31, 2011 at 10:30 pm

A question sometimes comes up regarding the theological education of the founding pastors of the Presbyterian Church in America. Working from a list of 180 pastors, as found in the Minutes of the First General Assembly, the following list indicates where these men were educated. Of those 180, 172 were educated at seminaries; for 8 no indication has been found of a seminary education and this raises the question of whether those 8 were ordained under the extraordinary clause.
Following each school name, the following dates indicate years of graduation. Concluding this list is a statistical summary.

5 – Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 1929, 39, 42, 51, 53,
2 – Biblical Seminary [New York], 1961, 1963
83 – Columbia Theological Seminary, 1934-1970
2 – Dallas Theological Seminary, 1937, 1941
3 – Erskine Theological Seminary, 1953, 1966
2 – Faith Theological Seminary, 1948, 1955
3 – Fuller Theological Seminary, 1953, 56, 59
2 – Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 1953, 1970
1 – Grace Theological Seminary, 1970
2 – Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 1942, 1955
1 – New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 1965
1 – Northwestern Evangelical Seminary, 1938
1 – Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary, 1951
2 – Princeton Theological Seminary, 1928, 1954
1 – Reformed Episcopal Seminary, 1952
35 – Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, MS 1969-1973
1 – Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, 1957
1 – Toronto Bible College 1948
13 – Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, VA, 1919-1968
15 – Westminster Theological Seminary, 1929-1972
1 – WTNC [Western Tennessee College?], 1934
8 – College only indicated [e.g., James R. Graham, Wheaton College, 1939]

By comparing some of the above dates, it becomes clear that as soon as RTS opened up [Fall of 1966], students soon began going there instead of to Columbia. Some appear to have finished at Columbia rather than transfer, while others did transfer mid-program. It may also be noteworthy that the entire group of RTS graduates would have been among the youngest pastors in the new denomination. Alumni from UTSVA and Westminster were about equal in number among the founding fathers. The remaining number were scattered among another eighteen schools.

Statistically then, the founding pastors of the PCA graduated from the following schools:
46.1% – Columbia
19.4% – RTS Jackson
8.3% – WTS
7.22% – UTSVA
14.4% – Other

4.4% – no seminary education indicated in the record [ordained under the extraordinary clause?]

  1. Doesn’t the accuracy of this list depend upon who is included as a founder of the PCA? and what event has been designated as the date on which the PCA was inaugurated?

  2. Excuse me for another observation. I note a listing of Biblical Seminary with the dates of 1961 and 1963 attached. It would seem to me that this institution ought to be more specifically identified because the Biblical Seminary with which I am familiar was not founded until after 1968.

  3. Vaughn:

    Thanks for your careful eye. How that list is defined is something that is up for debate, as you point out. I’m working from the list of names found in the call to order on 4 December 1973, as found in the Minutes of the First General Assembly. If we were to use the list of names in that back of that same volume, the number would be extended to 223. Of the 180 names in this search, I found no indication of a seminary education for eight of these men. I’m going to work on this some more when back in the office, but for now I’m snowed in at home. I don’t think the statistics (46.1% attending Columbia, etc.) would change much if my list is incomplete by a few names. [reply edited 02/01/11, 1:18 AM]
    And you are correct that Biblical should be noted as the school in New York (now defunct). I’ve added that notation.

  4. So, unless you find something different among t hose 223-180=43 guys, I am the first graduate of Covenant Seminary to enter the PCA (July 1974) – right?

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