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J Ligon Duncan Appointed Chancellor Of Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, USA

Looking forward to hearing Ligon Duncan at next month’s General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.
I hear he has other speaking engagements in Australia as well.
Sadly, not in Mount Gambier.
Somehow we fell off the list of places under consideration.

Anyway, here’s a press release about Ligon’s just announced appointment as chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary, an institution of which he has been a part for over twenty years, in addition to his pastoral work at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson.
So, as this new season commences I continue to look forward to Dr. Duncan’s words to the PCA. Hopefully fruitful relationships between the two PCA’s can continue to be nurtured.

(JACKSON, MS) – August 18, 2013 – The RTS Board of Trustees has elected Dr. J. Ligon Duncan, III, as chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary. Duncan is currently the John E. Richards professor of systematic and historical theology at RTS in Jackson, Miss., and the senior minister of historic First Presbyterian Church (1837), where he has served for the past 17 years. He is the president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and served as President of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals from 2004-2012. Click here to visit the RTS chancellor Web page.
Duncan will continue to teach systematic and historical theology for RTS, and will serve as senior minister at First Presbyterian Church until the end of this year. His appointment as chancellor and CEO of RTS follows his good friend Dr. Michael Milton, who retired as chancellor in May 2013.
“We are thankful the Lord has answered our prayers for a new chancellor, and that Dr. Duncan has accepted the call to lead RTS. We began this search expecting it to take an extended amount of time, but we were gratefully surprised at how quickly consensus was reached,” said RTS Chairman of the Board Richard Ridgway. “Dr. Ligon Duncan is uniquely gifted for this important leadership position at RTS. He is a well-known theologian, pastor, preacher and churchman not only in the PCA but across the spectrum of evangelical and Reformed churches, here in North America and around the world. As an RTS professor for 23 years, he knows our institution and our faculties know him as a man who is both a scholar and a pastor. He is an effective communicator with great leadership ability.”
A familiar face to us, Duncan has taught for RTS since 1990. He has lectured for RTS in Jackson, Charlotte, Orlando, Memphis, and for our Global program, as well as in Vienna and Hong Kong. He has delivered lectures and papers at various universities, seminaries and national meetings, and has preached or addressed major conferences as a member of the faculty representing RTS.
He earned the Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Edinburgh, New College (Scotland) in the field of Patristics, or what is now often called Early Christian Studies. His doktorvater was the renowned Reformation and Patristic scholar, David F. Wright. Duncan did both his M.Div. (cum laude), and his M.A. (in Historical Theology) also cum laude, at Covenant Theological Seminary, where he was mentored by the respected church historian, David B. Calhoun. Duncan received his B.A. (History) from Furman University. He has authored, co-authored, edited or contributed to more than 35 books.
Having served on the staff at The Covenant Presbyterian Church of St. Louis (under the late Rodney Stortz), Duncan’s pastoral experience began in his twenties. He was licensed to preach by his presbytery in 1985 and supplied pulpits in churches in the U.K. throughout his time there in the late-1980’s. In 1990 he was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and joined the faculty of RTS in Jackson, where he was subsequently appointed the John R. Richardson professor of theology. During this time, he also served as an assistant minister at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Jackson (under his boyhood pastor, Gordon K. Reed) and then as interim pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Yazoo City, Miss. He left his full-time position at RTS to become senior minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Jackson in 1996 (only the twelfth in that congregation’s 177-year history), but continued to teach at RTS as adjunct.
In 2004, Duncan became the youngest minister ever to serve as moderator of the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. He helped co-found Together for the Gospel in 2006, which has become a major catalyst for the young reformed resurgence. He is founder and chairman of Reformed Academic Press and serves on numerous boards/councils including the Highland Theological College, The Gospel Coalition, and the Reformed African American Network. He is the chairman of the RUF Midsouth Joint Committee which gives oversight to university campus ministry throughout the region.
His wife Anne is an RTS alumna with a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. She is currently on the faculty of Jackson Preparatory School. Ligon and Anne are the delighted parents of two wonderful teenagers and they plan to continue to reside in Jackson.


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Week Two Notes From Phil Campbell’s Preaching Class

Another reminder about Phil Campbell’s preaching course notes from his class at Queensland Theological College and the companion blog Confessions Of A Reformed Bore.
Download this week’s material here.


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Stephen Begins Theological Education

I’ve never met Stephen McDonald, though I think he and his family stayed in my house way back in 2004, and I have a vague memory of some of the mgpc folk being impressed about a young fellow who could play the organ (along with a sermon or two which his father preached).
Stephen has taken the big step of moving to Melbourne and attending the Presbyterian Theological College.
Go and read A Very Good Place To Start where he writes about his move, along with his impressions of the service of induction for incoming principal Peter Hastie, the beginning of year commencement service and his first day of lectures, where he begins to tell his alephs from his beths.


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Audio Of David Jones’ Sermon At Peter Hastie’s Induction As Principal Of PTC, Melbourne

Recent photo of Peter Hastie (r) with Gary Millar, incoming principal of Queensland Theolocial College

Thanks to Graham Nicholson and the saints at Hawthorn Presbyterian Church, Melbourne for making available the audio of the whole service at which Peter Hastie was inducted as Principal of Melbourne’s Presbyterian Theological College.
David Jones, Australian Presbyterian Moderator-General, preached the occasional sermon which is entitled All Change – No Change, based on Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
The audio file can be heard or downloaded at this page.

(Which has also shown me an excellent way to organise sermon audio on mgpc’s site.)


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A Pair Of New Presbyterian Principals

Gary Millar (l) & Peter Hastie (r)

Got past security into the private oak-panelled lounge, redolent of leather couches, pipe tobacco and brandy where the theological committee meet.
Took a picture of two new principals: Gary Millar of the Queensland college and Peter Hastie of the Victorian college.
Pray for these two men and the colleges they will lead as they take up their new appointments.

(The bit in the first paragraph I made up, BTW, the rest in true.)


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Why Theological Education? (via Michael Jensen)

My tertiary education experience has led me to think that the main aim of tertiary education is to produce more tertiary academics and for them to engage with one another (by publication and conferences).
The fact they have to educate people whose aim is not to become tertiary academics is understood to be the sacrifical means by which their lifestyle is supported.
It’s one of the reasons why I think that the places where people are educated for pastoral ministry should be designated ‘Trade Schools’ instead of ‘Theological Colleges’.

Having gotten that off my chest, Michael Jensen has provided some notes about Theological Education that are very helpful.

Here’s point 5. Read them all here.
I’d want to add, do the lecturers genuinely engage with the students?

5. What to look for in a theological education
a) is the whole Scripture central and authoritative in the institution?
You can’t claim to be studying the knowledge of God if you aren’t taking the Scriptures with utmost seriousness, or if you are prizing other sources.

b) is it theological?
I object to the term ‘bible college’ because the purpose of theological education is not to know the Bible better: it is to know God better. The word ‘theology’ indicates that study of the texts is the means and not the end. It also indicates that there will be a prayerful integration of the curriculum, and that the confessions and creeds of church history will have their place.

c) are the original languages emphasised?
Not every Christian or even every Christian leader needs to learn Greek and Hebrew to have an effective ministry, but I don’t theological study is really serious if it does not ask you to learn at least one of these languages. Given the choice, most people would NOT learn even Greek. Don’t take the easy option – because serious study of the Scripture by someone who would teach God’s people demands the harder path!

d) are Church History and Ethics and Philosophy a part of the course?
These subjects are all auxiliaries to the study of Theology in a way. But without them the theological task is scarcely complete.

e) is community life emphasised?
The nature of theological knowledge is that it is a shared knowledge – learning it on your own is counter to the kind of knowledge it is.

f) is there regular corporate worship and prayer?
Goes without saying.

g) are the practical ministry subjects taught in a theological way?
You aren’t going into theological education to learn secular counselling methods, or bits of pop psychology.

h) is the theological curriculum calibrated for ministry and mission?
I would asking why a theological curriculum does not address itself to the context in which those who are studying it are going to have to work. These days, it is simply not enough to say ‘we teach the theology stuff, you work out how to put it into practice where you are’.


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More On Gary Millar’s Appointment As Principal Of Queensland Theological College

Lifted straight from Simone’s blog, text credited to Nathan.

Irish eyes smiling on Queensland Theological College
The Queensland Theological College (QTC) will appoint the Rev Dr. Gary Millar as its new principal from 2012.
The college, the training arm of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland, has experienced dramatic growth in the past five years under the stewardship of outgoing principal Dr Bruce Winter, and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland yesterday decided to offer Dr Millar the position of Principal, and lecturer in Old Testament and the Hebrew Language.
The convener of the Presbyterian Church Committee for Ministry Training, Rev. Phil Strong, said QTC is thrilled at the appointment of Dr Millar to the role.
“Dr Millar is currently Senior Minister of Howth and Malahide Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Ireland, his doctoral studies focused on the book of Deuteronomy, and he has had extensive experience lecturing at the Irish Bible Institute and theological colleges around the world.”
“Gary comes highly recommended by theological scholars and churches around the world. He is a world-renowned teacher and scholar, and theological students and ministry workers have widely benefited from his published work.”
“This appointment will build on the strong foundation laid by the outgoing principal, Dr Bruce Winter. We thank Bruce for his years of service and for the energy and enthusiasm he brought to the role. We are delighted that Dr. Winter will be remaining at the college as a Senior Professor in New Testament and the Director of the Institute of Early Christianity.”
“Enrollments at the college have experienced exponential growth under Dr. Winter, and we are confident of a smooth transition between principals and look forward to the continued growth of the Queensland Theological College over the next five years.”