The RTS Board of Trustees has elected Dr. J. Ligon Duncan, III, as Chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary. Dr. Duncan is currently the John E. Richards professor of systematic and historical theology at RTS in Jackson, MS and the senior minister of historic First Presbyterian Church (1837), where he has served for the past seventeen years. He is the president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and served as President of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals from 2004-1012.
Dr. 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 so quickly,” 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.”
Dr. Duncan is a familiar face to us having 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 renown 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.
Dr. Duncan’s pastoral experience began in his twenties, serving on the staff at The Covenant Presbyterian Church of St. Louis (under the late Rodney Stortz), He was licensed to preach by his presbytery in 1985 and supplied pulpits in churches in the U.K. throughout this 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.