Geneva College Dedicates Dr. John H. Gerstner Collection - Geneva College
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Geneva College Dedicates Dr. John H. Gerstner Collection

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(BEAVER FALLS, Pa.) –Geneva College has received the theological library and papers of Dr. John H. Gerstner, renowned American theologian and a leading scholar on the work of Jonathan Edwards. The Gerstner family donated Dr. Gerstner’s collection of works, now located in the McCartney Library on Geneva’s campus. The College will dedicate the Gerstner collection on Friday, May 10, 2019.

In conjunction with Geneva’s 2019 Commencement Weekend, the dedication events feature a Gerstner Symposium at 9 a.m., a formal Dedication Ceremony at 11:15 a.m., and a Luncheon at 12:30 p.m.

Dr. John H. Gerstner (1914–1996) earned his Master of Divinity degree and Master of Theology (Th.M.) degree from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia; was ordained as a minister in the United Presbyterian Church in 1940; and, in 1945, received his Ph.D. in Church History from Harvard University. He served as Professor of Church History for many years at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (1950–1980; Professor Emeritus 1980–96), and also taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Chicago), Knox Theological Seminary (Florida), Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson, MS, and Orlando, FL), and Geneva College. In his retirement he served as Professor-at-Large for Ligonier Ministries (1980–1996). He received honorary doctorates from both Tarkio College and Westminster College. Through his teaching, preaching, and writing, including hundreds of published articles in journals and encyclopaedia, Dr. Gerstner exercised a profound influence internationally, but especially here in Western Pennsylvania, his long-time home. Researching often in Yale University's collection of the original papers of Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758), whom he revered as America's greatest mind, he was widely regarded as the world's foremost authority on the theology of Jonathan Edwards. Dr. Gerstner's teaching and devout piety profoundly shaped many of his students, including Dr. R.C. Sproul (1939–2017), founder of Ligonier Ministries.

Dr. Barry York, President of the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, will moderate the symposium exploring the long-term significance of Dr. Gerstner’s intellectual contributions. Participants include: Dr. Art Lindsley, Vice President of Theological Initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics, and previous Director of Education Ministries at Ligonier Valley Study Center; theologian and pastor Dr. David Coffin, who served as editor and publisher for John Gerstner's three-volume work, The Rational Biblical Theology of Jonathan Edwards; and Dr. Mark Ross, Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Erskine Theological Seminary in South Carolina and Director of the Institute of Reformed Worship. 

The Dedication Ceremony, which will be held on the lawn of McCartney Library at 11:15 a.m., will include remarks by President of Reformation Bible College and Chief Academic Officer of Ligonier Ministries Dr. Stephen J. Nichols, who serves as Commencement speaker the following day. Family and friends of Dr. Gerstner will share remembrances of his life and work, and Dr. John “Jack” White, Geneva College President Emeritus and a contemporary of Dr. Gerstner, will deliver a dedication message.

Attendees will have opportunity to tour the Gerstner Collection in McCartney Library. The College will serve a luncheon in Alexander Dining Hall after the dedication, featuring a message for pastors by Dr. Nichols.

The Gerstner Collection at Geneva College provides access to Dr. Gerstner’s theological library, his private and published writings, study notes, video and extensive resources. The College has dedicated a special room for the collection within McCartney Library, made possible by a grant from PNC Financial Services and donations from alumni and friends of the College. The collection will greatly benefit Geneva students and faculty as well as theological scholars interested in apologetics, Jonathan Edwards, and biblical inerrancy among other scholarly emphases in Dr. Gerstner’s work.

President of Geneva College Calvin L. Troup, PhD, notes, “The Gerstner Collection will equip students and scholars to advance their knowledge grounded in biblical truth in our reformed heritage, a vital component of a Geneva education designed to foster academic strength and pursue Godly wisdom. We are grateful to the Gerstner family for this gift of great value. The College is honored to house the collection, which will benefit novices and advanced theologians alike, particularly those working in the Reformed tradition.”

To learn more about John H. Gerstner, you can read his biography, John Gerstner and the Renewal of Presbyterian and Reformed Evangelicalism in Modern America, by Jeffrey S. McDonald.

Geneva College is a Christ-centered academic community that provides a comprehensive education to equip students for faithful and fruitful service to God and neighbor. Offering over 115 traditional undergraduate majors and programs, fully online Adult Degree Programs and high-demand graduate degrees, Geneva’s programs are recognized for their high quality. U.S. News & World Report ranks Geneva as a Top Three Best Value Regional University with one of the top engineering programs in the nation. Adhering to the truth of Scripture, a Geneva education is grounded in God’s Word as well as in a core curriculum designed to prepare students vocationally to think, write and communicate well in today’s world.
May 2, 2019