Dr. Sean Michael Lucas Appointed as Chancellor's Professor of Church History

Reformed Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Sean Michael Lucas as Chancellor's Professor of Church History as of June 1, 2017.  A Chancellor’s Professor in the RTS system is a rank of distinction, for a regular, voting faculty member, who teaches at multiple RTS campuses, thus benefitting a greater number of students. Dr. Lucas has taught for RTS for many years, most recently as Professor of Church History at the RTS Jackson campus, so it is exciting to have him continuing with us in this new capacity.

Sean currently serves as Senior Pastor of Independent Presbyterian Church, Memphis, Tennessee. He began serving there in January 2017. He was born in Stratford, New Jersey, and moved up and down the eastern seaboard as a child. He graduated from Bob Jones University (BA, 1993; MA, 1994) and Westminster Theological Seminary (PhD, 2002). He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 2003, served on the staffs of PCA churches in Kentucky and Missouri, and worked as Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, from 2009 until 2016.

Sean has taught at two theological seminaries: Covenant Theological Seminary, where he served as chief academic officer and associate professor of church history from 2004 until 2009, and Reformed Theological Seminary, serving as professor of church history in Jackson from 2011 until 2017. Sean has also written many books, including On Being Presbyterian: Our Beliefs, Practices, and Stories (2006); God’s Grand Design: The Theological Vision of Jonathan Edwards (2011); J. Gresham Machen (2015); and For a Continuing Church: The Roots of the Presbyterian Church in America (2015). He and his wife, Sara, have four children: Samuel, Elizabeth, Andrew, and Benjamin. In his spare time, he loves to run and follow the St. Louis Cardinals.

Church history is vitally important in theological education, and RTS is committed to church history as an indispensable discipline for preparing people to serve the church. Sean has argued (persuasively) that church history is a fundamentally pastoral discipline, one that no pastor should be without. Why? 1. Because careful study of church history helps pastors to be self-critical and reflective, stepping outside culturally dominant stories, and allowing the Christian narrative to become the dominant force shaping Christian identity. 2. Church history is cross-cultural. Studying church history has the same value as talking with Christians from other parts of the world: it stretches our horizons and challenges our assumptions, allowing us to think more deeply about our own culture and how it shapes our assumptions and resulting theology. 3. Church history is prophetic. We can learn from the sins, mistakes and blindspots of the past, and our forebearers can critique ours. 4. Church history is wisdom. Ultimately, pastors need church history because church history is all about gaining from the wisdom of the past. Church history, at its core, is about being mentored by those who have gone before so that we are better equipped to live and minister in the present.

RTS is blessed to have the authors of the history of the PCA, OPC, EPC and Westminster Assembly among our church history faculty. Sean adorns the great tradition of church history at RTS.


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