(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Blair Smith, Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at RTS Charlotte, has completed and defended his dissertation. His examiners have recommended that he be admitted to the degree of Ph.D. Smith has been a student under Lewis Ayres in Historical Theology at Durham University in the United Kingdom.
Smith studied the Fatherhood of God within the Trinitarian theology of the fourth century, especially the writings of Athanasius of Alexandria, Hilary of Poitiers, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Basil of Caesarea. He asked how the doctrines developed in and around the Council of Nicaea shaped the theology of God the Father.
When asked why he chose to study this specific topic, Smith answered, “I’ve been fascinated by the Patristic Fathers since studying with Dr. Douglas Kelly during my MDiv at RTS Charlotte. I developed a keen interest in the theological questions they were engaging and how integrated these were with spirituality.”
He continued, “In our own day, many are asking questions about hierarchy and subordination within the Trinity. I hope my dissertation can help clarify what the Fathers actually had to say on these matters, especially the fourth-century ones who had a hand in the shaping of classical trinitarianism. I also hope that Christians will be able to glean from my dissertation that theology should not be divorced from spirituality. Greater depth in theology should translate into greater heights in communing with God.”
Smith also researched the Church Fathers and the Trinity when he earned his Master of Theology from Harvard Divinity School. At Harvard, he wrote his thesis on Athanasius’s trinitarian theology of redemption, focusing especially on the Holy Spirit.
“We are so pleased to have Blair Smith as part of the Charlotte faculty,” said Michael Kruger, President of RTS Charlotte. “His specialization on theology in the church fathers is a fitting tribute to the legacy of Doug Kelly. Now with his Ph.D. complete, we know he will make a special contribution to both the academy and the church.”
Smith is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America. He served for more than seven years as the Pastor of Adult Education at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, MD. He also served as a part-time associate Pastor at Michiana Covenant Presbyterian Church near South Bend, IN. In Indiana, he preached throughout the Great Lakes Presbytery of the PCA. He also ministered to graduate students while serving as a Research Visitor at the University of Notre Dame.
Blair and his wife, Lisa, have 4 children.