Princeton, N.J., Oct. 8, 2012 – M. Craig Barnes, a teacher, pastor and author and a columnist for The Christian Century magazine, has been named president of Princeton Theological Seminary.
The seminary’s trustees announced Barnes’ unanimous selection Monday, Oct. 8. He will take office Jan. 1, replacing Iain Torrance, the seminary’s president since 2004. Torrance announced last year that he would retire as head of the prestigious, 200-year-old institution, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Barnes will also serve as Princeton Seminary’s professor of pastoral ministry. A 1981 Master of Divinity graduate of Princeton Seminary, Barnes now serves as the Robert Meneilly Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Leadership at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and pastor of the 1,100-member Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh. He has also served as a Princeton Seminary trustee.
Barnes earned his Ph.D. in American Church History from the University of Chicago, where Martin Marty served as his adviser. He has previously held pastorates at the First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs, Colo., Christ Presbyterian Church in Madison, Wis., and the National Presbyterian Church in Washington. He is the author of eight books, writes a column for The Christian Century and frequently delivers guest lectures and sermons.
According to a Princeton Seminary news release, John Buchanan, pastor emeritus of the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago and editor of The Christian Century, said, “Craig Barnes and the presidency of Princeton Theological Seminary is a match made in heaven. He is an exquisitely trained scholar, an eloquent proclaimer of the Gospel, a thoughtful analyst of culture and a graceful and prolific author. His election as the next president of Princeton Seminary is very good news … ”
The news release quotes Barnes as saying he fell in love with Princeton Seminary when he in 1978 when he began my Master of Divinity studies there.
“By the time I left the seminary, the words faith and learning were permanently engraved together on my heart,” he said. “I am eager to help Princeton be the best it can be – a winsome community that is committed to developing church leaders who are theologically formed, intellectually curious and equipped to serve the church of Jesus Christ in a dramatically new cultural context.”
Founded in 1812, Princeton Seminary is observing its bicentennial. It has an enrollment of about 540 students and about 56 faculty members, and is home to the largest theological library in the United States. For its first 90 years, the seminary was governed by a principal; Barnes will be its seventh president.
Barnes and his wife Dawne will move to Princeton with their teenage sons, Karl and Erik.