July 19: T. Stanley Soltau

A Distinguished Lineage

“If we as God’s people were only more willing to wait for the Lord, how infinitely great would be the things that He in His graciousness would be delighted to do for us and in us and through us to the blessing of others and to the glory of His Name.” — Dr. T. Stanley Soltau.


Through a long, useful life, Theodore Stanley Soltau, D.D. served faithfully and well the Lord he loved.

Theodore Stanley Soltau was born in 1890, of missionary parents in Tasmania, and throughout his life was himself a missionary in every sense of the word. The Soltau family had  originally been Plymouth Brethren.  In fact, Stanley’s grandfather, Henry William Soltau, was born in Plymouth, in 1805. Henry authored works which remain in print to this day: The Holy Vessels and Furniture of the Tabernacle and The Tabernacle, the Priesthood and the Offerings.

Stanley received his early schooling in England, but when Stanley’s parents returned from the mission field to the United States in 1904, he remained stateside to obtain his undergraduate training in Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. His theological work was done at Princeton Seminary under men whose names are familiar to all in our church.

Shortly after graduation from seminary Dr. Soltau began a quarter of a century of profitable missionary endeavor in Korea. During these years he served under the Mission Board of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., working in pioneer missionary works as well as in the administrative work of the mission in that land. It was while Dr. Soltau was in Korea that the church there suffered much persecution for its faith from the Japanese. Dr. Soltau stood firmly with the Church in resisting the attempts of the government to interfere with its service for the Lord.

Forced, through illness, to return from the foreign field in the late 1930’s, he entered on a new phase of his service. He was pastor in Evanston until 1942 when he was called by the First Evangelical Church of Memphis, Tennessee.

The blessing of the Lord was upon his ministry in Memphis and the church grew in number and service. Dr. Soltau’s life-long interest in missions was reflected in the interest of First Evangelical Church in supporting missions around the world.

After twenty-six years of an active and valuable pastorate, Dr. Soltau resigned in June of 1968. In his “retirement” he was, if anything, more active in his ministry for people and for missions. He traveled extensively in the U.S. and on missionary trips to South America and around the world.

In the early 1950’s, Dr. Soltau united with the then Bible Presbyterian Church. His help in the formation of World Presbyterian Missions was great and he served until 1971 as the president of this missions board. He was for a time on the board of the North Africa Missions agency, as well as that of the Greater Europe Mission and also Columbia Bible College.

T. Stanley Soltau, Christian gentleman, scholar, missionary, statesman, pastor, in the midst of an active life, at the age of 82, stepped into the presence of the Lord on the afternoon of July 19, 1972. “Blessed are the dead, that die in the Lord.”

The Lord blessed Dr. Soltau and his wife with children who grew to place their trust in Christ. His daughter Eleanor served in Jordan as a medical doctor; daughter Mary worked with a ministry for the handicapped; George was engaged full-time with prison ministry and Addison served as a professor at Covenant Theological Seminary and currently serves as an associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Coral Springs, Florida.

Words to Live By (once more, for effect):
“If we as God’s people were only more willing to wait for the Lord, how infinitely great would be the things that He in His graciousness would be delighted to do for us and in us and through us to the blessing of others and to the glory of His Name.”

A memorial for Dr. Soltau was published in the 1973 Minutes of Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. Our account above is based on that text. An obituary was also published in the RPCES newspaper,  The Mandate, and there is a Memorial for Dr. Soltau in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 15.4 (Fall 1972) 256. But thus far, the primary work on Dr. Soltau’s life remains the biography by Charles Turner, included as chapter nine in Chosen Vessels.

Korea, The Hermit Nation.  London, New York : World dominion Press, 1932. 123 p. [Includes “The Bible in Korea, by Rev. R. Kilbour, D.D. [1867-1942], on pp. [79]-89.]

“Mission Survey,” in The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Korea Mission of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., June 30-July 3, 1934, Rhodes, Harry A. and Richard H. Baird, editors.  Seoul, Korea : Y.M.C.A. Press, 1934. pp. 216-233.

Straight Road to Christian Living : Valuable Helps for Young Christians. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1942. 63 p.

Christ is the Son of God. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1944. 48 p.

The Everlasting Gospel. Memphis, TN : The Mid-South Bible Center, 1946. 65pp.

That They Might Have Life. Memphis, TN : The First Evangelical Church, 1947. 29pp.

Lo, I Am With You Always.  Memphis, TN : The First Evangelical Church, 1949.  31pp.

Who do men say that I am?  Wheaton, IL: Van Kampen Press, 1949.  112 p.

A Straight Road to Christian Truth [Seoul] : Presbyterian Publication Fund, 1956), Korean language.  65 p.

“The High Priesthood of Christ,” serialized in The Bible Presbyterian Reporter, 1958-1959.

Facing the field; the foreign missionary and his problems.  Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1959.  135 p.

Missions at the Crossroads: The Indigenous Church—A Solution for the Unfinished Task. Grand Rapids, MI : Baker Book House, 1959.  188pp.

“Reformed Theology and Missions,” in The Bible Presbyterian Reporter, 5.4 (April 1960): 15-16.

“Paradoxes of the Cross,” Part I – The Place of Defeat and Victory, in The Bible Presbyterian Reporter, 5.4 (April 1960) 7-8;  Part II – Man’s Sin versus God’s Love, in The Bible Presbyterian Reporter, 5.5 (May 1960) 11-12; Part III – God’s Identification of Himself with Man, in The Bible Presbyterian Reporter, 5.6 (June-July 1960) 5-6.

“How Often Should We Observe the Lord’s Supper?,” in The Bible Presbyterian Reporter, 5.5 (May 1960) 10

“The Two Empires in Japan,” in The Bible Presbyterian Reporter, 5.6 (June-July 1960) 15 [review of John M.L. Young’s book]

The Standard Bible Commentary on Acts. Seoul : Committee on the Bible Commentary of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Korea, 1961. 456 p.

“Committing the Message to Faithful Men,” – Convocation Exercises at Covenant College and Seminary, St. Louis, MO, 27 September 1963.

The God-pointed Life: Lessons from the Life of David.  Chicago : Moody Press, 1966.  127 p.

In the Enemy’s Territory.  [s.l. : s.n.], 1969.  137 p.

Yin Yang, Korean Voices.  Wheaton, IL: Key Publishers, 1971.  147 p.

Liberalism versus Historic Christianity.  Lincoln, NE : Back to the Bible, 1977.  15pp.

Jesus, man or God?  Memphis, TN: Time for Truth, 1970-1979?  55 p.

Our Sufficiency.  (s.l. : s.n., n.d.  20pp.

The Reality of Christ’s Promises : A Series of 10 Broadcasts by Rev. T. Stanley Soltau, D.D., over Station WMC.  Memphis, TN : First Evangelical Church, n.d. [1940s]), pb, 51pp.

See also—
While Charles Turner, in his biography of Dr. Soltau [chapter 9 in the volume Chosen Vessels (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Publications, 1985), pp. 159-183] states that Dr. Soltau “…kept no journals, no copies of his correspondence…”, nonetheless the PCA Historical Center is blessed to have some of the Soltau correspondence preserved among some of its other collections:

Robert L. Rayburn Papers:

Rayburn, Robert G., Correspondence, Soltau, T. Stanley, 1959 – 1961 8 30

Frank Fiol Papers:

Correspondence, 1956: Frank Dyrness, T. Stanley Soltau, John G. Crane, Kenneth Horner, Carl McIntire, R. Laird Harris, J.E. Krauss 359 7

At the Covenant College archives—
“For to Me to Live Is Christ,” [Final Message at Covenant, 6 pages].

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