April 16: Rev. George S. Christian

Called to an Uncompromising Stand

One reward that comes from researching and writing these posts is the discovery of details previously unknown to the writer. Plus, with having to find something attached to a given date, we are often prompted to address people or events that we might have otherwise overlooked. Today we have one such example.

The name of George S. Christian shows up a few times among the collections preserved at the PCA Historical Center, and I’ve often thought of trying to find out a bit more about him. We have no known photographs of him, and from the few writings and items of correspondence that we have, there is enough to spark some interest and make us wish we knew more about the man. George Spaulding Christian was born in Philadelphia, PA, on April 16, 1917. He completed his undergraduate education at both Lehigh University and the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1941. From there, he next attended the Princeton Theological Seminary, 1941-43, and completed his seminary education at Faith Theological Seminary, graduating with the Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1947. A gap in the biographical record may indicate a term of military service during the years 1943-1945. Further work was completed at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he earned the Th.M. degree in 1951.

Rev. Christian was ordained by the Presbytery of New Jersey (BPC) in June of 1948, but there is no record at hand as to where he might have served from 1948 until 1951, when he was called to serve as pastor of the Faith Presbyterian Church of Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania. This was an unaffiliated church, one of many which seemed to hover in the Bible Presbyterian orbit, but which never formally became part of the Bible Presbyterian Church. George served this church from 1951 until 1957. Then on April 23 of 1957, he transferred his credentials into the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, being received by their Presbytery of New Jersey.

Again, the available record has a gap from 1957 to 1959. Leaving pulpit ministry for a time, he worked as an instructor at the Bell Telephone Laboratories from 1959 to 1965. The time from 1966 to 1983 is also lost to our record, but in 1984 Rev. Christian returned to pulpit ministry with a call to serve as teaching minister at the Emmanual Presbyterian church (OPC) in Morristown, New Jersey. He remained at this point until 1991, at which time we presume he retired. George breathed his last and entered glory on February 26, 2008, at the age of 90.

Words to Live By:
To quote George Christian: “From the writings of Charles Hodge, revered spiritual father of us all, let us see the significance of subscribing to the Westminster Confession of Faith ‘as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures.’ Let us see reflected herein the answer which centuries of Presbyterian history gave to this question. Let us look into a matter settled long ago, a matter which admits of no question, of no doubt.”

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