Princeton Theological Seminary: Eighteen Twelve was a Very Good Year

By David T. Myers - Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History:

Image from This Day in Presbyterian History

It was clear that something had to be done. Princeton College was not being the source any longer for Presbyterian ministers, and for that matter, any ministers. The school had turned into a secular school for careers, like law, politics, and education.

The reason for this was varied, Some saw the problem in the new president, Samuel Stanhope Smith. It wasn’t that he had no qualifications for the presidency. He himself was a graduate of the college. He had started what later became Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. He had tutored under his father-in-law John Witherspoon as the Vice-President of Princeton, when the latter was unable physically to do it. So he had all the academic qualifications.

Of more troublesome however were questions about his lack of Calvinistic distinctives. It seemed that they were in word only as there were suggestions of an emphasis on free will in man plus scientific suggestions in place of supernatural miracles. Add to that a student rebellion, the trustees were beginning to have questions on his ability to solve these challenges in the right way.

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