Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III
Chancellor & CEO, John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology
» Theology and Philosophy | Faculty | Jackson
Covenant Theological Seminary, M.Div., M.A.
University of Edinburgh, Ph.D.
Dr. J. Ligon Duncan, III, was born in Greenville, SC, and reared in the home of an eighth generation Southern Presbyterian ruling elder. A 1983 graduate of Furman University, he received an M.Div. from Covenant Theological Seminary and studied Systematic Theology at the Free Church of Scotland College under Professor Donald Macleod. He earned the Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1995.
Having served on the staff of The Covenant Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, his pastoral experience began in his twenties. He supplied pulpits in churches of the Presbyterian Association of England, Church of Scotland, and Free Church of Scotland while in Britain from 1987-1990. In 1990 he was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and joined the faculty of Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS), Jackson, Miss., where he was chairman of the department of systematic theology, and the John R. Richardson professor of theology. At RTS he was responsible for teaching courses such as Systematic Theology, Ethics, Apologetics, History of Philosophy and Christian Thought, Covenant Theology, Patristics, Evangelism, and Theology of the Westminster Standards. He left his full-time position at RTS to become senior minister of the historic First Presbyterian Church (1837) in Jackson, Miss., in 1996, but continued to teach at RTS as adjunct. He became chancellor & CEO of RTS in 2013 and will continue to serve as senior minister of First Presbyterian Church until Dec. 31, 2013.
He has authored, co-authored, edited or contributed to more than 35 books including, Children and the Lord’s Supper (Mentor, 2011), Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Crossway, 2011), Gospel Clarity: Challenging the New Perspective on Paul (Evangelical Press, 2011), Does Grace Grow Best in Winter? (P&R, 2009), Fear Not (Christian Focus 2008), Women’s Ministry in the Local Church (Crossway 2006), Should We Leave our Churches (P&R, 2004) and The Genesis Debate (Crux Press, 2000).
An active churchman, Duncan has been involved in the courts of the PCA in various ways for many years. He was appointed to the general assembly’s committee on Psalmody, and has served on committees of commissioners for Covenant Seminary, MNA, and bills and overtures in 2002. He has been a member and chairman of the Credentials Committee of the Presbytery of the Mississippi Valley (1996-2002). He was the vice-chairman of the general assembly’s Creation Study Committee (1998-2000), a member of the search committee for a coordinator of Reformed University Ministries, and currently is the chairman of the general assembly’s Theological Examination Committee, and is also a member of the PCA’s Strategic Planning Committee. Duncan was elected as moderator of the Presbytery of the Mississippi Valley in 2001. At the annual denominational meeting, held in June of 2004, he was elected the moderator of the PCA General Assembly (2004-2005) – the youngest minister to serve as moderator in the denomination’s history.
Together for the Gospel was co-founded by Duncan and a few other pastors in 2006, and has become a major catalyst for the young reformed resurgence. He is also founder and chairman of Reformed Academic Press and serves on numerous boards/councils including the Highland Theological College, The Gospel Coalition, and the Reformed African American Network. He is the chairman of the RUF Midsouth Joint Committee which gives oversight to university campus ministry throughout the region.
Ligon and his wife Anne have two teenagers and reside in Jackson, Miss.
To read about Duncan's appointment to Chancellor on September 1, 2013, visit the Chancellor's page.