A few months ago Dr. George Anderson Long reached his eightieth birthday, and I think a few things ought to be said about him for the record. I write this realizing that many of the readers of CHRISTIANITY TODAY are from Great Britain or Australia or elsewhere with no particular interest in one man from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am reminded, however, that the British do very well when they get around to praising famous men by a toast or a eulogy, so perhaps they will make allowances for an American effort and think about what gives rise to my remarks rather than their unfortunate ignorance of the man himself.

Back in the forties Dr. Long agreed to become president of Pittsburgh Xenia Theological Seminary. The dark days on which that United Presbyterian institution had fallen are now hard to imagine; it took a brave and determined man to be willing to take on the presidency. I remember that a friend of mine who was a mathematics professor helped me bring in my luggage when I moved into a study-bedroom combination on the third floor of that old building on the north side of Pittsburgh, and I think he had a slight trauma when he saw the “digs” into which I was moving. Three decrepit buildings and a parking lot were our campus.

Dr. Long set for himself three goals—a new campus with adequate buildings, a new faculty, and an enlarged student body. All three goals were fulfilled. The new campus and buildings were beautiful as well as utilitarian. The faculty took its place among the better ones of the country, and the growth of the student body reflected the confidence that the church now had in this renewed institution. In and around these physical fulfillments came an enlightened curriculum, an excellent school spirit, and deep devotion to the Christian enterprise. If ever an institution was the reflection of a single man, Pittsburgh Xenia was a reflection of the faith and strength of George Long. The institution became the greatest gift of the church to the merger of the United Presbyterian Church with the Presbyterian Church U. S. A.

One gets to thinking about the influence of one man’s life. I suppose there are many ways in which I could now take my point of departure, but 1 got to thinking about a great number of professors I had known over a long period of time and came up with the interesting idea (at least to me) that one could build a tremendous seminary faculty out of men who were products of Dr. Long’s administration. With the merger of the United Presbyterian and the Presbyterian Churches, the center of gravity was, of course, with the larger denomination, and structurally at least the progress of the church has been weighted about ten to one in favor of the larger denomination. This has meant that a great many of the young men who came along under Dr. Long have been scattered and in one way or another have passed notice.

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Let me remind the church of an all-star theological team, all of whom were developed under one leader. These men could make a very rich and scholarly and, indeed, young and vigorous seminary faculty.

The lines of the various disciplines in any educational institution tend to overlap, depending on the personalities and abilities of professors. Curricula are often forced to follow personalities, but I think we could group these men in general classifications.

In the general area of theology, which could include history of doctrine and apologetics, I can think of three outstanding men all of whom worked under Dr. Long and all of whom are now ready for seminary level, that is, graduate school, teaching. Jack Rogers, now at Westminster College, is finishing up his Ph.D. under Berkouwer of Amsterdam. John Stevens, who took his Ph.D. at Temple University, has a strong congregation in St. Petersburg, Florida. A very strong contender for a post in theology is Fred Graham, whose Ph.D. will be from Iowa University and who is now on the faculty of Michigan State.

Shifting from theology to homiletics may get me into all kinds of trouble; usually homiletics professors are drawn from the ranks of great and/or successful preachers, and there may be a great many products of Dr. Long’s regime who would qualify here. I am willing to take a chance on at least two. Dr. Bob Meneilly is the pastor of the great Village Church in Prairie Village, Kansas City. I think it was just about a month ago that the membership of his church passed the 6,000 mark. More to the point, Dr. Bob has kept up with his city; his preaching has kept his church and staff out in the front of church development, and he has the reputation for an understanding administration of a very complex organization. With Dr. Meneilly I would name Dr. Dale Milligan of the Beulah Presbyterian Church, just east of Pittsburgh. Here again we have a forward-looking pastor, a highly complex organization well managed, a constant building program, and the influence of a man and a church in the broader work of the denomination. Both these men are already instructive for the church and would make marvelous teachers in a seminary.

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Shifting over into languages, I would have Dr. Robert Kelley for Greek. He is finishing up a Ph.D. at Princeton University and is teaching at Pittsburgh Seminary. He could, with some training, shift into Hebrew from Greek, but I think his major work is in Greek and New Testament exegesis. Robert Coughenour is teaching at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, and has made tremendous progress in Hebrew and in archaeology. Dr. Edward Grohman, a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins, is a top man in Hebrew and its cognates and is teaching at Knoxville College, Tennessee.

Harold Scott, who is finishing his Ph.D. at Princeton Seminary, is at Pittsburgh Seminary. He looks to me like a good man for field work and would, I think, make a good dean for the faculty just listed.

When I started out on this page, I realized I was heading for trouble. I am in the same position a man finds himself in when he tries to thank the right people for putting on a church dinner. He is bound to leave somebody out. For a couple of “utility infielders,” I would name Bruce Thielmann and Lloyd Dalby, both of whom have excellent minds, and both of whom could with short formal training be ready to move into a wide variety of seminary assignments.

As I look back over this faculty, I notice that no provision has been made for the general field of Christian education; but I am satisfied that almost any of the men listed could easily move in that direction. This would be particularly true of Thielmann or Dalby. Kelley, Milligan, and Meneilly could also qualify.

A salute, then, to George Anderson Long. When he took the presidency, he wanted to train scholars for the church. I think he did. His own “total recall” mind will delight in making some changes in this faculty of his boys. I wonder if he recognizes that the average age probably hits somewhere between thirty-five and forty. That should make for considerable excitement.

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