"There is a God we want and a God who is, and the two are not the same"
"There are two ways to commit idolatry. You can worship something other than the one true God, that’s way one. There is another way as well. You can worship the one true God by some other means than those that He has appointed."
Westminster Calvinist: I embrace the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms as my personal confession of biblical, Christian belief. I am thus strongly committed to Covenant Theology. 5-point Calvinism, and am a Paedobaptist.
Eschatology: The specifics of the millennial question have never been the main focus of my teaching on eschatology, but I suppose I'd be characterized as amil or postmil on most matters relating to that (I say a- or post- partly because on the one hand I look for continuity between the already and the not yet in terms of the reign of God's kingdom on earth [in a way that most amils don't], and yet on the other hand do not conceive of a "golden age" in the way that classic postmillennialism does – I see a simultaneously increasing opposition to the kingdom growing alongside an ever advancing and expanding kingdom).
Ecclesiology: I am strongly committed to the ordinary means of grace as the way God grows his church. The "ordinary means of grace," as you know, are "the Word, sacraments, and prayer." I believe that these are the ordinances given by God with which spiritual life is nurtured in the local church. By ordinances we mean spiritual instruments of grace and growth in grace appointed by God in the Bible. So, when we say ordinary means of grace-based ministry, we mean a ministry that focuses on doing the things God says are central to the spiritual health and growth of his people. Hence, the key things that the church can do in order to help people know God and grow in their knowledge of God are: (1) emphasize the public reading and preaching of the Word; (2) emphasize the assuring and nourishing efficacy of the sacraments; and (3) emphasize a life of prayer, especially expressed corporately in the church.
Furman University, B.A.
Covenant Theological Seminary, M.Div., M.A.
University of Edinburgh, Ph.D.
Ligon Duncan is the Chancellor/CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology. Ligon was born in Greenville, SC, and reared in the home of an eighth generation Presbyterian ruling elder. A 1983 graduate of Furman University (B.A. History), he received the M.Div. and M.A. (Historical Theology) from Covenant Theological Seminary. He earned the Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh, New College, Scotland, in 1995 (under the supervision of renowned Reformation and Patristics scholar, David F. Wright). While in Scotland he also studied Systematic Theology at the Free Church of Scotland College (now Edinburgh Theological Seminary) with Professor Donald Macleod.
Ligon’s pastoral experience began in his twenties, while in seminary. At the age of 24, he was licensed to preach by Calvary Presbytery (PCA) and since then he has preached in Presbyterian, Dutch Reformed, Baptist, Congregational, Anglican, Methodist, and Independent churches (including PCA, ARP, EPC, OPC, RPCNA, PC(USA), CRC, RCA, URCNA congregations, churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention as well as various Reformed Baptist and evangelical Anglican groups). While in Britain, Duncan supplied pulpits in Church of Scotland and Free Church of Scotland congregations, as well as Presbyterian Association of England churches (now called The Evangelical Presbyterian Church of England and Wales). His pastoral ministry now spans three decades and four congregations: The Covenant Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, Missouri; Trinity Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Miss.; First Presbyterian Church, Yazoo City, Miss.; and historic First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Miss., where he served almost 18 years.
At 28, Ligon was elected to the faculty of Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS). In 1990, Duncan was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and began to teach at RTS, Jackson, Miss., where he eventually became chairman of the department of systematic theology, and the John R. Richardson Professor of Theology. Over time at RTS he has lectured regularly at three of the campuses (Jackson, Charlotte, and Orlando) and he has taught all of the core Systematic Theology courses, Pastoral/Social Ethics, Apologetics, History of Philosophy and Christian Thought, Covenant Theology, Patristics, Evangelism, Worship, Church History, Philosophical Theology, Scottish Theology, Contemporary Theology, 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 and served until 2013, while continuing to teach at RTS as adjunct. He returned to the regular faculty of RTS in 2012 and became Chancellor/CEO of RTS in 2013.
Ligon has authored, co-authored, edited or contributed to more than 35 books including, The Underestimated Gospel (B&H, 2014), The Unadjusted Gospel (Crossway, 2014), Gospel Clarity: Challenging the New Perspective on Paul (with Bill Barcley) (Evangelical Press, 2011), Children and the Lord’s Supper (Mentor, 2011), Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Crossway, 2011), Entrusted with the Gospel (Crossway, 2010), Perspectives on Christian Worship (B&H, 2009), 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), The Westminster Confession in the 2lst Century: Essays in Remembrance of the 350th Anniversary of the Westminster Assembly, (Mentor, 2003, 2004, 2009), Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship, (P&R, 2003), The Genesis Debate, (Crux Press, 2000), and Matthew Henry’s Method for Prayer, (Christian Focus Publications/Christian Heritage, 1994).
Duncan is an active churchman, and has been involved in the presbyteries and general assemblies of the PCA in various ways for many years. He was appointed to the PCA Strategic Planning Committee, was on the PCA Committee on Psalmody, served on GA Committees of Commissioners for Covenant Seminary, MNA, and Bills and Overtures. He was Chairman of the Credentials Committee of the Presbytery of the Mississippi Valley, Vice-chairman of PCA Creation Study Committee, on the Search Committee for Coordinator of Reformed University Ministries, and served twice as Chairman of the PCA GA Theological Examination Committee. Duncan has been Moderator of the Presbytery of Calvary (SC) and Moderator of the Presbytery of the Mississippi Valley. He was also elected Moderator of the PCA General Assembly (2004-2005) – the youngest minister to serve as moderator in the denomination’s history.
Along with his friends Mark Dever, Al Mohler, and C.J. Mahaney (joined by John Piper, John Macarthur, and R.C. Sproul) Duncan co-founded Together for the Gospel (“T4G”) in 2006. T4G has become a major catalyst for the young reformed resurgence. He is founder and chairman of Reformed Academic Press and serves on numerous boards/councils including The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Highland Theological College, The Gospel Coalition, and Reformed African American Network. He is the chairman of the RUF Midsouth Committee which gives oversight to university campus ministry throughout the region.
Duncan has given academic lectures and addresses widely, including the following: the University of Edinburgh, New College; the Free Church of Scotland College (now Edinburgh Theological Seminary); Rutherford House (Edinburgh Scotland); Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, Alabama; Belhaven University (Jackson, MS), the Presbyterian Theological College, Melbourne, Australia, the University of Chester, England, national and regional meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society; the annual national meetings of the North American Patristic Society; the annual national meeting of the Social Science History Association (Atlanta, GA, 1994); International Theological Seminary (of LA, CA in Hong Kong); he has given the Mullins Lectures at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY, 2004), the den Dulk Lectures, Westminster Theological Seminary, California, and the Adams Lectures, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Wake Forest, NC, 2011).
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.
Listen to a Spring 2016 Chapel Message by Dr. Duncan, from Acts 2:38-39, entitled The Promise of my Father.
- Genesis (Sermon Archive Index)
- Numbers (Sermon Series)
- Ecclesiastes (Series)
- Daniel Archive Index
- Matthew (Sermon Series)
- The Gospel of Luke (MP3 Series)
- Ephesians (MP3 Series)
- Philippians (Sermon Series)
- 2 Timothy (MP3 Series)
- James Archive Index
- Titus Archive Index (MP3 Series)
- The Apostles' Creed (Series)
- Lecture Series on Covenant Theology (Manuscripts)
- Covenant Theology (26-MP3 Lecture Series)
- Men and Women After God's Heart: The Fellowship of the Ring (Lecture Series)
- What Happens When Christ Returns?
- What Is a Christian?
- Which Came First? Faith or Regeneration?
- Christ Alone - Acts 4:12 & John 1:29
- Faith Alone
- N.T.Wright and the 'New Perspective' on Paul
- More Concerns about N.T. Wright
- The Attractions of the New Perspective(s) on Paul
- Is Wright Teaching Another Gospel?
- A Biblical Understanding of Conversion
- Justification: Still the Radical Truth
- Thirty Two Principles for Public Prayer
- The Manhattan Declaration: A Statement from Ligon Duncan
- God Gave Them Over
- “Falling Away?” - Hebrews 6:4-12
- Covenant Theology: A Biblical, Theological, and Historical Study Covenants (eBook)
- Better: A Study of the Christian Life in Hebrews (eBook)
- Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans 1-8 (eBook)
- Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans 9-16 (eBook)
- The Incomparable Christ: An Exposition of Colossians (eBook)
- The Man Who Thought He Was Righteous (but wasn’t) and the Man Who Thought He Wasn’t (but was!) - Luke 18:9-14
- “175 and Counting: God, Suffering and Evil” - Genesis 50:20
- How Can God Condemn If We Can’t Resist His Will? - Romans 9:19-23
- Isn’t It Unfair for God to Choose Some and Not Others? - Romans 9:14-18
- Defending the Faith - Jude 1:3-4
- Abraham's Faith and Ours - Romans 4:18-25
- Why the Resurrection Matters
- United to Christ - Romans 6:1-7
- The Five Questions for Church Membership
- The Ordinary Means of Growth
Select YouTube Videos
- Why Doctrine Matters (YouTube)
- What are the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel? (YouTube)
- Sanctification (YouTube)
- Why We Ought to Pray (YouTube)
- The Westminister Confession of Faith in Theological Education (YouTube)
- An Unquenchable Fire: The Wrath of God (YouTube)
- The Word Became Flesh (YouTube)
- Covenant Theology (YouTube)
- The Invisible Church (YouTube)
- Shepherds' Conference 2015 | The Inerrancy Summit (YouTube)
- Serving Two Masters (YouTube)
- The Underestimated God(YouTube)
- The Gospel by Numbers (YouTube)
- Should the Church Embrace Postmodernism? (YouTube)
- Living in the Hope of Liberation from Bondage" (Romans 8:16–25)
- Worship in Word and Sacrament (YouTube)
- We shall be like Him (YouTube)
- Why the Reformation is Not Over (YouTube)
Select Individual Sermons/Lectures (MP3)
- The Puritans with Ligon Duncan and Michael Lawrence
- Ligon Duncan and Tim Keller on Women and the Deaconate
- Interview Ligon Duncan and Michael Kruger on Bart Ehrman, Canon & Christology
- It Takes a Disciple to Make a Disciple
- It Takes a Church to Make a Disciple
- Sound Doctrine: Essential to Faithful Pastoral Ministry
- Grace in Winter
- A Christian Perspective on Death
- Dead in Sin - Ephesians 2:1-3
- The Gospel as Center (contributing author), Crossway, 2012.
- Does Grace Grow Best in Winter? (author) Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Publishing, 2009.
- Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross, edited by Nancy Guthrie, (contributing author). Crossway, 2009.
- Perspectives on Christian Worship: 5 Views, edited by J. Matthew Pinson, (contributing author). B&H Academic, 2009.
- Risking the Truth: Handling Error in the Church, edited by Martin Downes, (contributing author) Christian Focus, 2009.
- Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology (co-author with Mark Dever, Al Mohler, C.J. Mahaney) Crossway, 2009.
- Come, Thou Long-expected Jesus, edited by Nancy Guthrie, (contributing author) Crossway, 2008
- Fear Not.(author) Christian Focus, 2008.
- J.I. Packer and Mark Dever, In My Place Condemned He Stood. (contributing author) Crossway, 2008.
- Preaching the Cross (co-author with Mark Dever, Al Mohler, C.J. Mahaney) Crossway, 2007.
- Women's Ministry in the Local Church, Crossway, 2006.
- Worshipping God Together: Congregational Worship at First Presbyterian Church. (author) FPC Publishing, 2005.
- Confessing Our Hope, (contributing author) GPTS Press, 2004.
- Letters to Timothy, (contributing author) Founders Press, 2004.
- Should We Leave Our Churches? (co-author with Mark Talbot). P&R, 2004.
- The Devoted Life: An Invitation to the Puritan Classics, (contributing author) IVP, 2004.
- Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship, (editor and contributing author) P&R, 2003.
- Reclaiming the Gospel and Reforming Churches, (contributing author) Founders Press, 2003.
- The Westminster Confession in the 2lst Century: Essays in Remembrance of the 350th Anniversary of the Westminster Assembly, (general editor and contributing author) Mentor,Vol. 1, 2003; Vol. 2, 2004; Vol. 3, 2009; Vol. 4 [forthcoming].
- The Genesis Debate: Three Views of the Days of Creation (co-author with David W. Hall, Meredith Kline, Lee Irons, Hugh Ross and Gleason Archer). Crux Press, 2000.
- Moses' Law for Modern Government: The Intellectual and Sociological Origins of the Christian Reconstructionist Movement, Press, 1996.
- David Hall’s The Practice of Confessional Subscription (contributing author).University Press of America, 1995.
- Matthew Henry’s Method for Prayer (editor).Christian Focus Publications/Christian Heritage, 1994.
- The Westminster Assembly: A Guide to Basic Bibliography, Press, 1994.
- A Short History of the Westminster Assembly. Reformed Academic Press, 1993.
Author Related Links
Dr. Duncan's Blog
Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals [http://www.alliancenet.org/]
First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi [http://www.fpcjackson.org/]
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood [http://www.cbmw.org/]
Reformation 21 [ http://reformation21.org/1/]
Together for the Gospel (Blog) [http://blog.togetherforthegospel.org/]
Ligon Duncan Sermon Archives