Craig Barnes named Princeton Theological Seminary president

Pastor, educator currently serves at Pittsburgh seminary

October 9, 2012

M. Craig Barnes

The Rev. M. Craig Barnes, seventh president of Princeton Theological Seminary —courtesy of Princeton Theological Seminary


The board of trustees of Princeton Theological Seminary has unanimously elected the Rev. M. Craig Barnes as its seventh president and as professor of pastoral ministry. 

Barnes, a 1981 M.Div. graduate of Princeton, has also served as a trustee of the seminary. He currently serves as the Robert Meneilly Professor of pastoral ministry and leadership at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and pastor of the 1,100-member Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh. He is married to Dawne and they will move to Princeton with their teenage sons, Karl and Erik.   

Barnes earned his Ph.D. in American church history from the University of Chicago, where Martin Marty served as his advisor. Barnes has previously served pastorates at First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs, Colo., Christ Presbyterian Church in Madison, Wis., and the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C..

He is the author of eight books and serves as a columnist for The Christian Century. Barnes is a frequent lecturer and preacher at conferences, in congregations and at academic gatherings across America. His writing and academic work reflect his deep commitment to the theological formation of pastors to lead the church in changing times. 

John Buchanan, pastor emeritus of the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago and editor of The Christian Century, said, “Craig Barnes and the presidency of Princeton Theological Seminary is a match made in heaven. He is an exquisitely trained scholar, an eloquent proclaimer of the Gospel, a thoughtful analyst of culture, and a graceful and prolific author. His election as the next president of Princeton Seminary is very good news…” 

Barnes states, “I fell in love with Princeton Seminary in 1978 when I began my Master of Divinity studies here…By the time I left the seminary, the words faith and learning were permanently engraved together on my heart.”

He says of this call, “I am eager to help Princeton be the best it can be — a winsome community that is committed to developing church leaders who are theologically formed, intellectually curious, and equipped to serve the church of Jesus Christ in a dramatically new cultural context.” 

Barnes will begin in his role as president and professor of pastoral ministry on Jan. 1, 2013. He will succeed the Rev. Iain Torrance, who has served as president of Princeton Theological Seminary since 2004 and announced his intention to retire from this role last year. The seminary is celebrating its bicentennial anniversary. 

  1. How can I reach Dr Barnes.? I used to attend his services in Washingto DC, and would like to get back in contact with him. My current pastor is a friend of his as well, here in Cupertino Ca. Steve & Ellen Steele. Thanks

    by Harry, Vandevort

    December 26, 2013

  2. Living in the hub of a Word/Faith Community, your book When God Interrupts was "refreshing" to say the very least. I regularly purchase more copies online to share with people hungry for that truth about God. I finally looked up your current location and was amazed to find you at Princeton. Blessings and Thank You.

    by Peggy Tucker

    May 29, 2013

  3. Dr. Barnes communicates with transparency. His sermons at Shadyside were spot-on. His books courageous, and truly inspiring. Princeton has proved itself by hiring the heart & head of Pittsburgh.

    by Mrs. Suzanne Shay

    January 20, 2013

  4. Go, Craig. All the best to you in your new role. PTS will be blessed to have you. All the best to your family. You did a great job as senior pastor at NPC!

    by Mary E. Moltumyr (Carella)

    January 11, 2013

  5. I am absolutely delighted for that premier Seminary to have so deeply committed, keenly intelligent and stiring a peachier as their next President. His eloquent sermons and presence have been long missed by his former congregation here at National Presbyterian Church.

    by Walter C. McCabe

    October 12, 2012

  6. We are so happy that you have this wonderful opportunity to use your gifts. We pray God's blessings on you and your family in the coming days and always. Carole and John Knubel

    by Carole knubel

    October 11, 2012