Dr. Pierre Courthial Remembered

June 01, 2009

As a seminary, we are blessed to have built relationships with many of the Reformed seminaries around the world. One of these many relationships is with the Reformed Seminary in Aix-en-Provence, France with which we have a long history.

In 1979, our Seminary celebrated its Jubilee Year. At the climax of this celebration Westminster awarded its first honorary doctorates during the Convocation service. One of the four recipients that year was Dr. Pierre Courthial (1914 – 2009).

During his lifetime, Dr. Courthial was a preacher, an author, and an educator.
He studied formally at the Protestant Faculty of Theology in Paris from 1932 to 1936, but his study never stopped once he graduated. His theology was strongly influenced by John Calvin, Auguste Lecerf, Pierre Du Moulin, Abraham Kuyper, John Murray, J. Gresham Machen, Cornelius Van Til, Rousas John Rushdoony and many more.

A year after he became a pastor in Lyon in 1937, he was then sent as a delegate to the Synod at Lyon, which decided to re-establish the Reformed Church of France.  Later he served as pastor at the Eglise de l’Annociation in Passy, Paris for many years before becoming the first dean of the Free Faculty of Reformed Theology in Aix-en-Provence, (Faculté Libre de Théologie Réformée) in 1974.

As an author, he wrote numerous books and articles, mostly in French, although one is in the process of being translated into English, The Day of Small Beginnings  (Le Jour Des Petits Recommencements). We were fortunate to have him speak at our 50 year Jubilee back in 1979. To hear his talk on ‘JOHN 3:12: Implications for Hermeneutics’ click here.