When two young men approached a handful of elders at the Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville in 1986 with the idea for a Presbyterian Seminary in the South Carolina Upstate, Pastor Paul Settle was there to offer his wisdom and support to the project. He was no stranger to ambitious endeavors in service to the Lord, having been one of the founding Teaching Elders of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and first coordinator of the PCA’s Christian Education Ministry.
The original steering committee for a seminary based in the South Carolina Upstate formed in 1986, and consisted of Teaching Elders Paul G. Settle, John C. Neville, Jr., and Morton H. Smith, and Ruling Elders J. Ligon Duncan, Jr. and C. Stuart Patterson. In March 1986, Rev. Settle, acting on behalf of the Steering Committee, sent a letter to selected Ruling and Teaching Elders of the PCA announcing the establishment of the Seminary. In the Fall of 1987, the first class of students began studies at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Pictured here are some of the men involved in the founding of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, including Dr. Settle (third from the right, in the back), Dr. Morton Smith (third from the left), and Mr. J. Ligon Duncan, Jr. (center, right).
Dr. Settle served on the Board of Trustees for a brief time, and remained close to the seminary and its leadership over its first 31 years of existence. He is today remembered fondly by the faculty, trustees (past and present), students, and alumni who knew him.
“Paul Settle became a close friend in the days leading up to the formation of the PCA,” remembers Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. “He was traveling around to churches, presenting the case for the Continuing Church. His presentation led my congregation in Tchula, Mississippi to vote to join the new denomination. He was always the exemplar of a Christian gentleman, and did much to lay the foundation for the denomination’s commitment to Christian education.”
After having served eight Presbyterian congregations, several seminaries and denominational bodies, and written numerous books and articles, positively influencing the spiritual lives of thousands of people, Dr. Paul Settle has entered into his eternal rest. He was 82 years old, and is survived by his wife, Mary B. Aiken Russell Settle; son, Paul David Settle; daughter, Jo Lynne Sprouse, and a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, step sons, and their families. He was predeceased by his first wife, Georgia Brown Settle.
A service of thanksgiving to God for the life and service of Dr. Settle was held at the Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville on March 24, 2018. The family indicated that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Second Presbyterian Church or Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. We thank God for the life and ministry of Dr. Paul Settle, his significant contribution to American Presbyterianism, and his example of grace and godliness.