Dr. James E. McGoldrick passed into glory on Thursday, December 30, 2021 at his home in Greenville, South Carolina. He was 85 years old, having been born on January 5, 1936 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to James Edward McGoldrick, Sr. and Bernardine Estelle McGoldrick (Glenn). He is survived by his wife Mrs. Judy Waite McGoldrick (m. October 6, 2018); his three children, Gloria Armstrong, James E. McGoldrick, III (Eileen), and Barbara Christoff (John); seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents; his first wife of 65 years, Mrs. Elizabeth “Betty” McGoldrick (McManus; 1935-2017); and his granddaughter Lydia Anne McGoldrick Wilson (1986-2021).
A graduate of Temple University (BS, MA) and West Virginia University (PhD), Dr. McGoldrick was ordained as Pastor of Pittsgrove Baptist Church in Elmer, New Jersey in 1959, where he remained until 1965. For one year (1965-1966), Dr. McGoldrick pastored Calvary Baptist Church in Pittman, New Jersey. From 1966 to 2021, Dr. McGoldrick taught History and Church History at a variety of institutions: John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas from 1966 to 1970; West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia from 1970 to 1973; Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio from 1973 to 2001; and Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Taylors, South Carolina from 2001 to 2021. Great Lakes Presbytery received Dr. McGoldrick into the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) in 2001. More recently, he maintained his ministerial credentials in Calvary Presbytery. During his time in the Academy, Dr. McGoldrick tirelessly labored in the local church as a Stated Supply preacher and as a devoted adult Sunday School teacher.
Dr. McGoldrick authored many books and articles for a variety of academic and church publications. His books include Luther’s English Connection: The Reformation Thought of Robert Barnes and William Tyndale, Northwestern Publishing House 1979; Luther’s Scottish Connection, Farleigh Dickinson University Press 1989; Baptist Successionism: A Crucial Question in Baptist History, Scarecrow Press 1999 (republished as Heirs of the Reformation: A Study in Baptist Origins, Founders Ministries 2019); God’s Renaissance Man: The Life and Work of Abraham Kuyper, Evangelical Press 2000; Christianity and Its Competitors: New Faces of Old Heresy, Christian Focus 2006; Presbyterian and Reformed Churches: A Global History, Reformation Heritage Books 2012; and, The Mind of John Calvin, Lambert Academic Publishing 2019. Among his many essays and articles are contributions to Great Lives from History, Chronology of European History, Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation, Dictionary of Tudor England, Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology, Historical Dictionary of Late Medieval England, Magill’s Guide to Military History, Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing, New Dictionary of National Biography, A Christian Worldview, Modern Age Journal, University of Dayton Review, Westminster Theological Journal, Banner of Truth Magazine, Grace Theological Journal, Sixteenth Century Journal, Calvin Theological Journal, Reformation & Revival Magazine, The Outlook Magazine, and the Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology.
Dr. McGoldrick was a steadfast professor, mentor, example, and friend to several generations of Greenville Seminary students. His devotion to family, friends, the local church, and careful historical scholarship modeled Christlikeness in every sphere of life. He preached the gospel with clarity, precision, and earnest hope in Christ, repeatedly calling upon Christians to maintain hearts of tenderness and spines of steel in their commitment to biblical faith and piety. Upon his retirement from the Seminary faculty last year, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to rename the student scholarship fund in his honor as the “James E. McGoldrick Scholarship Fund.”
I knew of Dr. McGoldrick’s work before I came to Greenville Seminary, and it didn’t take long after I arrived to realize what a profound personal influence he had on our seminary community. I continue to hear from alumni who tell me how much they benefitted from his classroom teaching, his individual instruction, and his example of personal godliness. The Lord used his faithful service in profound and remarkable ways. Speaking personally, Jim and Judy have been wonderful friends to our whole family. Jim’s warmth, humor, and wisdom will be missed; but we also rejoice, knowing that he is now in the presence of the Savior he loved and served.
Jonathan L. Master, PhD
The first official letter I received as President of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary was from Dr. James E. McGoldrick. In that letter, he expressed interest in coming to teach part-time at the Seminary in his retirement. I was very excited because I had learned much about him and his abilities from many of his former students. He came in 2001, and with his warm piety and commitment to rigorous scholarship helped to shape the culture of the Seminary. Dr. McGoldrick was a godly gentleman and a sincere friend to all who knew him. He will be greatly missed.
Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., PhD, DD
Professor of Systematic & Applied Theology
I had the privilege of co-laboring with Jim McGoldrick for twenty years. Jim was the consummate scholar and gentleman. He was recognized as a professional historian – which he was – but he was so much more. He was a man after God’s own heart and met the Pauline requirement of one who was above reproach in all of life. I shall miss his friendship and wisdom.
C. N. Willborn, PhD
Adjunct Professor of Church History
Associate Editor, The Confessional Presbyterian Journal
Dr. McGoldrick, his first wife Betty, my wife Millie, and I became friends shortly after his coming to Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. I fondly remember how they once visited us at my son’s home in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, where Jim immediately sought out the bookstore, and he and I visited a local PCA congregation to encourage their support of our seminary. Jim taught the adult Sunday School class at Second Presbyterian Church which I had previously taught for six years. We attended numerous concerts at Furman University. Always a staunch friend, I was honored to have my picture taken with him at a recent Seminary commencement ceremony. He will be missed.
John Van Voorhis, Esq.
Jim McGoldrick was as committed to teaching his Sunday School class – which he capably did for many years at Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville – as he was to teaching his seminary classes. He always had a sense of dignity and responsibility tempered by kindness and keenness. He was friendly to scholars, saints, and sinners; and he was faithful to the cause of Christ. He laughed deeply, he listened carefully to people, and he wrote masterfully – especially the story of Christian history and the work of Christ in the church. He was a lover of hymns, many of which he had memorized. He is remembered as being clear and persuasive as a teacher. He will be deeply missed by the Chapel Sunday School Community and the Congregation of Second Presbyterian Church. Also, he was a pillar of Calvary Presbytery, being highly regarded as a Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) Teaching Elder and scholar. We grieve with his wife Judy Waite McGoldrick and children.
Melton L. Duncan, Sr.
Ruling Elder & Church Administrator, The Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville
Stated Clerk, Calvary Presbytery (PCA)