John H. Gerstner

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Puritan Board Graduate
John H. Gerstner was a fine theologian and pastor. He was born on November 22, 1914 and went to be with the Lord in 1996.

He is most known for mentoring R.C. Sproul, his authorship of many books, and his masterful knowledge of the theology of Jonathan Edwards.

More of Gerstner can be found Here and Here


Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Draught Horse
Everytime Gerstner comes up I have to ask this questoin,

Is there Free Gerstner audio on the web?

He was on Sproul's program this week. You can pick it up from the Ligonier web site. It will roll off in about a month.


Puritan Board Graduate
John Gerstner used to be an elder at Eastminster Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), in Wichita before he split off to help form the PCA.

My church is a split-off from that same church. Some of the elders at my church were taught under Gerstner during his time at Eastminster.

A story goes that he was allowed to preach only once at Eastminster, and when he did, he made a comment (something to the effect of) "the road to hell is paved with the bones of infants" that scared the entire session, and was not allowed to preach in the church again.


Staff member
I thought Gerstner left the PCUSA a good time after the PCA formed? Or am I mistaken? He wrote a piece justifying his finally leaving; maybe early 1990s?


Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by smallbeans
"the road to hell is paved with the bones of infants"

What does he mean by that?

He was talking of total depravity, and the fact that man is so sinful, that many will be in hell of many of whom people will not expect to see there. Adam's sin imputed to us has the capability to send us to hell, just after we are conceived....because we are by natures sinners.

I imagine (but this is just my speculation) it is taken from the ol'e saying "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Gerstner talked like this often...he was heavily influenced by Edwards as you well know, and I think he inherited some of his fire and brimestone preaching.

Again, this is a story I have been told a couple of times by men who served as elders with Gerstner. They in turn are mentoring me.


Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by NaphtaliPress
I thought Gerstner left the PCUSA a good time after the PCA formed? Or am I mistaken? He wrote a piece justifying his finally leaving; maybe early 1990s?

According to this article, he left around 1980, about 7 years after the formulation of the PCA. Here's an excerpt:

Kaseman Trial Records: We were blessed to receive several important collections during the week of General Assembly this past June. Among these was the donation of two boxes of documents pertaining to the infamous 1980 Kaseman trial in the UPCUSA. TE Glen Knecht, now in the EPC, was at that time the pastor of Wallace Memorial Presbyterian Church and one of those who brought charges against National Capital Union Presbytery for their reception of Mr. Mansfield Kaseman, a candidate who could not affirm the deity of Christ. The General Assembly of the UPCUSA subsequently affirmed the Presbytery's action in receiving Mr. Kaseman, and so the trial proved to be a landmark in the history of that denomination. It was the last straw for John Gerstner, Sr., prompting him to leave and to declare that Church apostate. Formation of the PCA's own Ascension and Siouxlands Presbyteries were formed by churches leaving the UPCUSA at that time, in large part because of this event.


Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by Contra_Mundum
Dr. Gerstner was the mentor my pastor, Dr. Bogue.

Pastors have pastors? Why don't I have one?



Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by PastorSean
My family attended Eastminster Presbyterian in Wichita around the time of my conversion (though it was not the church in which I was raised...) and I listened to Dr. Gerstner's old Sunday School classes on audio tape while I mowed lawns in the summer. He was instrumental in introducing me to Reformed Theology, and especially in convincing me regarding paedobaptism. A good man and a blessing to God's people.

The story I've heard around here from a variety of sources is that when he refused to leave the PC(USA) he always said "You don't leave your mother" and when he finally left he said something like "You leave your mother when she has become a whore".

Mr. Brandt! Welcome to the PB! :welcome:

For everyone else, Sean fills in at Heartland PCA occasionally when our Pastor is unable to preach.

Again, welcome to the board!

Don Kistler

Puritan Board Sophomore
The Gerstner quote regarding leaving your mother went like this:

"You don't abandon your mother when she is sick and dying. But once she dies, you put her in the ground and move on."

Dr. Gerstner gave his friends a year to talk him out of leaving the PCUSA, if they could show him that she was not apostate. No one was able to do that, and so he finally left. He was convinced the mother church was dead.

He was, without question, the greatest man I ever knew. He had a lot to do with me starting Soli Deo Gloria, and tutored me privately in theology for a year. I miss him so terribly, as I'm sure does Carl Bogue, and all who had the privilege of knowing him.

At his funeral service, RC Sproul said that when Gerstner got to heaven and met Edwards, Luther, Calvin, and Augustine, for the first time he had a conversation with peers. I thought it was a fitting tribute.


Puritan Board Freshman
I've only read one book by him to date, <i>Reasons for Faith</i>, but I so enjoyed his ability to argument in almost a dilagoue fasion that I can't wait to read others by him.


Puritan Board Sophomore
Dr. Gerstner sr. is my hero. As I've said before and will continue to say: "Once you go Gerstner, there is no going back!"
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