Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Jack Leven Stotts papers, 1956-2005

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Stotts, Jack L.
Title: Jack Leven Stotts papers
Dates: 1956-2005
Abstract Jack Leven Stotts (1932-2008) was a Presbyterian pastor, educator, and administrator in Texas and president of the McCormick Theological Seminary (1975-1985) and the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (1985-1995). Sermons, lectures, essays, minutes, agendas, correspondence, drafts, notes, pamphlets, and audio cassettes (1956-2005), arranged in two subgroups, shed light on Jack L. Stotts’ career as an ordained Presbyterian minister and as president of the McCormick Theological Seminary and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (1956-2005), and document the work of the Special Committee to Prepare a Brief Statement of the Reformed Faith (1984-2005), of which Stotts served as chair.
Identification: 2009-008, 2014-001
Extent: 8 feet, 5 inches of manuscript material and 22 audio cassettes
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Biographical note

Jack Leven Stotts (1932-2008) was a Presbyterian pastor, educator, and administrator in Texas and president of the McCormick Theological Seminary (1975-1985) and the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (1985-1995). Stotts was born in Dallas, Texas, in 1932. He earned a B.A. from Trinity University in San Antonio in 1954, a B.D. from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago in 1957, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University Divinity School in 1965. First ordained as assistant pastor at First Congregational Church, Wallingford, Connecticut, he then moved to the University of Tulsa as chaplain and professor. He became pastor of First United Presbyterian Church in San Angelo, Texas, and then was appointed in 1963 to the McCormick Seminary faculty, where he served as a professor of Christian ethics. He served as dean of the McCormick Seminary from 1974-1975, and as president from 1975-1985. In 1985, he became president of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Under Stotts’ leadership, the number of students in masters’-level programs doubled, the number of faculty increased, and the McCord Community Center was constructed. After his retirement from the presidency in 1995, Stotts served as the theologian-in-residence at Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago from 1996-1997.

The Presbyterian Church in the United States and the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America reunited in 1983, and the following year, Stotts was appointed chairperson of the Special Committee to Prepare a Brief Statement of the Reformed Faith for the Presbyterian Church; this group was tasked with drafting the first confession of faith for the newly reconsolidated denomination. The result was “A Brief Statement of Faith,” approved by the 203rd General Assembly in 1991 for inclusion in the Book of Confessions. Other committee members included Joanna M. Adams, Juventino R. Ballesteros, James D. Brown, Jane Dempsey Douglass, Roland M. Frye, Brian A. Gerrish, M. Douglas Harper, Jr., George H. Kehm, T. Andrew Kim, Jorge Lara-Braud, John H. Leith, Clarice J. Martin, Edward B. Newberry, William Placher, Nancy J. Ramsay, Jack B. Rogers, George W. Stroup III, Ann B. Weems, David Willis-Watkins, Antoinette C. Wire, and staff members Elizabeth Meirs and Margarethe B.J. Brown.

In addition to his work as preacher, lecturer, and administrator, Stotts published numerous articles as well as three books: “Believing, Deciding, and Acting” (Geneva Press, 1968), “Shalom: The Search for a Peaceable City” (Abingdon Press, 1973), and “A God to Glorify: Reflections on Christian Vocation” (Austin Seminary, 1996).

He married Virginia Grafa and had three children: Stuart, Nancy, and Anna. He died in 2008, at the age of 75.

Scope and Content Note

Sermons, lectures, essays, minutes, agendas, correspondence, drafts, notes, pamphlets, and audio cassettes (1956-2005), arranged in two subgroups, shed light on Jack L. Stotts’ career as an ordained Presbyterian minister and as president of the McCormick Theological Seminary and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (1956-2005), and document the work of the Special Committee to Prepare a Brief Statement of the Reformed Faith (1984-2005), of which Stotts served as chair.

Subgroup one: Jack L. Stotts is arranged in eleven series that reflect Stotts’ pastoral and academic activities. The bulk of the materials are notes and drafts for sermons, lectures, and essays, both published and unpublished, but the documentation includes printed materials and audio recordings. The sermons (1979-2005), arranged by book of the Bible, document Stott’s wide-ranging intellectual and spiritual interests. Topics of these sermons include issues in Presbyterian leadership, the future of the Presbyterian faith, hospitality toward strangers, hope, prayer, friendship, and the identity of Christ. The lectures (17 folders, 1960-2004 and undated) and essays (2 folders, 1977-1992 and undated) are arranged chronologically and illuminate Stotts’ engagement with contemporary political and social issues such as the Human Genome Project, aging, sexual orientation, and religion in American culture. In keeping with his role as a seminary president, Stotts produced essays on Christian financial responsibility, theological education, evangelism, ethics, and management.

Subgroup 2: Special Committee to Prepare a Brief Statement of Reformed Faith (BSRF) is arranged in nine series, grouped by form and function: meetings, drafts, correspondence, essays, notes, bylaws, press releases, pamphlets, and clippings. All dated material in this subgroup is arranged chronologically in order to reveal the evolution of the BSRF document and the working process of the BSRF Committee. The majority of these records are minutes, agendas, and notes pertaining to the meetings of the BSRF Committee (13 folders; 1984-2005), including two meetings of the Presbyterian General Assembly in 1989 and 1990 at which the Committee presented its work. The meetings series includes documentation on the formation of a Special Committee of Fifteen to review the work of the original BSRF Committee in 1989-1990 (1 folder). The drafts series (3 folders; 1988-1990 and undated), containing revisions of the documents with markings by various committee members, illuminates the working relationships among members and their individual contributions. The correspondence (4 folders; 1985-1996) includes letters to and from Stotts, members of the committee, and other Presbyterian clergy and laity. Several general essays on confession (2 folders; 1985-2005), written by Stotts and members of the committee, are included, as are notes and other materials that Stotts and the committee referenced as they completed the BSRF document (7 folders total).

Subgroup 3: President’s Office is arranged in three series. The correspondence series (120 folders, 1985-1997) includes professional correspondence related to Stotts’ activities as the Austin Seminary president. The second series is titled “Other Organizations,” (10 folders, 1973-1990) which has materials related to three organizations related to the Presbyterian faith and theological education. The papers in the “Texas Presbyterian Foundation” folder within this series are all related to the reunion of the Presbyterian church. The final series is “Board Working Files” (18 folders, 1980-1987) which is composed of papers related to the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary’s board from 1980-1987.


Access Restrictions

Some presidential records are restricted and require permission from the Academic Dean before use. Materials are available by appointment only. Contact the archivist for details.

Index Terms

Personal Names
Stotts, Jack L.--Archives.
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Fourth Presbyterian Church (Chicago, Ill.)
McCormick Theological Seminary.
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)--General Assembly.
Brief Statement of the Reformed Faith for the Presbyterian Church.
Presbyterian Church--Clergy.
Sermons, English.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Jack Leven Stotts papers, 1956-2005, Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Processing Information

This collection was processed in Fall 2009 by a group of students enrolled in Dr. David Gracy’s introductory archives course at the University of Texas at Austin School of Information. Materials from accession number 2014-001 were processed by Mandy Sutton, Archives Assistant, in February 2014.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Subgroup 1: Jack L. Stotts:

H004a Sermons:
Drafts, notes, church bulletins, and clippings (1979-2005 and undated) are physically arranged in biblical order by chapter and verse; nevertheless, they have been listed here in alphabetical order by church to facilitate searches by church name. They form the bulk of the papers related to Jack Stotts’ career as a seminary president and ordained Presbyterian minister. In some cases, the church bulletin from the worship service where the sermon was preached has been included, and, occasionally, correspondence concerning the sermon. Although many of the sermons are undated, dates and locations have been listed when known. Organizations where Stotts preached regularly include Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Illinois; Alma College, Alma, Michigan; Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas; University Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas; and First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, Texas.
Abilene, TX, 1991
Alma College,undated
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL, 1982, 1991
Hanover College, Hanover, IN,1985
Highland Park, undated
Brenham Presbyterian Church, Brenham, TX, 1993
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL, 1996
Hereford, 1991
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL,1979
Alma College, undated
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL, 1997
Hereford, 1991
Preston Hollow, undated
Santa Fe, NM, 1999
St. Charles Church, undated
Alma College, undated
II Samuel:
Central Presbyterian Church, Austin, TX, 1985
First Church, Tulsa, OK, 1989
University Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, 2000
I Kings:
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL, 1991
Second Presbyterian Church, Little Rock, AR, 1991
Trinity University, 1992
Little Rock, AR, undated
San Angelo, TX, undated
Trinity University, 1995
Unidentified, 1994
Austin College, Sherman, TX, 1988
Ardmore, OK, 1995
Chicago Sunday Evening Club, Chicago, IL, 1991
First Presbyterian Church, Galveston Island, TX, 1990
First Presbyterian Church, Sante Fe, New Mexico, 1989
First Presbyterian Church, South Bend, IN, 1986
Fourth Presbyterian Church, 1988
Grace Presbyterian Church, Wichita, KS,1987
Knox Presbyterian Church, Naperville, IL, 1990
Manitowoc, WI,2001
Pasadena Presbyterian Church, Pasadena, CA,1984
Second Church, Little Rock, AR, 1993
Synod Installation Service, 1985
Theology Convocation, Pittsburgh, PA, 1995
Trinity University, 1992
Uvalde, TX,2002
Westlake Hills,undated
Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr, PA, 1997
Grace-First Presbyterian Church, Weatherford, TX,1991
St. John’s United Methodist Church, Austin, TX, 1996
Graham, 1992
University Presbyterian Church, 1988
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin, TX,1994
Association of Presbyterian Church Educators, Fort Worth, TX, 1987
Unidentified, 1992
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL, 1997
San Angelo, undated
Santa Fe, 1993
Trinity University,1993
Tulsa, OK, 1986, 1999
University Presbyterian Church, Austin, TX,1996
Wilmette, 2001
Unidentified,January 5
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin, TX,1993
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL,1997, 2005
North Park,1993
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin, TX,1986
First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, TX, 2001
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL,1997
McCormick Days,2003
Pines Presbyterian,undated
San Angelo, TX,undated
First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, TX, 1992
Grace Presbyterian Church, Plano, TX, 1986
Unidentified, 1988
Unidentified, 1990
I Corinthians:
University of Tulsa, 1999
Unidentified, 1994
Unidentified, 2005
II Corinthians:
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL, 1996
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL, 1997
Northpark Presbyterian, Dallas, TX, 1985
First Presbyterian, San Antonio, 1992
Synod of the Sun, 2000
II Timothy:
Boerne, 1987
I Peter:
Unidentified, undated
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL, 1997
First Presbyterian, Plainview, TX, 1979
Madison Square Presbyterian Church,1998
D049 Audio recordings of sermons, 1980-2004
Covenant Conference, Chicago, IL, 2004
First Presbyterian Church, Fort Worth, TX,1985
First United Presbyterian Church,1980
Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, Chicago, IL,1996
GSPC Memorial Lecture Series,1991
Highland Park Presbyterian Church, Dallas, TX, 1988
Laity Lodge Center for Christian Learning, Leakey, TX, 1997
H004a Holocaust Memorial Service materials, 1979-1990
Notes, drafts, and final copies, arranged chronologically (17 folders, 1960-2004 and undated). Although many of the lectures are undated, dates and location have been listed when known. Represented conferences include the General Assembly Council, the Covenant Network, the Interdenominational Theological Center, and the 1990 Peacemaking Conference.
183rd General Assembly, 1971
Winnetka Congregational Church,January 13, 27, 1974
April 2, 1976
Presbyterian Home, Evanston, IL, June 27, 1978
Christ Pres, January 27, 1981
Joint Staffs, PCUS, UPCUSA,May 26, 1981
Chateau de Bossey, July 24-28, 1981
Purdue,July 15, 1982
H004b 1984-1985:
GAC, March 1984
Interdenominational Theological Center,March 14-15, 1985
Trinity University, San Antonio, June 28, 1985
Fairmount Pres,October 14, 1985
APTS,November 15, 1985
Princeton Theological Seminary, April 16, 1986
Fairmount Pres, April 15, 1987
Ghost Ranch, August 10-15, 1987
APTS, January 17-18, 1988
February 7, 1988
Midland Administrative Personnel Association, July 1988
National Mariners Meeting, July 24, 1989
Peacemaking Conference, June 27, 1990
MTS Convocation, 1992
September 1992
General Assembly Council, June 1993
National Korean Presbyterian Council, June 29, 1994
Williamsburg, November 1994
Austin College, April 11, 1996
April 25, 1996
Rochester, MN, February 7-9, 1997
Covenant Network of Presbyterians, Charlotte, NC, June 15, 1998
Christ Episcopal Church, San Antonio, TX, February 17, 1999
New Orleans, LA, November 20, 2000
Corpus Christi, TX, April 4, 2001
Covenant Network Conference, November 2, 2001
February 25, 2003
April 22, 2003
Synod of Mid America, August 8-9, 2003
St. Louis, MO, October 17, 2003
Covenant Network, November 1, 2003
Covenant Network, November 5, 2004
S-W, unidentified
A small component of the Stotts subgroup, this series contains final copies of essays written by Stotts (2 folders, 1977-1992 and undated), arranged chronologically. Of particular interest is an essay from 1992 titled “A Seminary President’s Reflections on Being a Seminary President,” in which he discusses his career leading up to and including his appointments as the president of the McCormick Theological Seminary and the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Educational Materials:
This series (4 folders, 1956-1996) is divided into two subseries, the bulk of which is made up of "Charges to the Graduating Class" given to the McCormick Theological Seminary, the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and others. The second subseries includes Stott’s school paper titled "Christian Ethics" from December 4, 1956 as well as a syllabus and class schedule notes for a course titled "Theology of the Reformed Confessions" from 1995. Both subseries are arranged chronologically.
Commencement Speeches:
Assorted, 1956-1995
This series (1 folder, 1994-2004 and undated) contains handwritten and typed notes, including a poem titled “Hope.” These papers are arranged chronologically.
Notes, 1994-2004 and undated
Personal Correspondence:
This series contains 1 letter, dated September 24, 1984 from "Jim" of the University of Chicago Divinity School, expressing his sadness that Stotts will be leaving for Austin, TX.
Letter, September 24, 1984
This series (1 folder, 1975-1992 and undated) contains pamphlets, mailers, and a biblical study guide and is arranged chronologically.
Printed material, 1975-1992 and undated
D048b Audio cassettes:
H004b Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation School for Pastors, Hastings, NE, 1998

Subgroup 2: Special Committee to Prepare a Brief Statement of the Reformed Faith (BSRF)

H004b Meetings:
Minutes, agendas, reports, notes, financial statements, clippings, and printed materials are arranged chronologically and document the meetings of the Special Committee to Prepare a Brief Statement of the Reformed Faith (13 folders; 1984-2005). Minutes make up the bulk of the documentation and include information about the issues discussed, research undertaken by the committee, progress toward consensus on the BSRF document, and the content and structure of accompanying prefaces and concordances. The minutes of each meeting contain a high level of detail and in some cases record conversations between committee members, individual motions, and specific points of discussion.
November 1984 – October 1985
February – October 1986
February – August 1987
October 1987 – February 1988
September 1988
December 1988
January – November 1989
June 1990
General Assembly meetings:
Documentation of the BSRF Committee’s presentations to the 201st and 202nd General Assembly Council are arranged in a subseries and include reports, notes, and printed material (3 folders; 1989-1990). The Committee’s report to the 201st General Assembly Council offers a narrative overview of the working process that produced the BSRF document. Included in this series is one folder concerning on the appointment of members to a Special Committee of Fifteen, formed in 1990 to review the work of the original BSRF Committee.
201st General Assembly, 1989 and undated
202nd General Assembly, 1990 and undated
Special Committee of 15, 1990 and undated
Drafts of the Brief Statement of Reformed Faith:
Drafts of the BSRF document, notes, correspondence, and printed material (3 folders; 1988-1990 and undated) are arranged chronologically. The materials are primarily drafts of the BSRF, but there are also several drafts of the preface and a survey addressed to members of the Presbyterian denomination. Drafts include translations of the BSRF into Korean by Tukyul Andrew Kim and into Spanish by Jorge Lara-Braud. Correspondence attached to drafts has been left in its original order. Most of the drafts have handwritten markings; a few have typed or handwritten notations indicating the identity of the author or editor of the draft. Roughly half the drafts are undated.
1988 – 1990
D048a Undated
Correspondence (4 folders; 1985-1996) is arranged chronologically. Groupings of attached items have been left in their original order and are filed by the first date in the grouping.
1993-1996 and undated
The essays (2 folders; 1989-2005) are arranged alphabetically by author, with those by Stotts making up approximately half of the items. The majority of the others were written by members of the BSRF Committee, but the series includes several essays written in reaction to the BSRF by clergy and parishioners.
Stotts, 1994-2004 and undated
Other, 1989-2005 and undated
Assorted Brief Statement of Reformed Faith material:
Stotts’ notes, 1988-1990 and undated
By-Law fragments, undated
Press Release fragments, undated
Pamphlets, 1989-1991 and undated
Introductory Guide materials, 1990 and undated
Newspaper clippings, 1989-1993 and undated
Assorted material, 1980 and undated

Subgroup 3: President’s Office (some files are restricted) :

F033 Correspondence :
Correspondence (120 folders, 1985-1997) is organized in alphabetical order by the correspondent’s last name. Within each folder, the correspondence is in reverse chronological order.
“A,” 1986-1987
“A,” 1988-1989
“A,” 1991
“A,” 1992-1994
“A,” 1995-1996
“B,” 1986-1987
“B,” 1988
“B – Raymond Brown Visit,” 1986-1987
F034 “B,” 1989-1990
“B,” 1991
“B,” 1992
“B,” 1993-1994
“B,” 1995-1996
“C,” 1985-1987
F035 “C,” 1988-1989
“C,” 1990
“C,” 1991
“C,” 1992
“C,” 1993-1994
“C,” 1995-1996
“D,” 1986-1987
F036 “D,” 1988-1990
“D,” 1991
“D,” 1992-1994
“D,” 1995-1996
“E,” 1986-1987
“E,” 1988-1990
“E,” 1991
“E,” 1992-1994
“E,” 1995-1996
“F,” 1986-1987
“F,” 1988-1990
F037 “F,” 1991
“F,” 1992-1993
“F,” 1994-1996
“G,” 1986-1987
“G,” 1988-1990
“G,” 1991
“G,” 1992-1994
“G,” 1994-1996
“H,” 1986-1987
F038 “H,” 1988
“H,” 1989-1990
“H,” 1991
“H,” 1992-1993
“H,” 1994
“H,” 1995-1996
“I,” 1987-1990
F039 “I,” 1992-1995
“J,” 1986-1987
“J,” 1988-1990
“J,” 1991
“J,” 1992-1993
“J,” 1994-1996
“K,” 1986-1987
“K,” 1988-1990
“K,” 1991
“K,” 1992-1993
“K,” 1994-1997
F040 “L,” 1986-1987
“L,” 1988-1990
“L,” 1991
“L,” 1992-1993
“L,” 1994-1996
“Mc,” 1985-1987
“Mc,” 1988-1990
“Mc,” 1991
“Mc,” 1992-1993
“Mc,” 1994-1996
F041 “M,” 1985-1987
“M,” 1988-1989
“M,” 1990
“M,” 1991
“M,” 1992-1993
“M,” 1994-1996
F042 “N,” 1986-1990
“N,” 1991
“N,” 1992-1993
“N,” 1994-1996
“O,” 1986-1987
“O,” 1988-1990
“O,” 1991
“O,” 1992-1993
“O,” 1994-1996
“P,” 1986-1987
“P,” 1988
“P,” 1989-1990
“P,” 1991
F043 “P,” 1992-1993
“P,” 1994-1996
“Q,” 1986-1996
“R,” 1986-1987
“R,” 1988-1990
“R,” 1991
“R,” 1992-1993
“R,” 1994-1996
“S,” 1986
F044 “S,” 1987
“S,” 1988
“S,” 1989
“S,” 1990
“S,” 1991
“S,” 1992-1993
F045 “S,” 1994
“S,” 1995-1997
“T,” 1986-1987
“T,” 1988-1990
“T,” 1991
“T,” 1992-1993
“T,” 1994-1996
“U,” 1987-1997
F046 “V,” 1986-1996
“W,” 1986-1987
“W,” 1988
“W,” 1989-1990
“W,” 1991
“W,” 1992-1993
F047 “W,” 1994-1996
“Y,” 1986-1994
“Z,” 1987-1995
Other Organizations :
The Other Organizations series (10 folders, 1973-1990) has files related to Stotts’ and former Austin Seminary presidents’ work on organizations that are a part of Austin Seminary. Many of the documents in the Texas Presbyterian Foundation subseries are related to the reunion of the Presbyterian Church. The documents within each folder are in reverse chronological order.
Texas Presbyterian Foundation :
1973-1978, undated
F047 Council on Theological Education :
1984-1985, undated
F047 Council of Theological Seminaries :
F048 SPATS :
SPATS (Administration Control Flow), 1961-1976, undated
1976-1977, undated
F048 Board of Trustees Working Files :
The Board of Trustees Working Files series (18 folders, 1980-1987) documents Stotts’ work with the Austin Seminary Board of Trustees. Files within the folders are arranged in reverse chronological order. Folder titles are the original titles.
“Board Govt 1986-1987,” 1987
“Board Govt 1986-1987,” 1986, undated
“Board Inv 1986,” 1985-1986, undated
“Board Inv 1986,” 1972-1987, undated
F049 “Board May 87,” 1987, undated
“Board May 87 – Exec Committee,” 1986-1987
“Board Nov 86,” 1986-1987
“Board Nov 1985-May 86,” 1985-1986
“Board Nov 84-May 85,” 1984-1985
F050 “Nov. 1983-May 1984 Board of Trustees,” 1984
“Board of Trustees Nov 1983-May 1984, Special Called Meeting March 1, 1984,” 1984, undated
“Board May 1983,” 1983-1984
[Unlabeled Folder], 1982, undated
“Nov 1981,” 1981
“Board Meeting File May 1980,” 1980, undated
[Unlabeled Folder], 1981, undated
“Exec Comm Meeting March 1981,” 1981
“Board May 1980,” 1980, undated