has its Taj Mahal, France, the Eiffel Tower, Pisa, a Leaning Tower. Princeton Theological
Seminary has its own architectural gem: Miller Chapel.
It isnt ornate, breathtaking, or peculiar. But nobody who has ever sat in its
polished pews, watched the afternoon light sift through the gleaming windows, or heard the
word preached from its pulpit would exchange Miller Chapel for any of those grander
examples of architecture. As Dr. Joel Mattison (M.Div., 1954) points out, it is in fact
the simplicity of Miller Chapels architectural design that makes it a real-life
example of the Second Commandment not to make any graven image. The chapel, in
a way, practices what it preaches. It stands as a place where the Word of God
is the focus of everything that goes on inside.
Miller Chapel is more than a structure.
For most of the students who have passed through the hallowed halls of Princeton Seminary,
Miller Chapel has served as the heartbeat of the campus. Within its sturdy yet elegant
walls, life in all its complexities has transpired: birth, death, baptism, marriage,
Miller Chapel was the central place of our lives as students at Princeton,
says Stan Wilson (M.Div., 1949; Th.M., 1958). Attendance was wonderful, by both
students and faculty. Going to daily chapel services was extremely important to all of
Bob Heppenstall (M.Div., 1978) echoes these sentiments. Miller Chapel gave a
center to all of life on the campus. It was the place where professors and students sat
together, devoid of the necessary hierarchical relationship between teacher and learner.
In the chapel, we were all united as one, coming together to hear the Word of God.
That word has been voiced through many a powerful and inspirational preacher. Through
the centuries, some of the most recognized and respected preachers of the times
articulated Gods good news from the pulpit of Miller Chapel. Ray Lindquist (M.Div.,
1967) remembers hearing Eugene Carson Blake preach. One sermon in particular stands out in
his memory. Dr. Blake was preaching on the prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah. He said
that Isaiah was rich and Jeremiah was poor, but what difference did it make to their
|Blake was already a well-known preacher at the time. Mattison
remembers when a young revivalist named Billy Graham was invited to preach in Miller
Chapel. There was a lot of skepticism by the students about this non-Greek-trained
revivalist coming to Princeton, he recalls. But the day before Graham came,
the president of the
seminary, Dr. John Mackay (who never referred to himself in the first person, but
always used the pronoun one), stood up in chapel and said, One has heard
that there are rumors about Mr. Graham coming to Princeton. But there are areas in
ones own personal life that one looks forward to having Mr. Graham shed light
upon. According to Mattison, not another negative word was spoken regarding
Mattison was working in the recording studio when Graham finally preached, and he
listened to the sermon from there. There is a hint of a smile in Mattisons voice as
he adds, Even Paul
Lehmann slipped in and listened from the sound room. They both were impressed by
the young revivalists sincerity and powerful preaching.
Jim Emerson (M.Div., 1949) arrived at Princeton at the beginning of the spring term of
1946. During the war years, the Seminary graduated a class of students at the
conclusion of each term so that graduates could quickly move on to roles in the military
usually as chaplains.