Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

David Esterline

President and Professor of Cross-cultural Theological Education
Year Started at PTS: 2015

Contact Info



Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union / Religion and Education: Theological Education in Non-Western Contexts 
M.A., Trinity College, Oxford University / Theology
A.B., University of California, Santa Cruz / Religious Studies


The Rev. Dr. David Esterline became president and President and professor of cross-cultural theological education at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2015 after serving in a variety of faculty and administrative positions at McCormick Theological Seminary since 1997: dean of faculty and vice president for academic affairs, the James G. K. McClure Professor of Theological Education, director of the Institute for Cross-Cultural Theological Education, and professor of cross-cultural education and ministry. Previously, he became a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission co-worker serving as a lecturer at Theological College, Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, and as academic dean, lecturer, and chair of the Biblical Studies department at Pacific Theological College in Suva, Fiji Islands. Dr. Esterline researches, writes, and lectures internationally about Christian theological education worldwide. He is co-chair of the recently formed Global Forum of Theological Educators, an initiative designed to provide a common table for mutual sharing among Evangelical, Pentecostal, Historical Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Independent educators. He has worked extensively with the Association of Theological Schools, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a former  chair of the Board of Commission on Accrediting, and has served with the World Council of Churches focusing on ecumenical theological education. Previously, Dr. Esterline also served as parish associate at Park Presbyterian Church in Streator, Ill., as a teaching elder in the PC(USA)’s Blackhawk Presbytery.

Church Association

  • Ordination: Presbyterian Church in Cameroon, Minister of Word and Sacrament

Professional Competencies

Areas of Specialty

  • Global and Ecumenical Theological Education
  • Educational Diversity

Professional Service

Board Service

  • Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada Commission on Accrediting (former chair)
  • Theological Book Network
  • Chicago Center for Global Ministries (former chair)
  • Presbyterian Church (USA) Reforming Ministry Project Advisory Board
  • Institute for Spiritual Leadership, Chicago
  • St. John’s Theological College, Auckland, New Zealand (Proxy for the Bishop of Polynesia)

Leadership for Professional Organizations

  • 2013: Delegated representative, World Conference of Associations of Theological Institutions, World Council of Churches
  • 1999-2009: President, Association of Chicago Theological Schools Common Council
  • 1999-2001: Treasurer, Association for Doctor of Ministry Education Steering Committee
  • 1990-1996: Chair, Accreditation Committee and Working Group, and Executive Committee and Council member, South Pacific Association of Theological Schools
  • 1994-1996: Consultant on theological education and preparation for ministry, College of St. John the Divine, Suva, and College of the Dioceses of Polynesia, Auckland, New Zealand


  • 2011-2013: Project director, Cross-Cultural Theological Education in ACTS Schools grant

Additional Resources

High res image
Installation and Inauguration Service
Chapel Audio 1
Chapel Audio 2