A brief history of the log college idea

Posted on Oct. 17, 2013 by Wally Metts.

William Tennent came to America about 1718 and settled into his life-pastorate, the Neshaminy Presbyterian Church in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He resolved to establish a school to educate his four sons for the ministry. Nine additional students brought the original enrollment to thirteen.

Tennent erected a log building and some of the dedicated young men moved into the crude attic above the classroom and cooked their meals in the open fireplace. The day began in prayer at 5:00 A.M. and concluded at 9:00 P.M., after a full day of class. Critics contemptuously referred to the school as the “Log College.”

The English evangelist George Whitefield called it the “school of the prophets.” All the original students became pioneers of Christian education in America and also founded educational institutions. A monument at the site of the Log College lists fifty-one colleges which stemmed from this little school.

Archibald Alexander later said “the spirit of piety seems to have been nourished in that institution with assiduous care. . . . They had, we have reason to believe, the teaching of the Holy Spirit.”

See Beale, David O. “The Log College.” In Faith of Our Fathers: Scenes from American Church History, edited by Mark Sidwell, 40-43. Greenville, SC: BJU Press, 1991.