The Yazoo River has the distinction of being the watery grave of the Union ironclad Cairo, which on December 12, 1862 became the first ship sunk by a Confederate mine. Up the river from where the Cairo was sunk is Yazoo City where the construction of the Confederate ironclad Arkansas was completed following its removal from Memphis due to threatening Union forces. Yazoo City is the birthplace of F. Allan Story, Jr., who was born into a denominationally divided-home because his mother was Presbyterian and his father was Baptist. The family attended First Presbyterian Church (PCUS) where dad came around to Presbyterianism and Allan was baptized in the covenant at the age of four. As Allan matured, he made a profession of faith during his grade school years and attended the pastor’s communicants’ class. During his late teens, Allan worked for three summers as a deckhand on the towboat Ole Miss, which during Allan’s labors in 1965 transported a barge bearing the salvaged remnants of the Cairo to a shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi where it was to be restored for display in the Vicksburg National Military Park. Allan went to Mississippi State University where he married his wife, Linda Kay, served in the Army ROTC, and received his bachelor’s degree. The young couple moved to New Orleans and joined Carrollton Presbyterian Church. Allan’s experience at the church working with the youth led to his resignation from his job at Louisiana Power and Light and enrollment at Reformed Seminary, Jackson, where he learned from the writings of Vos, Van Til, and the systematic theology taught by Morton H. Smith.
Rev. Story’s first call was to Marion Presbyterian Church (PCA), Marion, Alabama, where he served four years, then he moved due east across the state to Woodland Presbyterian Church (PCA), Notasulga, near Auburn, for a three year ministry. Allan left to pursue a PhD in Reformation and Post-Reformation Studies at Westminster with the intention of teaching systematic theology. He completed his classroom work in two years and became the pastor of Fairfield Presbyterian Church, New Jersey, which is the oldest church in the PCA and traces its roots to seventeenth-century Connecticut Puritans. Doctoral candidates who have worked on their dissertations while serving churches know the difficulty of writing and pastoring, Rev. Story found it no different completing his dissertation, “Promoting Revival: Jonathan Edwards and Preparation for Revival,” nine years after completing his class work. In the meantime, the Storys had moved to Clemson, South Carolina, for Allan to complete his dissertation. For the next few years he served as an adjunct professor or visiting lecturer at Erskine, Reformed, and Greenville seminaries. Since 1999, Allan has been the pastor of Providence Presbyterian Church (OPC), Austin, Texas.
During Allan and Linda Kay’s years in Marion, David, their third child was born. Within a few years, the family moved to Woodland; David remembers the rural crossroads with the church on one corner, the manse on another, and fields at the other two. As a little boy, the family moved to Pennsylvania for Allan’s studies, where David’s memories are images of the towering trees for climbing that shade the road to Willow Grove Avenue from Machen Hall. After his early educational years in southern New Jersey, David attended high school in Clemson, South Carolina, close to the family’s home in Six Mile. The family attended Clemson Presbyterian Church (PCA) during the ministries of John Q. Hall (’78) and then Tim Lane (’91). The youth director, Rob Edwards (’99), who went on to be the RUF director at the University of Georgia, had a tremendous influence on David’s ministerial interest in college students.
Having grown up in the home of their pastor father, the three boys would taunt each other by saying, “You’re going to be the pastor!” “No, not me, you are!” Being the preacher’s kids was not conducive, at least at this point, to cultivating a burning desire to enter the pulpit. None of the three wanted to follow in their father’s footsteps despite their respect for and admiration of him for his ministry. However, David came to see that his gifts were suited for gospel work and he had a deep sense of the many who sat in churches, malnourished with respect to the Word of Life and direly in need of sound biblical preaching. When David completed high school, he chose Florida State University for college. During those years he was involved in RUF and worshipped at Calvary Presbyterian Church (OPC), Tallahassee. David graduated from Florida State with a BA in Philosophy and Classics, which became especially beneficial at Westminster giving him a leg-up on apologetics, Greek, and Hebrew. The summer following his graduation he married Karen, who had studied nursing in college. Intent on his ministerial calling, David considered several Reformed seminaries and chose Westminster. While in Philadelphia, David and Karen attended another Calvary Presbyterian Church (OPC), this one was in Glenside and pastored by A. Craig Troxel (’98). Since completing his studies at Westminster, David and Karen have moved to Tallahassee, where David is the RUM campus minister at Florida State. Since their move to Florida, David and Karen have added to their household with the birth of two wonderful children.
David comments on Westminster, “I have been asked before what I learned at Westminster. My answer is, ‘The gospel!’ Did I learn hermeneutics, rich church history, incredible systematic theology, apologetics and more? Of course. But more importantly, Westminster taught me the gospel in a deeper, simpler, and more profound way than I knew it before. The gospel was the center of every subject and every class. Now, as a campus minister, this affects every sermon I preach, every conversation I have with a student, every Bible study I lead, and hopefully, the way I live during the day and sleep during the night. In campus ministry, I am not hoping simply to teach a student another important truth, but with every truth to point them to Christ, who is their greatest need in every situation.” As David and his father minister in their particular calls, though the situations are different, the driving force is the truth and necessity of redemption from sin through the grace of Christ.