Princeton Theological Seminary News
“Sam Moffett had a distinguished career of teaching and scholarship in the service of the church on two continents,” remarked Dr. Craig Barnes, president of Princeton Seminary. “He was a great encourager who touched the lives of thousands of students and was truly a global ambassador for the gospel. We lift up prayers of thanksgiving to God for his life and witness and prayers of condolence for his wife Eileen, their family, and their many friends and loved ones who are grieving his loss.”
Dr. Moffett was born in Pyongyang, Korea (now North Korea) in 1916 to Samuel Austin and Lucia Fish Moffett. His parents were pioneer missionaries to Korea; in 1901 his father started the first seminary in Korea in the family home.
After attending elementary and high school in Korea, Dr. Moffett came to the United States to continue his education. He graduated summa cum laude from Wheaton College in 1938, received his BD from Princeton Seminary in 1942, and was awarded a PhD in religion from Yale University in 1945. In 1942 he married Elizabeth Tarrant, whom he had met while in school at Wheaton.
In 1947 Dr. Moffett moved to China and joined the faculty of Yenching University in Peking, and in the following year he moved to the faculty of Nanking Theological Seminary in Nanking. In 1951 the communist Chinese government expelled Dr. Moffett from the country after a spurious trial. He returned to Princeton Seminary as a visiting lecturer from 1953–55. During his time in Princeton, his wife Elizabeth died tragically after a struggle with cancer.
Dr. Moffett moved to Korea in 1955 to serve as a missionary.