The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston

Denomination: Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA)
Organization: Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, NY

The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston is senior pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York, NY. He previously served as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA, and is a former professor of homiletics at Austin (TX) Theological Seminary.

The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston came to Fifth Avenue Presbyterian in 2008 having previously served as the Senior Pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. Prior to that, Scott was a member of the faculty at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary where he taught preaching and worship.

Scott holds a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School and a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has co-authored one book, Theology for Preaching: Authority, Truth and Knowledge of God in a Postmodern Ethos, (Abingdon Press, 1997); has numerous other published articles, sermons, and chapters in books. Scott is a frequent preacher on Day1 Radio (formerly The Protestant Hour) and at various church conferences around the country.

He and his wife Amy, a nurse practitioner, have been married for 17 years and are the parents of Izzy (9) and Ollie (5). In his free time, Scott enjoys roaming Central Park with Amy, reading comic books (mostly super heroes), and laughing at his children’s antics.

Day1 Weekly Programs by The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston

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Scott Black Johnston: Christmas at John's House

Tuesday December 18, 2018
For the final program in our special Advent series visiting the homes of the gospel writers at Christmas, Dr. Scott Black Johnston introduces us to the professor who loves to talk about the light and power of God.

Scott Black Johnston: Christmas at Matthew's House

Tuesday December 04, 2018
Dr. Scott Black Johnston takes us to Matthew's house for Christmas, where we learn that family trees can be messy, as can our families themselves. They are imperfect, and this time of year we often do our best to hide those imperfections at least while we’re around our families. But Matthew’s genealogy is filled with scoundrels as well, and poor Joseph isn’t even blood related to Jesus. What does this mean?

Come Before Winter...

Tuesday September 08, 2015
In his sermon this week, Dr. Scott Black Johnston unpacks Paul's second letter to Timothy, a poignant gem that reveals much about Paul and his relationship with Timothy and others: Paul was one who values his friends, who misses them keenly, and longs for their companionship--not unlike us.

The Witness of Stones

Tuesday November 06, 2012
The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston takes a different approach to the "Palm Sunday" story in Luke 19, and reveals an intriguing and motivating insight on praising God.

Should This Sermon Make You Happy?

Tuesday October 30, 2012
The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston explores the message of Psalm 30, that we can know, maybe not happiness, but joy, in the midst of difficult times.

Deadly Things

Tuesday April 07, 2009
The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston, senior pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York, NY, presents an inspiring Easter message that explores the ramifications of Christ's resurrection in our lives.

Save Us

Tuesday March 31, 2009
The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston, senior pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York, NY, offers insight into the meaning of Palm Sunday and the world-changing week that followed it.

Luminarias

Sunday December 24, 2006
The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston beckons us to feel the presence of Christ and to see His light amidst the darkness.

Head of Household?

Sunday December 17, 2006
The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston recalls the miracle of Elizabeth's pregnancy and calls us to recognize the way in which God works through women.

Fire and Soap

Sunday December 10, 2006
The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston preaches about the grace of judgement.

Apocalypse: Then and Now

Sunday December 03, 2006
The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston explores the paradox of beginning Advent with texts focused on the apocalypse.

How's the Water?

Sunday January 09, 2005
The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston is senior pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA, and former professor of homiletics at Austin (TX) Theological Seminary.

The Reading Lesson

Sunday July 11, 2004
The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston, senior pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia, sheds light on the well-known parable of Jesus: the story of the Good Samaritan.

True Confessions

Sunday May 30, 2004
The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston, senior pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia, takes us to the well where Jesus meets the Samaritan woman--and changes her life forever.

Looking Death in the Eye

Sunday April 25, 2004
The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston, the pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia, speaks about death and the comforting thought of Jesus wait for us on the other side.

Articles by The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston

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Scott Black Johnston: Summer Reading 2017

Sunday June 25, 2017
Summer is upon us. With the promise of hot days, plastic tumblers of iced tea and (I hope) a slower pace comes one of the great pleasures in life: summer reading. This year, the stack I am taking with me on study leave includes serious, prepare-for-the-fall-sermon-series books, but also some fun stuff.

Scott Black Johnston: Summer Books 2016

Wednesday June 22, 2016
Friends, with summer unofficially upon us, it is time to compare notes. What sort of life-changing reading material belongs alongside the detective novels on my summer reading stack? Here are a few already on my list...

Scott Black Johnson: Hold On to the Good

Friday March 25, 2016
Do you savor? Do you take time ”” pause-and-reflect time ”” to delight in the moments of grace and joy that flit through your life?

Scott Black Johnston: Christ Actually

Friday January 08, 2016
Who is Jesus Christ to you? Is he the same, gentle figure you met in your Children’s Bible? The same healer your Sunday School teachers told you about? The same Messiah you wrestled with in high school? The same Divine whose nature you questioned when doubts first swirled through your head?

Scott Black Johnston: Heroes, Villains, and Violence

Thursday December 03, 2015
My daily route to the church takes me past the Grand Army Plaza on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street. From my seat on the bus, I have an unobstructed view of the plaza’s central attraction ”” the freshly gilded statue of General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Scott Black Johnston: Summer Reading 2015

Sunday May 24, 2015
The days are lengthening. T-shirts are appearing on Fifth Avenue. Summer is around the corner. In transitioning to this welcome warmth, tucking away sweaters and hauling out sandals and straw hats, we cannot forget a crucial pre-summer task. It is time to think about and assemble your book list.

Scott Black Johnston: Top 10 Reasons People of Faith Should Read Poetry

Saturday December 13, 2014
I would urge people of faith to read poetry. Here’s a list of my top-ten reasons why you should put yourself on a regular diet of poetry.

Scott Black Johnston: Race: The Church as a Safe Place for the Conversation

Saturday November 01, 2014
Today, the biggest challenge we face in regard to racism in this country is finding a safe space to talk about it.

Scott Black Johnston: Hello, Cruel World

Thursday October 09, 2014
One afternoon this past summer, I walked into the living room to find my 15-year-old in tears. Izzy was holding a historical novel she had been reading all day. 'What’s up?' I asked.

Scott Black Johnston: Where's Home?

Saturday September 27, 2014
I wonder… Is home the scent in the air and the soil under your feet? Or is it the people who stand around you? Maybe it’s both.

Scott Black Johnston: Summer Reading 2014

Friday June 27, 2014
Summer is upon us. Huzzah!! With the promise of long days, tall glasses of iced tea (fresh mint in mine!) and blessed moments of respite comes one of the great pleasures in life: summer reading. Here are a few of the things in my hammock-ready stack...

Scott Black Johnston: Cleo LaRue

Tuesday June 10, 2014
I have known Dr. Cleo LaRue for 25 years. We have been through a lot together. I first met Cleo in a PhD seminar at Princeton Seminary. Cleo had already served two churches in Texas and worked with the legendary Dr. Gardner Taylor here in New York.

Scott Black Johnston: A Prayer for Good Friday

Friday April 18, 2014
A prayer for Good Friday.

Scott Black Johnston: In the Presence of My Frenemies

Sunday April 13, 2014
As the parent of a teenager, I enjoy eavesdropping on the ever-fresh vocabulary of high school students. One of the most evocative and fascinating terms that my daughter uses is frenemy.

Scott Black Johnston: A Prayer for Help and Healing

Thursday April 10, 2014
Holy God, Blessed Comforter, we bow our heads before you. We yearn to push worries aside to focus on you, to talk with you, but it is difficult. So difficult.

Scott Black Johnston: Seekers and Dwellers

Sunday March 30, 2014
One of the most helpful books regarding religious change in North America is Robert Wuthnow’s After Heaven: Spirituality in America Since the 1950s.

Scott Black Johnston: The Contemplative Christ

Tuesday February 25, 2014
I am drawn to contemplative people. They are human fish tanks. In the presence of reflective friends, I move slower, feel calmer and become more mindful of what is going on around me.

Scott Black Johnston: Is Same-Sex Marriage, Christian Marriage?

Tuesday January 28, 2014
Times change. What can get one generation of Christians foaming at the mouth can become a (yawn!) non-issue for the next. You might think this fact would bring an end to hot button debates, but it doesn’t. That’s ok. Our most passionate debates keep us wrestling with what matters.

Scott Black Johnston: What Blessings?

Thursday November 21, 2013
One of my favorite picture books is 'Thanksgiving at the Tappletons.' The Tappletons are a family of wolves. They are gathering for a traditional Thanksgiving feast, and each member of the family (from Grandfather Tappleton to little Jenny Tappleton) is responsible for some part of the family meal.

Scott Black Johnston: Mercy Mercy!

Tuesday September 24, 2013
When my wife and I married a little over 22 years ago, I got the Blues. I wasn’t depressed ”” not at all. I was receiving a gift. One of the many blessings that came from marrying Amy was being immersed in the music that she loves.

Scott Black Johnston: Summer Reading 2013

Sunday July 07, 2013
Summer is upon us. With the promise of hot days, iced tea (mint please!), and a break from the hectic pace of this hard-driving city comes one of the great pleasures in life: summer reading.

Scott Black Johnston: Easter Monday and Opening Day

Tuesday April 02, 2013
Yesterday was Easter Monday. It was also Opening Day. All over the world today, clergy were massaging sore muscles and ignoring their emails. Our faith’s World Series is over–-again. So naturally, we feel spent, giddy and wistful.

Scott Black Johnston: How Was Your Day?

Sunday March 03, 2013
I recently saw a rerun of the film Bruce Almighty. I enjoyed it. The premise of this Jim Carrey comedy is theologically interesting: What would you do if you had God’s powers?

Scott Black Johnston: Busy, Busy, Busy

Friday December 14, 2012
Scott Black Johnston offers some thoughts--and prayers--that arise after watching “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman.”

Scott Black Johnston: Do Not Be Alarmed

Friday November 30, 2012
Young Americans are saying, clearly and repeatedly, that they find the contemporary church to be 1) overly political, 2) painfully homophobic, and 3) downright hypocritical when it comes to pointing out others’ sins. What do we do about it? Don't panic.

Scott Black Johnston: The Stormy Blast

Sunday November 18, 2012
At the height of the storm, my son, Oliver and I were listening to the wind shake our windows. In a quiet voice, he said, “I’m scared Daddy.” “Me too,” I replied. “But,” Ollie asked, “God’s got us, right?” “Yep,” I said, smiling in the dark, “God’s got us!”

Scott Black Johnston: Summer Reading Stack

Friday June 15, 2012
Summer is upon us. With the promise of hot days, iced tea (with mint, of course), and a break from the hectic pace of this hard-driving city comes one of the great pleasures in life: summer reading. Here are a few of the things in my hammock-ready stack.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Dear Oliver: On Science and Tradition

Tuesday May 22, 2012
A few years ago, Richard Dawkins, prominent zoologist and atheist, wrote a letter to his ten-year-old daughter, Juliet. In the letter, Dawkins uses age-appropriate language and illustrations to steer his daughter toward the truth as he sees it. Now I do the same in a letter to my son.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Canine Theology

Sunday May 06, 2012
My family recently acquired a dog. Fergus is six months old. He is small (about 10 pounds), vanilla with caramel-coated ears, and fully charged with puppy zing. Fergus is teaching me about grace ”” about receiving unmerited favor again and again and again.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Meet Me at the Hotel Montana

Sunday April 01, 2012
We all have a deep hunger for forgiveness. We carry the weight of guilt around. When we inventory our lives; bad decisions, selfish acts, and stupid moves stand out in our mind’s eye.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Jesus Says, "Eat Your Broccoli!"

Saturday March 10, 2012
Over the past two months, I have been collecting stories of why people call a particular church home. Why do you go to this church? Most of those stories begin with a friend or family member who joyfully and enthusiastically recommends the church””a person who says; “I would love to introduce you to a community where my soul gets fed.”

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: In the Desert

Friday February 24, 2012
During Lent, we all need time in the desert-time in a place where our Blackberries and iPhones will not get a signal, and we can listen for the voice of God.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: There's Something About Mary

Sunday December 11, 2011
The final leg of our journey to Christmas always begins with Mary ”” a poor, pregnant teenager who takes counsel with angels.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Needing Advent

Saturday December 10, 2011
At their core, Advent and Christmas tell the story of God’s arrival. Every hymn, every carol and every scriptural text in this season point toward the One who refuses to be aloof and distant ”” the One who chose (who still chooses) to enter into the mess of life with us.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Finding Joy

Monday November 21, 2011
What is joy? Is it a permanent state, or a fleeting feeling? Are some people naturally joyful, while others will never experience true happiness?

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: You Can't Go It Alone in New York

Friday October 21, 2011
Some would say this is one of the best features of NYC: Nobody recognizes you. Nobody gets in your business. Of course, anonymity has a price.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: The Kardashians Go To Church

Friday October 07, 2011
Last week, a producer of the reality television show, “Kourtney & Kim Take New York” called the church. Really! Here's what happened.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Summer Reading

Sunday June 26, 2011
To me, Montreat means good worship, old friends and a chance to start my summer reading ”” a chance to work through a stack of books that I have been collecting all year long, many of them at your recommendation.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Raise Up a Child

Friday June 03, 2011
"How can I give my children a spiritual foundation?" Parents who raise spiritually mature children are those who have conversations about God in their homes.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Low Sunday

Monday May 02, 2011
The devastating storms in the American South have literally and figuratively brought many people low. Last week many of these good folk celebrated Easter. This week they are picking up the pieces ”” if indeed there are any pieces for them to pick up.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Sent Into Exile

Wednesday April 20, 2011
In a message delivered at the NEXT Church Conference in Indianapolis, the Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston argues that "God is not killing North American Protestantism. God has sent it into exile.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: The Mummy and the Man with a Wand

Monday April 11, 2011
From the first appearance of the disciples, communities throughout the Roman Empire viewed those who followed the path of Jesus of Nazareth with suspicion. “What is this new cult? Rumor has it they are cannibals who eat the body and blood of their teacher!”

The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Prayers of the People

Sunday April 10, 2011
God of Holy Mystery, God of Love, God of the Hidden Heart, we pray to you....

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Liz Taylor of Samaria

Monday March 28, 2011
My wife, Amy, is a movie buff ”” a fan of the silver screen. So naturally, Elizabeth Taylor has been a subject of conversation around our home in recent days.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: All the Time?

Monday March 21, 2011
"God Is Good...All the Time." To some, this confession in the face of disaster is proof of how incredibly irrational people of faith are.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Praying for Japan

Monday March 14, 2011
I know that your hearts go to the people of Japan and those countries and islands affected by the earthquake and tsunami in the Pacific. I have been using the following prayer (adapted from a prayer by St. Augustine).

The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston: The Discipline of Sausages

Tuesday March 08, 2011
Every Lent, my quirky friend, Stan, who had a Ph.D. in liturgics (a fancy name for the study of Christian worship), used to announce that he was taking on a spiritual discipline for Lent. He used to announce that he was taking on “The Discipline of Sausages.”

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Changed Your Mind Lately?

Thursday February 24, 2011
Some find it threatening when a believer, much less a famous theologian, comes right out and says, “What I believe right now ”” about who God is and what God wants from us ”” might not be the same thing I believe two years from now. Or even tomorrow!”

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Christ and Culture

Wednesday February 16, 2011
“How am I, as a Christian, to interact with (and respond to) the culture of the world around me?” H. Richard Niebuhr proposed five different ways in which Christians respond to the wider culture...

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Groundhog Day and Egypt

Monday February 07, 2011
What does belong in worship, and what doesn’t? What things do we want to mark, to consider, and to pray about in church, and what things do we want to leave for the wider culture, the news media, the public square to mull over?

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Children of the Stock of Abraham

Monday January 24, 2011
As I have been preparing for my part in a conversation between the three Abrahamic faiths, I came across a letter written by George Washington, in his first term as President of the United States, to the Jewish community in Newport, Rhode Island.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: The Great Church Rummage Sale

Friday January 21, 2011
This week I have been reading Phyllis Tickle’s "The Great Emergence." It is a fascinating book. In a nutshell, Tickle claims that every 500 years, the Church cleans out its attic and has a rummage sale. Read on...

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: One More Resolution

Wednesday January 12, 2011
As you put the final touches on your 2011 list, I want to suggest one addition. It’s not terribly hard. It’s basically a string you can tie around your finger.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Christmas Stories

Wednesday December 15, 2010
Every year, as Christmas approaches, I find myself drawn to various classic (and not-so-classic, but still wonderful) stories that capture the season for me.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Thanksgiving (in Reverse)

Wednesday November 24, 2010
What would life be like without the sweet blessings that have steadied us, shaped us, empowered us, and comforted us?

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: By Our Love

Friday November 19, 2010
Love. It is probably the most important, most distinctive, most life-changing thing that Jesus asked his disciples to do. It is also the most difficult one to describe.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Interfaith Issues

Tuesday October 12, 2010
Dr. Scott Black Johnston shares a disturbing experience he had following a recent interfaith service.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: The Big Sort and Us

Tuesday October 05, 2010
The basic premise of the new book The Big Sort goes like this: Over the last three decades, we Americans have been sorting ourselves into communities that have become increasingly homogenous. What does that mean for us as Christians?

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Baptism--Do You Remember?

Friday September 24, 2010
What do you remember about your baptism? Dr. Scott Black Johnston explores the sacrament and asks for your stories.

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Lessons from a Sidewalk Chalk Artist

Thursday September 09, 2010
Dr. Scott Black Johnston encounters a talented sidewalk chalk artist who has "always coveted your sidewalks" at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian in New York City. What will he draw?

Dr. Scott Black Johnston: Go and Do Likewise

Wednesday August 11, 2010
The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston writes, "Our society no longer seems inclined to hand the Christian faith complimentary servings of good will. Did you know that a recent survey in this country...found that the primary words that this demographic would use to describe Christians are 'judgmental' and 'hypocritical'?"

Video by The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston

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"You Noticed!?" - Rev. Scott Black Johnston on 30 Good Minutes

Wednesday March 24, 2010
Scott Black Johnston, Senior Pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, reflects on God's loving care as expressed in Psalms 8.

A Conversation with Rev. Scott Black Johnston - A 30 Good Minutes Interview

Wednesday March 24, 2010
Daniel Pawlus and Lydia Talbot in conversation with Scott Black Johnston, who says, "I find in the psalms an incredible amount of human honesty. People just lay it out there to God: this is what I'm feeling and they put it in front of the Almighty as an offering and assume that God will respond."

Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston (Part 2) - Day1 Conversations with Peter Wallace

Monday May 18, 2009
The Rev. Scott Black Johnston sits down with Day1 host Peter Wallace to discuss the survival of the mainline church, evangelism, prophetic preaching in contemporary times and lastly Scott's comic book collection and the deep connection between his love of comic books and his faith. What role does popular culture play in modern preaching and speaking of faith?

Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston (Part 1) - Day1 Conversations with Peter Wallace

Monday May 18, 2009
The Rev. Scott Black Johnston speaks to Day1 host Peter Wallace about the contemporary role of a preacher, the current economic crisis and times of turmoil, helping people cope with their fears, coping with change and hymnal fights.

Wake Up Call from God - Day1 Reflection Team

Friday May 16, 2008
Wake Up Calls from God. Are they valid? How do we know the wake up call is from God. Does it take a cataclysmic event for the mess

Radio by The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston

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Dr. Scott Black Johnston Day1 Podcast Extra

Tuesday May 26, 2009
In this Day1 Podcast Extra, the Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston talks to Day1 host Peter Wallace about the contemporary role of a preacher, the current economic crisis and its impact on churches and members, pop culture and theology, and coping with fear and change.

The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston - Part 2 - Day1 Podcast Extra

Sunday January 28, 2007
In this podcast extra, the Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston, senior pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, shares his personal experiences and insights of preaching.

The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston - Part 1 - Day1 Podcast Extra

Friday January 26, 2007
In this podcast extra, the Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston, senior pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, shares his personal experiences and insights of preaching.