Friday, August 27, 2010

Some Recent Passings

In recent times there have been a number of passings of well-known Christian academics. Sadly Clark Pinnock, Gerald F. Hawthorne both passed away last week. I cannot say I ever remotely got into Clark's Open Theism, but I did appreciate his emphasis on divine love and the renewing experience of the Holy Spirit. What is more, I remember him as trying to be biblical, as seen in his rejection of prevenient grace despite the fact that it was the typical Arminian response to how God overcomes sin. Gerald Hawthorne has a residence named after him in Cambridge and his Philippians commentary in the WBC series is a model of sane and sober exegesis.

I was very saddened to learn of the passing away of Donald Bloesch. Bloesch represented a Reformed Evangelical appropriation of Karl Barth. He also remained committed to his mainline church in the United Church of Christ despite its liberalizing direction. I use several of his books as class texts in theology courses that I teach such as God the Almighty and Jesus Christ, Savior and Lord. By far the quality of Bloesch that I appreciated the most was that his robust evangelical theology was not the reactionary conservative kind. He did not feel the need to affirm reactionary positions in order to affirm his orthodoxy. There were several evaluations of his work including these:

Mark Noll described his work as probably "the most notable evangelical theology coming from the mainline churches" and one that is "somewhat unexpectedly . . . providing some of the theological maturity and biblical comprehension absent in the more strictly evangelical bodies." Bernard Ramm referred to Bloesch's work as a "real pioneering effort," while Clark Pinnock said of one of Bloesch's major volumes, "Now we have a self-conscious effort to present evangelical convictions in the light of comprehensive awareness of historical and contemporary theology.".

HT: David Parker.

Requiescat in pace

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