Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Clark Pinnock

Clark Pinnock has passed away at the age of 73. His theological work fascinated me. His work on Openness Theology and his later book on the Holy Spirit (Flame of Love) really made me think in new ways about the Christian faith. In some ways he was one of the first to feel the brunt of a kind of division in evangelical theology that has since then perhaps intensified but would still benefit from the legacy of his graciousness in conflict. As with the death of Stanley Grenz a few years back I feel that the theological community and the evangelical church has suffered a loss. Here's an excerpt of an obituary from one of his colleagues. The funeral is Thursday in Hamilton, Ontario.
1. Clark was not afraid to change his mind. He began his academic career as a quasi-fundamentalist with strong Calvinist leanings. He changed his mind about how we ought to read the Bible, how he should think of God’s nature, and what God knew about the possible future. I appreciated his honesty in his quest for strong theology!

2. Clark was unafraid to draw from many sources in his theological quest. While the Bible was his primary tool, he dipped in Arminian theology, Calvinist theology, process theology, Trinitarian theology, and creation theology, among others. The best theology can draw from diverse sources, while keeping a coherence amidst generative differences.

3. Clark was humble. Although he surely had convictions about how we should think theologically, he never presented himself as having all things figured out. When he and I disagreed about some issues, he was always ready to hear me out and learn from me. This made me more open to learning from him.

1 comment:

ErinOrtlund said...

That is a loss. I appreciated some of his writings as well--when I was in seminary, I emailed him to tell him so. He wrote back very soon after, a gracious reply.