Donald Bloesch, one of the stand out theologians of the modern era, went to be with his Lord last week. I treasure his Essentials of Evangelical Theology and his seven-volume Christian Foundations – very stimulating.
If you are a reader of this blog, you’ll know that we have reviewing a book by Dr John Armstrong. your church is too small. John has just posted a moving tribute to his friend and mentor, Donald Bloesch. He writes:
“…Bloesch opens windows to the mind and soul and shows you how to think in a Christocentric and careful way that does not slavishly follow philosophical systems. Bloesch provides evangelical and catholic theology at its very best, with an eye on the past and a keen perception of the present and the future.
Don Bloesch devoted years and years to [the Christian Foundations] huge writing project. It will serve, I believe, as a major theological project for at least one generation to come and maybe many more. I treasure it as among my most valuable theological sets. I encourage everyone to read these books; pastors, students or lay readers. You might even start a reading group and work through them one-by-one. When the final volume appeared a few years ago I was stunned that my friend dedicated it to my mission. He never told me this was coming until the book came out. That was one of the great joys of my professional life.
Another great joy came when the seventh and final volume was completed and InterVarsity decided to honor Donald in Dubuque with a special evening. Three speakers were asked to give ten minutes on how Donald Bloesch’s work has shaped their lives. Donald chose two academics, one of whom was a current professor and a former student, and me. I still do not know why he asked me but I was in another zone that night. It was also the same evening in which I met some of my finest Catholic friends who are monks and who also loved Dr. Bloesch. Donald had friends across every part of the catholic church. In this he modeled that now shapes my life too.
Donald Bloesch understood the deep problems of the mainline church. He also understood that most conservative churches had their own problems. He believed ideology was at the center of our problems. We had substituted our political and social ideology for the gospel. He thus became a model of missional-ecumenism in his theology, embracing catholicity while remaining committed to Christ and the evangel. More than I think Don knew he helped me to form my mind and direction over these last twenty years and what I now do owes a great deal of debt to him.
The church lost one of its greatest modern theologians last Tuesday but I lost more because I lost a friend and dear mentor.”
My own life has been blessed through the writings of Donald Bloesch. Thanks Donald for the modelling of your commitment to Jesus, His Gospel, His mission and the building up of His Church.