Remembering Clark Pinnock: Postconservative Evangelical Par Excellence

Remembering Clark Pinnock: Postconservative Evangelical Par Excellence August 17, 2010

I just heard about my friend Clark Pinnock’s death on Sunday, August 15 at age 73.  My heart is heavy for his family but full of joy for him.  He was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and is no doubt now in the joy of the Lord’s presence without pain or loss.

I followed Clark’s career and theological path over the years after first reading him while in seminary.  I made note of his change from Calvinism to Arminianism and then to open theism and talked with him often about his journey.  Even when I did not agree with him, I always found his reasoning Christ-centered and Bible-centered and therefore thoroughly evangelical.  He was a model of what I call the postconservative approach to theology–always willing to change his mind when convinced scripture requires it.

He was a gentle soul who was deeply wounded by harsh and often unfair criticisms of him and his work.  He was a prolific and creative theologian.  I only wish he had written a summa.  When I asked him to do that he honored and flattered me by saying “You’ve done it for me.”  (He was referring to The Mosaic of Christian Belief which I do not think rises to the level of what Clark would have produced had he ever put his hand to writing a systematic theology.)

I believe the evangelical and ecumenical worlds have lost a great thinker in Clark.  He was a mentor and friend to many of us.  My heart and my prayers go out to his wife and daughter and other loved ones and to his many friends and former colleagues.

(A note to those who may be tempted to use this opportunity to criticize Clark’s work at this time: I don’t think it is proper or Christian to attack someone’s life or work shortly after their death.  Such attacks on Stan Grenz’s theological career and contribution within days of his passing were extremely hurtful and distressing to his family.  Save your criticisms for a later time.  I will welcome constructive criticisms of Clark’s work after 30 days from the 15th.)

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