Clark Pinnock Passes on to Glory
One of the more influential and controversial Evangelical theologians in recent decades passed away Sunday afternoon, August 15, 2010.
Clark Pinnock was a giant in theology. His theological exploration inspired me and many others to follow the Spirit’s leading in seeking truth about God and creation.
I agree with much of what Clark proposed theologically in the latter years of his life. In fact, I’ve written extensively about Clark’s version of Open theology in past blogs. And one of my new books, The Nature of Love: A Theology, explores what I like about Clark’s thought, although I do propose some ways I think Open and Relational theology could be improved.
But some other aspects of Clark’s life have been especially exemplary. I’ll list four:
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.
4. Clark was creative up to the end. His scholarly and devotional output was amazing! Although Alzheimer’s disease eventually took over his life, he participated in several projects with me in his final years. In fact, two of his last essays are printed in books I edited: “Evangelical Theology after Darwin,” in Creation Made Free, and “A Cosmology of Love,” in Love Among Us.
I plan to attend Clark’s funeral this week. My friend, Jason White, passed along some details you may want to know if you also plan to attend the funeral or send a card to Clark’s wife, Dorothy.
The funeral will be Thursday evening, August 19, at Little Bethel Community Church. The church is located at 320 Paling Avenue Hamilton ON Canada L8H 5J9. Send cards to Dorothy Pinnock at this address.
I would have liked to discuss more issues with Clark. He was a good friend. I hope one day to continue our conversation in heaven.
Today as I think of Clark’s life, legacy, and our friendship, I’m reminded of the refrain of a hymn I sang as a youngster:
When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be.
When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!