The lifelong Lutheran and ecumenical leader shaped a generation with new scholarship on the Trinity, salvation, and systematics.
Robert Jenson, one of the top American theologians of the 20th century, died this week at 87.
Jenson made lasting contributions to Lutheran, ecumenical, systematic, and Trinitarian theology, and was known for the breadth and originality of his scholarship.
Tributes call him “the greatest American theologian since Jonathan Edwards,” “one of America’s most important theologians,” “America’s … most creative systematic theologian,” and a “theologian’s theologian.”
His work “contributed to the revival of systematic theology in the English speaking world,” Scott Swain, president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, told CT.
“It's hard to express the significance of his loss to the discipline of theology,” he tweeted.
Swain noted that Jenson influenced a generation of scholars by promoting ecclesial theology through his books such as The Triune Identity and Systematic Theology, as well as his leadership of the Research Institute in Systematic Theology at King’s College London, the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Thought, and the Center of Theological Inquiry at Princeton Theological Seminary.
“He was a theologian’s theologian with a pastoral heart and a subtle missiological eye. He was one of the great ecumenists of our time, one with deep convictions; we don’t often associate the two,” wrote Mockingbird’s Scott Jones.
“We think of the former as watering down particularity of belief in order to go along to get along,” he wrote. “The latter we might admire but don’t invite them into the ecumenical sandbox for fear that they don’t play well with others.”