Donald G. Bloesch

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Donald G. Bloesch (b. 1928, Bremen, Indiana, d. Aug. 24, 2010) was a noted American evangelical theologian. For more than 40 years, he published scholarly yet accessible works that generally defend traditional Protestant beliefs and practices while seeking to remain in the mainstream of modern Protestant theological thought. The ongoing publication of his Christian Foundation Series, has brought him recognition as an important American theologian.

He characterized himself a "progressive evangelical" or "Ecumenical orthodox" criticizing the excesses of both the theological left and right. He often decried the abandonment of traditional values among liberals, but also the ugly, reactionary habits of some conservatives.

His own denomination, in which he was an ordained minister, is the United Church of Christ. He was raised in the Evangelical and Reformed Church, now merged with the UCC, in which his father and both his grandfathers were also ordained ministers. The "E and R" was a representative of evangelical pietism, a movement that emphasized personal piety, a discerning, educated laity, a reliance on Scripture, and an acceptance of the mystical side of Christianity.

Bloesch's pietistic background and personal spiritual life lay at the heart of understanding his theology and how Christianity is to continue into the future. In his view, much of American Protestantism has entrenched itself into narrow intellectually based definitions of doctrine which omit, exclude and even prohibit the mystical element as the governing element of the faith (i.e., the action of the Holy Spirit). Much of his critique is in fact directed at his own denomination, the United Church of Christ; he worked with a conservative lobbying group, the Biblical Witness Fellowship, to protest against its more liberal theological and ethical streams.

From 1957 until his retirement in 1992, he was a professor of theology at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, where he continued as a professor-emeritus. The Theological Seminary's library serves as the repository of his papers.

He received his undergraduate degree from Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois. He earned his Bachelor of Divinity (BD) at Chicago Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. He did postdoctoral work in Europe at Oxford, Basel, and Tübingen. He served as president of the Midwest Division of the American Theological Society.

Sources[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Systematic Theology:
  1. Essentials of Evangelical Theology, Volume 1: God, Authority and Salvation, 1978 ISBN 0-06-060798-X
  2. Essentials of Evangelical Theology, Volume 2: Life, Ministry, & Hope, 1984 ISBN 0-06-060799-8
  • Christian Foundation Series:
  1. A Theology Of Word & Spirit: Authority & Method In Theology, 1992 ISBN 0-8308-1411-6
  2. God The Almighty: Power, Wisdom, Holiness, Love, 1995 ISBN 0-8308-1413-2
  3. Jesus Christ: Savior & Lord, 1997 ISBN 0-8308-1414-0
  4. The Holy Spirit: Works & Gifts, 2000 ISBN 0-8308-1415-9
  5. The Church: Sacraments, Worship, Ministry, Mission, 2002 ISBN 0-8308-1416-7
  6. The Last Things: Resurrection, Judgment, Glory, 2004 ISBN 0-8308-1417-5
  7. Holy Scripture: Revelation, Inspiration & Interpretation 2006 ISBN 0-8308-1412-4 (cloth), ISBN 0-8308-2752-8 (pbk)
  • Theological Notebooks:
  1. Theological Notebook: 1960-1964: Spiritual Journals of Donald G. Bloesch, 1989 ISBN 0-939443-12-0
  2. Theological Notebook: 1964-1968: Spiritual Journals of Donald G. Bloesch 1991 ISBN 0-939443-13-9
  3. Theological Notebook: Volume 3: 1969-1983: The Spiritual Journals of Donald G. Bloesch, 2005 ISBN 1-59752-311-9

Festschriften[edit]

  • Daniel J. Adams, editor, From East to West: Essays in Honor of Donald G. Bloesch, 1997 ISBN 0-7618-0801-9