Clark Pinnock: Rest in Jesus (July-Aug 2010)

By Matt Dabbs

by Edward Fudge
August 19, 2010

Grandson of missionaries, young supporter of Wycliffe Bible Translators, veteran of Francis Schaeffer’s L’Abri in Switzerland, doctorate under F.F. Bruce, theology professor at New Orleans Baptist Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Regent College, McMaster University, controversial thinker, author and teacher, Clark Pinnock, 73, was all this and so much more last Sunday, when he suddenly fell asleep in Jesus as the result of a massive heart attack at his home in Hamilton, Ontario.

To me, he was an encourager by mail who took time for me when I was wrestling with Reformed theology at Covenant Seminary around 1970 . . . a generous man who gave an endorsement for my first Hebrews commentary in 1974 . . . a friend with whom I visited at Evangelical Theological Society meetings through the years . . . with his wife Dorothy my hospitable hosts overnight once when I was in Canada . . . a later endorser of The Fire That Consumes and an early prominent evangelical spokesperson for the view of hell it presents.

He was a patient man who endured much from a few theological adversaries who were not worthy to tie his shoes . . . a jovial brother who was so tall that Sara Faye had to choose between cutting off his head or my legs when taking our picture in his yard the last time I was privileged to visit with him in person. In short, Clark was one of the most gracious, humble, productive, courageous, open-minded and trying-to-be-like-Jesus men (and theologians) I was ever privileged to know.

Clark Pinnock began teaching theology as a conservative fundamentalist, Calvinist, cessationist (anti-supernatural gifts). Over the years, he left Calvinism, adopted moderate charismatic views (after his nearly-blind eye was miraculously healed in answer to prayer — “one personal experience like that is more persuasive than a whole shelf of books,” he said — or words to that effect), and became a leading voice on the evangelical Left. He wrote books on the Bible, the Holy Spirit, “openness theology” (does God choose not to know the future?), God’s mercy (will He judge people who never hear the gospel by their response to what they did know from God?) and other subjects.

I agreed with many of his controversial views, am not sure of a few others. Whether his opinions were right or wrong, he knew, loved and served the Lord Jesus. His heart was right and that is what counts. Rest in peace, brother Clark. With thousands of others, I appreciate you, grieve your passing, and will miss you for the time I have left here. We look forward to seeing you again in the great Resurrection reunion.


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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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