Whatever confusion there may be among Christians about redemption today, it must be small compared to that which accompanied the birth of the Christian movement in the first century…Yet we can be sure of the upshot: the disciples’ recognition that Jesus’ story that had engaged them was not ended by his death. For him and for them, there was a new beginning. Strangely but surely a new era had begun.
James McClendon, Doctrine (1994)
Today, on the 15th anniversary of his passing, we honor James McClendon, one of the most underrated Christian theologians of the 20th century. McClendon, raised in Southern Baptist Louisiana, became the first Protestant theologian to ever be hired by a Catholic theology department (University of San Francisco). His contract was mysteriously not renewed at USF after he passed around a petition denouncing American military adventures in Vietnam. Later in the 70s, McClendon became a pioneer in postmodern theological endeavors after reading John Howard Yoder’s The Politics of Jesus and attending a conference in Manhattan with his wife (the philosopher and theologian Nancey Murphy) called “The Church in a Postmodern Age.” From there, McClendon did ground breaking work at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union and Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena.
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