Remembering Thomas C. Oden (1931-2016)

Dec 9, 2016 by

Dr. Tom Oden was one of the founders of The Confessing Movement.  He loved The United Methodist Church, was the most brilliant theologian and a gentle and kind spirit.  If you would like to honor him you may make a contribution in his memory to The Confessing Movement and his family will receive a certificate in memorial.


Died: Thomas Oden, Methodist Theologian Who Found Classical Christianity
The “orthodox, ecumenical evangelical” Thomas C. Oden—a Methodist whose deep commitment to classical Christianity defined his life’s work—died Thursday at age 85.

Oden’s vast body of theological writings includes his Systematic Theology anthology, four volumes on John Wesley, dozens of Bible commentaries, and the pages of Christianity Today, where he served as executive editor alongside J. I. Packer and Timothy George.

His scholarship on the church fathers led to his surprising mid-life shift from liberal Protestantism to evangelicalism, as recounted in his 2014 memoir, A Change of Heart.

“The heart of my story is that the first part of 40 years of my life, I was way, way out there on a path that I had to go on in order to come back like the prodigal son to the father,” Oden told Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a 2015 interview. “But eventually I did and by my 40th year, I became deeply invested in listening carefully to the classical Christian consensus … of the ancient Christian writers and their interpretation of Scripture.”

“Tom is now with the early saints whose lives and teachings he studied so closely,” said Institute on Religion & Democracy president Mark Tooley, who called him “a dear friend and counselor, a brilliant and cheerful warrior for good causes, irreplaceable.”

“What a loss to us all is the death of [Oden]. He is a hero of orthodox conviction,” tweeted Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

A graduate of Southern Methodist University (SMU) and his native University of Oklahoma, Oden was professor emeritus at Drew University, a United Methodist-affiliated college in New Jersey. He taught at SMU and Phillips University earlier in his career. He used his Methodist roots as a bridge between Protestantism and Catholicism.

Fred Sanders, theology professor at Biola University, remembered Oden as a “paleo-orthodox champion of the classic, consensual Christian tradition.”

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