John Webster (1955-2016)

May 26, 2016

university-of-aberdeen

As most of my readers are aware, John Webster passed away yesterday. He was 60 years old. There are already some very fine pieces written in remembrance of this extraordinary theologian. Steve Holmes, Fred Sanders, Travis McMaken, Mark Thomson, and many others have offered their reflections, which also serve as nice little introductions to Webster’s theology.

Webster held the Chair of Systematic Theology at the University of Aberdeen (pictured above) when I was there in the M.Th. program. For the past few years, he has been at St. Andrews. I do not have much to add to what has already been written, but I am fortunate to have sat under the teaching of Professor Webster. His course on “Principles of Systematic Theology” was inspiring and overwhelming, especially for someone still wet behind the ears in academic theology as I was. Webster was always incredibly kind and gracious. I wrote a paper for him on P. T. Forsyth, and he had some encouraging things to say.

john-webster

Just as Barth did for his generation, Webster reminded us of theology’s peculiar joy and beauty. The expression that will be forever associated with Webster is “theological theology,” as Mark Thomson has written about in his remembrance. Theology as a rigorous discipline has an integrity of its own, so far as it is faithful to its object: God. As I have often recommended to others, there are two books from Webster which should be required reading for all students of theology: Holiness and Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch. The former is the single best introduction to Webster’s whole approach to theology, and the latter is probably his most influential book, at least among his many students.

Back in December of 2008, I wrote a post called, “The Ontology of Grace.” Therein, I offer some brief reflections in comparing Webster and Balthasar. It is remarkable how much my interests and questions have remained. I also recommend watching his 2009 Hayward Lectures, which are still available!

We can thank the Lord for giving the Church the gift of John Webster, a faithful servant in his kingdom. May God bless his soul.

5 Responses to “John Webster (1955-2016)”

  1. […] John Webster (1955-2016) -Kevin Davis […]

  2. […] in Copenhagen. Home again, I soon found out that his death is lamented at various weblogs: here for example, here, here and also here. So, we can safely conclude that his passing away has […]

  3. I have been moving for the last month and have remained generally disconnected. This news had eluded me but hits me hard this morning. How lamentable to lose him far too soon, but a good reminder that it is better to depart and be with Christ.

  4. […] those of us who have studied John Webster, you will be immediately struck at how Sonderegger’s and Webster’s projects aligned. […]

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